Aim: Menopause is associated with adverse metabolic changes, especially in plasma lipoprotein and cholesterol levels. Estrogens have beneficial effects on lipid metabolism. Phytoestrogens are plant substances that are structurally and functionally similar to 17beta-estradiol and are capable of producing estrogenic effects. The goal of the present study was to estimate the effects of red clover-derived isoflavones on serum lipid levels in postmenopausal women.
Methods: The study comprised 40 healthy postmenopausal women with an average age of 56 years. The women were divided into two groups: 22 were allocated to a red clover-derived isoflavone medication group, and 18 were allocated to a non-medication group. Total blood cholesterol, cholesterol fractions and triglycerides in the women of both groups were investigated before treatment and at 4-month intervals over the following 12 months.
Results: Both total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels, were decreased significantly in the group receiving phytoestrogens. However, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol showed a significant increase.
Conclusion: Red clover phytoestrogen supplementation in postmenopausal women had favorable metabolic effects on serum lipids. Furthermore, red clover phytoestrogens have no side-effects and can be considered safe.