Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is ipriflavone? Why do we need it?
Ipriflavone is a type of flavonoid (a water-soluble plant pigment) that is derived from daidzein, a compound found in soy. Research has shown that it is a vital element that not only helps the body absorb calcium into the bones, but helps prevent those bones from breaking down.
Long-term use of ipriflavone has shown to be safe and effective in stopping bone loss in women who have gone through menopause or who have had their ovaries removed. A 1998 study of women with low bone density showed that compared to a placebo, women given a combination of calcium and ipriflavone had higher vertebral bone density rates. Double-blind studies conducted primarily in elderly women have also demonstrated that ipriflavone is effective in improving bone density and reducing the incidence of fractures and bone-related pain in people with osteoporosis.
How much ipriflavone should I take?
For people with low bone density, most practitioners will recommend 200 milligrams of an ipriflavone supplement taken three times per day. Taking the same overall amount of ipriflavone in different doses (i.e., 300 milligrams twice daily) has been shown to be just as effective.
What forms of ipriflavone are available?
Ipriflavone is present in some foods but only in trace amounts. However, ipriflavone is also available as a dietary supplement, and can be found in tablet, capsule and liquid forms.
What can happen if I take too much ipriflavone? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
Two small studies have shown that long-term use of ipriflavone may result in a significant reduction in lymphocytes (white blood cells), which could increase the risk of infection in some individuals. In both studies, white blood cell levels returned to normal after discontinuing use of ipriflavone, but only after an extended period of time. As a result, women who take ipriflavone should have their white blood cell levels checked regularly by their health care provider. Patients with severe kidney disease should take lower levels of ipriflavone than those without kidney disease.
Some forms of estrogen therapy may increase the need for ipriflavone. Patients taking medications such as Cenestin, conjugated estrogens, esterified estrogens, Estratab, Menest, or Premarin should speak with their health care provider about the effect these drugs can have with ipriflavone. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking ipriflavone or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.
- Acerbi D, Poli G, Ventura P. Comparative bioavailability of two oral formulations of ipriflavone in healthy volunteers at steady-state. Evaluation of two different dosage schemes. Eur J Drug Metabol Pharmacokinet 1998,23:172-7.
- Agnusdei D, Bufalino L. Efficacy of ipriflavone in established osteoporosis and long-term safety. Calcif Tissue Int 1997;61:23-27.
- Alexandersen P, Toussaint A, Christiansen C, et al. Ipriflavone in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2001;285:1482-8.
- Gennari C, Agnusdei D, Crepaldi G, et al. Effect of ipriflavone—a synthetic derivative of natural isoflavones—on bone mass loss in the early years after menopause. Menopause 1998;5:9-15.
- Head KA. Ipriflavone: an important bone-building isoflavone. Altern Med Rev 1999;4:10-22.