ToFu is GOOD! Estrogens derived from soybeans and other plants may offer a promising therapeutic alternative to pharmaceutical estrogens currently in use

From: (George Law)
Newsgroups: sci.skeptic
Subject: Tu Fu is GOOD for you
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 11:55:28 GMT
Organization: Infolink Communications (HK) Limited
Lines: 79
Message-ID: <4fkmgp$>
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ToFu is GOOD!

Estrogens derived from soybeans and other plants may offer a promising
therapeutic alternative to pharmaceutical estrogens currently in use,
reported researchers at the 35th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular
Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. 

Estrogens derived from mammalian sources are widely used for
contraception in pre-menopausal women and to reduce the risk of heart
disease and osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. However, there are
lingering concerns that estrogen therapy may increase the risk for
cancers of the breast and endometrium in some women. Therefore,
researchers would like to safer alternative to current estrogen

Estrogens are also found in more than 300 species of plants. IN
preliminary animal studies, soy estrogens have been demonstrated to
prevent the development of breast cancer. There is also some
indication that women who live in areas where soy is an important
component of the diet may have a lower incidence of some cancers. This
led researchers at Bowman Gray School of Medicine to conduct a series
of diet studies in non-human primates. 

"We chose soy protein because of the cross-cultural evidence that
Japanese who eat a lot of soy have lower rates of heart disease,
breast cancer, endometrial cancer and hip fractures. It look like
these plant estrogens may be beneficial in all these diseases that
affect women," said Mary Anthony, of Bowman Gray School of Medicine,
Winston-Salem, NC. 

The researchers randomly assigned 153 macaques to one of three diets:
animal protein (casein), soy protein with phytoestrogens intact, or
soy protein with phytoestrogens removed. The amounts of fat and
cholesterol were the same in all diets. The researchers then measured
levels of different types of cholesterol at two, four and six month
after beginning the study. 

The study showed that levels of LDL and VLDL (two types of 'bad'
cholesterol) were highest in the animal protein diet group, slightly
lower in the modified soy diet and significantly lower in the group
receiving the soy diet with intact phytoestrogens. HDL ('good'
cholesterol) levels were highest in the soy-phytoestrogen diet group,
lower in the depleted soy diet group and lowest in the animal protein
diet group, said Anthony. 

"These data suggest that soy protein has a beneficial effect on lipid
profiles compared to animal protein, and that at least some of the
effect is attributable to the phytoestrogens. IN addition, the data
are compatible with cross-cultural studies that show lower rates of
coronary heart disease in countries with greater consumption of soy,"
she reported 

While the long term effects of soy on risk of osteoporosis, coronary
heart disease and cancer have yet to be determined in western
countries, dietary soy supplementation may potentially be a more
acceptable method of hormone replacement than current therapies, she

The researchers are also evaluating the safety of phytoestrogens in
animal studies. Early results indicate that phytoestrogen consumption
is not associated with excessive cell growth in the endometrium. 

"At least currently, we have seen no negative effects on the cells
like we see with the mammalian estrogens, which are behind the
increased endometrial cancer rates," she said. 

George Law 

George Law

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