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J Nutr. 2004 Mar;134(3):574-9.

Soy protein favorably affects LDL size independently of isoflavones in hypercholesterolemic men and women.

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Institute on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Qu├ębec, Canada.


We assessed the independent effect of soy protein relative to animal protein and of isoflavones on various electrophoretic characteristics of LDL particles. LDL particles were characterized by polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis in 36 moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women (LDL cholesterol > 3.36 mmol/L). All subjects consumed in random order each of the four diets (soy protein depleted of isoflavones, soy protein enriched in isoflavones, animal protein with no added isoflavones, and animal protein with added isoflavones) for 6 wk. Consumption of soy protein was associated with a larger LDL peak particle size relative to animal protein (P < 0.01). Soy protein also decreased the cholesterol levels in LDL < 25.5 nm by 12.3% (P < 0.001) and increased cholesterol levels in LDL > 26.0 nm by 14.3% (P < 0.05) relative to animal protein. Isoflavones did not affect these LDL particle characteristics. Soy protein shifted LDL particle distribution to a less atherogenic pattern and this effect is independent of soy's isoflavone component.

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