November 11, 2008 09:00 ET

Soy Protein's Ability to Lower Cholesterol Confirmed, Possible Mechanism of Action Described

Solae Presenting Research at 8th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - November 11, 2008) - Solae, a leader in soy protein innovation and technology, unveiled a new study today at the 8th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment. A new meta-analysis confirms that soy protein consumption can lead to a meaningful and significant reduction in blood cholesterol levels. Solae is also presenting a poster that defines one of the possible mechanisms by which soy lowers cholesterol and protects against heart disease.

Numerous studies show that soy consumption may be associated with a lower incidence of certain chronic diseases, notably heart disease. These findings led to the approval of the health claim for soy protein in the prevention of heart disease risk by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999. The FDA-approved health claim helps promote the daily consumption of 25 grams of soy for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.

It has been nearly a decade since the health claim was awarded and numerous studies have been published since then. Solae's research team conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the totality of the evidence, that is, studies from before and after the original health claim to determine the net effect of soy on blood cholesterol reduction. Solae's research team reviewed and ranked more than 150 studies using the FDA's 2007 evidence-based review guidance for scientific evaluation of health claims. Forty-six of the studies that were deemed high or moderate quality were included in the final meta-analysis.

The meta-analysis found reductions in total cholesterol of 9.54 mg/dL and reductions in LDL cholesterol of 7.12 mg/dL (which is about a 4 and 5 percent reduction respectively). The meta-analyses also looked at individuals who had high and normal blood cholesterols and found that soy protein consumption resulted in a significant reduction in blood cholesterol for both groups.

"These findings build on the body of evidence that continues to support currently approved health claims for the role of soy protein in lowering heart disease risk," said Priscilla Samuel, Ph.D., lead researcher of the meta-analysis and director of Nutrition at Solae. "Coronary heart disease is still the leading cause of death globally. Our research confirms that consuming soy protein is one way to reduce total cholesterol."

In addition to the meta-analysis, the conference also includes a poster presentation that highlights a possible mechanism by which soy protein reduces cholesterol and thereby protects against heart disease. This new study suggests that soy protein binds bile acids in the digestive tract leading to excretion of these bile acids from the body. This bile acid excretion results in the liver extracting cholesterol for bile acid synthesis, which in turn results in an overall decrease in blood cholesterol levels.

These studies further confirm the heart health benefits of soy protein. Research continues to show that consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day results in significant and meaningful reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Soy protein can easily be a part of a healthy, low-cholesterol, low-fat diet and can be incorporated into a variety of food forms, including bars, beverages and cereal, to make eating heart healthy convenient for consumers.

Solae is the world leader in developing innovative soy-based technology and ingredients for the food, meat and nutritional products industries. Solae provides solutions that deliver a unique combination of functional, nutritional and economic benefits to our customers. At Solae, the journey to innovation begins with nature. Solae takes one of nature's best resources, the soybean, and create nutritious and great-tasting ingredients. Solae's mission is to provide solutions for today while innovating for tomorrow. With more than 1,000 products used by more than 3,500 customers, Solae's soy ingredients are enjoyed by consumers around the world in products such as baked goods, beverages, nutrition bars, meats, vegetarian meals and much more. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, with annual revenue exceeding $1 billion, the company was formed through a joint venture between Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG) and DuPont (NYSE: DD). For more information, visit

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