Soy proteins and peptides boost the activity of LDL receptors that control cholesterol levels in your cells, according to a 2021 article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Certain soy protein peptides also reduce cholesterol production and help cells take in HDL cholesterol. These peptides also bind with bile acids in the liver to further reduce cholesterol. Another soy protein contains peptides that work like cholesterol-lowering medications.
The American Heart Association questioned the FDA’s decision to revoke its health claim regarding the effectiveness of soy protein in reducing cholesterol. A 2019 review of the Journal of the American Heart Association compared the previous research done in 1999 to the evidence the FDA used to question its original claim. In 1999, the average LDL reduction was 6.3 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), and in the research after 1999, this reduction ranged from 4.2 to 6.7 mg/dL. Soy protein can be effective for specific populations that might see their cholesterol levels increasing. A 2019 analysis in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition looked at 46 trials and found that consuming isolated soy protein can significantly reduce total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women.