Osteoporosis International

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 1123–1129 | Cite as

Genistein effects on quality of life and depression symptoms in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a 2-year randomized, double-blind, controlled study

  • M. Atteritano
  • S. Mazzaferro
  • A. Bitto
  • M. L. Cannata
  • R. D’Anna
  • F. Squadrito
  • I. Macrì
  • A. Frisina
  • N. Frisina
  • G. Bagnato
Original Article



Postmenopausal estrogen decline is implicated in several age-related physical and psychological changes in women, including decreases in perceived quality of life. The phytoestrogen genistein at a dose of 54 mg daily in osteopenic postmenopausal women after 2 years implies an improvement on quality of life and depression symptoms.


Postmenopausal estrogen decline is implicated in several age-related physical and psychological changes in women, including decreases in perceived quality of life (QoL). A number of trials with hormone therapy showed beneficial effects of the intervention on quality of life parameters. However, because of known or suspected serious side effects of conventional hormone therapy, there is a need for alternatives.


We conducted a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial using the isoflavone genistein, 54 mg, or placebo for 2 years. In this trial, we recruited 262 postmenopausal women aged 49 to 67 years.


At baseline, after 1 year, and at final visit, participants filled in the Short Form of 36 questions (SF-36) and the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (ZSDS). For the placebo group, scores on all dimensions of the SF-36 decreased after 1 and 2 years. The genistein group showed increases on all dimensions of the SF-36 at the end of the study. There were, however, statistically significant differences in changes of scores between the two intervention groups. For the ZSDS, similarly, significant differences were found between groups.


In conclusion, the findings of this randomized trial showed that genistein improves quality of life (health status, life satisfaction, and depression) in osteopenic postmenopausal women.


Genistein Osteopenia Postmenopausal Quality of life 


Conflicts of interest



  1. 1.
    Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA (1991) Estrogen replacement therapy and coronary heart disease: a quantitative assessment of the epidemiologic evidence. Prev Med 20:47–63PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hedlund LR, Gallagher JC (1989) The effect of age and menopause on bone mineral density of the proximal femur. J Bone Miner Res 44:639–642Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wark JD (1996) Osteoporotic fractures: background and prevention strategies. Maturitas 232:193–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Blumel JE, Castelo-Branco C, Binfa L et al (2000) Quality of life after the menopause: a population study. Maturitas 341:17–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ravnikar VA (1992) Compliance with hormone replacement therapy: are women receiving the full impact of hormone replacement therapy preventive health benefits? Women Health Iss 22:75–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Writing Group for the Women’s Health Initiative Investigators (2002) Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA 288(3):321–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Collaborative group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer Breast Cancer and hormone replacement therapy (1997) Collaborative reanalysis of data from 51 epidemiological studies of 52705 women with breast cancer and 108411 women without breast cancer. Lancet 350:1047–1059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Beral V (2003) Million Women Study Collaborators. Breast cancer and hormone replacement therapy in the Million Women Study. Lancet 362:419–427PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rossouw JE, Anderson GL, Prentice RL et al (2002) Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2883:321–333Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Atteritano M, Marini H, Polito F et al (2007) Effects of the phytoestrogen genistein on some predictors of cardiovascular risk in osteopenic, postmenopausal women: a 2-years randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Clin Endocr Metab 92(8):3068–3075PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    D’Anna R, Cannata ML, Atteritano M et al (2007) Effects of the phytoestrogen genistein on hot flushes, endometrium, and vaginal epithelium in postmenopausal women: a 1-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Menopause 14(4):648–655PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Marini H, Bitto A, Altavilla D et al (2010) Efficacy of genistein aglycone on some cardiovascular risk factors and homocysteine levels: a follow-up study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 20(5):332–40PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Marini H, Bitto A, Altavilla D et al (2008) Breast safety and efficacy of genistein aglycone for postmenopausal bone loss: a follow-up study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 93(12):4787–96PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Trifiletti A, Gaudio A, Lasco A, Atteritano M, Scamardi R, Pizzoleo MA, Morabito N, Frisina N (2008) Haemostatic effects of phytoestrogen genistein in postmenopausal women. Thromb Res 123(2):231–235PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Atteritano M, Pernice F, Mazzaferro S et al (2008) Effects of phytoestrogen genistein on cytogenetic biomarkers in postmenopausal women: 1 year randomized, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Pharmacol 589:22–26PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Marini H, Minutoli L, Polito F et al (2007) Effects of the phytoestrogen genistein on bone metabolism in osteopenic postmenopausal women: a 2-years randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Ann Intern Med 146(12):839–847PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Atteritano M, Mazzaferro S, Frisina A et al (2009) Genistein effects on quantitative ultrasound parameters and bone mineral density in osteopenic postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int 20(11):1947–1954PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Testa MA, Nackley JF (1994) Methods for quality of life studies. Annu Rev Public Health 15:535–559PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cella DF (1995) Methods and problems in measuring quality of life. Support Care Cancer 3:11–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Adlercreutz H, Wang GJ, Lapcik O et al (1998) Time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay for plasma enterolactone. Anal Biochem 265:208–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Apolone G, Mosconi P (1998) The Italian SF-36 health survey: translation, validation and norming. J Clin Epidemiol 51:1025–1036PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zung WW (1965) A self-rating depression scale. Arch Gen Psychiatry 12:63–70PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Chen Y, Lin SQ, Wei Y, Gao HL, Wang SH, Wu ZL (2008) Impact of menopause on quality of life in community-based women in China. Menopause 15:144–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chiu YW, Moore RW, Hsu CE, Huang CT, Liu HW, Chuang HY (2008) Factors influencing women’s quality of life in the later half of life. Climacteric 11:201–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Williams RE, Levine KB, Kalilani L, Lewis J, Clark RV (2009) Menopause-specific questionnaire assessment in US population-based study showed negative impact on health-related quality of life. Maturitas 62:153–159PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    World Health Organization (1994) Quality of life assessment: international perspectives. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Golyan Tehrani SH, Mir Mohammad A, Mahmoudi M, Khaledian Z (2002) Study of quality of life and its patterns in different stages of menopause for women in Tehran. Hayat 8(3–4):33–41Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hoffmann M, Hammar M, Kjellgren KI, Lindh-Astrand L, Brynhildsen J (2005) Changes in women’s attitude towards and use of hormone therapy after HERS and WHI. Maturitas 52:11–17PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Genazzani AR, Schneider HPG, Panay N, Nijland EA (2006) The European menopause survey 2005: women’s perceptions on the menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy. Gynecol Endocrinol 22(7):369–375PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kok L, Kreijkamp-Kaspers S, Grobbee DE, Lampe JW, van der Schouw YT (2005) A randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the effects of soy protein containing isoflavones on quality of life in postmenopausal women. Menopause 12(1):56–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Amato P, Young RL, Steinberg FM, Murray MJ, Lewis RD, Cramer MA, Barnes S, Ellis KJ, Shypailo RJ, Fraley JK, Konzelmann KL, Fischer JG, Lasalle C, Smith EO, Wong WW (2013) Effect of soy isoflavone supplementation on menopausal quality of life. Menopause 20(4):443–447PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Riesco E, Choquette S, Audet M, Tessier D, Dionne IJ (2011) Effect of exercise combined with phytoestrogens on quality of life in postmenopausal women. Climacteric 14(5):573–580PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rodríguez-Landa JF, Hernández-Figueroa JD, Hernández-Calderón Bdel C, Saavedra M (2009) Anxiolytic-like effect of phytoestrogen genistein in rats with long-term absence of ovarian hormones in the black and white model. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 33(2):367–72PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kageyama A, Sakakibara H, Zhou W, Yoshioka M, Ohsumi M, Shimoi K, Yokogoshi H (2010) Genistein regulated serotonergic activity in the hippocampus of ovariectomized rats under forced swimming stress. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 74(10):2005–2010PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Whiteley J, Wagner JS, Bushmakin A, Kopenhafer L, Dibonaventura M, Racketa J (2013) Impact of the severity of vasomotor symptoms on health status, resource use, and productivity. Menopause 20:518–24PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Atteritano
    • 1
  • S. Mazzaferro
    • 1
  • A. Bitto
    • 2
  • M. L. Cannata
    • 3
  • R. D’Anna
    • 3
  • F. Squadrito
    • 2
  • I. Macrì
    • 1
  • A. Frisina
    • 1
  • N. Frisina
    • 1
  • G. Bagnato
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Section of Pharmacology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and PharmacologyUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrical and Gynecological SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

Personalised recommendations