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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly about soy

The good, bad, and ugly truth about SOY!

    You'll get different answers to the question of whether soy is good for you, depending on whom you ask.

    Some people think it's a healthy food, while others think that consuming soy will cause breast cancer. So what's the truth?

    Let's start with some basic facts…

Continued below. . .

This American doctor said. . .
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. . .and she proved it again and again!
    Can you believe an American doctor actually said, "In 21 days you can just about get rid of any cancer" — and then proved it?

    Well she did. My Cancer Defeated colleague Andrew Scholberg interviewed her. What's more, he talked to some of the patients whose lives she saved during the last 20 years.

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Mixed study results keep folks guessing...
    Soybeans pack a lot of healthy nutrients into one small package. They contain all the essential amino acids humans need. But they also have compounds called isoflavones that act like a weak form of estrogen in your body.

    The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzen act as powerful antioxidants that can help protect your cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

    But too much estrogen in your body can fuel tumor growth in hormonally sensitive tissues, such as the breasts and endometrium (lining of the uterus).

    These cells contain receptors that bind with estrogen and send out signals that can stimulate abnormal cell growth.

    Much of the controversy surrounding soy can be traced to animal laboratory studies. Rats injected with estrogen receptive (ER) positive tumor cells were given different doses of genistein or daidzen.

    Scientists noticed that the animals with the greatest tumor growth were those who received more of the isoflavones. But these harmful effects were demonstrated in some, but not all animal studies.

    For that matter, study results in humans produced different results from those conducted on lab animals. In studies of Asian women, who tend to eat more soy foods, researchers found a lower risk of breast cancer.

    But even this is controversial. Opponents of soy say that Asians consume far less soy than American health food advocates claim.

    Nonetheless, U.S. studies have so far failed to produce any association between a woman's soy consumption and her risk of breast cancer.

    If that finding is accurate, it could be because genistein and daidzen also have anti-estrogen properties, even though they're natural forms of estrogen!

    As strange as it sounds—these isoflavones can also prevent other natural estrogens from binding to estrogen receptors.

    What's more, the soy isoflavones encourage production of a protein that binds estrogen in the blood. This makes it less able to link to the cell receptor where it can send signals leading to tumor growth.

    But aside from the role of soy isoflavones in increasing or decreasing initial cancer risk, you might be wondering ...

Continued below. . .

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Should breast cancer survivors
steer clear of soy products?
    Some women might refrain from using soy products, fearful of the possibility that they may cause a recurrence of tumor growth. But from what Cancer Defeated has been able to learn, there are no studies to confirm this.

    Three recent studies of eating habits and other lifestyle factors of breast cancer survivors focused on soy consumption of more than 9,000 women.

    Investigators found that women in two U.S. studies and one Chinese study who consumed 10 mg or more of soy each day actually had a 25% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence!

    The 2012 American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Survivors determined that current research simply does not suggest that there are harmful effects to breast cancer survivors from eating soy. I'm no fan of the ACS, but we can't lightly throw out peer-reviewed studies without knowing more.

    The ACS's guidelines recommend against taking soy supplements because they contain higher isoflavone concentrations than you would ingest from soy foods. In other words, the natural food is better for you than the supplement. No surprise there.

    By now you may be thoroughly confused. Here's my take: We don't know enough. Soy is still too controversial. I'm wary of the risk of eating large amounts of a food that mimics the activity of estrogen in the human body.

    This is a disagreement I have with my own doctor, a very knowledgeable guy who encourages me to eat more soy. I tell him what I just told you: I don't want to eat a form of estrogen.

    By the way, these comments don't apply to fermented soy, like that found in soy sauce and miso soup. Fermented soy is a VERY healthy food. Check out our Issue #88 for more about this.
Soy used to be cattle feed
    Whether Asians really eat much soy is a controversial matter, as I said earlier. But in the U.S. we know that up till the 1980's soy products were used primarily to feed livestock.

    Then nutritionists decided that maybe bulls and cows weren't the only ones who could benefit from soy-based foods.

    Soy products are often a popular choice to meet the protein needs of people following a vegetarian diet. And these foods are not hard to find, considering you'll find soy in all these grocery store and restaurant items:
  • Edamame (green soy beans)
  • Meatless foods (e.g. burger crumbles, bacon-like strips)
  • Miso paste and soup (fermented soy, not the same as tofu)
  • Soy milk
  • Soy sauce (fermented)
  • Tofu
    Studies show soy helps lower cholesterol... control blood pressure... and may help moderate symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis. For what it's worth, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even slapped its seal of approval on 25 grams of daily soy protein.

    Animal tests conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles seem to show that a soy compound called genistein can stop your cells from making the stress proteins that cancer cells produce.

    These proteins protect cancer cells from being destroyed by your immune system and anti-cancer therapies. When their protective shield is stripped away—your body can identify and destroy them far more easily.

    Genistein is widely regarded as a good cancer remedy, but it's still nagged by the same doubts about the overall safety of soy.

    Hopefully all the issues will get sorted out and we'll finally know the truth about soy. Till then, be cautious. There are plenty of good cancer remedies that aren't plagued by doubts.

    We wrote about one of these exciting remedies in our last issue. If you missed the article, just scroll down and read it below.

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