Soy Myths Exposed: The Dangers of Soy
A dear friend of mine called with the disturbing news that she had estrogen receptive breast cancer. She asked, "What do you know that could help me?" I knew nothing, so I got busy on the web trying to find everything I could on the subject. I found more than I could have imagined.
In the course of my research, I discovered that I had been swallowing a lot of propaganda. If you say something loud enough, often enough, and convincingly enough you can make anyone believe anything you say. The commercial side of the health food industry in America has vigorously promoted soy products and additives, turning a deaf ear to research that should throw up red flags.
While other countries have acknowledged the potential danger and taken steps to warn their citizenry, powerful, rich concerns in this country have not admitted the problem.
Soybeans! Healthy, right? Full of vitamins? Full of protein? Yes, everyone knows that. Not according to new research.
It is common knowledge that soybeans are loaded with plant compounds that mimic estrogen, a female hormone. Many post menopausal women use soy products to help control hot flashes and other problems caused by hormonal imbalances. And soy is very effective in supplying the hormones needed!
Search the web under "soy infant formula" and you will find many other websites with additional information.
Think about it. If soy products supply sufficient hormones to balance out older women, what are they doing to newborn babies fed soy formula? What is this female hormone doing to men who have a constant diet of tofu and soy milk? What about younger women who already have a full supply of estrogen; how does a diet of estrogen rich soy affect them?
Research is now strongly pointing to some very disturbing facts. I have summarized many studies and reports and have tried to give a brief outline of the increasing volume of research now being done.
Some studies on the effects of soy products on humans have been in progress 40 years. They are now examining the brain tissue of the deceased. There are many recent studies done on animals. They noticed that birds fed soy developed their adult plumage at 2 months instead of the normal 18-months. At first this was a real plus because the young chicks could be marketed better with their full adult color. Then they noticed that the early maturing, soy-fed birds aged prematurely and died young. This caused much consternation among bird handlers, for they also noticed a great increase in growth disorders, thyroid problems, infertility, and tumor growth.
This was a wake-up call. People were asking, "If soy does this to birds, what is it doing to us?" National health agencies and physician associations of some countries have warned their populace to exercise caution in using soy based infant formulas.
In the U. S. two of the Federal Drug Administration's own researchers, Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan, have stepped forward to protest their own agency's allowance of health claim labeling regarding the effects of soy protein on coronary health. In a letter to the FDA, they cite their deep disturbance over potential risk to the public by the FDA's failure to require that the same safeguards be put in place for soy use as for estrogenic (prescribed hormone substances) and goitrogenic drugs (thyroid medication), i.e., that people be informed of the risks and be under a physician's care while using it.
Preliminary studies are indicating that children given soy formula go through puberty much earlier than children who were not fed soy products.
Why? Because the phytoestrogens/isoflavones in soy act like a hormone in the body, causing the infant to have hormones like the adult body.
Approximately 25 per cent of bottle-fed children in the US receive soy-based formula - a much higher percentage than in other parts of the Western world.
Fitzpatrick estimated that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent (based on body weight) of at least five birth control pills per day. By contrast, almost no phytoestrogens have been detected in dairy-based infant formula or in human milk, even when the mother consumes soy products.
A 1994 study done in New Zealand revealed that, depending on age, potency of the product, and feeding methods, infants on soy formula might be consuming the equivalent of up to 10 contraceptive pills a day. By exposing your baby to such large amounts of hormonal-like substance, you are risking permanent endocrine system damage (pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus, thyroid, thymus gland, pancreas, ovary, testis, adrenal glands).
Phytoestrogens (substance in soy) are now strongly implicated, through research, in thyroid disorders, behavioral and developmental disorders and cancer. Thyroid problems are now in epidemic proportions. Theodore Kay of the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine noted in 1988 that "thyroid enlargement in rats and humans, especially children and women, fed with soybeans has been known for half a century." Recent research leaves little doubt that dietary isoflavones in soy have a profound effect on thyroid function in humans.
If you were fed a soy formula or soy products and suffer from a thyroid disorder, contact Soy Online Service for help.
"Early puberty (caused by consuming soy products) may increase a boy's chances of developing testicular cancer later in life, because it means longer exposure to sex hormones," said University of North Carolina researcher Marcia Herman-Giddens. Congenital abnormalities of male genital tracts are also increasing. Recent studies found a higher incidence of birth defects in male offspring of vegetarian, soy-consuming mothers.
The hormone issue is not the only concern. Research now in progress strongly ties aggressive behavioral problems in children to soy. Soy formula has manganese levels that are 50 times higher than the level found in mother's breast milk. Research is now showing that high levels of manganese found in soy beverages may be neurotoxic to babies, causing brain damage. These studies suggest a correlation to the dramatic increase in ADHD and violent behavior seen in adolescents today. A recent study found unusually high manganese levels in the hair of hyperactive children and youths convicted of felony crimes. Manganese is a trace metal that is essential for life, but when it is on overload it becomes "manganese-toxicity syndrome." If I had a child who was a soy child and showed signs of aggressive behavior, I would study oral chelation to see if the manganese levels could be removed naturally.
Allergies are a growing concern. Soy is one of the most allergenic foods in modern diets. It is reported in several research reports to contain at least 30 allergenic proteins. Many of our prepared foods from MSG to crackers and cookies, to frozen fish sticks, and TV dinners, to drinks and most everything in between contain soy. Many soy products are listed as natural ingredients or natural flavorings. Health authorities in other countries are taking products off the markets until they are clearly labeled due to the wide spread allergic reactions to soy.
Does your child have asthma? If so, then it is time for you to do your own homework and find out what can be done to clean up your family's diet.
We regularly get letters from parents that are shocked and horrified to have discovered that their babies, as young as 18 months, are, without doubt, masturbating. It is a shocking but growing phenomenon. Some of the problems are associated with small children clutching vibrating toys, but not in all cases. Yet, there must be a predisposing prompted by hormones. Could it be caused by the hormone element in soy formula? It is becoming clear that our little girls' hormonal levels are being elevated at a very young age by the health food we eat! Soy-formula provides a hormone level at least 240 times higher than breast milk.
In 1982 pediatric endocrinologists reported that their studies indicated an increase in the incidence of breast development in girls younger than eight years of age. In the first study of 130 little girls, 68% of them had the onset of thelarche (breast development) before they were 18 months old! Investigators found a positive statistical association between thelarche and the consumption of soy formulas (affecting 22 girls), various meat products (affecting 10 girls) and the mother's history of ovarian cysts (affecting 16 girls). For years, health food gurus have been blaming hormone fed chickens (chickens fed soy) for our early puberty problems, but they remained silent about the hormones we have been eating in the vast number of soy products!
Little girls that go through puberty early face a greater lifetime risk of breast cancer and early ovarian cysts, which is a factor in ovarian cancer and of developing autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD).
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Over the years I have known women of childbearing age who guarded their diets, were in excellent health, did not have a family history of breast cancer, and yet came down with breast cancer and died. Why? What was the common factor in these women? You will be shocked to learn that phyto-estrogen compounds found in soy may actually increase the risk of breast cancer. Dr. Claude Hughes, director of the Women's Health Center at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said of chemicals found in soy, "It can speed up divisions of those cells that are already cancer cells that depend on estrogen for their growth."
Chanfeng Wang and Mindy S. Kurzer, who wrote Phytoestrogen Concentration Determines Effects of DNA Synthesis in Human Breast Cancer Cells say, "Our data suggests the possibility that, at typical concentrations in humans, phytoestrogens and flavonoids and lignans may stimulate, rather than inhibit, growth of estrogen-dependant tumors."
It is important to understand that it is not uncommon for hormonally active agents to act as both estrogens and anti-estrogens, to stimulate or inhibit the growth of certain types of cells, such as those found in the human breast. The difference lies in doses and life stages. It is a double-edged sword. Risks may greatly outweigh the benefits. Research strongly suggests that younger women need to use soy products with care and not upset the natural estrogen levels with an overload from an outside source.
Two glasses of soy milk a day, over the course of a month, contains enough of the chemical to change the timing of a woman's menstrual cycle. Many women of child-bearing age are having terrible mood swings, depression, and they experience monthly PMS. Could these women be playing havoc with their hormones by what they are eating? We already know that women on birth-control pills are known to have more volatile emotions due to the hormonal upset. Just 100 gm of any soy product has the estrogenic content of a contraceptive pill.
What are phytoestrogens doing to the men? Researcher, W. David Kubiak reports that "...because female hormones or estrogen given to men in small quantities can quickly overwhelm androgen activity, and soy produces estrogen molecules in biologically significant amounts, it might be inferred that a steady diet of miso, tofu, soy sauce, and so on might not be best for leadership trainees or aspiring Lotharios (lovers)."
Researchers believe that the trend toward lower male fertility may be due to environmental estrogens, including the soy phytoestrogens. There is strong evidence that soy phytoestrogens inhibit an enzyme which is required for the synthesis of testosterone and the development of the CNS-gonadal axis. Much research is now being done to determine the effects of soy on male animals (even male insects) of all sorts. Research with animals and insects from the grasshopper to the cheetah, are showing that soy affects males by making them less confident, less aggressive, indecisive, show less sexual interest, lower sperm count and in some studies less everything male. Research on humans is slow (years), but the short-term studies on men are showing the information obtained through animal life spans correlate with what is happening in human research. A Half Helping of Man? Research sure looks that way. I am sorry for all the soy products I tried to shove down my husband's and sons' throats and thankful they were 'male-stubborn' and refused my "health food."
The longest study on soy products began in Hawaii in 1965 with 8,006 Japanese-American men. It questioned the men about 27 foods and drinks. Over the years the men were monitored, questioned, and studied. The study shows a significant statistical relationship between two or more servings of tofu a week and "accelerated brain aging" and even an association with Alzheimer's disease, says Dr. Lon White, who has been studying diseases and aging in this Honolulu Heart Program. White said the scientists found "a significant link between tofu consumption during midlife and loss of mental ability and even loss of brain weight." Tofu was the only consistent link among the men. "The test results were about equivalent to what they would have been if they were five years older and the guys who ate none, their test scores were as though they were five years younger." Said White. The brains of 300 men who died were examined in a unique autopsy study conducted as part of the Honolulu aging project. White reports, "But what I did see was the simple weight of the brain was lower. Shrinkage occurs naturally with age, but atrophy progressed more rapidly in those men who had consumed more tofu."
At the conference where White presented his findings, Finnish scientist Herman Adlercreutz, who led the scientific explosion of interest in his studies on soy 20 years ago, said of soy and it components, "I am myself frightened a little bit by all this. There is so much we don't know."
Lon White, who has been a researcher in this field for many years said, "The bottom line is these are not nutrients. They are drugs. They will have some benefits and some negative things."
In my study I noticed several important factors. Those who are speaking out against soy products, use extensive data and research reports. They also do not have monetary gain as a motive for putting out the information.
On the other hand, those promoting soy show an obvious lack of scientific study and research. Information promoting soy products often refers back to the Asian people's dietary habits and their health records. Soy advocates also do not share critical information about the conditions in which the soy plant is grown, which can greatly change the chemical structure of the plant, causing the soy plant to have antiestrogenic effects, rather than estrogenic effects. Stress, fungus, and other environmental and growth conditions can change the types and amounts of phytochemicals responsible for soy's touted health benefits or risks.
The way the Asians use soy is also never mentioned. The vast majority of soy eaten in Asian countries is used in combination with protein foods, such as pork, fish, milk or eggs. The animal proteins greatly change the chemical structure of the food and how it is digested. Much of the soy in Asian countries is also highly fermented (using fungus), the process changing the hormonelike properties. In the literature I read that told how healthy the Asian people are because they ate soy did not mention that research is finding that Alzheimer's is higher in Asian people than any other group in the world. As I studied soy's health benefits, it would have helped if the soy industry would have addressed some of the findings of the research that has been done and is now being done that so clearly points to some serious health threats, but I could find no serious rebuffs. Many people would lose huge fortunes if this information began to affect the health food markets.
I have read for days, even weeks. My neck is stiff from sitting in one spot researching. There are thousands of pages on soy, stating that it is wonderful, and thousands of pages saying how terrible it is. After all I have read, it is clear that money is the deciding factor, not health. Soy is a drug, like many herbs. It is too powerful of a drug to use freely as a food. I visited a health food store yesterday. There was aisle after aisle and shelf after shelf of ready-made, packaged, long lasting, processed, soy health food. There were soy based vitamins, medicines, creams, lotions, rubs, green drinks, baby food, cereal, crackers, milk, soup, cookies, meat substitute, noodles, hot drinks, sauces, nut substitute, chips, candy bars, and anything else a person eats. While I stood there looking around, I felt like I had been a big fool to have thought that all that stuff was healthy. When men try to improve on what God gave, it should be questioned. Cereal should be grains; milk should be the way it was in the Promised Land; meat should be as it was when Jesus fed the multitude, or when Abraham fed the angels of God, and vegetables should be garden fresh.
- Isaiah 7:15 -- Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (prophecy of Jesus and what he would eat and why)
- II Samuel 17:29 -- And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness. (God's anointed man and his army are fed)
- Isaiah 7:22 -- And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. (noted because it was a blessing from God)
No Greater Joy - Author Michael Pearl has served as a pastor, missionary, and evangelist for 35 years. He and his wife Debi have 5 children, all homeschooled. The children have grown up to become missionaries and church leaders.
Life is learning, and learning is expending an effort to know the truth. I have given you just a tiny bit of information. Chances are if you buy any prepared foods, you are eating soy. If your child was raised on soy formula, you need to do research. If your child has unusual behavioral problems, you need to study this through. If your child has asthma or allergic health issues, then you need to get to work and find out if this concerns you.
If you have thyroid problems or breast tumors or cancer, this might help you find an answer to good health. If your husband lacks leadership and male dominance, but you seem to have a strong assertive drive, then stop eating soy and do some research. If you have stomach ulcers or lack digestive enzymes, stop eating soy. If you have been sucked into the health food craze like so many of us, you need to do some major homework. Don't ask me. I won't respond to inquiries. It is in your hands now. It is for you to find out for yourself and make your own decisions. We are including a starting point of several websites.
The Church at Cane Creek 1000 Pearl Road, Pleasantville, TN 37147 www.NoGreaterJoy.org
by: Debi Pearl
No Greater Joy
A publication of The Church at Cane Creek
Originally published in the October - December 2001 issue.
Reprinted with permission.
Updated June 28, 2015