Curious About Fosteum

Fosteum is a medical food that may be prescribed to treat osteoporosis. Fosteum contains genistein (a natural plant estrogen from soybeans), 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, there are large gaps that cannot be ignored. 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. It is not recommended for women to take Fosteum if diagnosed with cancer of the breast or any other reproductive organs. Since there is no research examining the effect of Fosteum and breast cancer, we are unaware of the effects Fosteum has on breast cancer risk. In addition, data from studies examining if plant estrogen directly lowers incidence of bone fracture are inconsistent. 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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