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Isoflavones may cut menopausal heart risk

It's no secret that a woman's body goes through many and various changes during menopause. What may be a mystery is that some of these changes can affect a woman's cardiovascular health. When a woman's estrogen levels decrease during menopause, blood vessels can become less responsive to changes in blood flow. Until now, this decline in cardiovascular health was a risk women had to live with if they opted against hormone replacement therapy. However, recent research published in the March issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that promensil, an isoflavone-based supplement derived from red clover, may aid women in the maintenance of blood vessel elasticity and prevent hypertension during menopause.

Researchers in Australia tested 17 women, who first took a placebo for three weeks, then a 40 mg dose of isoflavones for five weeks, then took 80 mg of isoflavones for five weeks. Three women served as controls, receiving placebo throughout. The results were very impressive. A 20 percent improvement in elasticity was noted after the 40 mg dose compared with 24 percent after 80 mg and no change for those taking placebo. No side effects were associated with the isoflavone supplement. Say the researchers, An important cardiovascular risk factor, artery elasticity, which diminishes with menopause, was significatnly improved with red clover isoflavones.

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