Acute soy supplementation improves 20-km time trial performance, power, and speed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Isoflavones, a chemical class of phytoestrogens found in soybeans and soy products, may have biological functions similar to estradiol. After binding with ERβ or perhaps independently of estrogen receptors, isoflavones may augment vascular endothelial relaxation, contributing to improved limb blood flow. Purpose To determine if acute fermented soy extract supplementation influences 20-km time trial cycling performance and cardiac hemodynamics compared with a placebo. Methods Subjects included 25 cyclists and triathletes (31 ± 8 yr, V-O2peak: 55.1 ± 8.4 mL·kg-1·min-1). Each subject completed a V-O2peak assessment, familiarization, and two 20-km time trials in randomized order after ingestion of a fermented soy extract supplement or placebo. The fermented soy extract consisted of 30 g powdered supplement in 16 fl. ounces of water. The placebo contained the same quantities of organic cocoa powder and water. Each trial consisted of 60 min of rest, 30 min at 55% Wpeak, and a self-paced 20-km time trial. Results Soy supplementation elicited a faster time to 20-km completion (-0.22 ± 0.51 min; -13 s), lower average HR (-5 ± 7 bpm), and significantly greater power (7 ± 3 W) and speed (0.42 ± 0.16 km·h-1) during the last 5 km of the time trial compared with placebo. Analysis of the results by relative fitness level (<57 vs ≥ 57 mL⋅kg-1⋅min-1) indicated that those with a higher level of fitness reaped the largest performance improvement alongside a reduced HR (-5 ± 7 bpm). Conclusions Ingestion of a fermented soy extract supplement improved sprint-distance performance through improvements in both power and speed. For those with great aerobic fitness, soy supplementation may help to decrease cardiac demand alongside performance improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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