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Soya-isoflavone supplement smoothes your skin

A supplement containing just a modest amount of isoflavones from soya reduces the number of wrinkles in the skin and also makes the skin more elastic, Japanese researchers at the Kikkoman Corporation, a soya sauce manufacturer, discovered.

Soya-isoflavone supplement smoothes your skin
Isoflavones are phyto-oestrogen compounds found in soya beans. They interact in the body with the beta-receptor for estradiol and thus bring about the desired effects that estradiol has: improved cholesterol levels, increased manufacture of bone tissue and fewer menopause complaints. What's more, they reduce the risk of undesirable effects of oestrogens, such as the increased risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Cosmetics manufacturers also add isoflavones to their products. This is because in test-tube studies isoflavones stimulate the development of skin cells, they reduce the breakdown of collagen and prevent fats in the skin from turning into aggressive compounds. The Japanese researchers wanted to know whether soya-isoflavones could reduce the formation of wrinkles in the skin. Japanese women are particularly concerned about wrinkles around the eyes, so that's what the researchers concentrated on.

The Japanese recruited two dozen women all aged around forty. They gave one half a supplement and the other half a placebo. The women in the supplement group took 40 mg of aglycone soya-isoflavones daily for twelve weeks. Aglycone means that there were no sugar groups attached to the isoflavones. For most soya supplements on the market you have to take about one gram of extract to make sure that you get 40 mg of non-sugared isoflavones.

The researchers found no effect on the large wrinkles around the eyes. But the number of small wrinkles in the corner of the eyes did decrease during the experiment. See the graph below. In the group that took the supplement, the wrinkled surface area decreased; in the placebo group the area increased.

Soya-isoflavone supplement smoothes your skin

It looks as though the supplement also improved the elasticity of the skin. The researchers measured this by pulling gently at the skin near the eyes and then seeing how quickly it returned to its original position.

Soya-isoflavone supplement smoothes your skin

That diet can help to slow down wrinkling is not a new discovery. Epidemiologists have published evidence that a diet rich in vegetables, olive oil and fish can delay the onset of wrinkles compared to other diets. A diet rich in beans also seems to protect the skin. This is the first time that the effect of soya on wrinkles has been studied.

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2007 Feb;53(1):57-62.

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