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Secret Weapon Against Menopause? Korean Soybean Paste to the Rescue

Daniel Kim Views  

A recent study has found that traditional Korean soybean paste, known as doenjang, effectively alleviates menopausal symptoms.

The effectiveness of traditional Korean doenjang’s relieving menopausal symptoms is published in Nutrients.

Doenjang is a fermented food with a rich history dating back to 2000 years ago in Asia. It has been around longer than miso paste and became popular in China before spreading to Japan.

Unlike miso paste, which is made by fermenting peeled soybeans for several weeks, doenjang is manufactured by fermenting unpeeled soybeans for several weeks to up to two years. Consequently, while miso paste is relatively soft and sweet, doenjang has a subtle, refreshing, and savory solid flavor.

Meanwhile, research on the impact of fermented foods like doenjang on gut microbiomes has been ongoing. Recently, a research team embarked on a study to determine whether the concentration of bacteria in doenjang controls the effect on health.

The team compared three types of doenjang: traditional Korean doenjang with a high amount of beneficial microbes, traditional Korean Doenjang with a low amount of beneficial microbes, and commercial Doenjang, which contains more beneficial microbes than conventional doenjang.

Both the traditional doenjang, which contains many beneficial microbes, and the commercial doenjang, showed an increase in Bacteroidetes, which are valuable in the human gut but can cause severe infections in other parts of the body.

The research team then used the Kupperman Index to track menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, peripheral neuropathy, insomnia, tension, depression, vertigo, weakness, arthritis or muscle pain, headaches, heart palpitations, and the sensation of bugs crawling on the skin.

The results showed that all three types of doenjang lower the Kupperman Index, effectively alleviating menopausal symptoms. Interestingly, the traditional Doenjang, with the least beneficial microbes, was the most effective in reducing menopausal symptoms.

Additionally, participants who consumed traditional doenjang were found to have lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol.

However, the study found no correlation between doenjang consumption and obesity or inflammation.

The team further explained that traditional doenjang contains beneficial microbes like Aspergillus oryzae and Bacillus subtilis, while commercial doenjang is based on Koji, making them fundamentally different.

The fermentation process of a key ingredient in traditional doenjang, meju, is a crucial concept in the research team’s explanation: the origination of microbes. commercial doenjang goes through a shorter aging process using Koji.

Experts believe further successive research is required to determine the impact of fermented foods on menopausal symptoms.

The research team noted that concluding that doenjang directly alleviates menopausal symptoms is premature, as all research participants consumed doenjang while no control group did not. The mere fact of participating in the study could have had a health-enhancing effect. They also pointed out the possibility of the Hawthorne effect, where participants may have intentionally changed their lifestyle habits more positively during the study, considering the short research period and small sample size.

In addition to the different types of doenjang consumed, the study also had limitations in controlling participants’ activity levels, exercise, and overall lifestyle habits.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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