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J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3):723-8.

Soybean isoflavones dose-dependently reduce bone turnover but do not reverse established osteopenia in adult ovariectomized rats.

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  • 1Groupe Ostéoporose, Laboratoire des Maladies Métaboliques et Micronutriments, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomigue Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, 63122 Saint Genès Champanelle, France.


We assessed the dose-dependent effects of daily soybean isoflavone (IF) consumption in reversing bone loss in adult ovariectomized rats. On d 0, female Wistar rats (7 mo old; n = 55) were either sham-operated (SH; n = 14) or ovariectomized (n = 41). On d 80, intermediate rats (SH: n = 5; ovariectomized: n = 5) were killed to confirm the ovariectomy-induced bone loss. The remaining ovariectomized rats were randomly assigned to one of four groups of nine rats each and fed soybean IF (mixed with a soy protein-free semipurified diet) at 0 (OVX), 20 (IF20), 40 (IF40) or 80 (IF80) mg/(kg body. d) for 84 d. Simultaneously, SH rats were fed the semipurified diet without any additional compound and killed on d 164, as were the other rats. As expected, both bone mineral density in the total femur and in its diaphyseal and metaphyseal subregions and cancellous bone area/measured surface in the distal femur metaphysis were lower in OVX than in SH rats (P: < 0.05). OVX rats had higher plasma osteocalcin concentration and urinary deoxypyridinoline excretion than SH rats (P: < 0.05). On d 164, osteocalcin and deoxypyridinoline concentrations were lower in IF40 or IF80 rats than in OVX rats (P: < 0.05). Nevertheless, neither bone mineral density nor cancellous bone area was greater in IF-fed rats than in OVX rats. Therefore, in adult ovariectomized rats, daily soybean IF consumption decreased bone turnover but did not reverse established osteopenia.

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