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Soy Germ-Enriched Pasta Improves Cardiovascular Markers in Diabetes Patients

Aug 18, 2011

A new, soy germ-enriched pasta improves endothelial function, blood pressure, and markers of oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers report.

Dr. Kenneth D. R. Setchell from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio, stated that, “In the treatment of type 2 diabetes, dietary modifications potentially represent a more attractive and cost-effective approach than drugs.” “Presently, this pasta is available in Italy and mainly in the Umbria region where it is produced. It is not yet available in the USA.” 


Dr. Setchell and colleagues from Italy compared the effects of the soy germ-enriched pasta, containing isoflavone aglycons, with conventional pasta on endothelial function and cardiovascular risk markers in a 20-week crossover study of 26 adults with type 2 diabetes. After withdrawals, 20 patients remained for analysis.

Brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation increased by about 5% after consuming soy germ-enriched pasta and decreased after consuming conventional pasta (difference between pastas, p=0.0005).

Although conventional pasta had no effect on blood pressure, systolic blood pressure decreased from 133 mm Hg to 126 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure decreased from 79 mm Hg to 73 mm Hg after consuming soy germ-enriched pasta.

Compared with conventional pasta, soy germ-enriched pasta was associated with significant improvements in several markers of oxidative stress, including total antioxidant capacity, plasma 8-iso-PGF2alpha, and glutathione.

Serum homocysteine concentrations were also lower after consuming soy germ-enriched pasta than after consuming conventional pasta.

Neither pasta brought significant changes in plasma insulin, glucose, or HbA1c levels.

“At the end of the day, pasta is a very healthy food, a good carbohydrate,” Dr. Setchell concluded. “Unfortunately it is not always viewed that way because it is clumped together with carbohydrates in general.”

“The effectiveness of this pasta appears to be because the isoflavones contained within the pasta are mainly in aglycon form,” Dr. Setchell said. “Most of the clinical studies performed in the Western world (particularly the USA) have used soy products that do not have significant levels of isoflavone aglycons and the results have been mixed. This difference may be the fundamental reason this pasta is proving so effective.”

Published online before print July 25, 2011, doi: 10.2337/dc11-0495 Diabetes Care July 25, 2011