Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is an anabolic hormone important for growth and development. However, high-circulating serum concentrations in adults are associated with increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Nutritional status and specific foods influence serum IGF-1 concentrations. Breast cancer incidence is typically low in Asian countries where soy is commonly consumed. Paradoxically, soy supplement trials in American women have reported significant increases in IGF-1. Seaweed also is consumed regularly in Asian countries where breast cancer risk is low. We investigated the possibility that seaweed could modify soy-associated increases in IGF-1 in American women. Thirty healthy postmenopausal women (mean age 58 yr) participated in this 14-wk double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial. Participants consumed 5 g/day placebo or seaweed (Alaria esculenta) in capsules for 7 wk. During the 7th wk, a high-soy protein isolate powder was added (2 mg/kg body weight aglycone equivalent isoflavones). Overnight fasting blood samples were collected after each intervention period. Soy significantly increased serum IGF-1 concentrations compared to the placebo (21.2 nmol/L for soy vs. 16.9 nmol/L for placebo; P = 0.0001). The combination of seaweed and soy significantly reduced this increase by about 40% (21.2 nmol/L for soy alone vs. 19.4 nmol/L; P = 0.01). Concurrent seaweed and soy consumption may be important in modifying the effect of soy on IGF-1 serum concentrations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by grants to JT from the Susan G Komen Foundation (Grant 9735) and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under DAMD 17-98-1-8207. The soy protein isolate was donated by Solae, LLC (formerly Protein Technologies, Inc., St. Louis, MO). Dr. Hébert was supported by an Established Investigator Award in Cancer Prevention and Control from the Cancer Training Branch of the National Cancer Institute (K05 CA136975).