Novasoy® is a standardized soy isoflavone ingredient patented to alleviate the side effects of menopause.
Novasoy is a soy ingredient that contains isoflavones – natural compounds similar to estrogen. Soy isoflavones are a popular way of alleviating hot flashes and other issues associated with menopause. This review details the advantages of Novasoy over plain soy isoflavone supplements:
- Patented. The preparation and use of Novasoy for alleviating the negative consequences of menopause is protected by a patent.
- Standardized. The extract is guaranteed to contain either 40% or 65% of bio-active isoflavones to ensure potency.
- Natural ratio. Novasoy preserves the natural proportion of isoflavones as they would be found in whole, natural soybeans, potentially improving its efficacy.
Novasoy is a branded soy ingredient manufactured by American company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Originally released in 1998, it contains isoflavones – unique natural compounds found mostly in soybeans. Isoflavones have a similar structure to estrogen – the female sex hormone – which explains why they appear to mimic its effects.
Soy isoflavones are mostly used to help women deal with the side effects of menopause, which is characterized by reduced estrogen levels. More specifically, Novasoy and other isoflavone preparations are used to alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. In addition, they may also help with long-term menopause concerns such as increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disorders.
Novasoy stands out from basic isoflavone products because it contains high concentrations of three specific isoflavones – genistin, daidzin, and glycitin, and can come in two variations – Novasoy 400 (standardized to 40% isoflavones) and 650 (65% isoflavones). Moreover, it maintains the natural ratio of these three isoflavones as they would be found in whole soybeans.
Novasoy is prepared through a patented (US patent 5702752), proprietary process that includes:
- Extracting defatted soybean flakes with ethanol
- Removing the ethanol to produce a “soy molasses” extract
- Passing the resulting solution through an ultrafiltration system at elevated temperature
- Collecting isolated isoflavones
The use of Novasoy is protected by US patent 6261565, whereby isoflavones and other active phytochemicals are extracted from soy and other plants, and used to make an extract concentrate that has a similar composition to that found in the original plant source. The resulting extract is then integrated into pills, tablets, capsules, liquids, and foods.
Treatment of Menopause Symptoms
In addition, Novasoy is also patented as a supplement ingredient used to treat various “female symptoms” related to menopause and sex hormone levels, including hot flashes, osteoporosis, and sleep problems. Under this patent, soy isoflavones are mixed with other active compounds from plants such as lignans, saponins, catechins, and phenolic acids (US patent 6518319).
Novasoy Nutritional Supplement Uses
Novasoy is mostly found in supplements that alleviate the negative consequences of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, as well as long-term issues such as increased risk of cardiovascular conditions and osteoporosis due to bone loss.
Although it can be used as the only ingredient in a supplement, Novasoy is most commonly mixed with other compounds such as vitamins, minerals, and other herbs that may help with menopause, such as black cohosh. It is currently present in over 125 different supplements.
In comparison to basic soy isoflavone extracts, Novasoy has the advantages of:
- Standardization: The extract is standardized to provide a guaranteed, high concentration (40% or 65%) of bio-active isoflavones.
- Natural ratio: The three isoflavones in the extract – genistein, daidzein and glycitein – are present in the same ratio (1.3: 1.0: 0.3) found in whole, natural soybeans. 1 Maintaining this ratio may potentially enhance potency, as one clinical study of Novasoy reported that it had superior effects to other soy preparations even though it was used in smaller doses.
- Safety: Novasoy passed an expert panel for safety and is considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), and is also unique for using non-GMO soybeans.
So far, Novasoy has only been investigated in a single clinical study. However, soy isoflavones as a whole have been extensively studied and have shown consistent benefits for alleviating hot flashes, as well as potential benefits for postmenopausal bone and cardiovascular health.
This double-blind, randomized, crossover study looked at the effects of soy supplements on bone health in postmenopausal women. A total of 24 women were given 5 different isoflavone supplements (including Novasoy) and risedronate (a drug used to prevent bone loss) for 50 days, with each treatment being given one after another. Although all soy groups experienced increased bone calcium retention, Novasoy had the best results, with a 7.6% improvement.
This result is especially notable because Novasoy used smaller doses of isoflavones than other preparations, suggesting that its natural isoflavone ratio may be the key factor for its efficacy.
- The researchers concluded that “Soy isoflavones, although not as potent as risedronate, are effective bone-preserving agents in postmenopausal women…” 2
- Menopause health supplements typically contain Novasoy 400 (40% standardization) doses equivalent to 56-135 mg total isoflavones
- The only human study of Novasoy employed doses containing 105.23 mg total isoflavones
Supplements in Review Recommendation
- Novasoy® as part of a multi-ingredient menopause supplement.
Novasoy is a high-quality soy isoflavone ingredient used for alleviating menopause symptoms. Although we’d like to see more human research looking specifically at Novasoy, the fact that it is patented, standardized, and maintains the isoflavone ratio and composition of natural soybeans makes it superior to unbranded soy isoflavone ingredients.
Dosage varies between supplements. It’s difficult to say which dose is ideal because there is little research. As such, it’s best to stick to individual supplement doses.
- Nemitz MC et al. The international scenario of patents concerning isoflavones. Trends in Food Science & TechnologyVolume 49, March 2016, Pages 85-95. ↩
- Pawlowski JW et al. Impact of equol-producing capacity and soy-isoflavone profiles of supplements on bone calcium retention in postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Sep;102(3):695-703. ↩