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Soy Protein Study Generates New Findings

The Beneficial Effects of Soy Trial (BEST), a Baltimore-based randomized controlled study of dietary soy, has yielded an array of results// pertaining to cholesterol reduction, metabolic syndrome, and recruitment for clinical trials.

The multi-disciplinary study team, led by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) researcher and lead investigator Jerilyn K. Allen, ScD, RN, reports its findings this month in Menopause and Ethnicity and Disease and today at the American Heart Association 2006 Scientific Sessions.

In “Effect of Soy Protein-Containing Isoflavones on Lipoproteins in Postmenopausal Women” now appearing online in Menopause, Allen and co-authors report that among their BEST study group—216 healthy postmenopausal African American and white women with moderately elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels—those who received isolated soy protein containing isoflavones experienced a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and lipoprotein particles. LDL levels decreased by an average of 3.3%, LDL particles decreased by 5.6%, and beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) increased 4.4%. Noting that because lipoprotein levels often increase as a consequence of menopause, Allen cautions that while soy protein alone will not lower cholesterol with the same effectiveness as medications, “the modest effects of soy protein on LDL cholesterol and LDL particle number may be beneficial for heart health in postmenopausal women who do not require statins or other medications to control their levels.”

At the American Heart Association meeting this week, Allen and JHUSON co-authors Sarah Szanton, Kathleen Lindenstruth, and Carol Curtis reported additional BEST study findings on factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In “Effect of Metabolic Syndrome on Lipoprotein Subclass Particle Size and Concentration in Postmenopausal Women,” the investigators reported on their eva
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