Snack Size Science: Soy’s promise for long-life

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Snack size science, Nutrition, Wine

NutraIngredient’s Snack Size Science brings you the week's top science every two weeks. This week we look at the potential of soy to slow the ageing process and extend lifespan.

Below is a transcript of this podcast:

This is NutraIngredients’s Snack Size Science​. I’m Stephen Daniells - bringing you the week’s top science in digestible amounts.

This week we search for the fountain of eternal youth. The key to living longer, healthier lives has been the focus for many a research group around the world. And if results of studies with yeast, flatworms, mice, and monkeys are anything to go by, eating a low-energy diet may be one way of getting there.

Another approach attracting interest involves resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine. Both calorie-restriction and resveratrol appear to work by switching on a gene called sirtuin1 linked to longer life.

According to an article in Nutrition Bulletin​, another pretender to the anti-ageing crown may be compounds in soy called isoflavones. Early observations from scientists at Newcastle University in the UK indicate that the isoflavones may share many of resveratrol’s functional properties, including the ability to switch on the longevity gene.

Looking east to the Japanese island of Okinawa, they note that the islanders’ long life and healthy ageing has often been linked to their low-energy diet. However, the principal source of protein in this diet is soy, an observation that speculatively suggests that isoflavones may be boosting life spans.

Despite these feasible links, it is not known if soy could produce similar effects in Western populations eating a Western diet. Testing the link looks like it will live long in research circles for many years to come.

For NutraIngredients’ Snack Size Science​, I’m Stephen Daniells.

Related topics: Research, Suppliers, Soya-based ingredients

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