Soy consumption has been associated with many potential health benefits in reducing chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, insulin-resistance/type II diabetes, certain type of cancers, and immune disorders. These physiological functions have been attributed to soy proteins either as intact soy protein or more commonly as functional or bioactive peptides derived from soybean processing. These findings have led to the approval of a health claim in the USA regarding the ability of soy proteins in reducing the risk for coronary heart disease and the acceptance of a health claim in Canada that soy protein can help lower cholesterol levels. Using different approaches, many soy bioactive peptides that have a variety of physiological functions such as hypolipidemic, anti-hypertensive, and anti-cancer properties, and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects have been identified. Some soy peptides like lunasin and soymorphins possess more than one of these properties and play a role in the prevention of multiple chronic diseases. Overall, progress has been made in understanding the functional and bioactive components of soy. However, more studies are required to further identify their target organs, and elucidate their biological mechanisms of action in order to be potentially used as functional foods or even therapeutics for the prevention or treatment of chronic diseases.

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Department of Chemistry

Chatterjee, C. (Cynthia), Gleddie, S. (Stephen), & Xiao, C.-W. (2018). Soybean bioactive peptides and their functional properties. Nutrients (Vol. 10). doi:10.3390/nu10091211