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There has been a new study conducted that indicates an improvement of osteoporosis by following a soy diet. For centuries, Asian cultures in particular have relied on soy foods in their diet, not only as a good source of dietary intake, but also because they believed it contained health properties. With over 200 million women around the world already suffering with osteoporosis, this research is vital, and could result in a huge decrease in those afflicted with this crippling bone disease.
What Is Osteoporosis?
As we get older, the density of our bones decreases and this occurs in both men and women. But, for some, this decrease is severe, and is called osteoporosis. This is more prevalent in women, particularly after they have been through menopause, due to the changes that take place in the body. Therefore at least 80% of those with osteoporosis are women.
Also known as brittle bone disease, the number of fractures experienced by those with osteoporosis is in the millions each year. In fact, recent figures estimate that figure to be greater than 8.9 million worldwide. Not only are fractures very painful and debilitating, they can also lead to other complications affecting the bones and soft tissue. For some, when osteoporosis reaches its severity, they may lose all mobility and end up confined to a wheelchair.
A research study was undertaken by the University of Hull, in the UK. For the study, they gathered 200 early menopausal women and provided them with a daily supplement. Two supplements were used in the group – one that contains both soy protein and isoflavones, and another that contained only the soy protein.
The participants were given the supplements for a 6 month period, during which time their blood was regularly sampled. Researchers looked at certain markers that show bone turnover, including protein βCTX which marks bone loss, and P1NP, a marker of formation of bone. The study showed that those who took the supplement continuing both the isoflavones and the soy protein had a much smaller rate of loss, therefore reducing the risk of them developing osteoporosis.
Although the research findings are very promising, there still needs to be further studies completed. This is predominantly for investigating the long-term effects of isoflavones and soy proteins, as well as finding out what other benefits can be gained by including soy in your diet.