Soy isoflavones have effects in the body somewhat similar to those of estrogen. This should be beneficial, but it is possible that soy could present some of the risks of estrogen, as well. In 1969, a research project was initiated to manufacture a type of isoflavone that would possess the bone-stimulating effects of estrogen without any estrogen-like activity elsewhere in the body. Such a product would help prevent osteoporosis, but cause no other health risks.
Ipriflavone was the result. After 7 successful years of experiments with animals, human research was started in 1981. Today, ipriflavone is available in over 22 countries and in most drugstores in the United States as a nonprescription dietary supplement. It is an accepted treatment for osteoporosis in Italy, Turkey, and Japan.
According to all but one study, ipriflavone combined with calcium can slow and perhaps slightly reverse bone breakdown. It also seems to help reduce the pain of fractures caused by osteoporosis. However, since it does not appear to have any estrogenic effects anywhere else in the body, it shouldn't increase the risk of breast or uterine cancer. On the other hand, it won't reduce the hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, or vaginal dryness of menopause, nor prevent heart disease.
Ipriflavone is not an essential nutrient and is not found in food. It must be taken as a supplement.
The proper dosage of ipriflavone is 200 mg 3 times daily, or 300 mg twice daily. A calcium supplement providing 1,000 mg of calcium daily should be taken as well.
Ipriflavone has also been proposed as a bodybuilding aid, but there is no meaningful evidence that it is helpful for this purpose.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Ipriflavone?
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Theophylline , tolbutamide , phenytoin (Dilantin) , warfarin (Coumadin) , or any other drug metabolized in the liver: Ipriflavone might change the levels of that drug in your body.
- Estrogen : Ipriflavone might help it strengthen your bones even more. However, it might also increase the risk of uterine cancer.
- Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids , methotrexate , or cyclosporine : Do not use ipriflavone except under medical supervision.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -