7 Sneaky Ways Soy May Be Affecting Your Health
It may come as a surprise to many people, but testosterone is present in both males and females. It is a hormonal balance to estrogen, which is also present in both genders. When it comes to soybeans, a surprising amount of phytoestrogens, also known as plant-based hormones that mimic the hormone estrogen. This has caused a lot of controversy in not only the holistic community but also the medical field. Many people associate soy with female qualities in men, both physically and mentally. This is not entirely true, and while soy may be used to help supplement a variety of medical concerns and even bodybuilding practices, there are still some risks to soy-based products, especially when there is an over-consumption. Too much of anything can easily be considered a bad thing, and this is true for soy products, however, smaller, normal amounts shouldn't be an issue if you are in good health and over puberty-age. It is always best to consult a doctor if you are unsure about any food or dietary supplements.
1. Risk: Reduces Libido in Neonatal Babies
Many different studies will warn you against soy-based products when you are pregnant or nursing, however, there are also studies which show the negative effects on soy-based instant formulas. Thanks to this research, it has been concluded that many babies days 2 to 21 of postpartum birth show hormonal activity that may interfere with male reproductive and testicular development. Many babies are sensitive to the hormones and compounds produced from soy-based products and it is recommended to avoid these products until adulthood, as prepubescent children may also be affected. Currently, not many studies have been done to conclude the safety of these children.
2. Benefit: Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Studies have shown that soy protein supplements such as soy-based and plant-based protein powders included in breakfasts, post-workout routines and through other circumstances had a significant effect on many different levels that concern Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These two medical concerns often go hand in hand with each other, so finding one solution is groundbreaking news in the medical industry. The amount of soy or plant-based protein supplement you consume in a 1 month-or-greater period can help reduce and control Type 2 diabetes through the FPG, LDL-C, TC and DBP levels in plasma. Most patients had to consume a soy-based protein supplement on a daily basis for over 6 months to see a significant reduction in LCL-C, FPG, and CRP levels.
3. Risk: May Increase Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
In many different studies, it was concluded that soy may increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease. This evidence is still considered controversial in comparison to different studies performed that concluded that found a significantly decreased risk of mortality from stroke. In this instance, it's best to air on the side of caution until more medical trials and studies are performed on soy-based products and foods.
4. Benefit: May Contain Anti-Carcinogenic Properties
Soy protein isolate has been studied through different organizations calling it out as a possible danger and risk of cancer. To help disprove this, many different studies have been done to conclude that soy does not cause cancer in the regions that were previously worried about, however, most of the studies were performed on non-fermented soy products. Consuming non-fermented soy products are considered to be safe assuming you are in good health. Not many studies have been done on fermented soy products to date, so the subject still remains in the dark.
5. Benefit: Helps Fuel Your Body
Soy-based protein is excellent in providing fuel (protein) for your body and the energy it needs to expend for the day. Many bodybuilders and vegans alike tend to use soy-based or plant-based proteins to help them cope with the increased need for protein. There is some talk in these circles that soy-based protein may be more beneficial to you than animal-based protein sources, thanks to many of the saturated fats that come in animal-based products.
6. Risk: Over-consumption Can Lead To Excess Body Fat
In particular, many people seem to be concerned about gynecomastia, a condition where a man's breasts fill out and begin to resemble their female counterpart. Fortunately, there is little to no risk of this in a normal diet that contains soy-based products such as plant-based proteins or soy milk.
Unfortunately, however, over-consumption of soy-based products have been shown to increase your risk of the condition.
There is a clinical case of one man who, at 60 years old, had decreased libido and gynecomastia for 6 months before he went in for testing to try and figure out the cause of this sudden change. He reported no ill-effects other than what was described, however, through testing it was found that his estrogen-based hormone levels were four times above the upper limit.
Multiple tests and scans later, doctors still could not conclude what was wrong with this man so they interviewed him to discover his dietary habits. At this point, doctors discovered that he was consuming 3 quarts of soy milk per day. Once he ceased his soy intake, the symptoms he described begun to alleviate and after a period were completely gone. Talk about bizarre!
7. Soy-based Phytoestrogens May Help Ease Menopausal Symptoms
There are some studies that compared phytoestrogens from soy-based proteins to Estradiol, which is commonly used in the treatment and prevention of menopausal symptoms.
This study concluded that soy phytoestrogens are far more beneficial and show stronger results when it comes to the ovarian function in comparison to Estradiol.