With so many American’s suffering from Obesity, a new discovery with soy protein could help thousands.
A University of Illinois study shows how soy protein could significantly reduce fat accumulation and triglycerides in the livers of obese patients by partially restoring the function of a key signaling pathway in the organ.
“Almost a third of American adults have fatty liver disease, many of them without symptoms,” Hong Chen Hong Chen, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, University of Illinois, was quoted as saying.
“Obesity is a key risk factor for this condition, which can lead to liver failure.Fat is metabolized in the liver, and in those who are obese the transport of fat to adipose tissue can slow down to the point at which the liver becomes a dumping ground for excess fat,” Chen said.
“When fat accumulates in an organ that’s not supposed to store fat - like the liver, that organ’s vital function can be dangerously compromised,” Chen said.
In the study, fat accumulation was compared in the livers of lean and obese rats, which were assigned to either a diet containing casein, a milk-based protein, or a diet containing soy protein, for 17 weeks after weaning.
They found that diet had no effect on the liver profiles of lean animals, the obese rats that were fed soy showed a 20 percent reduction in triglycerides and overall fat accumulation in the liver, leading Chen to believe that soy protein could be used to alleviate the symptoms of fatty liver disease.
In addition, the research team also discovered that soy protein isolate partially restored the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, a necessary player in fat metabolism. “In many obese persons, there’s a sort of traffic problem, and when more fat can make its way out of the liver, there is less pressure on that organ,” Chen was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, April 22, 2012