Isoflavones have gained popularity as an alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms for people who cannot or are unwilling to take hormone replacement therapy. However, there is still no consensus on the effects of isoflavones despite over two decades of vigorous research. This systematic review aims to summarize the current literature on isoflavone supplements, focusing on the active ingredients daidzein, genistein, and S-equol, and provide a framework to guide future research. We performed a literature search in Ovid Medline using the search terms "isoflavone" and "menopause", which yielded 95 abstracts and 68 full-text articles. We found that isoflavones reduce hot flashes even accounting for placebo effect, attenuate lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) loss, show beneficial effects on systolic blood pressure during early menopause, and improve glycemic control in vitro. There are currently no conclusive benefits of isoflavones on urogenital symptoms and cognition. Due to the lack of standardized research protocols including isoflavone component and dosage, outcomes, and trial duration, it is difficult to reach a conclusion at this point in time. Despite these limitations, the evidence thus far favors the use of isoflavones due to their safety profile and benefit to overall health.
Keywords: daidzein; equol; genistein; isoflavone; menopause.