Soybeans contain isoflavones, which are compounds that have a similar structure as human estrogen. Because soy contains these compounds, there have been concerns that the soy might have hormonal effects. Some examples may be feminizing men or causing breast cancer in women. Here is what the research shows:
- Drinking soy early in the adolescent years may prevent the risk of breast cancer. A study at the University of Southern California found that women who drink 1 cup of soymilk a day had a 30% less risk of developing breast cancer.
- A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2009 shows that soy products may reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Over 5,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer were looked at for a 4-year period. Compared with women who had little or no soy, the women who regularly consumed soy products had a 32% lower risk of reoccurrence had a 29% decreased risk of death.
- The inconsistency in the past research may be contributed to low intake of soy in the United States, which make the positive effects harder to identify.
- The compounds in soy are similar to the female hormone, estrogen, and act similar in the blood stream. There is a theory that the plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens attach to the estrogen preventing them from attaching and preventing estrogen’s cancer causing effects to the cell.
Men’s hormone function:
- No adverse effects have been found on men’s hormonal function. Soy does not interfere with testosterone or sperm production.
- In fact, soy has been shown to prevent cancer in men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that increased intake of soy resulted in a 26% reduction in prostate cancer risk
- Although soy may reduce the absorption of thyroid medicine, research has shown that soy does not cause hypothyroidism.
- Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid acts sluggish and produces a low level of thyroid hormone.
Soy is an excellent source of protein, packed with all essential amino acids. Soy also contains omega three fatty acids with can aid in a healthy mind and boost heart health. With research to back me up, it is safe to say that soy is not dangerous!