Soy isoflavones and bone health: the relationship is still unclear

J Nutr. 2005 May;135(5):1243-7. doi: 10.1093/jn/135.5.1243.


Evidence of the effect of purified soy isoflavones and soy protein isolates containing isoflavones on bone health in rats and in humans is inconsistent. Differences may be because of synergies or antagonisms among the isoflavones, threshold or biphasic dose effects, life stage of animals or human subjects, estrogen status, and environment-genetic interactions, including the ability to produce metabolites upon ingestion of isoflavones. At this time, the benefits of soy protein and isoflavones on bone health are inconclusive. This overview will summarize these discrepancies and will suggest future studies to clarify the conditions under which these dietary substances can be helpful for bones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Development / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Phytoestrogens / therapeutic use
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogens