The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Does soy lower the risk of chronic disease?

    Epidemiological studies suggest that soy might be associated with a lower risk of certain chronic diseases. This has lead health regulatory agencies worldwide to approve food-labeling health claim for soy proteins.

    Dr. Chao Wu Xiao at the University of Ottawa in Canada finds the data lacking.

    First, the details.

    • The Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association assessed 22 studies conducted since 1999.

    And, the results.

    • Isolated soy protein with isoflavones slightly decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol but had no effect on HDL (good) cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoprotein(a), or blood pressure.
    • Other effects of soy consumption were not evident.
    • Some studies have documented potential safety concerns over increased consumption of soy products.
    • The impact of soy products on thyroid and reproductive functions, as well as on certain types of cancer, require further study.

    The bottom line?
    Dr. Wu Xiao says “The source of soybeans and processing procedures of the protein or isoflavones are believed to be important because of their effects on … certain bioactive protein subunits.”

    But overall, “Existing data are inconsistent or inadequate in supporting most of the suggested health benefits of consuming soy protein or isoflavones.”

    Another example of hype preceding science?

    8/23/08 17:13 JR

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