Soy provides modest benefits on endothelial function without affecting inflammatory biomarkers in adults at cardiometabolic risk

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Feb;59(2):323-33. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400270. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Scope: Systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and oxidative stress are involved in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Epidemiological evidence supports an association between whole soy food consumption and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The objective of this randomized, controlled, cross-over study was to evaluate the effects of soy nut consumption on inflammatory biomarkers and endothelial function and to assess whether isoflavone metabolism to secondary products, equol, and/or O-desmethylangolensin (ODMA), modifies these responses.

Methods and results: n = 17 adults at cardiometabolic risk were randomly assigned to the order of two snack interventions, soy nuts, and macronutrient-matched control snack, for four weeks each, separated by a two week washout period. Outcome measures included biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycemic control (ELISA and clinical analyzers), endothelial function, and arterial stiffness (peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT)), and isoflavone metabolites (LC-MS/MS). Results revealed that consuming soy nuts improved arterial stiffness as assessed by the augmentation index using PAT (p = 0.03), despite lack of improvement in inflammatory biomarkers. Addition of equol and/or ODMA production status as covariates did not significantly change these results.

Conclusion: Soy nuts when added to a usual diet for one month provide some benefit on arterial stiffness in adults at cardiometabolic risk.

Keywords: Cardiometabolic risk; Endothelial function; Inflammation; Isoflavone; Soy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Endothelium / physiology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Equol / blood
  • Equol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Isoflavones / blood
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuts
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Soybeans / chemistry*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Isoflavones
  • Equol
  • O-desmethylangolensin