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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2003 Oct;228(9):1063-8.

Soy protein with or without isoflavones, soy germ and soy germ extract, and daidzein lessen plasma cholesterol levels in golden Syrian hamsters.

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Food Science & Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.


Dietary isolated soy protein (ISP, containing approximately equal amounts of daidzein and genistein), ethanol-extracted ISP (ISP (-)), soygerm or soygerm extract (containing large amounts of daidzein and glycitein and little genistein) and the isoflavone, daidzein, were hypothesized to lessen plasma cholesterol in comparison with casein. Sixty male and 60 female golden Syrian hamsters (6-8 weeks of age) were randomly assigned to six treatments fed for 10 weeks. Four of the experimental diets (ISP, daidzein, soygerm, and soygerm extract) contained 1.3 mmol total isoflavones/kg. The ISP (-) diet contained 0.013 mmol isoflavone/kg, whereas the casein diet contained no isoflavones. Hamsters fed ISP, ISP (-), daidzein, soygerm, and soygerm extract had significantly less plasma total cholesterol (by 16%-28%), less non-HDL cholesterol (by 15%-50%) and less non-HDL/HDL cholesterol ratios compared with hamsters fed casein (P < 0.01). For male hamsters, there were no differences among treatments in plasma HDL concentrations. Female hamsters fed ISP (-) had significantly greater HDL levels (P < 0.01) than females fed casein or daidzein. Triglyceride concentration was significantly less in hamsters fed ISP (-) compared with the casein-fed females. Because soy protein with or without isoflavones, soygerm and soygerm extract, and daidzein lessened plasma cholesterol to an approximately equal extent, soy protein alone, varying mixtures of isoflavones, and other extractable components of soy are responsible for cholesterol-lessening effects of soy foods, mainly due to their effects to lessen LDL cholesterol.

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