Soy consumption can boost heart health a study with cynomolgus monkeys has found, but intake must begin at an early age.
Writing in Menopause, researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina found monkeys fed soy before and after surgically induced menopause (ovary removal) had the lowest atherosclerosis rates. However, overall artery plaque levels were not different in a statistically significant way.
"This study underscores how important it is for women to get into the best cardiovascular shape they can before menopause. The healthy habits they start then will carry them through the years to come," said North American Menopause Society )NAMS) executive director Margery Gass, MD.
The 34-month trial featured one group of monkeys on soy, another that switched from animal protein to soy, a third group consumed only animal protein, while a fourth switched from soy protein to animal protein.
The researchers suggested that while there was no statistical difference in overall plaque, when arterial build-ups were small, the soy diet was more effective in reducing subsequent atherosclerosis.
“…this group (with small plaques at ovariectomy) had reduced progression of iliac atherosclerosis (P = 0.038) and smaller coronary artery plaques (P = 0.0001) that were less complicated (P = 0.05) relative to controls,” they wrote.
The study was designed to follow the dietary habits of Asian women in comparison to western women.
Published ahead of print (doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000307)
‘Beneficial effects of soy supplementation on postmenopausal atherosclerosis are dependent on pretreatment stage of plaque progression’
Authors:Meléndez, Giselle C. MD; Register, Thomas C. PhD; Appt, Susan E. DVM; Clarkson, Thomas B. DVM; Franke, Adrian A. PhD; Kaplan, Jay R. PhD