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Isolated soy protein shown to benefit type 2 diabetics, study indicates

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Isolated soy protein added to the diets of 14 men, all military veterans under treatment for advanced stages of type 2 diabetes, significantly lowered unwanted proteins in their urine and slightly raised desired HDL cholesterol levels in their blood, researchers say.

The two improved areas are linked to kidney disease and coronary heart disease, respectively, in patients with type 2 diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 18 million Americans have diabetes, with more than 90 percent being type 2 cases.

The study's findings, published in the August issue of the Journal of Nutrition, surprisingly exceeded the expectations of participating scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and suggest that more widespread testing is warranted.

"The number of type 2 diabetics is increasing to epidemic proportions, with the disease being found in younger and younger individuals everyday," said Sandra R. Teixeira, who had pursued the research as the focus of her doctoral work at Illinois. "As a result, the rate also increases tremendously for diabetic complications, which include diabetic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease."

The human findings confirmed those of a study published a year earlier using mice, said Teixeira, now a researcher focusing on type 2 diabetes for the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass.

"Our most remarkable result was that soy protein added to the diet, compared to animal source protein, in this case casein, resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of protein in the urine," said John Erdman, a professor of nutrition in both the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Patients eating casein actually had an increase of urine protein levels."

Participants of the study were men ranging in age from 53 to 73 who were recruite
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Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
jebarlow@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
30-Jul-2004


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