Consumption of a soy drink has no effect on cognitive function but may alleviate vasomotor symptoms in post-menopausal women; a randomised trial

Orlaith N. Furlong, Heather J. Parr, Stephanie J. Hodge, Mary M. Slevin, Ellen E. Simpson, Emeir M. McSorley, Jacqueline M. McCormack, Pamela J. Magee

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Purpose: Cognitive decline is commonly reported during the menopausal transition, with memory and attention being particularly affected. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a commercially available soy drink on cognitive function and menopausal symptoms in post-menopausal women. Methods: 101 post-menopausal women, aged 44–63 years, were randomly assigned to consume a volume of soy drink providing a low (10 mg/day; control group), medium (35 mg/day), or high (60 mg/day) dose of isoflavones for 12 weeks. Cognitive function (spatial working memory, spatial span, pattern recognition memory, 5-choice reaction time, and match to sample visual search) was assessed using CANTAB pre- and post-the 12 week intervention. Menopausal symptoms were assessed using Greene’s Climacteric Scale. Results: No significant differences were observed between the groups for any of the cognitive function outcomes measured. Soy drink consumption had no effect on menopausal symptoms overall; however, when women were stratified according to the severity of vasomotor symptoms (VMS) at baseline, women with more severe symptoms at baseline in the medium group had a significant reduction (P = 0.001) in VMS post-intervention (mean change from baseline score: − 2.15 ± 1.73) in comparison to those with less severe VMS (mean change from baseline score: 0.06 ± 1.21). Conclusions: Soy drink consumption had no effect on cognitive function in post-menopausal women. Consumption of ~ 350 ml/day (35 mg IFs) for 12 weeks significantly reduced VMS in those with more severe symptoms at baseline. This finding is clinically relevant as soy drinks may provide an alternative, natural, treatment for alleviating VMS, highly prevalent among western women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755–766
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date12 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Equol
  • Hot flash
  • Hot flush
  • Isoflavones
  • Menopausal symptoms

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