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Soy Isoflavones Inhibit Endothelial Cell Dysfunction and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Yamagata, Kazuo PhD

Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology: September 2019 - Volume 74 - Issue 3 - p 201–209
doi: 10.1097/FJC.0000000000000708
Review Article

Abstract: Soybeans are among the most popular foods worldwide, and intake of soy-containing foods has been associated with many health benefits in part because of it structure similar to estrogen. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that soy consumption improves serum profiles of hypercholesterolemic patients. Several studies have also indicated an inverse relationship between the consumption of soy isoflavones and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Soy is a rich dietary source of isoflavones. The main soy isoflavones are daidzein and genistein; equol, another isoflavone and a major intestinal bacterial metabolite of daidzein, is generated by enterobacterial effects. Many isoflavones have antioxidative effects and anti-inflammatory actions, as well as induce nitric oxide production to maintain a healthy endothelium and prevent endothelial cell dysfunction. These effects may limit the development of atherosclerosis and CVD and restore healthy endothelial function in altered endothelia. Although the evidence supporting the benefits of soy isoflavones in CVD prevention continues to increase, the association between soy isoflavones and disease is not fully understood. This review summarized recent progress in identifying the preventive mechanisms of action of dietary soybean isoflavones on vascular endothelial cells. Furthermore, it describes the beneficial roles that these isoflavones may have on endothelial dysfunction-related atherosclerosis.

Department of Food Bioscience and Biotechnology, College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University (NUBS), Fujisawa, Japan.

Reprints: Kazuo Yamagata, PhD, Department of Food Bioscience and Biotechnology, College of Bioresource Sciences (NUBS), 1866, Kameino, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-8510, Japan (e-mail:

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

Received May 05, 2019

Accepted June 09, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.