ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Free Range
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Eating foods with soy protein has been promoted as a way to lower cholesterol, but a new study finds it has no significant effect on cholesterol levels.

The findings "do not support the current health claims for soy protein in a general population," said study author Peter R.C. Howe, director of the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre at the Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia in Adelaide.

He's referring to the health claims approved for soy foods in both the United States and the United Kingdom that link daily consumption of 25 grams of soy protein to a reduction in heart disease risk through a lowering of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol.

Howe's team studied 35 men and 58 women, average age 52, who had mildly high cholesterol levels. He assigned each participant to rotate through one of three diets for six weeks each. Each diet had varying amounts of soy protein and isoflavones, substances in soy that some experts say may have cholesterol-lowering powers.

One diet contributed 24 grams of soy protein and 71 milligrams of isoflavone equivalents, one had 12 grams of dairy protein and 12 of soy protein, with 76 milligrams of isoflavones. The dairy diet, which served as the control, had 24 grams of dairy protein without isoflavones.

Howe's team measured each person's blood cholesterol -- LDL, HDL and trigylcerides -- at the start of the study and after each six-week diet.

They found no significant effect of the diets with either 24 grams or 12 grams of soy protein on LDL levels.

In his research, Howe also looked closely at whether a person's ability to maximize the body's response to soy protein had a better cholesterol-lowering effect. These people are termed "equol producers" because of their above-average ability to make equol, a substance produced in the intestines as a metabolite of a potent soy isoflavone called daidzen. Equol is thought to inhibit LDL.

When Howe compared the cholesterol-lowering effects of those who were equol producers with those who were not, he found no differences.

Howe's study was confined to those with mildly high cholesterol; he said it may have an effect on those with higher cholesterol levels. And the soy diets did lower triglycerides, a blood fat, by 4 percent.

The findings were published in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Even though the study found no effect of the soy protein on LDL cholesterol, Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, called the research interesting. One facet he finds especially intriguing, he said, is the finding that equol producers have no benefit either.

After a series of studies on soy and its effect on cholesterol, the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee, of which Sacks is vice-chairman, reviewed the evidence and issued an advisory, saying there is "nothing special" about soy or isoflavones for improving cholesterol and that the heart association doesn't recommend isoflavone supplements.

However, "there are other benefits to soy foods," Sacks said. They are healthy due to high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. But, he added, "forget soy protein for lowering LDL."

More information

To learn more about LDL cholesterol, visit the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Frank Sacks, M.D., vice chairman, American Heart Association Nutrition committee, and professor, nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Peter R.C. Howe, professor, and director, Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide; August 2008, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Last Updated: Aug. 08, 2008

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