Soy Benefits Significant For Protecting Heart

By Rodney Rafols , Feb 23, 2017 02:12 AM EST

Soy has been a good source for protein, especially for those who are on a vegetarian diet. A study shows that soy might have other benefits as well. Soy benefits for protecting the heart have been seen.

Soy has been found to have a micronutrient which helps in protecting the heart. This is most true for people who can produce equol. Equol is a substance made by bacteria after metabolizing isaflavones. The study has been made comparing Japanese men who have equol from those who don't have it.

Senior study author Akira Sekikawa, M.D., Ph.D. is an associate professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. He has said that isoflavones has been known to protect against plaques in the arteries. Among Asians, isoflavones has been credited for low heart disease.

In trials, equol has been produced in monkeys' bodies. About 50 to 60 percent of Asians can produce equol as well. This is in comparison to only 20 to 30 percent of Western people who can produce it. That is why more Asians benefit from eating soy than Westerners.

For the study, 272 men from Japan aged from 40 to 49 participated. Blood tests were made to find out if they have equol, according to the UPMC site. The study has found that those who have equol have a 90 percent lower chance to have plaques in the arteries. Daily intake of soy products has been credited to why equol is found in people.

Popular products that contain soy include tofu, miso and soy milk. Intake in China and Japan has been as high as 25 to 50 milligrams. This is compared to only 2 milligrams of soy intake in Western countries. There are supplements for equol as well, though there have been no clinical trials yet done to see how effective they are, as Science Daily reports.

Sekikawa has also said that he doesn't recommend people to suddenly take equol supplements unless advised by their physicians. He has said that there is still much study needed to see the benefits of equol in people. Even so, soy benefits for protecting the heart have been seen. A study shows that Vitamin D can protect against flus and colds.

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