Long-term soy isoflavone supplementation and cognition in women A randomized, controlled trial

Departments of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology) and Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.29). 06/2012; 78(23):1841-8. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318258f822
Source: PubMed


To determine the cognitive effects of long-term dietary soy isoflavones in a daily dose comparable to that of traditional Asian diets.
In the double-blind Women's Isoflavone Soy Health trial, healthy postmenopausal women were randomly allocated to receive daily 25 g of isoflavone-rich soy protein (91 mg of aglycone weight of isoflavones: 52 mg of genistein, 36 mg of daidzein, and 3 mg glycitein) or milk protein-matched placebo. The primary cognitive endpoint compared between groups at 2.5 years was change from baseline on global cognition, a composite of the weighted sum of 14 neuropsychological test score changes. Secondary outcomes compared changes in cognitive factors and individual tests.
A total of 350 healthy postmenopausal women aged 45-92 years enrolled in this trial; 313 women with baseline and endpoint cognitive test data were included in intention-to-treat analyses. Adherence in both groups was nearly 90%. There was no significant between-group difference on change from baseline in global cognition (mean standardized improvement of 0.42 in the isoflavone group and 0.31 in the placebo group; mean standardized difference 0.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.13 to 0.35). Secondary analyses indicated greater improvement on a visual memory factor in the isoflavone group (mean standardized difference 0.33, 95% CI 0.06-0.60) but no significant between-group differences on 3 other cognitive factors or individual test scores, and no significant difference within a subgroup of younger postmenopausal women.
For healthy postmenopausal women, long-term dietary soy isoflavone supplementation in a dose comparable to that of traditional Asian diets has no effect on global cognition but may improve visual memory. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that long-term dietary supplementation with isoflavone-rich soy protein does not improve global cognition of healthy postmenopausal women.

Download full-text


Available from: Wendy Mack, Feb 24, 2014
    • "As noted previously, the few intervention studies conducted so far enrolled primarily younger, cognitively healthy, postmenopausal women. A large randomized, controlled trial enrolling postmenopausal women age 45 to 92 revealed a decline on general intelligence with soy treatment, but a beneficial effect for visual memory [18]. The conflicting results may explain why findings from small trials are highly mixed [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: In a previous trial, treatment with soy isoflavones was associated with improved nonverbal memory, construction abilities, verbal fluency, and speeded dexterity compared to treatment with placebo in cognitively healthy older adults. Objective: The current trial aimed to examine the potential cognitive benefits of soy isoflavones in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Methods: Sixty-five men and women over the age of 60 were treated with 100 mg/day soy isoflavones, or matching placebo capsules for six months. APOE genotype was determined for all participants. Cognitive outcomes and plasma isoflavone levels were measured at baseline, and at two additional time points: three and six months after baseline. Results: Of the sixty-five participants enrolled, thirty-four (52.3% ) were women, and 31 (47.7% ) were APOEɛ4 positive. Average age was 76.3 (SD = 7.2) years. Fifty-nine (90.8% ) subjects completed all study visits. Plasma isoflavone levels increased in subjects treated with soy isoflavones compared to baseline and to placebo, although intersubject variability in plasma levels was large. No significant differences in treatment effects for cognition emerged between treatment groups or genders. Exploratory analyses of associations between changes in cognition and plasma isoflavone levels revealed an association between equol levels, and speeded dexterity and verbal fluency. Conclusions: Six months of 100 mg/day treatment with soy isoflavones did not benefit cognition in older men and women with Alzheimer's disease. However, our results suggest the need to examine the role of isoflavone metabolism, i.e., the ability to effectively metabolize soy isoflavones by converting daidzen to equol when attempting to fully clarify the cognitive effects of isoflavones.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
  • Source
    • "Few RCTs have been performed with soy supplementation, with controversial results. A long-term supplementation of soy in women had no effect on global cognition but improved visual memory after thirty months (Henderson et al., 2012), while in men, treated for twelve weeks, only spatial working memory improved compared to the placebo group (Thorp et al., 2009). A previous study in postmenopausal women who received soy protein for twelve months had no benefit in cognitive performance (Kreijkamp-Kaspers et al., 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several chemical substances belonging to classes of natural dietary origin display protective properties against some age-related diseases including neurodegenerative ones, particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD). These compounds, known as nutraceuticals, differ structurally, act therefore at different biochemical and metabolic levels and have shown different types of neuroprotective properties. The aim of this review is to summarize data from observational studies, clinical trials, and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in humans on the effects of selected nutraceuticals against age-related cognitive impairment and dementia. We report results from studies on flavonoids, some vitamins and other natural substances that have been studied in AD and that might be beneficial for the maintenance of a good cognitive performance. Due to the substantial lack of high-level evidence studies there is no possibility for recommendation of nutraceuticals in dementia-related therapeutic guidelines. Nevertheless, the strong potential for their neuroprotective action warrants further studies in the field.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive disorders can be associated with brain trauma, neurodegenerative disease or as a part of physiological aging. Aging in humans is generally associated with deterioration of cognitive performance and, in particular, learning and memory. Different therapeutic approaches are available to treat cognitive impairment during physiological aging and neurodegenerative or psychiatric disorders. Traditional herbal medicine and numerous plants, either directly as supplements or indirectly in the form of food, improve brain functions including memory and attention. More than a hundred herbal medicinal plants have been traditionally used for learning and memory improvement, but only a few have been tested in randomized clinical trials. Here, we will enumerate those medicinal plants that show positive effects on various cognitive functions in learning and memory clinical trials. Moreover, besides natural products that show promising effects in clinical trials, we briefly discuss medicinal plants that have promising experimental data or initial clinical data and might have potential to reach a clinical trial in the near future.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Molecules
Show more