Isoflavones, ('90s, 2010, 2016) & Osteoporosis


Learn more about osteoporosis.


Researchers have been reporting that free radicals play an important role in bone loss resulting in osteoporosis. Although there has been some investigation into medicinal plants in the past for bone loss treatment, there is now renewed interest.

Researchers looked at medicinal plants known to have antioxidant effects that appear to protect from bone loss. With lab animals they tested a natural formula containing soy isoflavones, horsetail, lactoferrin and vitamin D3.

They evaluated PBMC blood cells and C2C12 muscle cells as well as bone density as expressed through the bone matrix. Bone consists of bone cells surrounded by matrix which is composed of collagen, inorganic salts and calcium carbonate.

The goal of the study was to look at the in-vitro and in-vivo (via diet) protection provided by the formula after a 3 week treatment with the formula. They reviewed a number of biomarkers for bone density. They noticed a significant improvement in the animals who'd received the treatment and in the in-vitro testing.

Reseachers: L. Menghini, C. Ferrante, et al
Published: A natural formula containing lactoferrin, Equisetum arvensis, soy isoflavones and vitamin D3 modulates bone remodeling and inflammatory markers in young and aged rats, Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, October, 2016.


The author reports that calcium loss as measured through urine excretion is greater in people who take in protein through animal protein compared to protein intake through soy protein. There is evidence that soy isoflavones may protect against bone loss. The direct cause and effect however has not been adequately studied.

The highest levels of isoflavones are found in soybeans, but they are also in other legumes. Fermentation, as in tofu, decreased the isoflavone level somewhat but they are more bioavailable in fermented foods.

Author: S. Bawa
Published: Journal of Osteoporois, March, 2010.
Here's the link to the full article which discusses the mechanics.


The author identifies ipriflavone, an isoflavone derived from a soy isoflavone as being protective against bone loss due to a number of causes including steroid use, lack of activity, and various hormone changes.

Author: K.A. Head
Published: Ipriflavone: an important bone-building isoflavone, Alternative Medicine Review, February, 1999.


Researchers evaluated the effects of soy protein containing isoflavones on blood chemistry and bone mineral density in nearly 70 older women with high-cholesterol. With respect to the bone density results they found that there was improvement in the lumbar spine at levels of 2.25 grams of isoflavone per gram of protein.

Researchers: S.M. Potter, et al, Soy protein and isoflavones: their effects on blood lipids and bone density in postmenopausal women, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December, 1998.