“A growing body of research shows that the lunasin peptide is one of the most important bioactive components of soy,” said Dr. Alfredo Galvez, the MPSC’s lead scientific advisor. “In creating LunaRich® for Reliv, we have maximized lunasin levels in a soy powder.” The amount of lunasin in soybeans varies significantly based on seed, soil and environment. The MPSC refines specially selected soybeans grown exclusively for Reliv to maximize levels of lunasin in LunaRich®.
Dr. Galvez first discovered lunasin in 1996 during research at UC Berkley to improve the nutritional profile of soy protein. More than 40 peer-reviewed and published studies have documented lunasin’s health benefits. Research by 21 institutions supported by 27 public and private funding sources has resulted in nine patents.
“This is a significant step forward for Reliv and for nutrition science. LunaRich® is an extraordinary ingredient with solid clinical data behind it,” said Dr. Carl W. Hastings, Reliv’s chief scientific officer. “As scientists learn more about the mechanisms that make soy a nutritional superfood, Reliv is proud to lead the way in making the fruits of these discoveries available to all.”
Q. How are seeds selected for the use of LunaRich®?
The LunaRich germ plasm soybean screening is conducted at the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology (NCSB), located in the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri campus. Dr. Henry Nguyen and his staff have created a database of the traits of thousands of varieties of soybeans. Only those seed varieties that have the highest concentration of lunasin, the naturally occurring peptide behind many of soy’s remarkable health benefits, are selected for use in LunaRich.
These specific varieties are continually being enhanced through natural plant breeding, so each successive seed harvest yields even higher lunasin levels. That means that all soybeans used in LunaRich® are non-GMO, of the absolute highest quality and only getting better!
Q: How does LunaRich® compare to other approaches to cholesterol management?
holesterol management starts with proper diet and exercise. And LunaRich® can play a significant role in that, by delivering elevated amounts of bioactive lunasin through Reliv shakes.
Lunasin works at an earlier stage in the cholesterol production process than prescription statins. Lunasin reduces — without entirely stopping — the expression of the HMG-CoA Reductase gene, whereas statin drugs work by blocking the HMG-CoA Reductase enzyme after it has been produced. Statin drugs can oftentimes be too efficient and block too much of the HMG-CoA enzyme. As a result, serious side effects can occur because some cholesterol is required by the body for certain necessary cellular functions, such as maintaining cell membrane integrity and hormone production.
Some people do require statins to maintain good health, however, and it is important to consult your physician before starting or altering any cholesterol management program.
Q: How is LunaRich® able to deliver 5-10 times as much lunasin as ordinary soy powders?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the bioavailable lunasin content of LunaRich®. As previously mentioned, we begin with the germ plasm screening to select only those varieties of soybeans that naturally contain the highest lunasin content. The manufacturing technology used to produce LunaRich® is also critical. This proprietary process does not use any harsh chemicals that could destroy or wash away the peptide. Many soy powders are manufactured through a chemical extraction method; however, LunaRich® is manufactured using only mechanical extraction to separate the various soy components.
Q: How does LunaRich® make the lunasin molecules more bioavailable?
Once we identified that a protective shell of protease inhibitors was necessary to deliver the bioavailable Lunasin content, we refined the manufacturing process to assure the integrity of the protease inhibitors is maintained throughout. At the Missouri Plant Science Center, we have total control over the manufacturing process and therefore can be certain that the lunasin in LunaRich® comes in a form that can be readily absorbed by the body.
Q: What is the truth about soy?
xciting new discoveries are revealing soy’s mounting health benefits, and much of the excitement centers around lunasin, a naturally occurring soy peptide. Soy’s cholesterol-lowering properties, which are supported by an FDA health claim, can now be attributed to lunasin.
In fact, the American Heart Association, which once petitioned the repeal of the FDA’s health claim, recently invited Dr. Alfredo Galvez, the scientist who discovered lunasin, to present at its national convention.
Lunasin is now one of the most heavily researched and scientifically supported nutritional compounds available today. Since it was discovered in 1996, 50+ published studies have shown its multiple health benefits, including inflammation, improved immunity and overall cellular health.
And for those looking to incorporate more antioxidants in your diet, you’re in luck. Lunasin also demonstrates an ability to:
- reduce the oxidation of linoleic acid that produces oxygen radicals
- act like an oxygen radical scavenger
- reduce oxygen radicals produced by macrophages (highly specialized cells that remove dying or dead cells and cellular debris)
Soy foods are also an excellent source of protein, and many are also good sources of fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. But despite the studies proving its benefits and the positive reaction of the scientific community, myths about soy persist. Let’s take a look at a couple common myths and learn the truth about soy:
Myth #1: Men shouldn’t take soy because it contains estrogen-like properties.
Truth: Soybeans are rich in phytoestrogens, a subclass of a group of antioxidants known as isoflavones. Because the structure of phytoestrogens is similar to the human sex hormone estrogen (found in both men and women), it can sometimes mimic the hormone in animals with estrogen receptors. Phytoestrogens mimicry of estrogen has led some to believe that soy can have a feminizing effect on men. A May 2010 study showed that soy isoflavones “do not exert feminizing effects on men at intake levels equal to and even considerably higher than are typical for Asian males.” The results report: “There is essentially no evidence from the nine identified clinical studies that isoflavones exposure affects circulating estrogen levels in men. Clinical evidence also indicates that isoflavones have no effect on sperm or semen parameters.”
Another study in 2010 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, investigated whether soy has an effect on reproductive hormones in men. The study found conclusively that neither soy foods nor isoflavones supplements alter measures of bioavailable hormone concentrations in men.
Soy has been a dietary staple for many cultures with no significant report of health effects in men. Reliv posts recommended serving sizes on all our products and encourages common sense and moderation to its consumers.
Myth #2: Soy isn’t safe for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Truth: Concerns about the correlation between soy and breast cancer risk are nothing new. Doctors recommending that breast cancer patients limit their soy intake have been waiting for years for conclusive evidence that a link exists. In November 2012, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) published their findings and proclaimed moderate amounts of soy safe for breast cancer patients and survivors. “Determining whether it is safe for breast cancer survivors to eat soy has been one of the big research questions under study and now we know it is safe — the evidence is so consistent,” said AICR Nutrition Advisor Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, an expert on diet and cancer prevention.
The AICR has reported that for all cancers, human studies have shown soy foods do not increase the risk. Overall, the seven recent epidemiologic studies examining soy consumption among breast cancer survivors — in six population studies and one combined analysis — show that consuming moderate amounts of soy foods does not increase a woman’s risk for poorer outcomes.
“These findings are great news for women who want to use soy as a source of protein while cutting back on animal protein such as red and processed meat for better health.” said Bette J. Caan, DrPH.
A Note from Dr. Carl: The Best Soy Available
As you’ve read above, the benefits of soy are undeniable as part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to reduce cholesterol or simply maintain your good health, soy is an effective way to give your body what it needs. That’s why soy has been a central component of Reliv’s approach to nutrition since the very beginning.
And now science has uncovered soy’s secret. The key is lunasin, a naturally occurring soy peptide. Lunasin is the first nutritional component shown to work at the epigenetic level to promote optimal gene expression in cells. In other words, it turns good genes on and bad genes off. And no other supplements available maximize lunasin content like Reliv’s LunaRich products.
As a soy advocate for over three decades, I have heard the myths about soy repeated time and again. But good science always wins in the end. With lunasin research we now know what makes soy such a nutritional powerhouse, and we have one more reason why Reliv’s unparalleled formulas deliver real results.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer
Independent Reliv Distributors since 1993