A small study at the University of Minnesota has shown that soy isoflavones lowered cholesterol in new tests of healthy, pre-menopausal women who had normal blood cholesterol levels.
This is the first study to show that soy isoflavones lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in younger women with normal cholesterol levels. Previous studies have focused on people with high cholesterol levels.
In the tests, 13 women between the ages of 18 and 35 were given varying amounts of a soy beverage powder, with the isoflavones content ranging from 10 to 128 milligrams daily. The women were described as relatively sedentary, but with stable body weights, and who consumed regular diets that were low in soy and fiber.
The high isoflavone diet lowered LDL cholesterol by as much as l0 percent in one part of the trial period. There was a trend toward decreased lower LDL cholesterol with increased isoflavone consumption.
The researchers concluded that, over a lifetime, the effects of soy can "contribute to a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease in healthy people who consume soy over many years."
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