Psychological assessment of the effects of treatment with phytoestrogens on postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled study

Maria Luisa Casini, Guido Marelli, Enrico Papaleo, Augusto Ferrari, Francesco D'Ambrosio, Vittorio Unfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To investigate the effects of soy isoflavones on mood and cognitive function in postmenopausal women. Design: Randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled trial. Setting: University Hospital, Milan, Italy; A.G.UN.CO. Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre, Rome, Italy. Patient(s): Seventy-eight postmenopausal women. Intervention(s): We administered 60 mg/day isoflavones or placebo for 6 months. After a washout period of 1 month, the patients who had been treated with phytoestrogens received placebo, and those who previously received placebo were administered phytoestrogens (for 6 months). Main Outcome Measure(s): Cognitive performance and mood were assessed by a battery of tests at the end of each treatment period. At the end of the study, the patients were also asked whether they preferred the first or second treatment. Result(s): The 17 scores on cognitive performance test and the 6 for mood assessments 6 showed an advantage for the treatment with phytoestrogens. Similarly, of the 8 visual analogue scales used to indicate mood, 7 improved significantly after the treatment with phytoestrogens. Moreover, 49 patients preferred phytoestrogens, 9 placebo, and 18 had no preference. The preference was not related to the order of treatment. Conclusion(s): These results suggest that isoflavones may have positive effects on postmenopausal women improving cognitive performance and mood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-978
Number of pages7
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006



  • Cognitive performance
  • Estrogens
  • Mood
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Postmenopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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