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Do Soy Phytoestrogens Affect Thyroid Function?
There is concern whether soy phytoestrogens may affect thyroid function. If true, soy phytoestrogens may be expected to have a greater impact in subjects with subclinical hypothyroidism.
Source: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 May;96(5):1442-9.
The primary aim was to determine the effect of soy phytoestrogen supplementation on thyroid function, with a secondary aim of assessing the effects on cardiovascular risk indices in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism.
DESIGN AND SETTING:
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, crossover study in a tertiary care setting.
Sixty patients with subclinical hypothyroidism participated in the study.
Patients were randomly assigned to either low-dose phytoestrogen (30 g soy protein with 2 mg phytoestrogens, representative of a Western diet) or high-dose phytoestrogen (30 g soy protein with 16 mg phytoestrogens, representative of a vegetarian diet) supplementation for 8 wk, then crossed over after an 8-wk washout period.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Primary outcome measures:
- Progression to overt hypothyroidism
Secondary outcome measures:
- Blood pressure,
- Insulin resistance
- Highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP).
- Six female patients in the study progressed into overt hypothyroidism with a standardized rate ratio of 3.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.9, 6.2) after 16-mg phytoestrogen supplementation.
- Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased with 16 mg phytoestrogens, whereas
- Systolic pressure alone decreased with 2 mg phytoestrogens.
- Insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, 3.5 ± 0.09 vs. 2.6 ± 0.08; P < 0.02) and hsCRP (4.9 ± 0.04 vs. 3.9 ± 0.03; P < 0.01) decreased with 16 mg phytoestrogens.
- Lipid profile remained unchanged.
There is a 3-fold increased risk of developing overt hypothyroidism with dietary supplementation of 16 mg soy phytoestrogens with subclinical hypothyroidism. However, 16-mg soy phytoestrogen supplementation significantly reduces the insulin resistance, hsCRP, and blood pressure in these patients.
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