A new study published online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that soy protein compared to dairy milk protein supplementation improves the lipid profile in healthy individuals. This study investigated the effect of soy and milk protein supplementation on lipids compared with carbohydrate among healthy adults. Numerous research studies have demonstrated that soy protein reduces LDL ("the bad") cholesterol and increases HDL ("the good") cholesterol, supporting the soy protein heart health and cholesterol-lowering claim that is approved in 12 countries around the globe.
"Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major health epidemic, as the No. 1 killer of women and men globally. Research has shown that lowering blood lipids reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke," said Elaine Krul, Ph.D., nutrition discovery lead at Solae. "The results of this study reveal that soy protein supplementation intake can help lower blood lipids, thus helping to reduce the risk of CHD in healthy individuals."
In this study, total cholesterol reduction as well as the total/HDL cholesterol ratio reduction was statistically significant with soy protein supplementation compared with carbohydrate. Compared with milk protein, soy protein supplementation significantly increased HDL and significantly reduced total/HDL cholesterol ratio as well as lowered LDL cholesterol.
The National Cholesterol Education Program emphasizes the importance of therapeutic lifestyle changes for primary prevention of high cholesterol. This includes dietary modification, body weight reduction and increased physical activity. There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits. The results of this study are intriguing in that these risk reduction benefits were observed in healthy (non-hypercholesterolemic) individuals.
"It's the simple lifestyle changes, such as including soy protein in your diet, that can often have a positive impact on your health," said Krul. "Research continues to demonstrate that soy protein can help lower LDL cholesterol, an important biomarker for coronary heart disease."
This study was a randomized, controlled trial that included 352 U.S. healthy adults. It was conducted from September 2003 to April 2008. Participants in the study were assigned to 40 g/day supplementation of soy protein, milk protein or complex carbohydrate for 8 weeks in random order. Solae provided the supplements used in this study. For more information on the study, the following is a link to the abstract: