Missouri Plant Science Center creates healthier soy powder

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | 2:54 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Plant Science Center, along with Soy Labs and Reliv International, Inc., announced its new soy powder, LunaRich, on Tuesday.

LunaRich contains the soy peptide lunasin at levels five to 10 times higher than standard soybeans. Lunasin was discovered in 1996 and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and manage heart health, according to Soy Labs' lunasin website.

A new soybean enhanced with the LunaRich soy powder will be released on Feb. 17 at the Reliv National Conference, said Mark Murphy, director of content management at Reliv, a company that sells and researches soybeans.

No side effects have been found to occur with the consumption of LunaRich, except for in people who are allergic to soybeans, said Ryan Schmidt, executive director of the Missouri Plant Science Center and president of Soy Labs.

LunaRich is safe for daily use, Schmidt said.

LunaRich is the first lunasin innovation from the joint research group, which Schmidt said is built on more than 10 years of research and millions of dollars in investments in lunasin technology.

After screening and testing soybeans, Schmidt said the biggest challenge for the creation of LunaRich was maintaining a high level of lunasin in the beans during the manufacturing process because lunasin levels depend on the soil, seed and environment.

Kristin Bilyeu, a research molecular biologist with the USDA Agriculture Research Service, said soybeans have been an important food supply for humans and livestock.

Soybeans are the main source of vegetable oil and also provide balanced protein in nutritious food products such as tofu and soymilk.

Bilyeu said soybeans are a dependable financial source for farmers because of their high productivity, broad adaptation and large consumption.

According to statistics from, in 2010, 35 percent of the world's soybeans were produced in the United States. Missouri ranked seventh in production of soybeans in 2010.

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Richard Saunders January 18, 2012 | 4:53 p.m.

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) knows whether or not "lunasin at levels five to 10 times higher than standard soybeans" is healthy or not. Just because it isn't toxic does not mean there are no long-term effects.

It's no wonder people are so unhealthy anymore, when the press itself can't differentiate between "more" and "better." For all we know, this could cause a massive outbreak of cancer in X number of years, a fact that cannot be known except in hindsight.

Personally, I'll stick to real food, and leave the science experiments to all of the guinea pigs who place their fate in the hand of so-called experts.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 18, 2012 | 6:20 p.m.


You have raised an excellent point. Diseases caused by various agents or materials can in some cases be delayed not just for years but even for decades. An excellent example is asbestos, where it's not uncommon for two decades to expire before onset of an asbestos-related disease. Today, which agents or materials have we been exposed to where a consequential disease won't show up for years?

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 19, 2012 | 3:25 a.m.

Despite our many screw-ups in our search for cheaper/more abundant/better-quality food, it's important to remember that we've avoided extinction so far thanks to our ability to hide from mother nature. Sure, we should try to eat well, but that doesn't mean "avoid everything man-made," contrary to the growing sentiment amongst the pro-natural/pro-organic/pro-Kumbaya/anti-additive/anti-preservative/anti-tampering-with-nature camps out there. The increasingly popular notion that "natural = better" is a bunch of nonsense, as evidenced by the fact that there are plenty of natural things out there that we avoid like the plague (and with good reason): Cancer, arsenic, ebola, hurricanes/avalanches/tsunamis/heat waves/tornadoes/earthquakes/snow storms/volcanic eruptions/sand storms/gamma-ray bursts/meteor strikes all say hi. It's possible that this is all an overreaction to the plethora of dietary brain farts we've had over the years, but still, making the same mistake going the opposite direction doesn't fix the first mistake.

On a similar note, anyone concerned about the seemingly sorry state of human health these days should take a look at the numbers. Not only has average life expectancy doubled in the last 100 years (from ~40 in the 1900's to the upper 70's today), virtually any other measure of quality of life out there confirms that we're better off now than ever before. That magical, bygone era of human health everyone talks about with such nostalgia is a myth. Obesity may well be on the rise, but an obese person today is still probably going to live longer than any non-obese person from "back in the good old days."

(Report Comment)

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