Q. I have been taking Siberian ginseng, vitamin E, and Remifemin for hot flashes, but I still have them. Is there anything else I could try?
A. Various alternative supplements have been offered to women concerned about taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, many of these have never been tested in a standardized way, so I'm not surprised you still have hot flashes.
Vitamins B and E are beneficial. Limit caffeine as much as possible and be sure to get lots of exercise.
Large doses of soy products are another option. The plant-estrogen compounds found in soybeans are called isoflavones. However, these are much weaker than human estrogen; at least 65 grams of soy per day is the amount that has been found to stop hot flashes.
Try using soy foods, not soy supplements, as an easy way to get soy into your diet. Soy milk, tofu, or even veggie burgers such as Boca Burgers or Garden Burgers all are good sources of soy, although the more processed the food, the less the amount of isoflavones. Excellent sources of recipes are The Soy of Cooking by Marie Oser (John Wiley, 1996) and The Vegetarian Way by Virginia Messina (Crown, 1996).