, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 50-78

Effects of soy and other natural products on LDL:HDL ratio and other lipid parameters: A literature review

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Abstract

Abnormal lipid levels contribute significantly to the risk of coronary heart disease, a major cardiovascular disease and a serious health problem. Various dietary and pharmacologic treatments have been devised to reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. Soy protein, soluble fiber, and plant sterol/ester-containing margarines are promising new food-component candidates that may help to realize this goal. Of particular interest in this context is the LDL:HDL ratio, a strong predictor of cardiac events. This report is a review of more than 50 recent trials to determine how such dietary components and garlic affect the LDL:HDL ratio and other lipid parameters. Consumption of new soy products containing high, fixed levels of isoflavones, cotyledon soy fiber, and soy phospholipids (Abacor® and Abalon®) significantly reduced the LDL:HDL ratio by up to 27%. Soluble dietary fibers such as psyllium and beta glucan from oat bran had a variable effect on LDL-cholesterol levels in the studies analyzed. Plant sterol esters, when consumed in margarines, lowered the LDL:HDL ratio by up to 22%. On average, Abacor and Abalon reduced the LDL:HDL ratio by 20%, LDL cholesterol by 15%, total cholesterol by 10%, and triglycerides by 6%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 5%. The new soy-based supplements may therefore play a valuable role in reducing cardiovascular risk.