Estrogen supplements may not help women in retirement living communities improve bone density, suggest researchers from Purdue University.
Women are more at risk for osteoporosis in retirement living due to hormonal changes during menopause, and some have considered supplementation to reduce the risk for fractures that the condition can cause.
Using isoflavones, chemicals found in soy and other vegetables, has been suggested as one possible remedy with fewer side effects than traditional hormone replacement therapies.
However, contrary to the claims made by some products, soy components only reduced bone loss by roughly 10 percent, compared to standard therapies which decreased the risk by nearly one-fourth, the Purdue scientists found.
"This is a reminder that it's better to build up a good healthy skeleton than to rely on a drug to fix it later," said lead author Dr Connie Weaver.
"Healthy bones can be maintained by a good diet that is rich in calcium and regular exercise that includes strength training."
According to the National Institutes for Health, osteoporosis is a threat for 44 million Americans, and 68 percent of that population is female.