|Soy products are beneficial to cardiovascular and overall health because of their high content of protein, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and biologically active compounds called phytochemicals. They also have a low content of saturated fat.1
Soy protein and isoflavones (phytoestrogens) have gained considerable attention for their potential role in promoting cardiovascular health. Clinical trials and animal studies showed that ingestion of soy proteins helps maintain healthy blood lipid profiles, including helping maintain triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol levels already within normal range.2-4
The three major isoflavones found in soybeans are genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. Other isoflavones found in soy include diadzin, glycitein, glycitin. Soy isoflavones exert both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects, depending on the tissue in which they are acting.5,6 They are structurally similar to 17-estradiol, a mammalian estrogen, and are thus called phytoestrogens. They also have non-hormonal effects, including signal transduction and antioxidant activity.7,8 Soy isoflavones may inhibit bone resorption and help stimulate bone formation,9 without the side effects of hormone replacement therapy.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of basic science, clinical, and nutritional studies investigating the potential health effects of phytoestrogens.10 Genistein is the most abundant phytoestrogen, derived almost entirely from soybeans, and is considered to be the most biologically active. In postmenopausal women in the U.S.A., the daily intake of genistein is only about one mg per day.11 Japanese women, who have the longest life span in the world, consume about 50 mg per day.12 For health benefits, many more people are adding soy to their daily supplement regimen and diet.
The beneficial effects of genistein and other soy isoflavones have been shown in numerous published studies. These studies reveal that those who consume the most soy maintain healthier cell biological function and proliferation.9,13-18 Other constituents of soy have also demonstrated effects that help explain the health and longevity of Asian populations who consume a great deal of soy in their diet. In response to increasing evidence that other constituents of soy may provide significant cell-protective effects, a formulation has been developed that provides soy extract standardized to isoflavones plus fermented soybeans (Natto) that may provide additional benefits. Natto enhances isoflavone absorption and provides other nutrients contributed by the fermentation process.19,20
Ultra Soy Extract contains non-GMO Soynatto fermented soy food and has been reformulated with soybean extract standardized to isoflavones.