Soy Has Little, if Any, Effect on Heart Disease, Hot Flashes
February 14, 2006
The Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association has examined decades' worth of studies on the health benefits of soy, and has found little evidence that soy-based foods and supplements significantly lower cholesterol, as has sometimes been claimed.
These findings could result in the FDA changing rules that currently allow companies that produce soy-based foods to advertise a cholesterol-lowering benefit on the label.
No Observed Benefits
While a very large amount of soy protein might lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol by a few percentage points, there were no observed benefits with regard to HDL ("good") cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoprotein, or blood pressure. The benefits of soy supplements to cardiovascular health are therefore likely "minimal at best."
Further, soy isoflavones had no effect on "hot flashes" during menopause. And as for claims that soy isoflavones are useful for treating and preventing breast, endometrial and prostate cancers, the committee said, "Evidence of benefit from clinical trials is meager and cautionary with regard to a possible adverse effect. For this reason, use of isoflavone supplements in food or pills is not recommended."