Plasma antioxidant capacity in response to diets high in soy or animal protein with or without isoflavones

Sonia Vega-López, Kyung Jin Yeum, Jaime L. Lecker, Lynne M. Ausman, Elizabeth J. Johnson, Sridevi Devaraj, Ishwarlal Jialal, Alice H. Lichtenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: Several clinical trials have suggested that soy intake decreases oxidative stress. Soy isoflavones have antioxidant properties in vitro, but results of supplementation in clinical trials are inconclusive. Objective: The objective was to evaluate the independent effects of soy protein and soy-derived isoflavones on plasma antioxidant capacity and biomarkers of oxidative stress. Design: Forty-two hypercholesterolemic (LDL cholesterol > 3.36 mmol/L) subjects aged > 50 y were provided with each of 4 diets in random order in a crossover design. Diets varied in protein source (10% of energy, soy or animal) and isoflavone content (trace or 50 mg/1000 kcal) and were consumed for 42 d each. Plasma antioxidants, protein carbonyls, malondialdehyde, total antioxidant performance, LDL oxidizability, and urinary F2-isoprostanes were measured at the end of each dietary phase. Results: Plasma antioxidant concentrations were not significantly different, regardless of dietary treatment, except for isoflavones, which were higher after isoflavone supplementation (P = 0.0001). Although plasma total antioxidant performance was 10% higher with soy protein intake, regardless of dietary isoflavones (P = 0.0003), soy protein did not significantly affect most individual markers of oxidative stress (LDL oxidizability, urinary F 2-isoprostanes, malondialdehyde, or protein carbonyls in native plasma). However, soy protein was associated with modestly lower concentrations of protein carbonyls in oxidized plasma. There was no significant effect of isoflavones on LDL oxidation, urinary F2-isoprostanes, or protein carbonyl groups, although, paradoxically, the plasma malondialdehyde concentration was significantly higher after the isoflavone-rich diets (P = 0.04). Conclusions: Diets relatively high in soy protein or soy-derived isoflavones have little effect on plasma antioxidant capacity and biomarkers of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal protein
  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Isoflavones
  • Oxidative stress
  • Soy protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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