Women’s Health FAQs

Curious About Fosteum

Publication Date: July 22, 2016

By: NWHN Staff

Fosteum is a medical food that may be prescribed to treat osteoporosis. Fosteum contains a natural plant estrogen from soybeans (genistein), vitamin D, and zinc. This plant estrogen may help enhance bone health and reduce fracture risk. Fosteum contains a highly concentrated dose of genistein, much higher than you would receive daily by consuming soy foods such as tofu and soymilk. Although this product is marketed as a healthy natural alternative to increasing bone density, the safety of these prescription products in women have not been clearly established and the risks of long-term use are unknown.

There have been case reports of women who developed abnormal uterine bleeding, which subsided upon discontinuing their use of plant estrogen supplements and eliminating soy from their diet. Therefore, it is not recommended for women to take Fosteum if you are diagnosed with cancer of the breast or any other reproductive organs or you have a high breast cancer risk.

Taking everything into consideration, the National Women’s Health Network discourages the use of plant estrogen supplements. To learn more, please refer to our consumer health information on herbs and phytoestrogens.

The information in this response is taken from Herbs and Phytoestrogens, Snapshots – January/February 2016, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Fosteum Fact Sheet.

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Last reviewed 2/6/2024

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