Dietary Soy Phytoestrogens and Biomarkers of Osteoporosis


Vinood B. Patel, & Victor R. Preedy (Eds.)

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date


Publication Title

Biomarkers in Bone Disease


Springer Nature

Publisher Location

Dordrecht, NL

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Osteoporosis, decreased bone strength increasing the risk of fractures, is the result of alterations in bone remodeling causing an imbalance between bone formation and resorption with a predominance of resorption. In postmenopausal women, bone loss increases due to lower levels of estrogen. One of the most common treatment strategies for osteoporosis after incidence of fractures is the use of antiresorptive agents to stimulate osteoblastic proliferation. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for the treatment of menopausal symptoms also reduces the risk of osteoporosis, although its adverse side effects have led researchers to investigate alternative treatments. Dietary soy phytoestrogens have gained considerable attention for exhibiting beneficial effects on bone metabolism and modulating related biomarkers of osteoporosis. Studies using cultured bone cells and postmenopausal rat models support a significant bone-sparing effect of soy phytoestrogens. These findings have initiated clinical studies for the evaluation of soy phytoestrogen effects on postmenopausal bone loss. Human clinical studies have shown both promising and conflicting results. Only few studies show that consumption of soy phytoestrogens increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, whereas most studies show no such effects. This short review focuses on the potential effects of soy-derived phytoestrogens on biomarkers (alkaline phosphatase, N-telopeptide of type 1 collagen) of osteoporosis by examining the evidence from in vitro cultured bone cells, in vivo animal models, and human clinical studies. These collective data suggest the bone-sparing effects of soy phytoestrogens.



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