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Clinical nutrition, enteral and parenteral nutrition

Effect of soybean protein on novel cardiovascular disease risk factors: a randomized controlled trial



Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and the world. Clinical trials have suggested that soybean protein lowers lipids and blood pressure. The effect of soybean protein on novel CVD risk factors has not been well studied. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of soybean protein on biomarkers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and adipocytokines.


The effect of 8 weeks of 40 g of soybean protein supplement (89.3 mg isoflavones), 40 g of milk protein supplement and 40 g of complex carbohydrate placebo was examined in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, three-phase crossover trial among adults in New Orleans, Louisiana and Jackson, Mississippi. Plasma levels of inflammation biomarkers (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α), endothelial dysfunction biomarkers (E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, thrombomodulin) and adipocytokines (high-molecular weight adiponectin, leptin, resistin) were measured at baseline and at the end of each intervention using immunoturbidimetric and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques.


Soy protein supplementation resulted in a significant mean net change (95% confidence interval) in plasma E-selectin of −3.93 ng/ml (−7.05 to −0.81 ng/ml; P=0.014) compared with milk protein, and in plasma leptin of −2089.8 pg/ml (−3689.3 to −490.3 pg/ml; P=0.011) compared with carbohydrate. There were no significant changes in any other risk factors.


Soy protein supplementation may reduce levels of E-selectin and leptin. Further research is warranted to investigate the mechanisms through which protein may confer protective effects on novel CVD risk factors.

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This work was supported by a research grant (R01 HL68057) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA, and the American Medical Association Foundation 2011 Seed Grant Research Program. The study supplements were provided by Solae, LLC. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, American Medical Association Foundation, and Solae, LLC had no role in the design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

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Rebholz, C., Reynolds, K., Wofford, M. et al. Effect of soybean protein on novel cardiovascular disease risk factors: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 58–63 (2013).

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  • adipokines
  • carbohydrates
  • clinical trial
  • inflammation
  • milk proteins
  • soybean proteins

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