More Proof of Soybean's Benefits

More Proof of Soybean's Benefits

Reuters Health

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

By Clementine Wallace

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Soy proteins modulate the ratio of different lipids in the blood, in a way that should reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, in healthy subjects, according Canadian researchers.

Diet is one channel through which blood lipid levels can be modified. Lately, soy has received special attention, in particular soy proteins and soy "isoflavones" -- estrogen-like plant compounds whose effects are still controversial -- according to lead author Alison Duncan, from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

"There is evidence to suggest that soy reduces lipid levels in various samples of humans, but it hasn't really been looked at in people that are health! y," Duncan told Reuters Health. She and her colleagues aimed to assess the effect of soy protein with varying amounts of isoflavones in healthy young men.

As described in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study included 35 healthy men about 28 years old, who took three different supplements for periods of eight weeks: "regular" milk proteins, soy proteins with low isoflavone content, and soy with high isoflavone content.

The different supplements were given in a random order, each separated by a one-month break, to insure the sequence didn't influence the findings, according to Duncan.The researchers collected blood samples to measure levels of different lipids.

Ratios of total cholesterol to HDL ("good") cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol to HDL were significantly lower with both soy supplements, compared to the regular ! milk protein. "Isoflavone doesn't seem to influence the outcomes," Duncan explained, "but our results confirmed that soy proteins reduce lipid levels, even in healthy individuals."

Levels of other blood lipids were also modified in a favorable way in this group of young subjects. "It's never too early to start to try to prevent cardiovascular diseases," Duncan concluded.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 28, 2006.

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