Whole soy, but not purified daidzein, had a favorable effect on improvement of cardiovascular risks: a 6-month randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial in equol-producing postmenopausal women

Zhao-Min Liu, Suzanne C Ho, Yu-Ming Chen, Stella Ho, Kenneth To, Brian Tomlinson, Jean Woo
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2014, 58 (4): 709-17

SCOPE: Equol is produced by the intestinal bacteria from isoflavone daidzein. Studies have reported the health benefits of soy can only present or more pronounced in equol producers. This 6-month randomized controlled trial examined the effect of whole soy (soy flour) and purified daidzein on cardiovascular biomarkers and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) in prehypertensive postmenopausal women who were equol producers.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Two hundred seventy eligible women were randomized to either one of the three treatments: 40 g soy flour (whole soy group), 40 g low-fat milk powder + 63 mg daidzein (daidzein group), or 40 g low-fat milk powder (placebo group) daily each for 6 months. Fasting venous samples were obtained at baseline and end of trial for testing glucose, lipids, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and free fatty acid. Changes in common CIMT were also assessed. Serum LDL-C decreased by 7.95% (95% CI: -15.09∼-0.81%) and 6.32% (95% CI: -13.45∼0.08%), and serum hs-CRP decreased by 0.164 (95% CI: -0.309∼-0.019) and 0.054 (95% CI: -0.199∼0.012) in the whole soy group compared with daidzein and milk placebo groups, respectively. No significant change in CIMT was found.

CONCLUSION: Whole soy, but not purified daidzein, had a beneficial effect on reduction of LDL-C and hs-CRP among prehypertensive equol-producing postmenopausal women.

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