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Soy Protein May Alleviate Osteoarthritis Symptoms –

There are a number of studies that suggest serving soy may alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms, here are two with some interesting findings. In early 2002, at the American Pain Society, researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore concluded that a diet rich in soy that reduced pain and swelling in rats may one day be used by humans to manage chronic pain. In the study, scientists found that rats fed a soy based diet experienced “significantly less” swelling and were able to tolerate more pain than the other test group given milk protein. The pain tolerance was determined by assessing how long rats could endure pressure and heat stimulus before removing their paw from the heat supply. Then, in 2004, a study on humans showed a diet of soy protein helped alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms.

The Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, conducted a study on soy protein and osteoarthritis. The study evaluated the efficacy of soy protein in relieving the pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. One hundred and thirty-five people (64 men and 71 women) with osteoarthritis or with self-reported chronic knee joint pain not attributed to injury or rheumatoid arthritis were recruited for this double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel design study. Study participants were assigned randomly to consume 40 g of either supplemental soy protein or milk-based protein daily for 3 months. Pain, knee range of motion, and overall physical activity were evaluated prior to the start of treatment and monthly thereafter. Overall, soy protein improved osteoarthritis associated symptoms such as range of motion and several factors associated with pain and quality of life in comparison to milk protein. However, these beneficial effects were mainly due to the effect of soy protein in men rather than women. While it is not known why men and women responded differently in this study, it may have something to do with the differences between sexes in estrogen levels and in the density of estrogen receptors.

Common sources of soy protein include roasted soybeans, green soybeans, soy flour, tempeh, tofu, tofu yogurt, soy hot dogs, miso, soy butter, soy nut butter, edamame soy beans, soy ice cream, soy milk, soy yogurt, tofu pups®, soy cheese, bean curd, seitan, and soy noodles. Soybean flour is found in Spanish sausage products (chorizo, salchichon, mortadella, and boiled ham), doughnuts, and soup stock cubes. Although processed soy foods (e.g., veggie burgers, tofu pups, meatless dinner entrees, chicken-free nuggets, soy “ice creams” and energy bars) are usually high in protein, they typically contain lower levels of isoflavones. An easy way to get your soy protein is to buy soy protein powder (it comes in a large container for $10-12 and has at least 15 servings) at your supermarket in the vitamin section. Adding soy protein to your diet is an excellent way to manage your pain and swelling if you suffer from osteoarthritis.

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