Are Soy Products Effective in DMD?

Marston G, Winder SJ. Are Soy Products Effective in DMD? PLoS currents 2018;10.

Marston_2018_PLoS Curr. Mar 27;10

In the mdx mouse model for DMD a soy product based diet, Haelan 951, which is used by many DMD patients, showed no improvement of muscle function. Only one of the ingredients of Haelan 951 (Bowman Birk inhibitor (BBI)) in a pure form showed was beneficial for muscle function. It must be noted they did not look at anything else, except from one form of muscle function testing, so it is not known if the diets have other effects.

This study was funded by Duchenne UK (



Introduction: In addition to their nutritional value, processed soy bean extracts contain several activities with potential therapeutic benefits. These include anti-oxidants, and tyrosine kinase and protease inhibitory activity. There are also anecdotal reports of health benefits of soy products in alleviating DMD symptoms. Methods: Mdx mice were fed a control soy-free diet or the same diet containing either a proprietary soy preparation (Haelan 951), purified soy isoflavones, purified Bowman-Birk protease inhibitor or a combination of isoflavones and Bowman-Birk inhibitor. Mice were tested for their wire hanging ability at the start of the diet regimen and every 4 weeks until week 12 of treatment. Results and Discussion: The diet containing Bowman-Birk inhibitor was the only one to show a significant and sustained improvement over the 12 weeks of the study. All other dietary additions; Haelan 951, isoflavones and isoflavones with Bowman-Birk inhibitor, were not significantly different from each other or from control. The effectiveness of Bowman-Birk inhibitor in mdx mice clearly warrants further study.

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