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Large Joints Feature

Sources: Wikimedia Commons and Midori

High—and Early—Soy Levels Protect Against Bone Loss

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Thu, November 3rd, 2016

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New research from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences suggests that individuals who are exposed to a diet high in soy protein achieve some degree of protection against bone loss during adulthood.

According to the October 14, 2016 news release, this is the first time that scientists have used an animal model to show concrete evidence of a protective effect of an early-life soy protein isolate diet on adult bone loss.

"Appropriate early-life nutrition can optimize peak bone mass, " said Jin-Ran Chen, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Skeletal Development Laboratory at Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the news release. "Consumption of soy foods has a variety of health benefits, including amelioration of bone loss during adulthood."

Working in a rat model, the researchers gave one group of rats “a soy protein isolate diet for 30 days (from postnatal day 24 to 55), and then was switched to a regular standard rodent diet until 6 months of age. The rats were altered to mimic postmenopausal bone loss in women to determine the amount of bone loss. The second group of rats was fed a regular standard rodent diet throughout life. This group was also altered to mimic postmenopausal bone loss and analyzed to determine bone loss. The researchers found that the first group of rats had significantly less bone loss compared to the second group of rats.”

Dr. Chen told OTW, “We hypothesized that to ensure bone health, good nutrition and start early should be very important. Our work suggests that appropriate nutrition early in life may help to build peak bone mass, therefore to reduce risk of bone fracture later in adulthood. We hope that our experimental results can be translated into humans.”

This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service.

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