Soy Nutrition Institute
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Jul 09, 2013

Isoflavone-fortified pasta improves gastric emptying

Gastroparesis is a symptomatic chronic debilitating disorder of the stomach, characterized by delayed gastric emptying of solid and semisolid foods. Normally, the muscles of the stomach, which are controlled by the vagus nerve, contract to break up food and move it through the gastrointestinal tract. Diabetes is the most common known cause of gastroparesis. It affects 30–50% of patients with longstanding type 2 diabetes. Over time, it is thought that high blood glucose levels can damage the vagus nerve thereby leading to delayed gastric emptying. New research from Italy suggests that isoflavones may be of great benefit to patients with gastroparesis. For this study, patients with diabetes were enrolled into two groups. One group, comprised of 5 patients, consumed one serving per day of pasta fortified with 33 mg soybean isoflavones for 8 weeks. After not consuming any pasta for 4 weeks, the patients consumed a conventional pasta for 8 weeks. The other group of 5 patients consumed these pastas in reverse sequence. The two pastas were indistinguishable from one another. The results showed that the gastric emptying time measured at the beginning of the study was longer than the upper limit of normal, confirming the patients had gastroparesis. However, when consuming the isoflavone-fortified pasta, gastric emptying time was reduced from 161 minutes down to 112 minutes, a difference that was statistically significant. The authors speculated that isoflavones, when in contact with the lining of the stomach affect prostaglandin synthesis, which in turn, increases motility. Their view is that the isoflavone-fortified pasta warrants consideration in the management of gastroparesis, especially given that there is currently no effective pharmacologic therapy. Setchell KD, Nardi E, Battezzati PM, et al. Novel soy germ pasta enriched in isoflavones ameliorates gastroparesis in Type 2 diabetes: A pilot study. Diabetes Care 2013;