Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Soy Reduces Diabetes Risk

Date:
October 7, 2009
Source:
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Summary:
Nutrition scientists have identified the molecular pathway that allows foods rich in soy bioactive compounds called isoflavones to lower diabetes and heart disease risk. Eating soy foods has been shown to lower cholesterol, decrease blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.

Soy products. Nutrition scientists have identified the molecular pathway that allows foods rich in soy bioactive compounds called isoflavones to lower diabetes and heart disease risk. Eating soy foods has been shown to lower cholesterol, decrease blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.
Credit: iStockphoto/Diane Labombarbe

Nutrition scientists led by Young-Cheul Kim at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have identified the molecular pathway that allows foods rich in soy bioactive compounds called isoflavones to lower diabetes and heart disease risk. Eating soy foods has been shown to lower cholesterol, decrease blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.

According to Kim, the study shows that “what we eat can have tremendous impact on health outcomes by interacting with certain genes. Recent research also suggests that diet can even change the copy number of a certain gene, leading to biological changes.”

Soy is the most common source of isoflavones in food. In experiments with mouse cells, Kim, a molecular nutrition researcher who studies how fat cells develop in the body, and colleagues, focused on daidzein, one of the two main isoflavones found in soy. Many epidemiological observations and human clinical studies have shown that adding soy to one’s diet is associated with lower diabetes risk and improved insulin sensitivity, as well as lower cardiovascular disease risk, Kim notes. However, until now the direct target tissue and molecular pathways by which soy exerts its anti-diabetic effects was not clearly understood.

Kim and colleagues at Southern Illinois University, with others at the universities of Tennessee and Florida, had earlier found that dietary isoflavones reduced the severity of diabetes in an animal model of the disease by increasing the activity of certain transcription regulators in the fat tissue. For the current study, they hypothesized that daidzein and its metabolite, equol, are part of this activation process.

They found that daidzein and equol enhanced adipocyte differentiation, or the formation of fat cells, through activation of a key transcription regulator, the same receptor that mediates the insulin-sensitizing effects of anti-diabetes drugs. Thus, daidzein and equol daidzein and equol seem to work in a similar manner as anti-diabetic drugs currently in the market. Their findings are reported in a September online version of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

“Our results suggest that soy isoflavones exert anti-diabetic effects by targeting fat cell-specific transcription factors and the downstream signaling molecules that are important for glucose uptake and thus insulin sensitivity,” Kim notes. “The new findings help us to understand the cellular mechanisms.” That is, how these biologically active compounds in soy interact to regulate and initiate metabolic and biological functions.

Results demonstrate that daidzein and equol enhance adipocyte differentiation by activating a specific receptor. The downstream responses include increased expression of three proteins, resulting in enhanced glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity.

“Although some details remain to be worked out, our data provide an additional molecular basis for the mechanism of insulin-sensitizing action by soy isoflavones,” says Kim. “These new findings help fill a critical gap between epidemiological observations and clinical studies on the anti-diabetic benefits of dietary soy.”

Future studies will extend the work to primary cultures of human cells through collaboration with researchers at Pioneer Valley Life Science Institute and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. If replicated, studies can move on to further work in whole body systems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts Amherst. "How Soy Reduces Diabetes Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006120510.htm>.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. (2009, October 7). How Soy Reduces Diabetes Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006120510.htm
University of Massachusetts Amherst. "How Soy Reduces Diabetes Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006120510.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins