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UMass Study: Vegetable Protein Could Help Avoid Early Menopause

UMass Website
UMass Amherst epidemiologist Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson.

UMass researchers say consuming more vegetable protein may reduce the risk for early menopause.

Early menopause, which is the loss of reproductive function before the age of 45, is a problem for the growing number of women who have delayed having children. That's according to UMass Amherst epidemiologist Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson.

"There are indications that women with early menopause are at increased risk for premature mortality, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and osteoporosis," Bertone-Johnson said.

So Bertone-Johnson and her colleagues looked at dietary trends in the Nurse's Health Study 2, a long-term study of thousands of women.

In a previous study, they found women who ate 2 to 3 servings of dairy with Vitamin D had a 15 percent lower chance of early menopause. Now, they've foundsimilar resultsin women who ate more servings of vegetable protein, like soy, tofu and enriched pasta.

Bertone-Johnson said those foods might affect the way ovaries function over time, but the results are new and should be replicated by other scientists before they lead to public health recommendations.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.
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