Superfood soy linked to reduction in smoker's lung damage risk

June 25, 2009

People who eat lots of soy products have better lung function and are less likely to develop the smoking-associated lung disease COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). A study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Respiratory Research has shown that consumption of a wide variety of soy products can be associated with a reduction in the risk of COPD and other respiratory symptoms.

Dr. Fumi Hirayama and Professor Andy Lee from Curtin University of Technology, Australia, worked with a team of respiratory physicians to poll 300 patients with COPD from six Japanese hospitals and 340 age-matched control subjects from the same areas as the patients about their soy intake. Dr. Hirayama said, "Soy consumption was found to be positively correlated with lung function and inversely associated with the risk of COPD. It has been suggested that flavonoids from soy foods act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the lung, and can protect against tobacco carcinogens for smokers. However, further research is needed to understand the underlying biological mechanism".

Soy is a constituent of many Japanese foods, including tofu (soybean curd), natto (fermented soybeans), miso soup (fermented soybean paste), bean sprouts and soy milk. It has been claimed that soy foods reduce cholesterol and can alleviate menopause symptoms. This is the first study to demonstrate the association between consumption of the superfood and a reduction in the risk of developing COPD.

COPD is characterized by progressive decline in lung function, and encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term cigarette smoking causes almost 90% of COPD. This research only shows an association between soy intake and a reduced risk of developing the condition; the best preventive measure is still to abstain from tobacco entirely.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this release are the researchers' own, and not necessarily those of Respiratory Research or BioMed Central.

Notes to Editors

1. Soy consumption and risk of COPD and respiratory symptoms: a case-control study in Japan
Fumi Hirayama, Andy H Lee, Colin W Binns, Yun Zhao, Tetsuo Hiramatsu, Yoshimasa Tanikawa, Koichi Nishimura and Hiroyuki Taniguchi
Respiratory Research (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://respiratory-research.com/imedia/9838383512484121_article.pdf?random=614384
After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://respiratory-research.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Respiratory Research is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal that considers manuscripts on all aspects of respiratory function and disease.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

BioMed Central

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