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Research Shows Soy, Tea, and B Vitamins Protect the Heart

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www.ProHealth.com • September 15, 2003


BETHESDA, Md.--In the September issue of the Journal of Nutrition (www.nutrition.org), several studies covered the benefits of natural products in heart health. Specifically, investigators discussed soyfood and tea consumption, as well as B vitamin supplements, and their roles in protecting various facets of heart health.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., said they found direct evidence linking soyfood intake with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in women (133, 9:2874-8, 2003). They analyzed data from the Shanghai Women's Health Study, a population-based prospective cohort of 64,915 women with no previously diagnosed CHD, stroke, cancer or diabetes at baseline.

After an average 2.5 years of follow-up, researchers recorded 62 incident cases of CHD--43 nonfatal heart attacks and 19 CHD-related deaths. Researchers noted a "clear monotonic dose-response relationship between soyfood intake and risk of total CHD" for women in the highest quartile of soy protein intake compared to the lowest. The inverse relationship was particularly apparent for nonfatal heart attacks.

Tea and its polyphenols also seem to have a protective effect on women's heart health, according to researchers at the University of Western Australia School of Medicine in Perth (133, 9:2883-6, 2003).

They investigated the relationship between tea intake and blood pressure in a cross-sectional study of 218 women, all of whom were older than 70. Higher intake and higher 4-O-methylgallic acid secretion (a marker of exposure to tea-derived polyphenols) were linked to significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Researchers noted women who increased tea consumption by one cup (250 mL/d) exhibited a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, indicating long-term ingestion of tea may favorably affect blood pressure in older women.

For men's heart health, B vitamins seem to hold promise, according to a study out of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston (133, 9:2863-7, 2003). Researchers reviewed data from 46,036 men and, during 12 years of follow-up, documented 308 cases of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which can affect the abdominal aorta and its major branches and often occurs concurrently with atherosclerosis.

Researchers found that for each 400 mcg/d increment of folic acid intake, PAD risk decreased by 21 percent, and men with the highest folate intake had a 33-percent lower risk of PAD than men with the lowest intake. There were also weak inverse associations between intakes of vitamins B6 and B12 and PAD risk.

Source: Natural Products Industry Insider, 9/2/03.



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