Category Archives: Cowpeas

Cowpeas Increase Bone Density in Ovariectomized Rats


Effect of dietary legumes on bone-specific gene expression in ovariectomized rats.

In previous studies, we found that the consumption of legumes decreased bone turnover in ovariectomized rats. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether the protective effects on bone mineral density (BMD) and the microarchitecture of a diet containing legumes are comparable. In addition, we aim to determine their protective actions in bones by studying bone specific gene expression. Forty-two Sprague-Dawley rats are being divided into six groups during the 12 week study: 1) rats that underwent sham operations (Sham), 2) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet (OVX), 3) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with soybeans (OVX-S), 4) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with mung beans (OVX-M), 5) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with cowpeas (OVX-C), and 6) ovariectomized rats fed an AIN-93M diet with azuki beans (OVX-A). Consumption of legumes significantly increased BMD of the spine and femur and bone volume of the femur compared to the OVX. Serum calcium and phosphate ratio, osteocalcin, expression of osteoprotegerin (OPG), and the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) ratio increased significantly, while urinary excretion of calcium and deoxypyridinoline and expression of TNF-α and IL-6 were significantly reduced in OVX rats fed legumes, compared to OVX rats that were not fed legumes. This study demonstrates that consumption of legumes has a beneficial effect on bone through modulation of OPG and RANKL expression in ovariectomized rats and that legume consumption can help compensate for an estrogen-deficiency by preventing bone loss induced by ovarian hormone deficiency.

Park Y, Moon HJ, Paik DJ, Kim DY
Nutr Res Pract Jun 2013
PMID: 23766879 | Free Full Text

Legumes, Especially Cowpeas, Improve Bone Markers in Rats


Consumption of legumes improves certain bone markers in ovariectomized rats.

Soybeans are known to protect against osteoporosis, but other legumes frequently consumed in Asia have not been studied to learn if they have a similar protective effect. This study investigated the hypothesis that consumption of soybean, mung bean, cowpea, and adzuki bean has beneficial effects on bone biomarkers in ovariectomized rats. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were either sham operated (sham; n = 7) or surgically ovariectomized and then fed a regular AIN-93M diet (OVX; n = 7) or AIN-93M containing soybean (n = 7), mung bean (n = 7), cowpea (n = 7), or adzuki beans (n = 7) for 10 weeks. No bean consumption significantly altered the body, subcutaneous fat, or uterus weight; however, consumption significantly increased the serum calcium/phosphorous ratio and decreased urinary calcium excretion compared with those of the OVX group. Serum concentration of 17β-estradiol was significantly lower in the OVX group compared with that of the sham group and was lowest in the group fed OVX diet containing soybean. Serum osteocalcin concentration was significantly higher in all OVX rats given a diet with beans compared with the same diet without, but urinary deoxypyridinoline excretion was lowest in the group fed OVX diet containing cowpea. There were no significant differences in bone mineral density or bone mineral content of the right femur, tibia, or lumbar spine or in the trabecular bone volume of the tibia among the diet groups. In conclusion, the consumption of soybean, mung bean, cowpea, and adzuki bean in OVX rats improved osteocalcin, but only those fed cowpea showed decreased bone resorption biomarker, suggesting that cowpea may have the most protective effect on bone in OVX rats.

Lee SH, Jin N, Paik DJ, Kim DY…
Nutr Res May 2011
PMID: 21636018