Excessive Soy Intake -what does that mean for health and wellness?
So what does this mean? Over the past two decades there have been reports of disturbing health trends for some members of the population and some observers say it comes back to their high intake of soy based/derived products. So far I have not seen reports on Organic vs. GM grown Soy... I am sure they will be in the pipeline.
There is an ever increasing rate of thyroid disorders; metabolic disorders relating to obesity; female children that mature early, with pubic hair starting at 4, early breast development and menses as early at 7; males maturing late with undescended testicles, soft voices, and developing breast tissue. Infertility escalating in both in women and men. Not to mention the sorts of neuro-toxic damage that the high levels of manganese present in soy. One company even put out a press release regarding the increasing evidence of a correlation between the manganese (not magnesium) present in soy milk (this includes the soy infant formulas) and reported neurotoxicity in small infants and then the behavioural problems (ADHD, violence) in adolescence. Stating that if the research continued to connect these statistics to the intake of soy, then the industry could suffer setbacks if the issue was not dealt with.
The hormonal interference with the thyroid gland can create Hypothyroidism causing a slowing of the metabolism and the symptoms include weight gain, exhaustion with exercise, painful muscles, digestive problems (constipation), hair loss, excess sleep needs, loss of libido, and much more. (The American Heart Association diet not only tells patients to cut out as much fat as possible and to eat soy instead to reduce cholesterol. This is counterproductive because soy products can contribute to hypothyroidism, which makes cholesterol levels rise).
And there are more problems...Below is a brief summary of the interferring properties of soy :
- High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
- Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
- Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
- Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.
- Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
- Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
- Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
- Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
It is at this point that I wonder about all the chemicals and genetic modifications done to soy. 'Roundup ready' seed means the genes of the plant are altered in a completely unnatural sense. Are these mutations passed on up the food chain? How could they NOT be.
Infant Formula Alternatives
Obviously breast milk is best and the baby will receive all the immune enhancing nutrition in the first few weeks especially. But when breast feeding is not possible, there are alternatives like hydrolised whey protein formulas, lactose-free dairy formulas, goat milk, and on http://www.westonaprice.org there is a recipe for a home-made formula..
For nursing mothers the production and release of milk is governed by a complex interaction of hormones, involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and thyroid gland. There are plenty of places where it can go wrong and given the high levels of thyroid and endocrine problems in western women, it's a amazing that so many nurse successfully at all. Insufficient milk supply is a problem more common than the medical profession wants to admit.
If you are going to eat soy - eat it sparingly!
Be vigilant! No matter what the advertising says about a product and it's health giving attributes, always read the labels. It does take more time, but you're worth it and so is your family. Remember - Laziness is dangerous to your health.
For Further Reading, Research and References on Soy visit:
Article by Shauna Kendall