HCM Heart Disease May
Worsen with a Soy Diet or Supplements Products
HCM Heart Disease
Soy products may worsen a specific heart disease condition, according to
researchers at the University of Colorado. Heart muscles in people with
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) are considerably thicker than those
without the disease. In this study mice that carried the gene mutation
associated with HCM disease were subjected to different diets.
The researchers were amazed at the impact diet had on heart function.
When the male mice were taken off the soy diets their heart function
significantly improved compared to the mice that continued on the diet.
Female mice with HCM did not show any significant change.
Males are more affected by HCM disease than females. The effects to the
male mice might have been exceptional because females already had large
amounts of estrogen in their bodies. There are estrogen compounds found
in soy products.
The mice that improved were switched from the soy milk to regular milk.
This led the team to believe that the heart deterioration in the male
mice was due, at least in part, to plant-based estrogens. The soy diet
triggered a cascade of biochemical reactions and ultimately increased
apoptosis. Apoptosis is a way cells are programmed to die.
This disease is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people
under the age of 30. It affects 1 in 500 people although milder forms
of the disease often go undiagnosed. CU-Boulder Professor Leslie
Leinwand said “Male mice carrying the mutation for hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy, or HCM, were severely affected by the soy diet,
exhibiting progressively enlarged heart muscles and eventual heart
Leinwand said that normal healthy people should not be alarmed by the
news but “we are seeing more cautionary reactions from the medical
community in recent years regarding the ingestion of huge quantities of
dietary supplements, including soy phytoestrogens." Soy supplements are
a $4.7 billion industry.
So far, 18 genes associated with HCM have been identified and several
more are being investigated, she said. "To our knowledge this is the
first report of significant differences in cardiac muscle adaptation due
to dietary manipulation," the researchers wrote in JCI.
Dr. Leinwand went
on to say "This study shows that at least in mice, diet can have a more
profound effect on heart disease than any drug that we could imagine.”
The investigation appears in the January issue of the Journal of
Currently, the main treatment for end-stage HCM is a heart transplant,
she said. The CU-Boulder study was funded by a grant from the Heart,
Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the
American Heart Association.
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