Dr. Aaron Michelfelder from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois has published a review of soy.

Here’s a summary of what we know about soybeans.

  • They contain all the essential amino acids for human nutrition.
  • Populations with diets high in soy protein and low in animal protein have lower risks of prostate and breast cancers.
  • Increasing dietary whole soy protein lowers total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglyceride blood levels.

In addition, soy “may” be useful for the following…

  • Hot flashes
  • Maintain bone density
  • Decrease fractures in postmenopausal women.

But, there are “not enough data” to…

  • Recommend soy in women with a history of breast cancer.

And, soy’s limitations…

  • Refined soy isoflavone taken as supplements, have not yielded the same results as increasing dietary whole soy protein.

The bottom line?
Dr. Michelfelder recommends taking soy “as a dietary substitution for higher-fat animal products.”

Greater detail on the effects of soy on cholesterol levels is here. Although Dr. Chao Wu Xiao at the University of Ottawa in Canada is not impressed.

1/17/09 19:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

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.