Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Meet Lunasin

In 1999, based on a meta-analysis of 27 clinical trials, the FDA approved the statement that "25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease". Almost immediately the American Heart Association objected to this claim on the basis that the "mechanism of action" by which soy protein might have such an effect was unknown. In other words, it might or might not have that effect, but since we have no idea how or why let's not make the claim only to find out later that it was simply a misleading correlation and not a cause-effect relationship.

Earlier that same year, Dr. Alfredo Galvez, working at the University of California at Berkeley, discovered that a peptide in the soybean had interesting bioactive properties. The peptide, lunasin, had first been isolated in 1987 and Galvez was investigating its cancer and inflammatory preventive properties. Subsequent work by Galvez and others identified lunasin as the ingredient in soy that was responsible for its cholesterol lowering effect. In November of 2012, Dr. Galvez was invited to present his findings to the annual conference of the American Heart Association, and his conclusions were published by the AHA in their journal Circulation. The mechanism of action for soy protein's cholesterol lowering benefits had been identified.

Lunasin works epigenetically to reduce the expression of the HMG-CoA gene responsible for the production of an enzyme necessary for LDL cholesterol production in the liver. An additional gene who's expression is enhanced by lunasin increases the removal of LDL cholesterol from the vascular system. Together, these epigenetic effects account for the anti-cholesterol properties of lunasin.

Lunasin may thus offer a natural, nutritional alternative to statin drugs, which are taken my millions of Americans and carry a long list of damaging side effects. This problem is that soy beans contain relatively low levels of lunasin, accounting partly for the ambiguity of the results in studies of soy and cholesterol.

A partnership between Dr. Galvez, the Missouri Plant Science Center, Soy Labs, Inc. and Reliv International, using only non-GMO methods, has produced a soy protein containing as much as 200 times the natural level of lunasin. This is now available in Reliv's LunaRich products.

A nutritionally based statin alternative is certainly good news. But Dr Galvez was and continues to be a cancer researcher. Ongoing studies of lunasin hold the real promise to address cancer and inflammation, which is at the root of so many of the things that plague us - allergies, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and more. Introduce yourself to lunasin, and be prepared for more exciting reasearch results.

(Check out this page for a wealth of videos explaining how lunasin works.)

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