- WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOY?
- If you are seeing some of the same literature I am, you are repetitively hearing about the many
health advantages of adequate soy intake. Studies suggest it decreases breast, ovarian, prostate,
rectal, & colon cancer risk, osteoporosis, & cardiovascular disease risk. Now that is a mouthful, but if you
are like I am you may have difficulty getting enough mouthfuls of soy. We'll get to how-later. Even the
conservative Food & Drug Administration has authorized food manufacturers to say on food labels that
soy protein can help lower cholesterol & reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Soy contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) & is widely used to alleviate perimenopausal &
menopausal symptoms. As a phytoestrogen soy works as an estrogen balancer. When too little
estrogen is available phytoestrogens bind to the estrogen receptor to mimic the effects of estrogen, or
better yet, to reduce the deficiency symptoms. When too much estrogen is available the phytoestrogen
again occupies some estrogen receptor sites, thus blocking the risks associated with excessive
- WHAT ARE PHYTOESTROGENS?
- Isoflavones & lignans are the 2 main classes of phytoestrogens derived from soy & flax
respectively. The main isoflavones from soy are genistein & daidzein. These are what you often read
about in the literature as being the important preventive components in soy. Therefore many
supplements are on the market specfically mentioning the milligrams of these components per dose.
The ideal daily amount of genistein for preventive purposes is 45-90 mg.
- Among other benefits,
phytoestrogens inhibit enzymes involved in cancer cell growth & regulation.
- An additional isoflavone, ipriflavone, has been isolated from soy. It exerts an effect to increase
bone mass by a different mechanism than estrogen.. Human & animal studies have revealed greater
bone density & strength, & reduced urinary calcium loss with a high soy diet or with ipriflavone
See http://www.thewayup.com/newsletters/101598.htm for more information on this.
- SOY WHAT?
- If soy is so good for us what can we do to get more? We can drink soymilk which now comes in
plain, vanilla, chocolate, orange, & coffee flavors. We can eat roasted soy nuts, make a pot of
soybeans, or add tofu to many different recipes.
- We can use soy flour in muffins, pancakes & whenever
possible. We can eat soy sprouts, or soy sprout powder, or use soy oil. For those who are allergic to
soy, the soy sprout powder is a great alternative because it does not seem to provoke allergic symptoms
in those who are allergic to soy beans. Soy allergy symptoms, when present, are usually
- We can supplement our protein with a soy based protein powder. If vegetarian, this is an ideal way
to get needed protein. However, the balance of amino acids in soybeans is not the same as in meats,
so you may need more grams of protein to supply the essential amino acids. The average person
needs 40-50 mg protein daily, while a body builder may need up to 120-140 mg protein, with others
varying in between depending upon activity /exercise levels.
- What I find interesting is that the nutritional content of the different forms of soy varies widely. This
likely relates to processing. All the soy products contain trace minerals, vitamins, & amino acids. Below
is a chart of the major, but not trace components.
||zero (0) in all forms
- This is just to give you a little idea as to what is in what.
- HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU ARE GETTING ENOUGH SOY?
- The point of broaching this topic now is that there is a new test which can tell you if you are getting
enough phytoestrogens. Since we all metabolize differently, you could think you are eating enough soy
when it isn't enough for your metabolism. This is called "Phytoestrogen Evaluation". Your Doctor can
obtain it for you from AAL Reference Laboratories at 1-800-522-2611 or 714-972-9979. This test is
particularly indicated if you are using soy products as part of a treament rather than just prevention
program or if you are at high risk for the cancers soy helps to prevent.
- WHAT ABOUT THE RECENT VITAMIN C SCARE?
- I have to tell you I was surprised when the newspapers irresponsibly reported what seemed to be
frightening information about vitamin C, saying it caused faster clogging of arteries. This does not fit with
any previous information about Vitamin C which discusses how it helps maintain the health & integrity of
vascular walls. Now more clarification is available at www.vitaminCfoundation.org but the jist of the
matter is they did not measure plaque formation, or velocity flow which must be measured to determine
occlusion. They only measured the thickness of the blood vessels which would be expected to be
reinforced by the improved collagen formation created by vitamin C.
Well that's enough for this month. Keep your requests coming. Feel free to forward to anyone who
would be interested.
- Until next month.
- Priscilla Slagle M.D.
- "And when you change your mind,
you have changed the most
powerful device that was ever given--
for change. ---Course In Miracles
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