The combined intervention of isoflavone intake and walking exercise over 1 year in postmenopausal Japanese women exhibited a trend for a greater effect on prevention of bone loss at the total hip and Ward's triangle regions.
Introduction: The additive effects of isoflavones and exercise on bone and lipid metabolism have been shown in estrogen-deficient animals. In this study, we determined the effects of isoflavone intake, walking exercise, and their interaction on bone, fat mass, and lipid metabolism over 1 year in postmenopausal Japanese women.
Materials and Methods: A total of 136 postmenopausal women at <5 years after the onset of menopause were randomly assigned to four groups: (1) placebo, (2) walking (45 minutes/day, 3 days/week) with placebo, (3) isoflavone intake (75 mg of isoflavone conjugates/day), and (4) combination of isoflavone plus walking. BMD, fat mass, serum lipid, and serum and urinary isoflavone concentrations were assessed.
Results: A significant main effect of isoflavone on the reduction in trunk fat mass was obtained at 12 months. Significant main effects of walking on the reduction in fat mass in the whole body and the trunk were observed at 3, 6, and 12 months and that in the legs and arms at 6 and 12 months. Serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol concentration significantly increased by 12 months after the walking and the combined intervention. After 12 months, a significant main effect of isoflavone on BMD was observed only at Ward's triangle. Walking prevented bone loss at the total hip and the Ward's triangle to significant degrees. The effect of the combined intervention on BMD at total hip and Ward's triangle regions was greater than that of either alone. No significant interaction was observed between isoflavone and walking in any measurements recorded during the study.
Conclusions: Our study suggest that combined intervention of 75 mg/day of isoflavone intake and walking exercise 3 times/week for 1 year showed a trend for a greater effect on BMD at total hip and Ward's triangle regions than either alone. Intervention with isoflavone in postmenopausal Japanese women showed a modest effect on BMD compared with those in Westerners. Further studies over longer treatment duration that include assessment of BMD at various regions are necessary to ascertain the clinical significance of the combined intervention of isoflavone plus walking in postmenopausal women.