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J Nutr. 2002 Mar;132(3):566S-569S.

Soy, soy phytoestrogens and cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Comparative Medicine Clinical Research Center, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Dietary soy protein has been shown to have several beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. The best-documented effect is on plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations, with reductions of approximately 10% in LDL cholesterol concentrations (somewhat greater for individuals with high pretreatment LDL cholesterol concentrations) and small increases in HDL cholesterol concentrations. Dietary soy protein improves flow-mediated arterial dilation of postmenopausal women but worsens that of men. Soy isoflavone extracts improve systemic arterial compliance, an indicator of atherosclerosis extent. Complete soy protein but not alcohol-washed soy protein reduces atherosclerosis of postmenopausal monkeys. No definite experimental evidence exists currently to establish that the cardiovascular benefits of soy protein are accounted for by its isoflavones.

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