According to recent statistics from Nutrition Business Journal, 10 million women use hormone-replacement therapy to remedy the symptoms of menopause. Women's health trials at the National Institutes of Health suggest that more than five years of therapy combining estrogen with progestin increases a woman's risk of breast cancer by 26 per cent. You see the problem.
Enter the controversial world of soy. In a report titled Soy and Women's Health, the United Soybean Board examines the effect of soy on vasomotor symptoms in perimenopausal women, bone loss in postmenopausal women, and breast cancer. By taking a comprehensive view of current science, the report comes to mixed conclusions. Can soy help control hot flashes? Maybe. Does soy stabilize bone density among older women? Too soon to tell. Is soy an anti-cancer agent? Too little evidence. In fact, breast cancer survivors may need to steer clear of the isoflavones in soy.
Soy remains popular with suppliers for its proteins and two isoflavones, genistein and daidzein. DSM Nutritional Products offers GeniVida, 98 per cent pure genistein, with clinically proven reductions in hot flashes and night sweats, as well as benefits to bone density and cardiovascular health. Solbar Industries offers isoflavone extracts and isolated soy proteins for a wide range of applications. New additions to their Solpro line of proteins include 957 with reduced sodium, 958 for beverages, and 960 for multi-ingredient extrusion.
"Over the past several years, the medical community has been looking at the association of hormone replacement therapy and impairment of mental performance," says Scott Hagerman, President of Chemi Nutra. Chemi Nutra supplies phosphatidylserine, a phospholipid derived from soy lecithin, through its SerinAid product. A recent study out of Mexico suggests that phosphatidylserine combats memory loss, speech difficulties and mood swings in menopausal women.
But let's not forget beauty. Nutrition Business Journal reports that 69 per cent of women think vitamins and supplements contribute to healthy skin. IBR Limited Technology is working with colorless carotenoids in their line of patented skincare products. Algae extracts in topical applications brighten skin, reduce inflammation and eliminate hydroxyl free radicals. A powder supplement derived from tomato powder offers the same benefits.
PL Thomas has Glisodin, a sun-health nutricosmetic that promotes microvascular circulation, reduces inflammation, provides UV protection and inhibits oxidative stress. The product combines cantaloupe-melon concentrate, rich in superoxide dismutase, with wheat gliadin. Looking at these two newcomers, the message here is pretty clear: It ain't just about wrinkles anymore.
Cranberry remains a star performer for women. Sherry Torkos, a holistic pharmacist and author of The Benefits of Berries, is a big advocate. "Preliminary research has found that cranberry may offer benefits beyond the urinary tract," says Torkos, "including oral health, heart health, ulcer prevention and cancer prevention." But let's focus on that urinary tract, with 20 per cent of women suffering from infection at some point during their lifetime. Two recent studies further demonstrate cranberry's efficacy as a guardian of urinary health. French scientists have found that cranberry supplements taken post-coitally help prevent UTI, while a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy suggests that cranberry supplements are as effective as antibiotics in prevention of recurring UTI. Cran-Max from Proprietary Nutritionals is the standard here for its full range of phytonutrients. "Cran-Max is the most widely studied cranberry supplement on the market," says Torkos. "It's a full-spectrum product that contains all the vital parts of the cranberry – the fruit, seeds, skin and juice."
Also of burgeoning interest in this sector are prosexual nutrients designed for women, and DHA for brain development in newborns and infants. Natural Factors offers Sex Essentials, a supplement containing tribulus, choline, ginkgo biloba and Eurycoma longifolia, while EPAX tailors its marine-based DHA formulations, specifically EPAX 1050 TG, for pre- and post-natal health.
Novasoy Soy Isoflavones
Clinically proven to ease the transition through menopause. Evidence suggests that soy isoflavones may help maintain blood-vessel health.
+1 800 637 5843
Decatur, Illinois, USA
Luravida Cranberry Protein Powder
All-natural protein source manufactured from cranberry-seed extract. Provides significant levels of essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9), dietary fibre, minerals, and antioxidants. Also possesses high amounts of naturally occurring proanthocyanidin to address urinary-tract infections.
+1 404 233 4022
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Standardized cranberry extract with 30 per cent proanthocyanidins (PACs) to assist with urinary-tract health. Because of the high PAC content, a dosage of 120mg of powder yields 36mg of PACs in a single capsule or tablet.
+1 845 268 5200
Draco Natural Products
D-34 Menopause Formula
Proprietary multi-herbal formula that supports and balances basic functions and promotes quality of life.
+1 408 287 7871
Proprietary bovine milk extract, which mimics human breast milk's main phospholipid breakdown, including PS, PC and sphingomyelin. Thought to support brain- and nerve-cell growth, and development in newborns. May have similar benefits for children 1-6 years old.
+1 973 912 9400
Springfield, New Jersey, USA
EPAX 1050 TG
Provides high amounts of marine-based DHA. Studies have shown the importance of DHA intake in children before and after birth. DHA is provided by the mother's diet, and affects brain development, vision and intelligence.
+47 70 13 59 60
Unique probiotic formulation that helps to restore and maintain normal vaginal flora. Helps to prevent the recurrence of vaginal infections.
+33 5 62 74 55 55
First patented hop extract on the market standardized to 8-prenylnaringenin. Backed by two clinical studies proving a positive effect on symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes.
+1 201 440 5000
Patented, clinically tested and innovative ingredient aiming to prevent urinary-tract infection.
+1 845 651 4443
Florida, New York, USA
Lignan/fibre complex has high antioxidant value and strong nutritional profile. Fifty-six per cent dietary fibre, five per cent lignans and seven per cent omega-3. Flax lignans are strong antioxidants and phytoestrogens, which can enhance women's health.
+1 877 244 7155
Fitchburg, Wisconsin, USA
San Francisco Herb & Natural Food
May be considered for female hormone balance system, menopause and hot flashes.
+1 800 227 2830
Fremont, California, USA
Solgen Soy Isoflavones
Processed from non-GMO IP soybeans in concentrations ranging from 3-40 per cent, with natural levels of genistein, daidzein and glycitein. Clinically tested for safety efficacy and registered in European Drug Master File. Available in powder form, compact granulated and slow-release encapsulation.
+972 8 8632111