If you or if someone you know is going through menopause, then you likely are probably familiar with the inconvenient and uncomfortable issue of hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms.
Vasomotor symptoms include night sweats, hot flashes, and flushes, and an estimated 80 percent of postmenopausal women suffer from these symptoms during menopause. There are hormone-based medications to relieve vasomotor symptoms, however, there may be a better and more natural method to treat them.
The North American Menopause Society did a recent 12-week study, called the Women’s Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms [WAVS], which demonstrates that simply adjusting your diet can be highly effective for treating hot flashes.
The study included 38 postmenopausal women who report experiencing two or more hot flashes per day. Each woman was assigned to either the intervention group (that changed their diet to a low-fat, vegan diet with a daily serving of soybeans for 12 weeks) or to a control group.
The team then assessed the frequency and severity of hot flashes through a mobile application that was given to each participant, while vasomotor, psychosocial, physical, and sexual symptoms were assessed through a questionnaire. Every week, the research team held video meetings with each group.
For the women in the intervention group, total hot flashes decreased by almost 80 percent, while moderate-to-severe hot flashes decreased by 84 percent. At the end of the 12 weeks, nearly 60 percent of participants in the intervention group reported feeling totally relieved of moderate and severe hot flashes. The control group did not experience any changes in this variable.
Those in the intervention group also said that they experienced improvements in sexual symptoms, mood, and overall energy. According to Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and co-lead of the study, “this is a game-changer for women aged 45 and over, most of whom we now know can get prompt relief from the most severe and troubling menopause symptoms without drugs.”
Taking evidence from previous studies that revealed the potential of soy, the team decided to incorporate it in the study. Study author Hana Kahleova, MD, Ph.D., and director of clinical research for PCRM says that “the combination is what is important. By the end of the study, the majority of women on a plant-based diet rich in soy reported that they no longer experienced moderate-to-extreme hot flashes at all and that they experienced significant improvements in their quality of life.”
Source study: Menopause—The women’s study for the alleviation of vasomotor symptoms (WAVS)