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J Nutr. 1990 Sep;120(9):977-85.

Cholesterol-lowering activity of various undigested fractions of soybean protein in rats.

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  • 1Laboratory of Nutrition Chemistry, Kyushu University School of Agriculture, Fukuoka, Japan.


The undigested high-molecular-weight fraction (HMF) of soybean protein prepared after exhaustive digestion by microbial proteases significantly decreased serum cholesterol levels to approximately 45% (p less than 0.05) of those observed with the parent protein in rats fed diets containing cholesterol (0.5%) and sodium cholate (0.125%). HMF bound conjugated bile salts in vitro and significantly increased fecal excretion of both neutral and acidic steroids by 65-95% and 80-170% more, respectively (p less than 0.05), than did the intact protein. Extraction of HMF with methanol slightly decreased the activity, but the methanol-soluble fraction was not regarded as a principal determinant. Soybean saponin at the dietary level equivalent to that contained in HMF did not effectively lower serum cholesterol. The activity was not necessarily duplicated even when methanol-treated fractions were recombined. Further degradation of the methanol-extracted HMF by various proteases resulted in loss of activity. HMF obtained after pepsin digestion exerted a potential similar to that of HMF prepared after digestion by microbial proteases.

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