Effects of soy and other natural products on LDL:HDL ratio and other lipid parameters: a literature review

Adv Ther. 2003 Jan-Feb;20(1):50-78. doi: 10.1007/BF02850119.


Abnormal lipid levels contribute significantly to the risk of coronary heart disease, a major cardiovascular disease and a serious health problem. Various dietary and pharmacologic treatments have been devised to reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. Soy protein, soluble fiber, and plant sterol/ester-containing margarines are promising new food-component candidates that may help to realize this goal. Of particular interest in this context is the LDL:HDL ratio, a strong predictor of cardiac events. This report is a review of more than 50 recent trials to determine how such dietary components and garlic affect the LDL:HDL ratio and other lipid parameters. Consumption of new soy products containing high, fixed levels of isoflavones, cotyledon soy fiber, and soy phospholipids (Abaco and Abalon) significantly reduced the LDL:HDL ratio by up to 27%. Soluble dietary fibers such as psyllium and beta glucan from oat bran had a variable effect on LDL-cholesterol levels in the studies analyzed. Plant sterol esters, when consumed in margarines, lowered the LDL:HDL ratio by up to 22%. On average, Abacor and Abalon reduced the LDL:HDL ratio by 20%, LDL cholesterol by 15%, total cholesterol by 10%, and triglycerides by 6%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 5%. The new soy-based supplements may therefore play a valuable role in reducing cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Avena
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / analysis*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / drug effects
  • Cholesterol, LDL / analysis*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diagnosis
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Life Style
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Male
  • Margarine
  • Phytosterols / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Soybean Proteins / administration & dosage*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipids
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Margarine