Soy protects the heart without disrupting hormones

April 18, 2000 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Soy protects the heart without disrupting hormones

Some people are discouraged from eating soy because of claims that the plant estrogens (isoflavones) in it may produce high levels of hormones in the body. The concerns are that eating soy might lead estrogen-dependent breast cancer although studies have found no evidence of this.

A recent study by Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital also does not support this notion. The study involved two groups of people put on a low fat diet over two one-month periods. One diet had soy foods and other diet did not.

The researchers calculated the amount of estrogen in the urine of participants. The total estrogen activity in the women eating the low fat soy diet was actually slightly less than the women eating the soy-free diet.

The study also found that the soy diet lowered levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease because artery walls take it up this cholesterol more rapidly. According to Dr. Jenkins, soy should be promoted for its important role in preventing heart disease without fear that it may increase estrogen activity in the body. 

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