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Epimedium-Derived Phytoestrogens Benefit Bones
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2007

HONG KONG - Phytoestrogen flavonoids derived from Epimedium brevicornum maxim may help prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women, without adversely impacting the endometrium. Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Shanghai University of Chinese Medicine enrolled 100 healthy older women with a natural menopausal history within 10 to 18 years and a bone mineral density (BMD) T-score at the lumbar spine between -2 and -2.5 SD (standard deviation) in the double blind, placebo-controlled study. The women received a placebo or Epimedium-derived phytoestrogen flavonoids (EPFs) consisting of 60 mg icariin, 15 mg daidzein and 3 mg genistein for 24 months; all participants also received 300 mg/d elemental calcium. At study's end, BMD had decreased at the femoral neck and lumbar spine in the placebo group, while women taking the botanical extract maintained their BMD. Levels of bone biochemical markers did not change in women taking the placebo, while dietary intervention decreased levels of deoxypyridinoline indicating reduced resorptionŽthough not osteocalcin (marker for bone turnover). Further, neither serum estradiol nor endometrial thickness were changed in either group. The study was published in the July issue of Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (22:1072-79; DOI:10.1359/jbmr.070405).

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