Soy Diet Speeds Heart Failure in Mice With Mutant Gene

Casein-based diet stops progression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in male mice; females not affected

FRIDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Male mice carrying a mutation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) are severely affected by a soy diet, but progression of heart failure stops when they are switched to a casein-based diet, researchers report in the January issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Brian L. Stauffer, M.D., of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues fed male and female mice a soy-based diet, which caused the males to exhibit progressively enlarged heart muscles and eventual heart failure. But when the males were switched to a diet of the milk protein casein, their condition improved markedly, the researchers found.

The milk protein-based diet radically improved disease indicators and cardiac function, according to the authors, who added that switching from soy to casein preserves left ventricular function in male mice with the mutation. Female mice were relatively unaffected, the researchers found.

"We were shocked by the results, said co-author Leslie A. Leinwand, M.D., in a statement. "This study shows that at least in mice, diet can have a more profound effect on heart disease than any drug that we could imagine." HCM is the leading cause of death in young athletes and affects about one in 500 people.

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