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Harvard Medical School Researcher Recommends Soy & Vitamin E as Alternative to HRT
Washington DC, 15 November 2002

More health experts are recommending soy foods and Vitamin E for women going through menopause, following the Women's Health Initiative study that found risks of heart disease and other problems from hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Dr. JoAnn E. Manson of Harvard Medical School was a principal investigator for the Women's Health Initiative and now counsels women to use soy foods such as soy milk or tofu on a daily basis. She also suggested that women can take Vitamin E and that "it's probably best to combine the two."

Both soy and Vitamin E, which in its natural form is made from soybeans, have long been seen as helping reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and disturbed sleep for women going through menopause. In the wake of adverse findings for hormone use in the Women's Health Initiative study, both soy and Vitamin E are receiving renewed attention.

An estimated 15 million women had been taking hormone therapy until the study revealed that [for many women] the risks of taking hormone combinations outweighed the benefits. The projected eight-year study was canceled after five years because of the findings.

Tufts University's Health & Nutrition Letter, a leading medical and health publication, said in a special report on "life after hormone therapy" that many women are "at a loss" about what to do now.

Interviewed in the Health & Nutrition Letter, Dr. Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recommended alternatives including soy foods and Vitamin E.

For soy, Dr. Manson suggests one to two servings a day. "Many women will get some relief with just one or two glasses of soy milk a day or increasing tofu," she said, "and that could be maintained safely in the diet very long- term."

For Vitamin E, Dr. Manson recommended daily intake of 400 to 800 units. "Women might want to try this together with soy," she said, noting that it's probably best to combine the two.


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