Isoflavone supplementation improves blood flow in stroke patients

October 03, 2008

Isoflavones, a powerful group of nutrients found in soybeans, and to a lesser degree in chickpeas and other legumes, can improve artery function in stroke patients, a new clinical study has found. This is the first investigation into the effects of Isoflavone supplementation on the brachial artery, which is the main artery in the arm.
The trial involved 50 patients taking the isoflavone supplement, and 52 on inactive placebo for comparisons sake. Researchers found that after 12 weeks of supplementation with 80mg of Isoflavones per day, there was improved blood flow in this artery, which is especially important in patients who have suffered ischemic stroke -- which is caused by blood clots or other obstructions; this is the most common form of stroke.
"These findings may have important implications for the use of Isoflavone for secondary prevention in patients with cardiovascular disease, on top of conventional treatments," the researchers wrote. The scientists used ultrasound to measure the blood flow in the patients' brachial arteries one minute after removing a tourniquet on their forearms. Eighty percent of the patients began the experiment with an impaired blood flow, but after 12 weeks, there was an improvement in the arteries of the Isoflavone-treated patients compared with those on placebos. The effect was seen even in smokers but it did not work in diabetics. The study is published online ahead of print in the European Heart Journal.