According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a diet rich in soy that reduced pain and swelling in rats could one day be used by humans to manage chronic pain in diseases such as cancer.
Scientists learned that rats on a soy-based diet experienced "significantly less" swelling and were able to tolerate more pain than another test group given a milk protein.
Managing chronic pain is difficult for many patients using existing treatments. The most effective medication given to patients to control pain is morphine, but often side effects such as constipation are too severe to continue.
Additional research will be necessary to determine if the soy protein works in humans, and, if it is effective, why it causes inflammation to recede and pain tolerance to increase.
A standard dietary supplement also would have to be designed because existing over-the-counter products do not all contain the same type of soy protein. The researchers did not specify which type was used in the study or the amount given.
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