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Veganism: Dr Potter advises on switching to plant-based diet

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New research from the North American Menopause Society has found a way of controlling symptoms without needing hormone medications or extracts.

Up to 80 percent of postmenopausal women suffer from hot flashes.

Oestrogen based medications that were once used as a common prescription have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and other severe health complications.

A low-fat plant diet when supplemented with a half cup of soybeans each day cut hot flashes by 79 percent overall, with moderate and severe hot flashes dropping by 84 percent.

Previous research has attempted to use soybean extracts of isoflavone to achieve positive effects.

These were found to have limited effectiveness.

In contrast, eating cooked soybeans produced strong positive results compared to a control group that saw no changes.

The exact mechanism by which soy helps with hot flashes isn’t understood although the researchers have a working theory.

Soy products are rich in isoflavones, which are converted by gut bacteria into a compound called equol.

Equol has been linked by some studies to reduced hot flash frequency and severity as it interacts with the metabolism of oestrogen.

Previous studies on vegan diets have found they produce high levels of equol.

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While moderate and severe hot flashes dropped by 84 percent, more than half of the participants reported them disappearing entirely.

Study participants also reported improvements in other aspects of life that can be harmed by menopause.

Many participants saw better mood, overall energy and fewer sexual symptoms.

Similar symptoms to hot flashes such as night sweats and flushes were also reduced.

One study participant, Margo, described her experiences in the study after suffering from extreme hot flashes for a decade.

She said: “The hot flashes were less frequent, and they were also less intense.

“I no longer had to change pyjamas in the middle of the night due to sweating.

“The diet made me feel so much better.

“I have so much more energy, my skin is clearer, yellow promethazine syrup street value and I lost 20 pounds in 12 weeks. ”

Data was collected for the study remotely over a 12 week duration.

The women were fitted with self calibrating scales to track their body weight.

Hot flashes and other symptoms were tracked using a mobile application where they could record severity and frequency.

There were also questionnaires tracking quality of life and weekly zoom meetings with the research team.

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