Isoflavones from red clover improve systemic arterial compliance but not plasma lipids in menopausal women

Author: Nestel PJ et al
Publication: J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999 Oct;84(10):3647

With menopause woman experience higher cardiovascular risks. The aim of this study was to investigate if dietary isoflavones will reduce the cardivascular risk.

The study was carried out on 30 women on which the the measuring arterial compliance was measured. This arterial compliance is an index of the elasticity of large arteries such as the thoracic aorta. This arterial compliance normally reduces with age and menopause. The study consisted of 3 periods: first the woman received during 4 weeks a standard diet, then there was a 5 week period with placebo and followed by a 5 week period of treatment with respectively 40 mg (14 woman) and 80 mg isoflavones (13 woman) while 3 women continued receiving placebo. The isoflavones we derived from red clover and consisted of genistein, daidzein, biochanin and formononetin.

After each period the arterial compliance, plasma lipids and urinary secretion of isoflavones was measured. Arterial compliance, which diminishes with menopause, was significantly improved with red clover isoflavones. Arterial compliance increased by 23% for the woman who took 80 mg isoflavones and slightly less for the woman who took 40 mg isoflavones. The concentrations of plasma lipids were not significantly affected.

These findings indicate a potential new therapeutic approach for improved cardiovascular function after menopause.