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Study: Soy protein does not reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO, Ill. — Soy protein supplements, which contain natural estrogens, do not reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes who already have borderline-low testosterone, according to a new study. The results were presented Saturday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

“Because soy contains phytoestrogens that are similar to the female hormone estrogen, it was not known whether consumption of soy could reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes, who are at increased risk of low testosterone,” stated the study’s lead investigator, Thozhukat Sathyapalan, an endocrinologist researcher at Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom.

“It was important to know this because prior studies have found that daily consumption of soy reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Our study found that soy protein and phytoestrogen supplementation is safe in diabetic men and may improve their diabetes control and their risk factors for heart disease.” 

Their study included 210 men ages 55 years to 70 years who had Type 2 diabetes and a borderline-low total testosterone level: less than or equal to 12 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or 345.8 nanograms per deciliter. For three months, the men ate two cereal bars a day, each containing 30 g of soy protein. The bars in one group of 100 men contained 66 mg of soy phytoestrogens, which is equivalent to the amount in soy supplements or in a typical Southeast Asian diet. The second group of 100 men received soy protein bars in which phytoestrogens were removed. Patients were asked to avoid eating foods containing soy.

The men had testosterone blood tests before and after treatment at the same time of day. Both groups experienced an increase in total testosterone level, the investigators reported. On average, testosterone level increased from 9.8 nmol/L to 11.3 nmol/L in the soy protein-phytoestrogen group and from 9.2 nmol/L to 10.3 nmol/L in the group receiving only soy protein.

Sathyapalan said it is unclear why testosterone levels rose, but it could be a direct effect of soy.

Soy protein with phytoestrogens also improved diabetes control much better than did soy protein alone. Specifically, the first group significantly lowered their fasting blood glucose (sugar) levels and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood-sugar control over the past three months, as well as fasting insulin levels and estimated insulin resistance, which showed an improved use of the hormone insulin. Neither group lost or gained weight, according to Sathyapalan.

In addition, the phytoestrogen-containing soy protein reportedly led to better improvements in certain cardiovascular risk factors, he said. These included triglycerides — a type of fat in the blood — and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, which measures inflammation in the body and is a predictor of heart disease risk. Total cholesterol and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels rose (i.e., worsened) in both groups but not enough to be statistically significant, according to Sathyapalan.

Both soy protein supplements significantly improved diastolic blood pressure (i.e., the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) but not systolic blood pressure (i.e., the top number).

 

 

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Performance Health acquires TheraPearl

BY Ryan Chavis

AKRON, Ohio — Performance Health, the manufacturer and marketer behind TheraBand, Biofreeze, Perform, Cramer, Bon Vital’ and Hygenic products, last week announced that it acquired TheraPearl, the creator of hot and cold therapy products.

“TheraPearl brings proven strength and additional scale to our emerging retail business,” stated Marshall Dahneke, president and CEO of Performance Health. “The alignment for us is both natural and exciting as Performance Health is well-positioned to introduce and promote TheraPearl’s unique portfolio more broadly while TheraPearls’s emphasis on resolving pain and promoting wellness is entirely aligned with our other key brands. Combining their strengths and momentum with the rest of our business will lead to better and more comprehensive solutions for all of the customers we serve.”

TheraPearl recently ranked 41st on Forbe’s list of most promising companies. The company will continue to operate from its headquarters in Maryland.

“TheraPearl is excited to join Performance Health and its portfolio of brands that share the common goal of offering innovative wellness products,” said Daniel Baumwald, president of TheraPearl. “In just six years, TheraPearl has experienced substantial growth by developing a successful product pipeline that appeals to both retailers and consumers. As part of Performance Health, we hope to continue that growth by gaining greater access to channels that reach the healthcare practitioner community.”

 

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PhRMA: 435 medicines in development targeting diabetes and other chronic conditions

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 435 innovative new medicines to target 15 leading chronic conditions affecting the Medicare population, according to a new report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America last week.

These medicines in development — all either in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration — are diverse in scope. They include:

  • 110 for diabetes, which affects 10.9 million Americans age 65 and older;
  • 62 for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which affect 1.5 million and 27 million Americans respectively;
  • 67 for Alzheimer’s disease, which could affect 15 million people in the United States by 2050 if no new medicines are found to prevent, delay or stop the progression of the disease;
  • 61 for heart disease — heart failure, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and high cholesterol; and
  • 40 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which affects approximately 13 million adults, with the highest prevalence rate in those older than 65 years.

Today nearly 92% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two, according to the National Council on Aging.

“Treatment advances have led to significant progress against many chronic diseases, but challenges remain,” stated PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani. “The 435 medicines in the pipeline today offer incredible hope for aging patients and the sustainability of our healthcare system.”

According to NCOA, chronic diseases account for 75% of the money our nation spends on health care, with direct healthcare expenditures for chronic conditions in the United States totaling more than $262 billion in 2009. Among older Americans, 95% of healthcare costs are for chronic diseases, with the cost of providing health care for one person 65 or older being three to five times higher than the cost for someone younger than 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new report conveys a variety of novel approaches to treat many of these disorders. Examples include:

  • A potential new class of lipid-lowering treatments that would block a protein from interfering with the removal of LDL cholesterol from the blood;
  • A medicine in development for heart failure that relaxes blood vessels and reduces fluid buildup, which could reduce damage to the heart and other vital organs related to the damage associated with heart failure;
  • A next-generation, long-acting oral medicine to treat Type 2 diabetes that increases insulin secretion resulting in lower blood sugar levels, making it potentially a once-weekly versus daily treatment; and
  • A potential first-in-class medicine for Alzheimer’s disease that inhibits beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme (BACE), that could reduce plaque formation and modify Alzheimer’s disease progression.

 

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