Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 01, 2006

Soy Benefits Heart in Healthy People Too, New Study Finds

Soy protein, long known for its ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease in people with high cholesterol, is equally beneficial for heathy individuals, according to new research by a University of Guelph nutritional scientist.

The study by Prof. Alison Duncan was published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It found that soy protein, regardless of how much isoflavones it contains, helps reduce blood fats and the chances of cardiovascular disease in healthy men. Isoflavones — non-nutritive, naturally occurring plant chemicals found in high concentrations in soy — are known to have protective functions against hormone-related disorders including certain forms of cancer.

“Many previous studies support the role soy protein plays in reducing serum lipids, but few have looked at the role isoflavones play, especially in the diets of healthy people,” Duncan said. “If we want to maximize the cardiovascular disease prevention potential of soy, it’s also important to study healthy individuals, especially healthy young men, because most studies have focused only on women or both women and older men.”

Duncan’s study included 35 healthy men (average age 28) who took three different supplements for periods of eight weeks: “regular” milk protein, soy protein with low isoflavone content, and soy with high isoflavone content. The supplements were given in random order and spaced with a one-month break in between to ensure accurate findings.

“We found that isoflavone content doesn’t seem to influence the outcome,” she said.

Duncan added that, with heart disease being the leading cause of death among North Americans, research has increasingly focused on prevention. Diet is among the top prevention strategies because it’s the easiest, most natural way to modify blood lipid levels.

“Incorporating soy into a balanced diet is increasingly being seen as a positive step towards better health,” she said. “This study shows that it’s never too early to start and that there are benefits even for people who are healthy.”

Prof. Alison Duncan
Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 53416

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

Email this entry to:

Message (optional):

Powered by FeedBlitz