Genistein, a soya-based supplement, when consumed regularly, in combination with vitamin D and calcium helps in preventing heart diseases.
Genistein, an isoflavone, found in low concentrations in soya beans and in elevated amounts in certain soya-derived food, has received wide attention during the last couple of years, due to its preventive role for cardio-vascular ailments. It has been even believed, that Genistein, has a positive effect on blood sugar metabolism, and may even prevent onset of diabetes. When combined with vitamin D and calcium, it has been found to be beneficial for post-menopausal women.
Researchers at the University of Messina, in Italy, studied 400 healthy women, in the average age-group of 54, who had attained menopause. The women followed identical, fat-restricted diets, and avoided eating soya products for four weeks, before beginning supplements. They were also prevented from using hormone replacement therapy, usually done for preventing bone loss.
While half of the women were given daily supplements of 54mg of purified Genistein, the others were given identical placebo supplements. All supplements also contained calcium and vitamin D. The women were put on a healthy diet for two years of study. After 24 months, their blood lipid profiles, fasting glucose, insulin resistance and fibrinogen and other markers were measured.
In comparison to the placebo group, Genistein reduced fasting glucose and insulin resistance, and a combination of Genistein with calcium and vitamin D and a healthy diet, showed positive therapeutic effects against onset of heart disease. The cholesterol levels however, remained the same, in both the groups.
The researchers thus concluded that, Genistein supplements can prevent development of coronary artery disease in postmenopausal women.