BALLERUP, Denmark--Ipriflavone research that was presented last September at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has now been published in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (285, 11:1482-8). Mainstream media picked up the "hot" story.
To recap the study, researchers found that ipriflavone supplementation may be ineffective in preventing postmenopausal bone loss, and that it may even induce lymphocytopenia, a condition that weakens the immune system. This four-year prospective study was conducted on 474 women between the ages of 45 and 75 with bone mineral densities (BMDs) that were less than .86 g per square inch. Patients were given either 200 mg of ipriflavone three times per day or a placebo. All participants received 500 mg/d of calcium.
The researchers found that the change in baseline BMD did not differ significantly between the ipriflavone and placebo groups. In addition, biochemical markers were similar between the two groups. However, women supplemented with ipriflavone experienced decreased lymphocyte concentrations (white blood cells that fight off disease and infection). Cheisi Farmaceutici SpA, based in Parma, Italy, sponsored the study and supplied the ipriflavone supplement.
As it did last September, Missoula, Mont.-based Technical Sourcing International (TSI) refuted these findings. Citing weak statistics (there was a 40 percent dropout rate) and contradictions in the study's data, TSI stated that there is still an overwhelming amount of published data--including studies and pre- and post-marketing reports--that support the efficacy of ipriflavone. "We are disappointed that a prestigious journal such as JAMA would publish a study with so many unanswered questions and misleading conclusions," the company's president, Larry Kolb, stated. "Of course, it is no surprise that the mainstream press is quick to embrace it and continue to malign dietary supplements." For additional information about the study, visit http://jama.ama-assn.org.