A broad survey of studies on isoflavones, the soy ingredient to which numerous health improvements have been attributed, has found that the best-known beneficial effect of isoflavones is on reduction of cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease."The addition of even small amounts of isoflavone-containing foods to the western diet may reduce the risk of heart disease ... ," a new report published in the July-August issue of the journal Menopause said..The survey looked primarily at isoflavone effects on menopause, but the report considered numerous other possible applications of isoflavones and soy foods on illness and disease." ... There is a growing database of information suggesting that isoflavones exhibit a wide range of diverse physiologic actions in humans," the new report said, recommending that additional studies are needed to determine effects on menopausal problems."Specific controlled clinical trials are needed before definitive recommendations can be made about increasing the consumption of isoflavones in large populations of women approaching menopause and beyond," the journal article said.Considering studies of a lengthy list of illnesses and disease, the survey found that: