Investigating the optimal soy protein and isoflavone intakes for women: a perspective

Womens Health (Lond). 2008 Jul;4(4):337-56. doi: 10.2217/17455057.4.4.337.


Traditional soyfoods have been consumed for centuries throughout much of East Asia and, recently, these foods have also become popular in the West. Soyfoods and specific soybean components, such as the protein and isoflavones, have attracted attention for their possible health benefits. Isoflavones are classified as phytoestrogens and have been postulated to be natural alternatives to hormone therapy for menopausal women. To provide guidance on optimal soy intake, this article evaluates Asian soy consumption and both clinical and Asian epidemiologic studies that examined the relationship between soy intake and a variety of health outcomes. On the basis of these data and the standard principles of dietary practice the author suggests that optimal soy protein and isoflavone intakes are 15-20 g/day and 50-90 mg/day, respectively. In addition, an intake of 25 g/day soy protein can be specifically used as the recommendation for cholesterol reduction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements / standards*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Hot Flashes / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / prevention & control*
  • Phytoestrogens / therapeutic use
  • Soybean Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • Women's Health*


  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Soybean Proteins