Soy lowers cholesterol in postmenopausal women

February 12, 2001 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Soy lowers cholesterol in postmenopausal women

Consuming soy may result in at least a small drop in "bad" cholesterol in older women with normal or only slightly elevated cholesterol, results of a new study from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul suggest.

The drop was seen in a small study in which women aged 45 to 70 consumed powdered isoflavones, a component of soy, for close to three months.

In the study, the researchers tested the blood of 18 postmenopausal women during three 93-day test periods in which they consumed 7, 65 or 132 milligrams of isoflavones per day. During the high-isoflavone diet, the level of LDL ("bad") cholesterol was 6.5% lower compared to the levels when the women had the lowest amount of soy protein.

Although the effects were small, it is possible that isoflavones may contribute to a lower risk of heart disease if consumed over many years in conjunction with other lipid-lowering strategies, the researchers said. The decrease in LDL cholesterol observed in the study "could be associated with a 16% reduction in coronary artery disease risk.

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