Could soy isoflavones extend life?

Soy isoflavones may activate anti-ageing proteins and lead to an extension of life, suggests preliminary research from Newcastle University in the UK.
Scientists at the university’s Human Nutrition Research Centre and Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences at Newcastle University report that the soy isoflavone daidzein may activate a protein called sirtuin1 (Sirt1), previously linked to the regulation of ageing and longevity.
“The concentration of daidzein that elicited [the Sirt1] response (100 mmol) exceeds achievable plasma concentrations but is not unrealistic with respect to local intestinal concentrations following consumption of isoflavone-rich foods or isoflavone supplements,” wrote the researchers in Nutrition Bulletin.
“The long life expectancy and healthy ageing observed in the inhabitants of Okinawa Island in Japan, who in past years consumed a low-energy diet, is often cited as evidence supporting a longevity effect of energy restriction in humans,” they added.
“It is of interest to note that soya provided the principal source of protein in this diet, raising the possibility that some beneficial effects of the diet relevant to healthy ageing and long lifespan may, speculatively, have been the result of soybean isoflavones potentiating effects mediated through the activity of Sirt1.”
Despite these feasible links, the researchers stressed that “extensive further investigation is required to confirm such effects”.
By Stephen Daniells, 11-Sep-2009
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