Study: Soy Improves Cholesterol Profile in
The use of soy protein containing isoflavones —a
phytoestrogen or weak form of naturally occurring estrogen
—can improve atherogenic lipoprotein profiles in
postmenopausal women and effectively reduce two strong,
independent indicators of coronary heart disease.
According to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers,
both the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol elevation (LDL
C) and the low-density lipoprotein particle number (LDL P)
were decreased in healthy postmenopausal women with
borderline LDL C who took a dietary supplement of soy
protein each day for six weeks. In the randomized
Beneficial Effects of Soy Trial, known as BEST, 216
Caucasian and African-American women received a daily dose
of either 20 grams of isolated soy protein containing
isoflavones or a placebo of 20 grams of protein from
casein. In comparison to the women who were given the
placebo, those taking the soy protein experienced
significantly greater decreases in LDL C and LDL P.
Differences in age, race, changes in other lipoproteins,
dietary saturated fat intake and weight had little or no
impact on the BEST findings.
"Previous trials have demonstrated a variety of
aspects regarding the benefits of soy proteins. But those
studies included small numbers of postmenopausal women, and
virtually none included sufficient African-American women,"
said principal investigator Jerilyn K. Allen, associate
dean for research at the
School of Nursing. "Our findings could have significant
public health implications for postmenopausal women and
will add substantially to the limited body of knowledge of
the effects of soy."
The study was conducted at the School of Nursing and
funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Co-investigators were Diane Becker and Peter Kwiterovich
Jr., both of the School of Medicine.
—Lynn Schultz Writsel
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