The Truth About Men & Soy – Latest Information


The truth about men & soy – latest information.  This post is of particular interest as there have been many myths spread about the feminizing effects of soy on men.  We’ll look at where this information came from & also look at two other issues that involve Men & soy.


Male Reproduction & Soy Foods

The estrogen-like effects of isoflavones have led to concerns that soy foods may exert feminizing effects in men, but a wealth of human data show these concerns to be without merit. Although two reports published in the scientific literature describe feminizing effects of soy in two individuals, these men consumed as many as 14 to 20 servings per day. Excessive intake of nearly any food can be expected to have negative effects on health.

In contrast to these two reports, a comprehensive analysis of the human data, which involved more than 30 individual studies, found that neither soy foods nor isoflavones affect levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone. In many of these studies, soy intake was far beyond what is typical for Asian men, so the lack of effect is very reassuring. In addition, a recent review of nine studies found that soy has no effect on estrogen levels in men. Men in these studies consumed as much as six servings of soy per day. The clinical studies also show there is no effect of soy on sperm or semen. In fact, there is one report describing a male with low sperm count whose sperm concentration normalized after taking isoflavones for 6 months. Thus, the evidence clearly shows that soy foods do not exert feminizing effects.


Men / Soy Foods & Heart Disease

Research suggests that incorporating soy foods into the diet may decrease LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by as much as 8 percent. When soy foods replace conventional sources of protein in western diets, saturated fat intake is reduced and polyunsaturated fat intake is increased. As a result, blood cholesterol levels will be lowered. That soy foods contain a combination of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is especially important for reducing risk of heart disease. In addition to the healthy fat found in soy, soy protein has been shown to directly reduce levels of blood cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration awarded a health claim for soy foods and coronary heart disease on this basis in 1999. The effects of soy protein are comparable to cholesterol-lowering benefits of soluble fiber, the kind found in oat bran.

In addition to lowering LDL-cholesterol, soy foods give a modest boost to HDL cholesterol, which is protective against heart disease, and reduces levels of triglycerides (another fatty compound in the blood that can raise heart disease risk). Finally, soy foods may reduce heart disease risk in ways that are independent of their effects on cholesterol. For example, soy foods may lower blood pressure and research indicates that isoflavones directly improve the health of the arteries. Therefore, even people with normal cholesterol levels can benefit by consuming soy foods.


Men / Soy Foods & Prostate Cancer

In studies of Asian populations, consumption of unfermented soy foods such as tofu and soymilk is associated with a reduced risk for prostate cancer. These studies show that Asian men who consume about two servings of soy foods daily are about 30 to 50% less likely to have prostate cancer than Asian men who consume little soy. Some evidence also shows that, in men with prostate cancer, eating soy foods may slow the rise of blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein associated with tumor growth. Also, an important study in prostate cancer patients indicated that consuming soy isoflavones could reduce levels of an enzyme involved in cancer metastasis. Finally, consumption of soy foods may reduce some of the side effects associated with radiation therapy for prostate cancer treatment.


Lynne is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Therapeutic Massage and Ethics Educator with extensive study in preventative nutrition and physiology. For over 35 years, Lynne has helped thousands of people through consulting, seminars and writing.

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