Soy could help cut diabetes and heart risk in PCOS patients

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

PCOS patients taking soy isoflavones experienced lower resistance to insulin. ©iStock
PCOS patients taking soy isoflavones experienced lower resistance to insulin. ©iStock

Related tags Insulin

Consumption of soy isoflavones by women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) could help prevent diabetes and cardiac problems, a new study has found.

PCOS is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age, where ovaries become enlarges and contains small collections of fluid.

It can cause Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity, while long-term complications include type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But new research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism​,shows the potential benefit of including soy isoflavones in the diet of women with PCOS.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studied 70 women diagnosed with PCOS and aged 18-40. Participants were randomly allocated into two groups to take either 50 mg/d soy isoflavones or a placebo for 12 weeks.

Metabolic, endocrine, inflammation, and oxidative stress biomarkers were quantified at the beginning of the study and after the 12-week intervention.

It showed that the PCOS patients taking soy isoflavones experienced lower resistance to insulin, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

It also showed a reduction in serum triglycerides, which​ increase the risk of heart disease.

Nutritional intervention

The research, undertaken at Arak Univeristy in Iran, was prompted by a growing interest in using soy isoflavones in diseases related to metabolic syndrome.

The basis of this interest derives mostly from the results of epidemiological surveys, and nutritional intervention studies in human and animal models suggest that dietary isoflavones have protective effects against menopausal symptoms, coronary heart disease, cancer, hyperlipidemia, osteoporosis, and various forms of chronic renal disease,” ​wrote the researchers.

‘Favourable effects of soy isoflavones on metabolic profiles may result from a direct inhibitory activity on several enzymes, which accounts for the positive metabolic effects associated with their dietary intake, glucose metabolism, and through the inhibition of insulin discharge by the pancreatic islets.”

However, limited data was available to assess the effects of soy isoflavones on patients with PCOS, until this study showed “improved markers of insulin resistance, hormonal status, triglycerides, and biomarkers of oxidative stress among those who consumed the soy isoflavones.”

The 50mg of soy isoflavones contained in the supplements can be achieved by consuming 500ml of soy milk daily in a real dietary intake, the researchers noted.

Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-1762

“The Effects of Soy Isoflavones on Metabolic Status of Patients With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome”

Authors: Mehri Jamilian and Zatollah Asemi

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