This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials was performed to more completely assess potential changes in bone turnover marker levels in postmenopausal women during the intake of soy isoflavones. PubMed (Medline) and EMBASE were searched for relevant studies, and their quality was evaluated according to Cochrane criteria. The levels of markers were evaluated in a total of 1114 women who ingested mean daily doses of 98.2 mg (30.9 to 300) of soy isoflavones for 3 to 24 months, in comparison to those of 1081 subjects who used a placebo. Ten, eighteen, eight, and fourteen comparison studies were finally selected for an estimation of the effects on osteocalcin (OC), bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP), pyridinoline (PYD), and deoxypyridinoline (DPD), respectively. A summary of the results of intervention was as follows: 4.16%, 95% CI: -7.72-16.04, p = 0.49 for OC; 5.50%, 95% CI: -3.81-14.82, p = 0.25 for BAP; -12.09%, 95% CI: -25.37-1.20, p = 0.07 for PYD; and -7.48%, 95% CI: -15.37-0.41, p = 0.06 for DPD. The meta-analysis of the included studies revealed some statistically insignificant observations that soy isoflavones intake is associated with a trend in increased levels of OC and BAP, as well as a trend in reduced levels of PYD and DPD. Soy isoflavones may have a beneficial effect on bone formation markers, but this requires extensive multi-center research.
Keywords: bone mineral density; bone turnover markers; natural products; postmenopausal women; soy isoflavones.