Soy Protein and The Heart….

May 26, 2008

Go to fullsize imageThere are many conflicting data on soy protein and the heart especially the claim that they lower cholesterol.  In fact in 1999 based on studies during that time, the US FDA allowed a health claim on food labels stating that a daily diet containing 25 grams of soy protein, also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. 

However, the American Heart association in January of 2006 made a review of available data and made a conclusion that soy protein in itself did not significantly lower the bad cholestrol nor did it have any significant effect in increasing the good cholesterol.

But as an endocrinologist looking for alternative source of meat protein, the use of soy protein in place of meat which has high staurated fat will continue to play a major role in our attempt to reduce the risk of our patients from cardiovascular disease.

Recently a new article on the benefit of soy protein came out in Annals of Internal Medicine.  This study is so relevant to my practice especially among diabetic patients with kidney disease.  These are the patients we try to avoid taking meat protein because of the possibility of causing kidney function deterioration.  The study did not only show a good effect in sugar control but also markers of inflammation suggesting a potential effect in reducing cardiovascular disease plus improving markers of kidney function.

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Soy protein consumption significantly affected cardiovascular risks such as fasting plasma glucose , total cholesterol , LDL cholesterol, and serum triglyceride concentrations.

Serum CRP levels were significantly decreased by soy protein intake compared with those in the control group .

Significant improvements were also seen in proteinuria  and urinary creatinine ( both measures od kidney function) by consumption of soy protein.

CONCLUSIONS—Longitudinal soy protein consumption significantly affected cardiovascular risk factors and kidney-related biomarkers among type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy.

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Here is a list of the common sources of soy protein that we can enjoy includes: Tofu, soymilk, soyflour. Tempeh and Miso.  The soymilk and textured soy protein can be used as subsitute for meat or cows milk while the soyflour can be used in baking needs.

I believe in the benefits of soy protein.  I hope for more studies to come that will provide us with more data on its beneifts and potential to reduce disease risk especially the Heart!

Soy Protein: A Better Partner for the Heart!

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