Soy Protein, Thyroid Regulation and Cholesterol-Metabolism
Nutrition and Food Systems
The effects of dietary protein on plasma cholesterol concentrations are well documented: animal proteins (casein) are hypercholesterolemic compared with plant proteins (soy protein). Although this effect of protein source on plasma cholesterol has been shown in many species, the mechanism is not completely understood. This paper reviews the relationship between dietary protein source and plasma thyroxine concentration. The basic premise is that feeding soy protein lowers plasma cholesterol concentration by causing an increase in plasma thyroxine concentrations. The metabolic changes involving cholesterol that occur when soy protein is fed are discussed. These changes are consistent with changes induced by elevating thyroxine. Data are presented from animal studies showing that feeding soy protein to laboratory animals consistently elevates plasma thyroxine concentrations. Furthermore, this elevation in plasma thyroxine concentrations precedes the change in plasma cholesterol concentrations: a necessary requirement for hypothesizing a causative effect. Possible mechanisms as to how a dietary protein source affects plasma thyroxine are also presented.
Journal of Nutrition
(1995). Soy Protein, Thyroid Regulation and Cholesterol-Metabolism. Journal of Nutrition, 125(3), S619-S623.
Available at: http://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/5806