WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Soy protein with phytoestrogens as well as mammalian estrogen inhibits the progression of atherosclerosis in postmenopausal monkeys, a Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center research team reported today at an American Heart Association meeting in Santa Fe, N.M.
Estrogen replacement therapy generally is thought to prevent cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women at least in part because it inhibits atherosclerosis.
And one key issue is whether soy phytoestrogens work as well as Premarin -- the standard mammalian estrogen therapy.
The research team headed by Mary S. Anthony, M.S., a research associate at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, compared the development of atherosclerosis on the walls of a group of abdominal arteries called the iliac arteries in monkeys fed soy protein containing soy phytoestrogens, in monkeys fed soy protein from which the phytoestrogens had been extracted -- the control group -- and monkeys fed soy protein from which the phytoestrogens had been extracted and given a dose of Premarin.
Anthony and her colleague, Thomas B. Clarkson, DVM, professor of comparative medicine, were comparing the degree of atherosclerosis in the iliac arteries before treatment and three years later.
They found that atherosclerosis progressed in about 64 percent of the animals in the control group, but in only 44 percent of the animals in the phytoestrogen group and 42 percent of the animals in the Premarin group, a significant reduction in progression with the two treatments.
The researchers also concluded:
Premarin had the greatest effect on inhibiting the size of the
atherosclerotic plaque, while soy phytoestrogens had an intermediate effect. She
suggested that while the soy phytoestrogen "is protective, it may not be quite
as robust as [Premarin] in inhibiting changes in plaque size
Contact: Robert Conn, Mark Wright or Jim Steele
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center