The product, which comes in a 13mm size tablet, is Pulmuone’s first health functional food targeted at reducing menopausal symptoms. It is available for sale via the Lotte home shopping channel.
The company explained that isoflavones from black soybeans and hop extracts were useful since they have similar molecular structure to the female hormone estrogen – which decreases in production during menopause, leading to menopausal symptoms.
Soybean isoflavones, together with soy fibre and protein, are already recognised as functional ingredients in South Korea.
Coming in packets of two tablets for a day’s serving, the formulation also contains ginkgo leaf extract for improving blood circulation and memory and selenium.
Each tablet also comes with an enteric coating which protects it from disintegration by gastric acids before it is absorbed by the intestines.
“In order to help middle-aged women in their 40s and 60s who account for one-third of the female population to manage their menopausal health easily, we have provided the [product containing] functionally recognised ingredients through home shopping, which is a popular channel for middle-aged women,” said Ki-jeong Shin, head of marketing at Pulmuone Health and Living.
According to a 12-week multi-center RCT, the product has been shown to improve vaginal dryness, chest palpitations, limb numbness, muscle joint pain, and fatigue symptoms.
There were also improvements in the modified Kupperman Index (KI) which is an 11-item questionnaire that measures menopausal symptoms.
Eighty women aged between 40 and 60 were randomly assigned to the intervention group and placebo group.
During the trial, the intervention group took one tablet two times a day, amounting to 190mg of the soybean extract complex per day.
Findings showed that while menopausal symptoms and some vasomotor symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes have reduced, there was no improvement in sleep, pain, and cognitive impairment.
In addition, the improvement in hot flashes in the intervention group was not significantly higher when compared to the placebo group.
On the other hand, while previous studies have shown that the formulation had improved bone health by lowering the production of 1) alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – an indicator of bone loss and 2) urinary N-telopeptide – a by-product produced during bone resorption, there was however, no significant difference seen in the two groups for this study.
The researchers thus recommended longer term future studies with a larger sample size to validate the formulation’s benefits for bone health.