By: 2 January 2017
Soy protein early in life may help prevent bone loss in adulthood

Consumption of soy protein early in life might be key to the development of strong, healthy bones in adulthood, according to new research published online in The FASEB Journal.

The study reports that early dietary nutrition heavy in soy protein isolate can protect against serious bone loss during adulthood. The groundbreaking research used an animal model to show for the first time the protective effect of an early soy-based diet on adult bone loss.

“Appropriate early-life nutrition can optimise peak bone mass,” said Jin-Ran Chen, from the Skeletal Development Laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “Consumption of soy foods has a variety of health benefits, including amelioration of bone loss during adulthood.”

Chen and colleagues used a very young female rat model. One group of rats was fed a soy protein isolate diet for 30 days (from postnatal day 24 to 55), and then was switched to a regular standard rodent diet until six months of age. The rats were altered to mimic postmenopausal bone loss in women to determine the amount of bone loss. The second group of rats was fed a regular standard rodent diet throughout life. This group was also altered to mimic postmenopausal bone loss and analysed to determine bone loss.

“The centuries-old mantra that children need milk to ‘grow strong bones’ remains true, but here we have evidence that the protein components of soy ‘milk’ have key osteogenic effects,” said Thoru Pederson, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “This finding could ultimately have major paediatric health impacts throughout various parts of the world.”


Reference: Chen, J.-R., et al. (2016) Dietary factors during early life program bone formation in female rats. FASEB J. doi: 10.1096/fj.201600703R.

Source: Medical News Today