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Dietary inclusion of whole soy foods results in significant reductions in clinical risk factors for osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease in normal postmenopausal women

Scheiber, Michael D. MD, MPH1; Liu, James H. MD1; Subbiah, M. T.R. PhD2; Rebar, Robert W. MD1; Setchell, Kenneth D.R. PhD3

NAMS Fellowship Findings
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Objective To determine the effects of dietary inclusion of soy foods on clinical markers for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and osteoporosis in normal postmenopausal women.

Design This was a single open-group prospective clinical intervention. Forty-two normal postmenopausal women consumed three daily servings for 12 consecutive weeks of whole soy foods containing approximately 60 mg/d of isoflavones. Blood and urine specimens were obtained at baseline and after 12 weeks of dietary intervention.

Results Serum and urine levels of individual and total isoflavones increased significantly (7–19 fold, p < 0.001) from baseline. A significant increase (9.3%, p < 0.05) in the mean lag-time of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol oxidation was seen and was positively correlated with serum phytoestrogens (p < 0.05). Significant increases were found in mean levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLc) (3.7%, p < 0.05) and serum osteocalcin (10.2%, p < 0.025). Significant decreases were observed in total cholesterol:HDLc ratios (5.5%, p < 0.006) and mean urinary N-telopeptide excretion (13.9%, p < 0.02). Urinary excretion of total isoflavones was negatively correlated with very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol:HDLc ratios (p < 0.04). No significant changes from baseline in HDLc peroxidation, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, follicle-stimulating hormone, or estradiol levels were observed.

Conclusions Dietary inclusion of whole soy foods containing 60 mg/d of isoflavones results in significant serum levels of phytoestrogens and reductions in several key clinical risk factors for CVD and osteoporosis in normal postmenopausal women. Long-term, placebo-controlled clinical trials are needed to evaluate the effect of phytoestrogens on the clinical endpoints of CVD and osteoporosis in this population.

From the Departments of 1Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2Internal Medicine, and 3Pediatrics, Clinical Mass Spectrometry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Received November 28, 2000;

revised and accepted April 30 2001.

Address reprint requests to Michael D. Scheiber, MD, M.P.H., Reproductive Research, Institute for Reproductive Health, 2123 Auburn Avenue, Suite A44, Cincinnati, OH 45219, USA.

*Dr. Scheiber is the recipient of the 1998 NAMS/Wyeth-Ayerst Women's Health Research Institute Fellowship Grant.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.