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Soy Protein May Lower Cholesterol


Heart disease, the nation’s number one health concern, continues to encourage consumers to try out new and better methods for improving heart health. Along with a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise, there is increasing interest in cholesterol-lowering dietary supplements, giving retailers a strong impetus to provide their customers with a diverse range of well-researched heart health supplements. In order to provide consumers with the most effective cholesterol lowering supplements, supplement business owners capable of keeping up with the latest, high-quality research studies have a more strategic advantage.

One such helpful study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology. The study suggested that soy protein is superior to milk protein in lowering total cholesterol and non-HDL (non-high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. While the mechanism behind the benefit remains unclear, this study, conducted by Solae backs up other studies that also exhibit the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein.

The control group included men and women between the ages of 18 to 79 whom, while suffering from moderately high cholesterol levels, had no prior history of receiving any lipid altering treatments. The participants were given a new diet to follow which included either soy or milk protein supplements. Both of the groups showed a marked decline in total cholesterol, LDL-C, nonhigh-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B. At the end of the study, researchers observed that soy protein was seen to reduce all markers (except LDL-C) significantly more than milk protein. Total cholesterol, in particular, was seen to have decreased much more from soy protein than from milk protein (by more than double). The results of this research support years of studies showing soy’s cholesterol-lowering properties, dating back to 1999. Back then, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a heart health claim for soy protein that allowed food and supplement manufacturers to state, “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”  Since then, there has been a growing number of food products containing soy protein as a functional ingredient. Extracted from the soybean, soy protein is found in an assortment of foods, including soups, imitation meats, powders, cheeses, breakfast cereals, pastas and many more dietary items (such as soy supplements).

Soy Protein’s Heart Health Benefits

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure and cholesterol are the two major risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and related vascular diseases. A press briefing in February 2011 from Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of CDC, reported that nearly half of all adults in the United States (47 percent or approximately 100 million U.S. adults) have either high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Heart disease is one of the utmost health concerns today. Fortunately, soy is seen as a vital nutrient for supporting heart health. According to Global Industry Analysts (GIA), a global market research company based in California, the increasingly aging population is seen as the major force behind high levels of soy food sales around the world. People between 35 and 54 years of age are particularly interested in heart health supplements.

With sales of soy products expected to soar, this is the perfect time for supplement business owners to consider launching new additions to their product line or enhancing their existing soy products with a custom protein powder. Soy protein can be used to regulate healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies show that a fermented form of soy, called natto-kinase, may be able to help lower blood pressure. A high-quality supplement manufacturer can help retailers design a comprehensive heart health supplement for nutritionally supporting heart health.

Target Markets for Soy Protein Supplements

Soy is rich in protein, high in essential fatty acids, low in saturated fats, and contains numerous vitamins, minerals (particularly iron and magnesium), isoflavones and fiber. Soy contains all of the essential amino acids and offers a protein intake which is easily digestible and low in calories and carbohydrates.9 Soy protein also makes a convenient alternative to traditional protein sources such as meat and milk. It is a cheaper option compared to whey protein, derived from milk. Because of its high nutritive profile, it can be used to meet diverse health needs.

Soy protein for women

Special soy supplements can be designed to meet the special nutritional requirements of women undergoing menopause. Soy is believed to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, as well as minimize bone loss, a common consequence of menopause. Trends include combining herbal or vitamin and mineral supplements with soy to address hormone-related women’s health issues.

Soy protein for weight management

Soy’s high fiber content makes soy an effective supplement for managing weight by producing feelings of satiety or fullness.

Soy protein for prostate health

Ongoing studies are testing soy’s positive effect on prostate health and its possible prevention of several types of cancer.

Soy protein is popular with health enthusiasts, serious athletes/bodybuilders, vegans and those who are lactose intolerant (an estimated 30 million to 50 million Americans).

Sprouted soy powder made from germinating soy seeds has an enhanced nutritive profile, offering a rich source of vitamin and mineral chelates along with a highly-digestible form of protein and antioxidants. This form has great potential and can be developed for use in a variety of ways including custom protein powder.

According to a survey conducted by the United Soybean Board in 2010, 84 percent of the consumers who participated said they rated soy products as a healthy addition to their diet. About one-third (31 percent) said they actively seek out products that contain soy. The specific health benefits that attract consumers to soy products are:

  • heart health (25 percent, up 18 percent from 2009)
  • low-fat (17 percent)
  • high-protein (16 percent)
  • good-for-you (14 percent)
  • cholesterol-lowering (10 percent)

Manufacturing Soy Supplements

In 2007, the National Agricultural Research Organization (Japan) developed deodorized soy powder, making soy an extremely adaptable nutraceutical. With greater advances in technology, soy protein can now be manufactured in a variety of products, such as soy-derived isoflavone supplements, sprouted soy powder, soy-based snack bars and custom protein powders that blend well with any liquid.

The global soy food market experienced six percent growth from 2006 to 2007, according to GIA. Despite anti-soy allegations that did not hold the scrutiny of research and investigation,15 the soy industry continues to thrive, being driven by an increasingly health-conscious society with a greater awareness of the multiple health benefits of soy. The global soy market is predicted to reach $43 billion by 2015, according to GIA.

Soy protein shakes are the most popular delivery form and a custom protein powder can be manufactured in many varieties of combinations and flavors. Other forms include tablets and encapsulated soy isoflavone nutritional supplements. Contact a high-quality soy protein supplement manufacturer to find out how you can provide your customers with superior-quality soy supplements to meet the health needs of a wide range of target markets.


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