Soyfoods protective against gout
Gout is estimated to affect about 5% of the middle-aged and elderly population worldwide. In the United States, the “disease of kings” as it is called affects about eight million American adults. Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis which leads to substantial morbidity by causing severe pain in the joints. New research from Singapore involving over 50,000 study participants found that higher protein intake increased risk by more than 25%. However, eating legumes in general and soyfoods in particular lowered risk by nearly 20%.
Soy protein helpful to those with Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease (CD) is an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract of unknown cause. CD most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. This disease affects an estimated 700,000 Americans. In recent years, malnutrition associated with active CD has been reduced although obesity has increased. Brazilian researchers have found that adding 22 grams of soy protein to daily diets decreased body fat and increased muscle in people with CD. These beneficial changes in body composition can greatly help those suffering from this disease.
Soy protective against breast cancer
About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime and in 2014, an estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to have been diagnosed in American women. A recent statistical analysis of population studies which included over 20,000 women found that diet greatly impacts risk of getting breast cancer. Most importantly, eating higher amounts of soyfoods – about two servings per day – was associated with a one-third lower risk of developing breast cancer. Eating vegetables was also protective but less so than for soy. Conversely, higher-fat diets increased risk about 15%.
Soy formula use leads to normal growth and development
Soy infant formula has been widely used for more than 5 decades. However, in recent years soy formula has become somewhat controversial because it is contains naturally-occurring chemicals called isoflavones. New data from the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center is reassuring. When comparing children at age 5 who were breast-fed or fed milk-based or soy-based formula during infancy, they found the size and structural characteristics of hormonally-sensitive reproductive organs did not differ. The uterus and ovaries were assessed in girls and the prostate and testes in boys.
Clues to the mechanism by which soy protein lowers cholesterol
The US FDA formally recognized the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein in 1999 and just this year, Health Canada did likewise. And yet, no mechanism by which soy protein lowers blood cholesterol has been definitively identified. New research from Italy does offer a possible explanation, however. Italian investigators found that small chains of amino acids (building blocks of protein) resulting from the digestion of soy protein inhibit in liver cells the enzyme primarily responsible for synthesizing cholesterol.