Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Protein, malnutrition and wasting diseases

The effects of soy protein on chronic kidney disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials



There is a growing body of evidence to indicate that soy protein consumption may have a beneficial effect on kidney function. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of soy protein consumption compared with animal protein consumption in patients with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD).


We conducted a structured electronic search of the databases PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and Chinese Biological Medicine for randomized controlled trials published up to March 2014. The outcome measures were serum creatinine (SCR), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), calcium (Ca) and phosphorus concentrations. Weighted or standard mean differences were calculated for net changes using random-effects models.


The meta-analysis consisted of nine trials, comprising 197 subjects. Soy protein intake significantly reduced SCR and serum phosphorus concentrations. The mean difference was −6.231 μmol/l (95% confidence interval (CI): −11.109, −1.352 μmol/l) for SCR (P=0.012) and −0.804 (95% CI: −1.143, −0.464 μmol/l) for serum phosphorus (P=0.00). It also significantly reduced serum TG, with a pooled estimated change of −0.223 mmol/l (95% CI: −0.396, −0.051 mmol/l; P=0.011) after the exclusion of one trial indicated by sensitivity analyses. No statistically significant effects were observed for TC (−0.135 mmol/l (95% CI: −0.289, 0.019 mmol/l)) or Ca (0.023 mmol/l (95% CI: −0.016, 0.062 mmol/l)).


The meta-analysis suggested a protective effect of soy protein consumption on SCR and serum phosphorus concentrations in pre-dialysis CKD patients. It may also have a significant effect on lowering serum TG concentrations. However, nonsignificant effects on TC and Ca were observed. Evidence was limited because of the relatively small number of available trials and subjects.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4


  1. Eknoyan G, Lameire N, Barsoum R, Eckardt K, Levin A, Levin N . The burden of kidney disease: improving global outcomes. Kidney Int 2004; 66: 1310–1314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Chan AYM, Cheng MLL, Keil LC, Myers BD . Functional response of healthy and diseased glomeruli to a large protein-rich meal. J Clin Invest 1988; 81: 245–254.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Brenner BM, Meyer TW, Hostetter TH . Dietary protein intake and the progressive nature of kidney disease: the role of hemodynamically mediated glomerular injury in the pathogenesis of progressive glomerular sclerosis in aging, renal ablation, and intrinsic renal disease. N Engl J Med 1982; 307: 652–659.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Zeller KR . Low-protein diets in renal disease. Diabetes Care 1991; 14: 856–866.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Pedrini MT, Levey AS, Lau J, Chalmers TC, Wang PH . The effect of dietary protein restriction on the progression of diabetic and non-diabetic renal disease: a meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med 1996; 124: 627–632.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Fougue D, Aparicio M . Eleven reasons to control the protein intake of patients with chronic kidney disease. Nat Clin Pract Nephrol 2007; 3: 383–392.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Eyre S, Attman PO, Haraldsson B . Positive effects of protein restriction in patients with chronic kidney disease. J Ren Nutr 2008; 18: 269–280.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Velasquez MT, Bhathena SJ . Dietary phytoestrogens: a possible role in renal disease protection. Am J Kidney Dis 2001; 37: 1056–1068.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Anderson JW, Blake JE, Turner J, Smith BM . Effects of soy protein on renal function and proteinuria in patients with type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 1998; 68, S1347–S1353.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Anderson JW . Beneficial effects of soy protein consumption for renal function. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008; 17: 324–328.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Tomobe K, Philbrick DJ, Ogborn MR, Takahashi H, Holub BJ . Effect of dietary soy protein and genistein on disease progression in mice with polycystic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis 1998; 31: 55–61.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Ogborn MR, Bankovic-Calic N, Shoesmith C, Buist R, Peeling J . Soy protein modification of rat polycystic kidney disease. Am J Physiol 1998; 274: F541–F549.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Aukema HM, Housini I, Rawling JM . Dietary soy protein effects on inherited polycystic kidney disease are influenced by gender and protein level. J Am Soc Nephrol 1999; 10: 300–308.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Walls J, Williams AJ . Influence of soya protein on the natural history of a remnant kidney model in the rat. Contrib Nephrol 1988; 60: 179–187.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Williams AJ, Baker F, Walls J . Effect of varying quantity and quality of dietary protein intake in experimental renal disease in rats. Nephron 1987; 46: 83–90.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Fair DE, Ogborn MR, Weiler HA, Bankovic-Calic N, Nitschmann EP, Fitzpatrick-Wong SC et al. Dietary soy protein attenuates renal disease progression after 1 and 3 weeks in Han: SPRD-cy Weanling rats. J Nutr 2004; 134: 1504–1507.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Barsotti G, Morelli E, Cupisti A, Bertoncini P, Giovannetti S . A special, supplemented ‘vegan’ diet for nephrotic patients. Am J Nephrol 1991; 11: 380–385.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Gentile MG, Fellin G, Cofano F, Delle FA, Manna G, Ciceri R et al. Treatment of proteinuric patients with a vegetarian soy diet and fish oil. Clin Nephrol 1993; 40: 315–320.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. D’Amico G, Gentile MG, Manna G, Fellin G, Ciceri R, Cofano F et al. Effect of vegetarian soy diet on hyperlipidaemia in nephrotic syndrome. Lancet 1992; 339: 1131–1134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Higgins JP, Thompson SG, Deeks JJ, Altman DG . Measuring inconsistency in meta-analyses. BMJ 2003; 327: 557–560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. DerSimonian R, Laird N . Meta-analysis in clinical trials. Control Clin Trials 1986; 7: 177–188.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Egger M, Davey Smith G, Schneider M, Minder C . Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple graphical test. BMJ 1997; 315: 629–634.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Soroka N, Silverberg DS, Greemland M, Birk Y, Blum M, Peer G . Comparison of a vegetable-based (soya) and an animal-based low-protein diet in predialysis chronic renal failure patients. Nephron 1998; 79, 173–180.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Azadbakht L, Shakerhosseini R, Atabak S, Jamshidian M, Mehrabi Y, Esmaill-Zadeh A . Beneficiary effect of dietary soy protein on lowering plasma levels of lipid and improving kidney function in type II diabetes with nephropathy. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003; 57: 1292–1295.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Mao H The effects of low soy protein diet on diabetic nephropathy. Clin Med 2004; 24, 14–15. (article in Chinese).

    Google Scholar 

  26. Teixeira SR, Tappenden KA, Carson L, Jones R, Prabhudesai M, Marshall WP . Isolated soy protein consumption reduces urinary albumin excretion and improves the serum lipid profile in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus and nephropathy. J Nutr 2004; 134: 1874–1880.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Azadbakht L, Atabak S, Esmaillzadeh A . Soy protein intake, cardiorenal indices, and C-reactive protein in type 2 diabetes with nephropathy: a longitudinal randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Care 2008; 31: 648–654.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Azadbakht L, Esmaillzadeh A . Soy-protein consumption and kidney-related biomarkers among type 2 diabetics: a crossover, randomized clinical trial. J Ren Nutr 2009; 19: 479–486.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Zhang HM, Xu JM, Chang LY, Yu DR, Yang RC, Wang YJ . A clinical trial of different low protein diets on chronic renal failure. Chin J Integr Tradit Western Nephrol 2010; 6: 502–505. (article in Chinese).

    Google Scholar 

  30. Kao TW, Kuo YH, Lin CY, Chiang CK, Huang JW, Lin SL . Effects of soy protein and nutrition education on patients with chronic kidney disease. Kidney Res Clin Pract 2012; 31: A43.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Anderson JW, Bush HM . Soy protein effects on serum lipoproteins: a quality assessment and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. J Am Coll Nutr 2011; 30: 79–91.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Wang Y, Jones PJH, Ausman LM, Lichtenstein AH . Soy protein reduces triglyceride levels and triglyceride fatty acid fractional synthesis rate in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Atherosclerosis 2004; 173, 269–275.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Zhan S, Ho SC . Meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein containing isoflavones on the lipid profile. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 81, 397–408.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Reynolds K, Ashley C, Lees KA, Nguyen A, Bujnowski D, He J . A meta-analysis of the effect of soy protein supplementation on serum lipids. Am J Cardiol 2006; 98, 633–640.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Erdman JW . Soy protein and cardiovascular disease: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the AHA. Circulation 2000; 102: 2555–2559.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Hermansen K, Sondergaard M, Hoie L, Carstensen M, Brock B . Beneficial effects of a soy-based dietary supplement on lipid levels and cardiovascular risk markers in type 2 diabetic subjects. Diabetes Care 2001; 24, 228–233.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Chen ST, Ferng SH, Yang CS, Peng SJ, Lee HR, Chen JR . Variable effects of soy protein on plasma lipids in hyperlipidemic and normalipidemic hemodialysis patients. Am J Kidney Dis 2005; 46, 1099–1106.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to J Liu.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information


JL designed this article and supported the research. JZ reviewed the search results, conducted the primary data abstraction, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the review. JS conducted the secondary data abstraction. FT assisted the statistical analysis. All authors read and approved this article.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, J., Liu, J., Su, J. et al. The effects of soy protein on chronic kidney disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 987–993 (2014).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links