ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Eat Light - Live Longer
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Multivitamins Might Prolong Life
Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Add your Article

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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