Philip CHAPELLE, Pharmacist, PhD, ex. house physician,
Research and Development Director for ARKOPHARMA.
1. What is hormone replacement therapy?

During menopause and perimenopause, some women take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as estrogens, progesterone or progestins, to relieve climacteric symptoms, and to prevent discomfort caused by diminished circulating estrogen and progesterone hormones. However, HRT also has risks. It can increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Certain types of HRT have a higher risk, and each woman's own risks can vary depending upon her health history and lifestyle.

Results from American scientific researchers published in February 2009(1) show evidence that there is, for example, a direct link between hormones intake combining both oestrogens and progestin and the increase in the risk to develop breast cancer. This study has been conducted through more than 15 000 women who took part to the American programme "Women Health Initiative" (WHI). Scientific researchers have proven that women affected by menopause who took hormones during 5 years or more, had 28% additional risk to suffer from breast cancer than women who had never taken any hormones.

(1) Rowan T. et al, 2009, Breast Cancer after Use of Estrogen plus Progestin in Postmenopausal Women, New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 360:573-587 February 5, 2009 Number 6.

2. Why is it necessary during menopause - what are the benefits?

This stage requires proper management because while some women may go through it almost without noticing, it is generally accompanied by a cohort of more or less important and embarrassing disorders, also depending on the woman's state of health, her psychological state and her psychosocial context.
Top of the list in 70 to 80% of cases come hot flushes and night sweats, varying in degree and frequency and possibly accompanied by palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, headaches or dizzy spells. Among the other clinical signs to be recalled are psychosomatic disorders (depressive syndrome, irritability, etc.), asthenia, genito-urinary disorders, trophic disorders related to the sexual organs (vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, etc.), arthralgia, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, obesity, circulatory disorders, accelerated osteoporosis, increased risk of cardiovascular accidents.
During these periods a natural therapy must take its full place among all the therapies on offer in order to provide living comfort while ensuring real safety, to prevent and slow the woman's ageing process and to preserve her well-being.

3. Do the natural products have the same effects as those produced from chemicals?

Arkopharma Laboratories conducted their own studies with their standardised soya isoflavone extract, PHYTOSOYA®, the aim being to establish with certainty the efficacy and tolerance of their product PHYTOSOYA® for the treatment of disorders related to the menopause and to validate the dosage and the "daidzein-genistein" balance of their formula.
The first study was conducted by A. Albert, C. Altabre et al. on 190 menopausal women. For 4 months, they were given, twice a day, a PHYTO SOYA capsule containing 17.5 mg of isoflavones (genistein and daidzein). At the end of the 4 months of treatment, the results under PHYTOSOYA® showed a significant decrease in hot flushes but also in anxiety, sleep disorders and vaginal dryness. The second study on PHYTOSOYA®, published in Menopause, is now a work of reference. This randomised, double-blind vs placebo clinical trial was performed, using the same standardised soya extract (daidzein and genistein). This study showed, under PHYTOSOYA®, a significant reduction of 61.2% in hot flushes compared to 20.7% under placebo. This reduction in hot flushes under PHYTOSOYA® appears early and becomes more pronounced throughout the 4 months of the study. Tolerance of PHYTOSOYA® was judged to be good or excellent by 94% of the women. These results are really comparable to those produced from chemicals, but with a total confidence in safety, without side-effects.

4. What are the advantages of using a product like Phytosoya?

PHYTOSOYA® is a safe and natural solution to a natural problem. PHYTOSOYA® is a food supplement containing a natural sourced soya extract specifically formulated to help women maintain balance and wellbeing at the time of change.
Phyto Soya shows great benefits : it has been clinically tested for efficacy and tolerance:
    - Significant reduction in hot flushes(1)
    - Reduction in night sweats(2)
    - Improvement in quality of life(3)

(1) Clinical study done at a dose of 70 mg isoflavones per day on 75 menopausal women followed for 4 months. Published in Menopause, 2002.
(2) Clinical study done at a dose of 35 mg isoflavones per day on 190 menopausal women followed for 4 months. Published in Phytomedicine, 2002 vol. 9.
(3) Clinical study done at a dose of 70 mg isoflavones per day on 305 menopausal women followed for 12 months. Published in Menopause, 2007 and Climacteric, 2008.

5. Are there any contraindications?

As a food supplement, based on a soya extract, PHYTOSOYA® is the first choice among the various treatments proposed to post menopausal women, which stays safe, and natural. Moreover, ARKOPHARMA has recently released and published in CLIMACTERICS its last 3-year study demonstrating the total safety of this speciality. As a matter of fact, PHYTOSOYA® shouldn't be given to hypothyroidism patients or patients with cancer medical history, as for every Phyto-oestrogens.

PHYTOSOYA® remains today the main natural alternative based on clinical studies, proving that PHYTOSOYA® standardized isoflavones extract is scientifically recognized for its beneficial effects on the symptoms of menopause and its real contribution towards maintaining a good quality of life for menopausal women.

6. What other naturally produced remedies for menopause can you recommend?

OMEGA 3 fatty acids are important to the structure and function of membranes and neurological systems supporting heart health and well-being during menopause.

Grape extract rich in polyphenols and OPC (Oligomeric Procyanidins) or resveratrol, which contain antioxidant properties and help maintain elasticity and resistance in the vein walls, are helping support a healthy circulation, also resulting in better skin hydration.

Blends of selected herbal combinations can also help women slim, cleanse, firm and tone their body, which is particularly useful as water retention is a major problem during menopause.