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J Nutr. 2001 Apr;131(4):1202-6.

Usual dietary isoflavone intake is associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors in postmenopausal women.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.


Intervention data suggest a cardioprotective role for supplemental isoflavones; however, few studies have examined the cardiovascular disease (CVD) benefit of usual dietary isoflavone intake. This cross-sectional study examined the association between usual dietary isoflavone intake and CVD risk factors, including lipids and lipoproteins, body mass index (BMI) and fat distribution, blood pressure, glucose and insulin. Subjects were postmenopausal women (n = 208) aged 45-74 y, who attended screening and baseline visits for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examining the effects of isoflavone use. At screening, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were measured, and demographic, behavioral and menopausal characteristics were assessed. One month later, dietary intake over the past year was assessed with a standardized questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements and blood pressure were obtained, and a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test was administered. Isoflavone consumption did not vary by age, exercise, smoking, education or years postmenopausal. Women with high genistein intake had a significantly lower BMI (P-trend = 0.05), waist circumference (P-trend = 0.05) and fasting insulin (P-trend = 0.07) than those with no daily genistein consumption. In adjusted analyses, genistein, daidzein and total isoflavone intake were each positively associated with HDL cholesterol (P = 0.05) and inversely associated with postchallenge insulin (P = 0.05). These data suggest a protective role for dietary soy intake against CVD in postmenopausal women.

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