Soy and Human Health: Facts and Fallacies

Introduction

The past decade or so has seen the health benefits of soy foods gain wide-spread publicity; however controversy surrounding soy’s health effects has arisen of late. Whenever something gains publicity as bei ng beneficial, there will always be a few bucks to be made by selling books which “expose” the “whole story”. Most people are relatively scientifically illiterate, and therefore are easy to mislead regarding matters of science s uch as health and nutrition; moreover, many people are impressed by conspiracy theory-type stories, scandals and rumours of cover-ups. In fact, television ratings have shown that news stories that advertise “exposé’s”, particularly that pertaining to heath scares, often rate the best. Consequently, television journalist may purposefully exaggerate and distort facts regarding health matters, because health scares make for great ratings. 

A few people who would have otherwise remained relatively unknown, have gained fame by publishing books and articles about soy being potentially dangerous, thus creating a health-scare among those who like a good story, but aren’t very scientifically literate; therefore unable to distinguish the difference between real science and a good story which may be entertaining, but is no different from the T.V. journalist who bends the truth to get good ratings.

Likewise, there have also been those who have profited from exaggerating the health benefits of soy by making it out to be some kind of miracle super food; again, making for good ratings/reading but not quite accurate. For those who are scientifically literate and therefore able to distinguish the sense from the nonsense, there is much evidence to examine, as soy has become the single most researched food over the last decade or so. Below is a review discussing the evidence (in layman’s terms) regarding soy and it’s health effects; both positive and negative, however most of the evidence thus far shows more of the former and less of the latter. Isoflavones

Vitamins and minerals are types of substances needed in small amounts in our diet called micronutrients. Other than micronutrients, certain plant foods contain substances which are not essential in our diet, but when consumed, may also have effects on our body which may favourably affect our health. These “non-nutrient” plant chemicals are referred to as “phytochemicals”; “phyto” literally meaning “plant”. There has been particular interest in class of phytochemicals called flavonoids, which are thought to have certain health benefits and potential to prevent certain diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. A class of flavonoids present in soy foods called Isoflavones have been shown to have a range of effects on both human and animal health. Isoflavones have both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which assist in the soybeans survival, and can either decrease or increase in concentration depending upon the conditions in which the soybean is placed in. [1,2] Consequently, isoflavone content among different varieties of soybeans may vary as much as eight fold. The major Isoflavones present in soy foods are called Genistein and Daidzein. The average isoflavone content of various foods have been published by the Unites States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Nutrient Data Laboratory which is available here. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/isoflav/isoflav.html

Isoflavones have been shown to a weak estrogenic activity, as they are chemically similar to the hormone oestrogen. [3,4] It is estimated that the average daily intake of isoflavones among the Japanese population is approximately 50mg. Clinical trials discussed below have shown the consumption even as high as 100mg / day has no adverse effects.

Studies have indicated that soy consumption may have a range of beneficial health effects, most notably its potential to prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, and perhaps certain cancers. It is not known entirely whether the beneficial health effects reported from soy consumption are due to it’s isoflavone content or not, but the evidence suggests that it may be due to a combination of isoflavones as well as some other component in soy. This evidence has come about due to studies which have shown that isoflavone supplements do not have the same beneficial effect as soy food consumption, yet soy foods highest in isoflavones are probably the most beneficial. Therefore it is suspected that the beneficial effects of soy may come from a combination of isoflavones working in concert with some other component of soy foods.


Claim: Consumption of Soy Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease



Cholesterol

Dr Kenneth K Carroll, Professor Emeritus and former director of the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Ontario, reviewed clinical studies on the cholesterol-lowering response to soy protein which was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 1991. Dozens of the studies reviewed by Professor Carroll showed that soy consumption can significantly lower both Total Cholesterol (TC) and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL “Bad” cholesterol) concentrations. [5]

In 1995, a meta-analysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids was published in the New England Journal of Medicine by the Metabolic Research Group at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, lead by Dr James W. Anderson who is Professor of Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Kentucky . [6] Prof Anderson and co-workers analysed 38 clinical studies involving most of which were controlled double blind crossover trials which had been conducted on over 700 men and women of varying age, people with various diets, as well as using various types of soy protein. The average results showed that substitution of soy protein resulted in significant reductions in Total Cholesterol (TC), LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as causing a slight increase in HDL “good” cholesterol.  Table 1 demonstrates the average affects of soy consumption on serum lipid levels.

LipidNo. of StudiesNo of SubjectsAverage Change (mg/dl)Average % Change
Total Cholesterol (TC)38730-23.2-9.3%
LDL “bad” Cholesterol31564-21.7-12.9%
HDL “good” Cholesterol30551+1.2+2.4%
Triglycerides30628-13.3-10.5%

It is not known precisely what component in soy is responsible for this beneficial effect. It has been suggested that the isoflavones contained in soy foods are responsible for its cholesterol improving activity, however studies have shown that isoflavones alone are of little benefit [6]. Clinical trials have shown isoflavone supplements to have no effect on plasma lipid status at all. [7 – 10]

LDL-Cholesterol Oxidation

Oxidation of LDL “bad” cholesterol has been shown to be one of the major pathological events in the development of atherosclerosis; the “hardening” of the arteries which, over time may result in myocardial infarction (heart attack) cerebral infarction (ischemic stroke) and aneurysms. [11] Consequently, being able to reduce the oxidation of LDL-Cholesterol would be able to significantly inhibit the development of atherosclerosis, thus reducing the risk for cardiovascular diseases. As well as favourably affecting serum lipid profiles, consumption of soy foods has been shown to reduce oxidation of LDL-cholesterol.

In 2000, researchers from the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre which is part of the Department of Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada, conducted a trial consisting of 20 men and women with hyperlipidemia (unfavourably high serum lipid concentrations) which showed that LDL oxidation was significantly reduced (~8.5%) and HDL was significantly increased (~6.4%) after 8 weeks of consuming approx 12g of soy protein / day. [12]

Later that year, the same research team conducted another trial, this time involving 25 hyperlipidaemic men and women who consumed 36g/day of soy protein with their breakfast cereal (also containing 168mg/day of isoflavones). The results showed that within 3 weeks oxidized LDL was significantly reduced by ~9.2%. [13]

Also published that year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers at the Health Research Centre at King’s College London, were the results of a study which showed that LDL oxidation reduced significantly (~8%) when 15 people consumed 15g of soy protein per day containing 56 mg of isoflavones, however when the same amount of soy protein consumed contained less isoflavones (1.9mg), there was no significant difference in LDL oxidation. This study suggests that the isoflavones may be at least in part responsible for the inhibitory effect on LDL oxidation. [14]


Arterial Compliance

Decreased arterial compliance, a measure of “stiffness” of the arteries, has also been shown to contribute to cardiovascular disease. [15] A placebo-controlled crossover trial involving 21 women conducted by the Baker Medical Research Institute in Australia showed that as little as 80mg/day of soy isoflavones significantly improved arterial compliance by more than 25% compared with those given a placebo.  [16]


Endothelial Function

Another important stage in the pathogenesis (causation) of atherosclerosis is loss of function of the layer of tissue that lines the inside of blood vessels known as the epithelium. [17] Recent studies have also shown that soy consumption improves endothelial function. A recent Randomized, double-blind, cross-over trial conducted by the Department of Nutrition at the Catholic University of Chile involved eighteen healthy, postmenopausal women with hypercholesterolemia (high serum cholesterol) who consumed either soy protein or milk protein for 4 weeks, and then swapped over. The results showed that the soy protein significantly improved endothelial function compared with the control group.  [18]

Soy and Carddiovascular Disease: In Conclusion

In conclusion, consumption of soy foods can significantly decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by favourably affecting blood lipids, (Lowering TC, LDL and triglycerides) by improving endothelial function and by increasing arterial compliance. Adding moderate servings of soy containing foods would one of several excellent dietary strategies for decreasing the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Claim: Soy Consumption May Prevent Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis can be defined as a disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue, which causes bones to become fragile and more susceptible to fracture. Osteoporosis affects all the bones however the first and sometimes most serious symptoms of osteoporosis often involve the spine due to the enormous pressure exerted on the vertebrae. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by testing the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and Bone Mineral Content (BMC) by using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) which can determine changes in the mineral content and density of the bones.  

Due to hormonal changes which interrupt bone mineral regulation, women during menopause transition (peri-menopausal) and thereafter (postmenopausal) are subject to enhanced bone mineral density (BMD)loss as well as total bone mineral content (BMC) loss; therefore being more susceptible to developing osteoporosis. A number of dietary, nutritional, lifestyle and hormonal influences have been examined in regards to preventing and treating osteoporosis. Epidemiological studies have shown very low prevalence of osteoporosis among high soy consuming Asian populations, and animal experiments have shown beneficial effects from soy consumption on bone health. Only a handful of human clinical trials have been conducted thus far, which are described below.

In 1998, researchers from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois published the results of a randomized double-blind controlled trial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [19] 66 postmenopausal women  with high serum cholesterol levels were fed either 40g/day of soy protein containing 56mg of isoflavones, 40g/day of soy protein containing 90mg of isoflavones, or 40g of non-fat milk protein. After 6 months, it was found that the women in both soy groups had improved cholesterol levels and the women consuming the soy with 90mg/isoflavones had an increase in in both bone mineral content and density in the lumbar spine whereas the other women did not. The authors concluded: 

“Intake of soy protein at both isoflavone concentrations for 6 months  may decrease the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. However, only the higher isoflavone-containing product protected against spinal bone loss.”

In 2000, researchers from Iowa State University conducted a randomized double blind controlled trial involving 69 peri-menopausal women who were fed either soy protein high in isoflavones, soy protein low in isoflavones, or whey protein (a type of milk protein) every day for 24 weeks. Even though both types of protein are high in Calcium , at the end of the trial, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry  showed that the women on both types of soy protein had not had any reductions in bone mineral content or bone mineral density in their lumbar spine (lower back-bone)  whereas the women consuming the whey protein did. [20]

Recently, researchers at Creighton University gave 65 postmenopausal women soy protein with 96 mg isoflavones/day, soy with 52 mg isoflavones/day, or soy without isoflavones for 9 months, and then studied for an additional 6 months after they stoped taking soy. [21] There was no change in bone mineral density (BMD) in the women consuming soy with isoflavones, whereas there was actually an increase in BMD in the women who consumed the soy without isoflavones. The problem with this study however was that it only looked at isoflavone content on BMD, because as a control, they used a soy product containing no isoflavones, whereas the other two studies used milk protein as a control. Even though the results of this trial may indicate that soy isoflavones did not have a beneficial effect on the bone mineral density of postmenopausal women, it is reasonable to speculate that postmenopausal women consuming no soy at all may have actually had losses in BMD, in which case soy consumption may have been beneficial after all. Because there was no non-soy consuming control used in this trial to compare results with, the results of the first two trials would be best to extrapolate to a larger population.

Soy and Osteoprosis: In Conclusion

The results of these studies give preliminary evidence to suggest that soy consumption by women during and after menopause may be beneficial to bone health in that it may help increase bone mineral density and bone mineral content, or at least inhibit further losses which are typical of peri-and postmenopausal women. Further studies are needed however before a conclusion can be more certain.



Claim: Regular Soy Consumption May Reduce the Risk of Certain Cancers


There is no doubt that diet and lifestyle factors are major influences which determine the likelihood of developing cancer. [22] In 1995, Dr Walter Willet, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, published a review of the evidence regarding diet, nutrition and avoidable cancer. After reviewing the evidence available, Prof Willet estimated that between 32 and 42% of all cancers, 75% of prostate and 70% of colon cancers may be avoidable by changes in diet and nutrition. [23]

Prostate Cancer

In 1999, researchers from the Nutrition/Metabolism Laboratory at Harvard Medical Schools Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Centre fed varying concentrations of isoflavone rich soy protein to rats that had been inoculated with prostate cancer. The results showed not only that the tumour growth was reduced by soy consumption, but that the more isoflavones consumed, the greater the tumour reduction (up to 40%) when compared to controls (rats fed milk protein). [24]

A year later, Professor Morris Pollard, Director of Lobund Laboratory and former Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Notre Dame who was considered a “pioneer in developing animal models for prostate cancer” [25], showed that feeding soy protein containing isoflavones to rats inhibited both spontaneous (naturally occurring) and carcinogen-stimulated prostate cancer. [26, 27]

Whilst these animal studies are encouraging, the same expectations can not necessarily be extrapolated into human data; therefore it is necessary to obtain such results from human studies before any conclusions can be made.

Population studies have shown that prostate cancer mortality in the United States is more than 3 times higher than it is in Japan, and 17 times higher than it is in China. [28] Studies have shown that men of Chinese of Japanese descent who have moved to the United States have significantly higher rates of prostate cancer than those who remained in Asia. [29]

Although it is known that Chinese and Japanese people consume large amounts of soy foods, this evidence alone does not necessarily pinpoint soy as the common denominator, as Chinese and Japanese diets and lifestyles contain many factors which may contribute to their smaller incidence of cancer. However, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which examined nutritional and socioeconomic factors related to prostate cancer mortality in 42 countries found that consumption of soy products was more protective than any other factor. [30]

A prospective cohort study conducted by the Kuakini Medical Centre in Hawaii studied 7999 men of Japanese ancestry between 1965 and 1986, during which time 174 cases of prostate cancer were recorded. Researchers examined a large range of dietary, socioeconomic and other lifestyle factors among the men, and the only factor they found to be significantly protective was that men who ate tofu daily were only one-third as likely to get prostate cancer as those who ate tofu once a week
or less. [31]

Whilst these human studies show at least some evidence exists to suggest that soy consumption may prevent prostate cancer, more research is needed before any definite conclusion can be made.

Colorectal Cancer

In 1992, researchers at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences fed rats either soy protein or milk protein whilst being exposed to azoxymethane; a potent carcinogen used to induce colon cancer.  After 40 weeks of this, the rats  were sacrificed (killed) and their colons were examined. Rats fed the milk protein (control) had a 50% incidence of colon tumors compared with 12% on soy protein-based diets, suggesting that consumption of soy protein-containing diets may reduce the risk of developing colon tumours.  [32]

Several studies conducted by Dr Maurice Bennink, professor of food science and human nutrition at Michigan State University, also showed that feeding full-fat soy flour, [33] or defatted soy flour [34, 35] significantly reduces chemically-induced colon cancer in animals.

In 2003, Dr Lenore Arab, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina and colleagues published a review of the 13 epidemiological studies, 3 ecological studies, 1 cohort study and  9 case control studies which have examined the link between colorectal cancer and soy foods.  In regards to the case control studies examining colon cancer, they state:

“Intake of soy protein at both isoflavone concentrations for 6 months  may decrease the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. However, only the higher isoflavone-containing product protected against spinal bone loss.”

“Point estimates generally suggest an inverse association between higher soy consumption and colon cancer onset” (which means that the more soy consumed, the less colon cancer occurred). Of the case control studies examining rectal cancer, they state:

“..the point estimates generally suggest an inverse association with unfermented soy consumption and rectal cancer onset but not fermented soy products.”

After reviewing all the evidence available, they concluded:

“..the available evidence is compelling enough to warrant further study utilizing stronger methodology.” [36]

It is known that the colon mucosa (mucous secreting layer of tissue) in people with increased risk of colon cancer have characteristic alterations in cell proliferation and maturation. Colon mucosal cell proliferation and maturation were studied in people who had a history of colon polyps or cancer. They were given either 38 grams of soy protein (70mg of isoflavones) or a placebo (38 grams of casein protein) for one year. Biopsies (tissue samples) were taken before the study, and then at the end of the year for comparison. A downward shift in the proliferation zone and an increase in cell differentiation in the colon mucosa was seen in the subjects fed soy protein, indicating that they were at a significantly lower risk of developing colon cancer, whereas no change occurred in those taking the placebo. These results are encouraging, however more human trials are needed. [37]

Breast Cancer

Most animal studies that have examined the effects of soy/isoflavones on mammary (breast) cancer in animals have shown that consumption of soy does not necessarily prevent animals from getting breast cancer, however it does reduce the number of tumours they get by approximately 25 – 50% by comparison with those not fed soy. [38-40] Moreover, a recent study found that the combination of miso consumption (fermented soy paste) and tamoxifen (a drug used to treat breast cancer) inhibited the growth of existing mammary tumors, whereas tamoxifen by itself was ineffective.  [41]

In 2000, Dr Coral A. Lamartiniere, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Director of the Graduate Training Program in Toxicology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that  when very young rodents are injected with genistein, or fed diets containing soy or isoflavones for just a few days early in life, and then placed on a typical laboratory diet and injected with a mammary carcinogen (a chemical that induced breast cancer), mammary carcinogenesis in adulthood is reduced by approximately 50%. [42] This data correlates interestingly with a recent study in Asia which found that 13 to 15 year old girls who consumed soy were less likely to develop breast cancer later in life in comparison to girls who did not. [43]

In 1991, researchers at the Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine at the National University of Singapore compared the diets of 200 female breast cancer patients with the diets of 402 age matched controls (women of the same age who did not have breast cancer). They found that high intakes of animal proteins and red meat were associated with an increased risk, whilst a higher consumption of soy foods was associated with a decreased risk; in fact, the women who consumed the most soy foods were approximately 70% less likely to get breast cancer than those who consumed little or no soy foods. [44] Other long-term studies have noted an inverse association between regular consumption of miso soup and breast cancer risk in premenopausal women. [45]

A research team consisting of academics from the Department of Human Oncology, the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, the Department of Psychiatry and the Lombardi Cancer Centre at Georgetown University’s Medical Centre conducted a meta-analysis of the 8 case-control studies and 1 cohort study which have examined the association between soy consumption and breast cancer. [46] They concluded their analysis by stating that:

“A modest statistically significant reduction in risk was associated with high soy intake over all studies, however, this effect was confined to premenopausal women”


* The Anti-Soy Campaign *


As mentioned in the introduction, a few popular myths regarding soy being unsafe have arisen due to a few articlers and books written by a few people who have realised how famous and wealthy one can get by twisting a few facts to scare a few people and sell a few books. One of the most infamous articles by two of the most infamous anti-soy campaigners is entitled: “Tradgedy and Hype” by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig,  which you can read here. Discussed below are some of the issues raised by Fallon and Enig, as well as some of the common myths purported by anti-soy activists.

Claim:  Soy Consumption May Cause Breast Cancer


This claim is based on several studies which had outcomes that raised cause for concern. Firstly, a study published in 1998 involved immune deficient mice which had had their ovaries removed; the purpose of which was to stop oestrogen production and therefore attempt to simulate postmenopausal conditions. They were then implanted with ER+ (Estrogen Receptor Positive)  breast cancer cells and fed genistien, which appeared to stimulate the growth of the tumour cells. [47] Although the results of this study might indicate cause for concern among postmenopausal women who consume soy, this study had several methodological flaws. Firstly, postmenopausal women do have some circulating oestrogen, unlike the mice whose ovaries were completely removed. Secondly, a more appropriate method for testing whether a substance protects against or stimulates tumour growth is by exposing the animal to a carcinogen, not to simply implant them with tumour cells. Women who get breast cancer do so because of exposure to some kind of carcinogen, not because they have ER+ tumour cells surgically implanted in them. Even if these results could be hypothetically extrapolated into human data, at the very most, the only speculation that would be feasible, is that women who have had their ovaries removed (and do not receive HRT) and who have been surgically implanted with ER+ tumour cells may be best to avoid heavy soy consumption.

In 1998, researchers from Shanghai Medical University’s Department of Surgery found that in vitro (cell culture studies) genistein actually inhibited the proliferation of both ER+ and ER- human breast cancer cells, induced normal gene expression and induced apoptosis (normal cell death which ceases to occur in cancer cells). [48] Genistein also inhibited the invasion of tumour cells into surrounding tissue. In mouse studies, genistein inhibited tumour cell growth and generally had the same effects on breast cancer cells as was shown in vitro, as well as inhibiting angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels to the site of a tumour which supplies the tumour with nutrients to grow). The difference in these mice was that they did not have their ovaries removed.

Two human studies also gave cause for concern as well. A study published in 1996 showed that both pre- and postmenopausal women who consumed 38 grams of soy protein for 4 months had an increase in nipple fluid secretion and breast cell hyperplasia. [49] Previous research by these investigators found that women who are able to excrete breast fluid are more likely to develop breast cancer than those who cannot. Hyperplasia is an increased growth in cell numbers, and is sometimes seen prior to the development of a tumour, because tumours themselves are tissue composed of cells which multiply rapidly (neoplasia). The difference between hyperplasia and neoplasia however is that hyperplasia is a controlled growth, whereas in neoplasia, the cells grow completely out of control and encounter a severe loss of differentiation; that is, that each cell differs from the cell it came from, whereas this should not occur in controlled cell replication. Whilst hyperplasia can precede neoplasia, it frequently does not, therefore it can not be ascertained whether this particular hyperplasia may have resulted in neoplastic transformation (turned into a tumour) or not, as an oestrogenic effect may have the same consequence.

The major flaw in this study however were that there was no control group; that is, there were no subjects with which to compare the results with. It was also found that the abnormal fluid secretion actually increased even after the women had stopped consuming soy. Because there was no control/placebo group with which to compare the results, it can not be ascertained whether it was in fact the consumption of soy that caused this effect or something else.

The other study which caused concern was published in 1999, which examined the effect that 60g of soy consumption on the breast tissue and cells of 84 premenopausal women. [50] The results showed that 2 proteins called apolipoprotein D and pS2 were altered after soy supplementation. Abnormalities of these proteins have been found to be indicative of breast cancer, however cancerous breast tissues also show abnormalities in cell proliferation, a reduction in apoptosis (normal cell death), a significant change in mitosis (normal cell division), an increase in Bcl-2 expression (a gene which creates proteins which inhibit apoptosis) and a change in estrogens and progesterone receptor status. No changes in any of these markers occurred in this group, indicating that whilst the soy supplementation may have had an oestrogenic effect, (the changes in these two proteins found in were affected by soy in the same way they are affected by estrogens, although to a lesser extent) these results can hardly be used to conclude that soy supplementation can result in breast tumour growth.

It should be noted that a major flaw with this study was that it was only conducted over two weeks. The effects of soy consumption over months or years are likely to be very different to that which occurs in only 2 weeks.

Even though these two studies had serious methodological flaws and even though human epidemiological studies have shown soy consumption to have a protective effect on breast cancer, they should not be entirely ignored, and at least provide evidence enough to warrant further research. Two better designed and longer lasting double-blind trials however indicated that soy consumption has no adverse effect on breast tissues at all.

A review of the current evidence involving breast cancer tissue density published by the Ontario Cancer Institute’s Division of Epidemiology and Statistics found that breast tissue density (which can be determined by a mammogram) is an excellent marker of breast cancer risk. It has been shown that factors such as hormone replace therapy that increase breast cancer risk also increase tissue density, whereas factors that decrease risk, such as the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, decrease the tissue density. [51]

A randomized double-blinded trial with 34 premenopausal women published in 2001 by researchers from the Cancer Research Centre of Hawaii and the University of Southern California, investigated the effect of tablets with 100 mg of isoflavones or placebo, given daily, on the ovulatory cycle and on mammographic densities for 1 year. [52] The results showed that the isoflavone group had no change in ovulatory cycle, and although some changes in breast tissue density were detected by mammogram, the authors note that the changes were small and not significant.

A similar trial was conducted in the same year by researchers from the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge’s Institute of Public Health, the Department of Radiology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the Department of Biochemistry at Royal Marsden Hospital and Cambridge’s Medical Research Council Dunn Human Nutrition Unit. This time, 175 women aged 49–65 y old with normal healthy breast tissue density were randomly assigned to receive an either an isoflavone tablet (40 mg isoflavones) or placebo daily for 1 year. [53] The study examined whether the isoflavones had any effect on breast tissue density or certain hormones called estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which are involved in ovulatory cycles. Although there were no significant changes in breast tissue density, there was a modest decrease in density among the older women in the study who were taking the isoflavones by comparison with the control/placebo group. No significant change in Estradiol was observed, and although a decrease in FSH and LH occurred in the women taking the isoflavones, the same decrease occurred in the women taking the placebo; consequently, there was no significant difference in hormonal effects between the two groups.

 Soy and Breast Cancer: In Conclusion

Human epidemiological studies as well as in vitro and animal studies have shown that soy may have a protective effect on breast cancer although the evidence is far from concrete. There is little or no evidence to indicate that soy consumption may have any adverse effect on breast tissue, and no credible evidence to suggest that it may actually promote breast cancer growth. Further research is needed.

 Claim: Soy Consumption poses danger due to allergies

Only 2.4% of the population are affected by any food allergies at all. [54] Common food allergens include wheat flour, nuts, seafood, milk, eggs, and legumes such as soybeans.  Most allergic reactions to soy occur in children, and studies have shown that children frequently “outgrow” such allergies. [55] Whilst the prevalence of soy allergy is higher among infants who also have other food allergies such as milk allergy, the prevalence of soybean allergy in the general population is probably below 0.5%. [56]


  Claim: Soy Contains Protease Inhibitors Which Blocks Protein Digestion


One of the most common claims made by anti-soy activists is that soybeans contain substances which inhibit the action of protein digesting enzymes (proteases) such as trypsin. Whilst this statement is true, it is very misleading and somewhat like warning against drinking orange juice because it contains large amounts of a chemical called dihydrogen monoxide which can be lethal if even a few mills were injected intravenously in its pure form (Diydrogen Monoxide is simply the chemical name for water; H2O). Both statements are true, but purposefully twisted to give a false impression. Whilst soy does contain protease inhibitors such as trypsin inhibitors, it does not contain anywhere near enough to actually have any significantly adverse effect on normal human health whatsoever, especially considering that Boiling dry beans generally reduces the trypsin inhibitor content by 80–90%; an important fact which anti-soy activists (purposefully?) forget to mention. [57]

Dr Irvin Liener, Professor Emeritus at the University of Minesotas Department of Biochemistry reviewed the evidence regarding the implications of anti-nutritional components in soybean foods, and notes that protease inhibitors are destroyed by heat; consequently are little or no concern to human health. [58]

The argument put forth by anti-soy activists is misleading because no one would be able to eat enough soy to consume undesirable levels of protease inhibitors; likewise, pure water is deadly if injected however it is obviously harmless if orally ingested in reasonable quantities; in fact it is essential for our survival.

What anti-soy activists fail to mention is that certain protease inhibitors found in soy may have very important cancer fighting benefits. Soy Bean Trypsin Inhibitor (SBTI) has actually been shown to suppress ovarian cancer cell invasion by blocking up regulation of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) [59]

Research investigations have also indicated that certain protease inhibitors found in soy are extremely effective at preventing/suppressing carcinogenic transformation (the formation of normal cells into cancerous cells) both in vitro and in animal studies. One protease inhibitor derived from soybeans called the Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI) has been particularly effective in the ability to suppress the carcinogenic process and appears to be a universal cancer preventive agent. It has been shown to suppress carcinogenesis in various species of animals, in colon, liver, lung, oesophagus, oral epithelium and blood cells / tissues, in cells of both epithelial and connective tissue origin, when given to animals by several different routes of administration (including the diet) as well as being able to suppress carcinogenesis caused by a wide variety of chemical and physical carcinogens. [60, 61]


Claim: Soy Contains Goitrogens Which Can Cause Thyroid Problems


Isoflavones, Iodine and Thyroid Hormones

Other than producing the hormone calcitonin which is involved in calcium regulation, the thyroid gland produces two “thyroid hormones” known as 3,5,3′-triiodothyroine  and 3,5,3′,5′-tetraiodothyronine, or more commonly called “T3” and T4” respectively. These two hormones are involved in regulating metabolic rate. A trace mineral called iodine is required for the two thyroid hormones to function properly. If a person becomes iodine deficient due to inadequate dietary iodine intake, the anterior (front section) of the thyroid glands produces excessive amounts of another hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). The thyroid gland increases in size to compensate for this excessive TSH production – the result of which is called a goitre. Other than inadequate dietary iodine intake, the same response can occur if utilization of the iodine consumed is interfered with in some way. Substances that can interfere with the utilization of iodine are known as goitrogens.  Heavy consumption of soy as well as certain fibrous foods may interfere with the reabsorption of thyroid hormones as they circulate through the liver. This is because one of the primary isoflavones in soy called genistein may inhibit the action of an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase, which is involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. [62]

Animal Studies

Rat studies have shown that although thyroid peroxidase was inhibited somewhat after being fed large amounts of genistein, thyroid hormone levels as well as the thyroid tissues showed no difference in comparison to rats which were not fed genistein (controls). The authors concluded that large consumption of genistein containing foods is not likely to affect thyroid function unless the animal or person has a significantly inadequate iodine intake to begin with. [63, 64]

In fact, anti-soy campaigners frequently like to cite studies which have shown that that animals exposed to large amounts of soy protein  will develop goiter. What they conveniently forget to mention is that this has only occurred in animals that were fed an iodine deficient diet. [65, 66]

Evidently baby rats do not thrive on soy, (particularly if iodine deficient) however it is also known that they fail to thrive on human breast milk. Rats have very different requirements than those of humans; for example, human breast milk is approximately 5% protein [67] whereas rats’ milk is closer to 45% protein. [68] Significantly large differences in optimal nutritional requirements exist between different species of mammals. For example, the nutritional requirements of a cat (which is carnivorous) would be entirely different from that of a bovine (which is an herbivore). Consequently, the results of rat and other animal studies should not always be extrapolated into human data; particularly when examining the effects of dietary intakes.

Human Studies

Researchers in Japan who fed healthy Japanese volunteers 30g of soybeans for several months found that thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) rose significantly, however “stayed within normal ranges” Hypo metabolic symptoms (malaise, constipation, sleepiness) and goiters (an enlargement of the thyroid gland) appeared in half the subjects who were consuming 30g of soybeans for several months, and then disappeared within a month of cessation of soy consumption. [69]

This study has often been cited by anti-soy activists to infer that soy consumption can suppress thyroid function and cause hypo metabolic symptoms, however this study had some serious methodological flaws that raise questions about the validity of its findings; most importantly, the researchers did not assess the iodine intake or status of the subjects. Considering that thyroid problems are not commonly seen throughout heavy soy-consuming populations, it is more than likely that the iodine status of participants who exhibited these symptoms may have been compromised to begin with. What’s more, the particular product that the subjects were given was stored in rice vinegar, and the authors of the study did not sufficiently mention any other details about the particular product which was used; consequently it is possible that these particular soybeans used may have been contaminated in some way or were somehow different from ordinary beans. These explanations would be particularly likely given that the Japanese frequently consume these levels of soy – yet goitre and hypo metabolic symptoms are not at all common throughout soy consuming populations. Most importantly, there was no control used in this trial – that is, there was no placebo group or comparison; therefore it cannot be ascertained whether or not the soy bean product was in fact responsible for these symptoms.

A better designed trial conducted by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota under the supervision of Professor Mindy Kurzer and supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that women who were given soy powders containing isoflavones 3-4 times higher than the average Japanese intake, had no significant effect on thyroid hormones even after 3 months. [70]

In 1993, 17 men with high cholesterol consumed 50g/day of protein and 20g/day of fibre from soy flour for 4 weeks, then from soy protein isolate (SPI) and soy fibre for four weeks, then from  SPI and cellulose for 4 weeks, and then finally from a non-fat dry milk product with cellulose for 4 weeks. [71] Their thyroid hormone levels were measured at the end of each month and after an initial baseline period of 10 days. No effects were seen in either T3 or TSH and although the mean values of T4 showed a slight increase when the SPI was consumed, the difference was not significant and T4 levels still remained well within normal range.

In a recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford Universities Department of Medicine, 38 postmenopausal women, 64-83 years old who were not on hormone replacement therapy were given a daily supplement containing 90 mg  of total isoflavones/day or a placebo. Thyroid hormones (T3, T4 and TSH) were assessed before the trial, again after 90 days and then once again after 180 days. The results showed that at all three measurements taken, there were no significant differences in any thyroid hormone status between the women taking the supplements and the women on the placebo.  Unlike the Japanese study, the researchers in this trial assessed all the participants’ iodine status and found them all to be adequate. The authors concluded that soy isoflavones do not adversely affect thyroid function if dietary iodine intakes are adequate. [72]

Thyroid Cancer

When anti-soy campaigners like to start fear mongering in regards to soy isoflavones and thyroid problems, they conveniently forget to mention that the effect which soy isoflavones have on thyroid function may actually be significantly beneficial.  A recent case control study conducted by the Northern California Cancer Centre and supported by the National Cancer Institute called the San Francisco Bay Area thyroid cancer study, compared the diets of the 608 persons in the area who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer with 558 randomized controls (persons without thyroid cancer). The results showed that the consumption of traditional and non-traditional soy based foods as well as alfalfa sprouts were associated with a significantly reduced risk of thyroid cancer. Of the seven specific phytoestrogenic compounds examined, the isoflavones, daidzein and genisten were most strongly associated with risk reduction. Findings were similar for white and Asian women and for pre- and postmenopausal women. The authors concluded:

“Our findings suggest that thyroid cancer prevention via dietary modification of soy and/or phytoestrogen intake in other forms may be possible but warrants further research at this time.” [73]

Soy Infant Formula and Thyroid Problems

Anti-soy activists frequently refer to case studies of infants who had developed goitre after being fed soy-based formula. What they fail to mention however is that that particular type of formula has not been used since the 1960’s and what’s more, soy based formulas have been fortified with iodine for some time. Ever since the addition of iodine to soy formulas, there have been no reports of infant goitre or any thyroid problems at all, except in rare cases of infants who have been born with hypothyroidism who require approximately 25% more thyroid medication if using soy formula. [74] It should however be noted that this same phenomenon has occurred in infants with congenital hypothyroidism who have been given fibre supplements.

Soy and Thyroid Problems: In Conclusion

Three conclusion can be made after examining the evidence regarding soy isoflavones and thyroid hormones.

A: Unless you are a significantly iodine deficient rat or you happen to be suffering from hypo thyroidism, moderate and even heavy soy consumption is not likely to adversely affect your thyroid hormone function; in fact, what effect it may have could actually be beneficial by lowering your cholesterol and preventing thyroid cancer.

B: If your baby happens to be unfortunate enough to suffer from hypo thyroidism, it may be best to avoid soy-based formula or at least adjust their medication appropriately (under the care of a physician) if there is no other option.

C: If you are an iodine deficient rat, contact an anti-soy campaigner immediately so that they can distort the facts of your situation whilst gaining fame by selling conspiracy theory books to laypeople who think you are “exposing” the soy industry. You may be best to contact Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig by writing to their publicist.

Claim: Exposure to Soy in-utero can affect the sexual development of young males.

Anti-soy liars like to refer to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1983 which, as quoted by Fallan and Enig, showed that

“Male children exposed during gestation to diethylstilbesterol (DES), a synthetic estrogen that has effects on animals similar to those of phytoestrogens from soy, had testes smaller than normal on maturation.” [75]

DES is not a phytooestrogen, and although it may have effects similar to phytoestrogens in certain animals, no such evidence exists to extrapolate this to human data. What’s more, what Fallan and Enig fail to mention is that the boys who were studied:

“showed no difference in age at onset of puberty, development of sexual characteristics or hormone levels from boys of the same age who had not been exposed to DES.”

Claim: Soy Based Formula Causes Early Sexual Development in Young Females

Some evidence exists to support the notion that a greater portion of young females are reaching puberty at an age significantly younger than what has been considered to be normal. Although a number of hypotheses have been put forth to suggest an explanation for this phenomenon including steroid use in farm animals.

Anti-soy liars such as Fallan and Enig like to cite a study known as the 1986 Puerto Rico Premature Thelarche study. In regards to the results of this study, Fallan and Enig state:

“the most significant dietary association with premature sexual development was not chicken —as reported in the press—but soy infant formula.”

The authors of this study actually state:

“In subjects with onset before 2 years of age, significant positive associations were found with a maternal history of ovarian cysts, consumption of soy-based formula, and consumption of various meat products.”

“These statistical associations are probably not sufficient to explain the reported increase because in over 50% of the case subjects there was no exposure to any of the risk factors for which statistical associations were found. Exposure to other substances with possible estrogenic effect, such as waste products from pharmaceutical factories and pesticides, was also excluded as a possible cause. These findings suggest that better diagnosis and reporting, or conceivably the presence of entirely new,
unsuspected factors, could account for the reported increase.” [76]

There is no valid evidence to support the notion that girls fed soy-based infant formula as a baby will reach puberty abnormally early.

Claim: Soy Contains Phytates and Oxalates which Inhibits Mineral Absorption

The total iron content of a diet, provides little information about its content of bioavailable iron, which is considerably influenced by the foods in the diet and can vary 10-fold from different meals of similar iron content .[77]

Certain substances in plant foods are known as “anti-nutritional factors”, because they actually lessen the quality or quantity of nutrient intake in your diet. Phytates and Oxalates are a type of chemical present in foods like rhubarb, tea, bran and soybeans, which inhibit the absorption of certain minerals such as calcium , iron and zinc. Anti-soy campaigners often use this fact to imply that this makes soy consumption harmful and likely to cause mineral deficiencies, however for mineral deficiencies to occur due to these substances, excessive amounts of phytates and oxalates combined with inadequate mineral intake would be necessary. If soy consumption caused mineral deficiencies, then heavy soy consuming population such as the Japanese and Chinese would experience prevalent mineral deficiencies. Obviously, they do not.

Calcium

Because of anti-nutritional substances, calcium bioavailability is low from both American and Chinese varieties of spinach and rhubarb, intermediate from sweet potatoes, and high from low-oxalate vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and bok choy. A notable exception to this generalization is soybeans. Soybeans are rich in both oxalate and phytate, yet soy products have relatively high calcium bioavailability (equal to or greater than milk). In contrast, common dried beans, which are also rich in phytate, have substantially lower calcium bioavailability. [78]

Iron

A recent trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involved 18 women with marginal iron deficiency who were given soy beans to consume daily. The soybeans contained intrinsically labelled iron so that their absorption could be specifically detected. Their iron status was evaluated 2 and 4 weeks later. The results showed that the iron in the soybeans was well absorbed (27%) even though these particular beans had a phytic acid content almost twice as high as most other soybeans. [79]

Minerals such as iron and zinc are generally better absorbed from animal sources than what they are from plant sources. The high oxalate and phytate content of diets rich in plant foods and low in animal foods has often been a commonly cited reason for why vegetarians risk mineral deficiencies. Studies have shown however that once a person starts to consume less animal foods, they body adapts by increasing the absorption of the minerals they do have.

In 2000, researchers from the US Department of Agriculture gave 21 women either a lactoovovegetarian or non-vegetarian diet (and then crossed over) for 8 weeks each to monitor their nonhaema iron absorption. [80] The results showed that even though the lactoovovegetarian diets contained substantially more phytates and reduced non-haema iron absorption by approximately 70%, haemoglobin, transferrin saturation  erythrocyte protoporphyrin and serum ferritin were not affected. This study confirmed the results of others which have shown that once iron consumption is reduced, the body tends to adapt an increase the efficiency of the iron which is absorbed.

The long-term effects of vegetarian diets on iron status has shown time and time again that even though vegetarians, especially females, may have lower iron stores, iron deficiency anaemia appears to be no more prevalent among vegetarian women than among non-vegetarian women. [81-96]

The only study which found a higher portion of vegetarians with iron deficiency anaemia was conducted in Taiwan where the iron status of 23 males and 32 female vegetarians were unacceptably low in comparison with 20 male and 39 female non-vegetarians. All participants were given soy containing products; however the vegetarians were given more than 3 times more soy as the non-vegetarians throughout the duration of the trial. [93]

Based on this evidence, three conclusions can be reached regarding vegetarians and soy consumption.

1: Vegetarians, particularly female vegetarians should be cautious not consume excessive amounts of soy. Those that do may wish to may consider an iron supplement or ensure they consume at least some foods with added iron (fortified).

2: Females who wish to consume large amounts of soy should not become vegetarians, or at least should ensure that they eat at least some animal meat such as fish and or poultry.

3. Unless you are a vegetarian with a very poor iron intake, soy consumption, even relatively heavy soy consumption, will not cause iron deficiency or result in iron malabsorption to the point where it will result in any adverse health condition at all.

Other Minerals

Other trace minerals such as copper and selenium do not appear to be significantly affected by vegetarian diets high in phytates. [97]

Claim: Soy Based Formula Can Cause Zinc Deficiencies in Children.

A diet with a phytate-to-zinc ratio <5 provides zinc with a high degree of availability, whereas a phytate:zinc >15 results in relatively poor absorption of zinc. [98]

Arsenault and Brown analysed the dietary intake of 7474 non-breastfeeding preschool children to determine whether their zinc intake was adequate or not. The results showed that they were consuming well in excess of the Recommended Dietary Allowance, in fact it was shown that 92% of children of bottle feeding age (0 – 6 months) and 86% of those between 7 – 12 months old were consuming zinc in excess of the Tolerable Upper Intake (TUI). The authors concluded:

“The present level of intake does not seem to pose a health problem, but if zinc intake continues to increase because of the greater availability of zinc-fortified foods in the US food supply, the amount  of zinc consumed by children may become excessive.” [99]

Evidently, parents need not be concerned about young children having inadequate zinc intake.

Soyonlineservice.co.nz

One of the internets most prominent source of anti-soy nonsense comes from Soyonlineservice.co.nz. Earlier in the year, I wrote to the website administrator after reading some of their anti-soy testimonials. I suspected that they had no intention of showing any objectivity, so to test my theory, I asked them to publish my own testimonial. Below is a transcript of the communications between myself and the website administrators. My emails are in plain text, their replies are in red italics.

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: divulge@xtra.co.nz Date: Jan 5, 2005 12:02 PM Subject: my testimony

Hi,

I have been reading lots of the information on your web site over the
past few weeks:

http://www.soyonlineservice.co .nz/

including the testimonials, and I’d like to have my own testimonial
added to this page:

http://www.soyonlineservice.co .nz/

I started consuming soy as soy milk after reading about some of the
benefits such as cholesterol management. I then started eating tofu
with my dinner just about every night of the week, and occasionally I
even have soy protein powders, and soy beans as well.

Since I have been consuming soy so much, I have noticed that my memory
has been a lot better, and that my sex life has been enhanced as well.
I feel like I have more energy than I did before and I have been in
very good health ever since. My blood lipid profile as improved, my
thyroid hormone status has not been affected, and I have not
experienced anything but good health ever since adding soy foods to my
diet.

I trust my testimonial will be added to you list soon.

Kind Regards

Stuart Adams

p.s. Whilst your site states that it is run by “citizens” from various
locations around the world, may I ask what the name of the actual web
site administrator(s) is/are?

Cheers.

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 6, 2005 10:53 AM Subject: Re: my testimony

We help the www.soyonlineservice.co.nz webmaster with his mail. He is Dr MG
Fitzpatrick. Your letter has been forwarded to him. May we ask whom you
represent and who funds you?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 6, 2005 10:55 AM Subject: YOU SHOULD ALSO TELL YOUR STORY TO THESE RESEACHERS

Links to thyroid research. NCTR is the US FDA laboratory
Anti-thyroid isoflavones from Soybean; isolation, characterization, and mechanisms of action, Biochem Pharmacol – Nov 1997 ; 54(10):1087-96, National Center For Toxicological Research, nctr  , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=PubMed&list_ui ds=9464451&dopt=Abstract


. . Inactivation of thyroid peroxidase by Soy isoflavones, in vitro and in vivo, J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life – Sept 25, 2002 ; 777(1-2):269-79 Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, nctr ,  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=PubMed&list_uids=12270219 &dopt=Abstract . .

Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity of Soy isoflavones, Environ Health Perspect – June 2002 ; 110 Suppl 3:349-53, Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, nctr , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 6, 2005 11:49 AM Subject: Re: YOU SHOULD ALSO TELL YOUR STORY TO THESE RESEACHERS

Why? Perhaps I should also tell my story to researchers who have found
that intravenous injection of even a few mills of dihydrogen monoxide
(H2O) in it’s pure form can be lethal. Fortunately, nobody would do
this; likewise, noone would consume enough soy to experience
goitrogenic effects. Perhaps you can refer me to human trials. I’ve
already read these::

  Duncan AM, Underhill KE, Xu X, Lavalleur J, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS.
Modest hormonal effects of soy isoflavones in postmenopausal women. J
Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Oct;84(10):3479-84.
http://jcem.endojournals.org /cgi/content/full/84/10/3479

  Ham JO, Chapman KM, Essex-Sorlie D, et al. Endocrinological response
to soy protein and fiber in midly hypercholesterolemic men. Nutr Res
1993; 13:873-884.
http://www.lef.org/prod_hp /abstracts/php-ab329.html#13

  Bruce B, Messina M, Spiller GA. Isoflavone supplements do not affect
thyroid function in iodine-replete postmenopausal women. J Med Food.
2003 Winter;6(4):309-16.

  Horn-Ross PL, Hoggatt KJ, Lee MM. Phytoestrogens and thyroid cancer
risk: the San Francisco Bay Area thyroid cancer study. Cancer
Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Jan;11(1):43-9.
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org /cgi/content/full/11/1/43


Kind Regards

Stuart Adams

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz>Date: Jan 6, 2005 11:41 AM Subject: Re: my testimony

Dear Valerie and Richard,

Thank you kindly for providing me with the name of the website
administrator. Would you be so kind as to inform me precisely what
qualifications Dr Fitzpatric holds that entitles him as a “Dr”.

In regards to your questions:

a: I represent myself.

b: Nobody “funds” me.

Do you ask these questions to everyone who sends you testimonials?

Kind Regards

Stuart Adams

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 7, 2005 2:53 PM Subject: Re: my testimony

He has a PH D in Chemistery. What is your qualification?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Cc: Mike Fitzpatrick <MFitzpatrick@kma.co.nz> Date: Jan 7, 2005 2:59 PM Subject: Re: my testimony

We check the veracity always. Thousands have been received, which are not
posted on the website. What you see there is a tiny fraction directed only
at the thyroid effects, since those were scientifically demonstrated at the
time Dr Fitzpatrick established the website in April 1999.

So far no others that defy known science as does yours have ever been
submitted. If we got a few hundred others like it we are sure one would be
posted in “Testimonies”

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 7, 2005 3:02 PM Subject: NOT ALL TESTIMONY IS ABOUT THE THYROID EFFECTS

Original Message —–
From: “Alix Weill” <veggie-pro@XXXXX>
To: < webmaster@soyonlineservice.co .nz >
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 8:46 PM
Subject: Testimony


> My experience was, in many ways, similar to the people whose testimonies
> you have printed. I, too, was hoodwinked into believing that soy was a
> healthy alternative to dairy and meat. I am a long-time vegan and totally
> committed to a healthy lifestyle. I tried soy milk as an alternative to
> rice milk and soon began adding more and more of the other soy products
> that the industry keeps introducing. I was happy with the variety it
> provided for my meal planning, and best of all, I thought soy was good
> for me. Over the space of a year I began to feel that my health was
> deteriorating, and I was puzzled about some of the unusual symptoms I
> began experiencing. Since I’m a senior citizen I chalked it up to the
> fact that aging was catching up with me. What worried me was that I was
> going downhill at an alarming rate, so I decided to increase my intake of
> soy thinking that would eliminate these health problems. In my anxious
> search for answers I read about a web site, (I think it was
> beyondveg.com ), and when I checked it out, a link put me on the Soy
> Online home page. I can’t tell you how shocked I was when I started
> reading how bad soy was. I could hardly believe my eyes. I must have
> downloaded 50 pages, and the more I read the more outraged I became. The
> next thing I did was throw out at least $10 worth of all the different
> forms of soy that were the basis of my diet. It took several months to
> begin feeling normal and my usual self again. I’m hoping that some day
> soon the soy industry will get its come uppance and get slapped with a
> class action suit brought by all the people whose health has been
> compromised or wrecked by the toxic and harmful substances found in soy.
> People should know that the soy industry never received the GRAS status,
> Generally Regarded As Safe, which the soy industry requested from the
> FDA, and which was denied. That should tell you something!

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 7, 2005 7:21 PM Subject: Re: NOT ALL TESTIMONY IS ABOUT THE THYROID EFFECTS

Why did you send me this?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 9, 2005 8:22 PM Subject: Re: NOT ALL TESTIMONY IS ABOUT THE THYROID EFFECTS

Because that is where your stupidity will lead you

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 9, 2005 8:35 PM Subject: Re: NOT ALL TESTIMONY IS ABOUT THE THYROID EFFECTS

Perhaps then in stead of trying to insult me, and send me worthless
anecdotes, you can refer me to some kind of evidence, which, within
the last 7 emails you have sent me, you have still failed to do.

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 11, 2005 5:27 AM Subject: Re: NOT ALL TESTIMONY IS ABOUT THE THYROID EFFECTS

The science is in www.soyonlineservice.co.nz Now go away before we insult you. We do not suffer fools quietly

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 13, 2005 6:24 PM Subject: Re: NOT ALL TESTIMONY IS ABOUT THE THYROID EFFECTS

As I have already told you, I have read your web site thoroughly, in
fact i spent almost 10 days investigating all the references you
cited. This is the 15th email you have sent to me. If you had have had
any evidence to support what you have said regarding thyroid problems,
then you have had plenty of time to do it, yet STILL you have not. You
did not comment on the references I cited. You have sent me a few
anecdoted – but I never asked for them, nor did I mention them. You
haven’t addresses any of the actual issues I have discussed; why not?
What’s more, it appears that you have not published my testimonial
yet. Why Not?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 7, 2005 3:12 PM Subject: Re: YOU SHOULD ALSO TELL YOUR STORY TO THESE RESEACHERS

In www.soyonlineservice.co.nz there are numerous abstracts of research and retrospective studies on humans. It would be helpful to you to read them and even obtain the full papers. Those are, for instance, in the sections on Male Health, Birth Defects, Thyroid Abnormalities and Cancer. Otherwise you will fall victim to the aphorism that a little learning is a dangerous thing Those are very narrow studies, yet should still be revealed to consumers at the point of sale. Did anyone ever advise you to be “iodine replete”?.

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 7, 2005 7:19 PM Subject: Re: my testimony

I didn’t say I was a Doctor.

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 7, 2005 7:29 PM Subject: Re: YOU SHOULD ALSO TELL YOUR STORY TO THESE RESEACHERS

> In www.soyonlineservice.co.nz there are numerous abstracts of research and
> retrospective studies on humans.



Then why did you not send them to me instead of the ones you did?


  >It would be helpful to you to read them


I have

  >and even obtain the full papers.


I have done that too.


> Those are, for instance, in the sections on
> Male Health, Birth Defects, Thyroid Abnormalities and Cancer.



I already told you that I have spent a considerable amount of time
going through your site.


>Otherwise you
> will fall victim to the aphorism that a little learning is a dangerous thing
> Those are very narrow studies, yet should still be revealed to consumers at
> the point of sale. Did anyone ever advise you to be “iodine replete”?.



No, in fact no body ever told me to be “water replete” either, or
replete in any other nutrient, seeing as there is no reason to suspect
that I would not already be.

Have you published my testimony yet?

Jan 7. From:Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz>

He has a PH D in Chemistery. What is your qualification?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 9, 2005 8:21 PM Subject: Re: YOU SHOULD ALSO TELL YOUR STORY TO THESE RESEACHERS

We assumed you could read them yourself by spending time in
www.soyonlineservice.co.nz . We do not handfeed. Actually if you had read
what we sent you would see that the NCTR scientists reviewed the literature,
including that related to humans Quote from a para after the abstract is  “
It is well described but little known that the soybean and goiter have long
been associated in animals and humans.”
Clearly you are among the little-knowers

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 9, 2005 8:34 PM Subject: Re: YOU SHOULD ALSO TELL YOUR STORY TO THESE RESEACHERS

> We assumed you could read them yourself by spending time in
www.soyonlineservice.co.nz .



I did, which is why I asked you to specify what you were talking about.

>We do not handfeed. Actually if you had read
> what we sent you would see that the NCTR scientists reviewed the literature,
> including that related to humans Quote from a para after the abstract is  “
> It is well described but little known that the soybean and goiter have long
> been associated in animals and humans.”



Only one trial has shown goitrogenic effects from soybean consumption,
of very poor methodology, which has not been replicated in other
trials, such as those I sent you, which you did not comment on.  I am
not interested in who makes a statement, rather upon what evidence
they base that statement. Had there been any evidence to support that
statement, you would have provided me with it rather than simply
telling me that someone happened to make it. You said you don’t
handfeed, yet in the same amount of time you have taken tell me of
these things, you could have simply refered me to the actual evidence.


> Clearly you are among the little-knowers.


Help me know. I have read these studies, which is why I can say that
such statements are unsupported. If they were, you would have shown me
how they are.

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 9, 2005 8:24 PM Subject: FYI thyroid nodules

Original Message —– From: Teetime2001 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX To divulge@xtra.co.nz Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 4:58 PM Subject: thyroid nodules


I have several nodules noted in the left thyroid lobe.  The largest one is at the inferior pole measuring approximately 1.1 x 0.9 x 1.0 cm.  It is very heterogeneous.  there is no definite color flow within the nodule.  There is color flowing around the nodule. I eat loads of soy.  Soy milk, cheese, tofu…  I never salt my food – rely on food to contain salt. I have a little trouble swallowing some foods.  If I do very heavy, bouncing aerobics, sometimes my breathing is cut down.  At one point I had a cough. My T-3 cells were slightly elevated.  My Gyn. felt something and gave me a test.  I will be seeing a endocrinologist soon. Thanks for your insight. Sincerely, Ruth

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 9, 2005 8:38 PM Subject: Re: FYI thyroid nodules

Why did you send me this? i could send you anecdotes of people who
believe that they have been abducted by aliens, or that drinking their
own urine has cured their cancers. Instead, I sent you references to
human trials involving thyroid problems. You never commented on them,
but seeing as you like to rely on testomonials instead of scientific
evidence, perhaps you can tell me whether you have published my
testimonial yet?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 11, 2005 5:25 AM Subject: Re: FYI thyroid nodules

But this one is backed by science from the US Govt NCTR

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 13, 2005 6:19 PM Subject: Re: FYI thyroid nodules

What are you talking about? You sent me an anecdote from someone named “Ruth”.

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 14, 2005 6:55 AM Subject: Thyroid

AGAIN  >>>>  We recommend that you obtain the full copies of these papers and read them thoroughly


Links to thyroid research.

NCTR is the US FDA laboratory
Anti-thyroid isoflavones from Soybean; isolation, characterization, and mechanisms of action, Biochem Pharmacol – Nov 1997 ; 54(10):1087-96, National Center For Toxicological Research, nctr  , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=PubMed&list_ui ds=9464451&dopt=Abstract


. . Inactivation of thyroid peroxidase by Soy isoflavones, in vitro and in vivo, J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life – Sept 25, 2002 ; 777(1-2):269-79 Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, nctr ,  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=PubMed&list_uids=12270219 &dopt=Abstract . .

Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity of Soy isoflavones, Environ Health Perspect – June 2002 ; 110 Suppl 3:349-53, Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, nctr , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 14, 2005 11:26 PM Subject: Re: Thyroid

AGAIN>>>>> As I already told you, I have obtained the full copies of
these papers and read them thoroughly, which is why I persist in
asking you to show me the evidence that soy can cause thyroid
problems. I am fully aware, as I have already stated, that soy
isoflavones have goitrogenic potential, but, as I have already said,
they do not contain sufficient goitrogenic potential to have any
adverse effect to human health, which is why I referred you to studies
examining the actual effect on soy consumption on human thyroid
function; and still you have not commented on them, in fact, you seem
incapable of actually addressing this issue at all. Many foods contain
cyanide as well, and cyanide is toxic as it acts as a competitive
inhibitor to the haemoglobin enzyme, but so what? No foods contain
enough cyanide that would actually impact human health at all;
likewise, though soy contains chemicals which may have a goitrogenic
effect by inhbiting thyroid peroxidase, no human would be able to
consume enough soy to actually experience goitrogenic effects. If you
can show me evidence otherwise, then you would have by now, but in the
16th email, you have not, so evidently there is none. To make iit
clearer to you as you evidently seem to have some kind of intelectual
disability, I have briefly described these studies:

A trial conducted by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at
the University of Minnesota under the supervision of Professor Mindy
Kurzer and supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed
that women who were given soy powders containing isoflavones 3-4 times
higher than the average Japanese intake, had no significant effect on
thyroid hormones even after 3 months.

[Duncan AM, Underhill KE, Xu X, Lavalleur J, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS.
Modest hormonal effects of soy isoflavones in postmenopausal women. J
Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Oct;84(10):3479-84]
http://jcem.endojournals.org /cgi/content/full/84/10/3479

In 1993, 17 men with high cholesterol consumed 50g/day of protein and
20g/day of fibre from soy flour for 4 weeks, then from soy protein
isolate (SPI) and soy fibre for four weeks, then from  SPI and
cellulose for 4 weeks, and then finally from a non-fat dry milk
product with cellulose for 4 weeks. Their thyroid hormone levels were
measured at the end of each month and after an initial baseline period
of 10 days. No effects were seen in either T3 or TSH and although the
mean values of T4 showed a slight increase when the SPI was consumed,
the difference was not significant and T4 levels still remained well
within normal range.

[Ham JO, Chapman KM, Essex-Sorlie D, et al. Endocrinological response
to soy protein and fiber in midly hypercholesterolemic men. Nutr Res
1993; 13:873-884.]
http://www.lef.org/prod_hp /abstracts/php-ab329.html#13

In a recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study
conducted by the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford
Universities Department of Medicine, 38 postmenopausal women, 64-83
years old who were not on hormone replacement therapy were given a
daily supplement containing 90 mg  of total isoflavones/day or a
placebo. Thyroid hormones (T3, T4 and TSH) were assessed before the
trial, again after 90 days and then once again after 180 days. The
results showed that at all three measurements taken, there were no
significant differences in any thyroid hormone status between the
women taking the supplements and the women on the placebo. The
researchers in this trial assessed all the participants’ iodine status
and found them all to be adequate. The authors concluded that soy
isoflavones do not adversely affect thyroid function if dietary iodine
intakes are adequate.

[Bruce B, Messina M, Spiller GA. Isoflavone supplements do not affect
thyroid function in iodine-replete postmenopausal women. J Med Food.
2003 Winter;6(4):309-16.]

A recent case control study conducted by the Northern California
Cancer Centre and supported by the National Cancer Institute called
the San Francisco Bay Area thyroid cancer study, compared the diets of
the 608 persons in the area who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer
with 558 randomized controls (persons without thyroid cancer). The
results showed that the consumption of traditional and non-traditional
soy based foods as well as alfalfa sprouts were associated with a
significantly reduced risk of thyroid cancer. Of the seven specific
phytoestrogenic compounds examined, the isoflavones, daidzein and
genisten were most strongly associated with risk reduction. Findings
were similar for white and Asian women and for pre- and postmenopausal
women. The authors concluded:

              “Our findings suggest that thyroid cancer prevention
via dietary modification of soy and/or
                phytoestrogen intake in other forms may be possible
but warrants further research at this
                time.”

[Horn-Ross PL, Hoggatt KJ, Lee MM. Phytoestrogens and thyroid cancer
risk: the San Francisco Bay Area thyroid cancer study. Cancer
Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Jan;11(1):43-9.]
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org /cgi/content/full/11/1/43

Have you published my testimonial yet?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 16, 2005 6:13 AM Subject: Re: Thyroid

All you have done is to convince us that your comprehension level is low.
  “Anti-thyroid Isoflavones from the soybean…etc”   reviews the long
history of thyroid damage associated with soy consumption, characterises the
way it acts, establishes the causative factor, and establishes toxic dose
levels. That research is used by the National Academy of Sciences to write
that the isoflavone levels are in the range administered in soy infant
formulas.Eitrher you have not read the full papers or you cannot understand
it
Researchers at the NIEHS have confirmed that the dose levels in soy formulas
have the estrogenic equivalence of five contraceptive pills a day. We are
pleased that our webmaster reported that in 1994
As for cyanide….it is fairly general knowledge in toxiclogy that the dose
is paramount. Look up Paraclesis, the “father of toxicology” if you can’t or
won’t understand that.  Scoff enough almond kernels and you will get sick.
Soy is not a rare event like almond pits….it is widespread in the daily
diet and numerous researchers have established toxic doses of isoflavones in
cancer cells, breasts, the thyroid gland, the immune system and fertility.
Since you are willing to keep using it, we will not infringe your right to
choose.Now please go away

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 16, 2005 6:42 AM Subject: Re: Thyroid

> All you have done is to convince us that your comprehension level is low.
>  “Anti-thyroid Isoflavones from the soybean…etc”   reviews the long
> history of thyroid damage associated with soy consumption, characterises the
> way it acts, establishes the causative factor, and establishes toxic dose
> levels.




Actually it mostly just discusses the biochemical properties of
isoflavones in regards to thyroid peroxidase. It does not review the
“history of Thyroid damage” at all. The only mention of human cases
are references 1 – 4 which discuss goitrogenic effects in soy infant
formula 50 years ago, in fact, the most recent study cited regarding
this issue is from 1965. Since then, soy formulas have been fortified
with iodine; consequently there is no reason to suspect soy
consumption by adults would have any adverse effects. I already
discussed the human studies which have examined this issue, however
funnily enough, yet again, you made no comment about them.



>That research is used by the National Academy of Sciences to write
> that the isoflavone levels are in the range administered in soy infant
> formulas.




So what?

>Eitrher you have not read the full papers or you cannot understand
> it.




Like I said 4 times, I have read it, and I do understand it, however
you do not seem to understand any of the actual statements or
questions I have made to you.


> Researchers at the NIEHS have confirmed that the dose levels in soy formulas
> have the estrogenic equivalence of five contraceptive pills a day
.



So what? Is there any evidence that this has harmed even a single
infant since the 1960’s?



>We are
> pleased that our webmaster reported that in 1994.




When you were pleased with him, did you ask him the question that I
just posed to you?


> As for cyanide….it is fairly general knowledge in toxiclogy that the dose
> is paramount.




Precisely, just like the adverse effects from soy isoflavones. Unless
you happen to be an iodine defficient rat, you are not likely to
consume enough isoflavones to cause any harm to you.

  >Look up Paraclesis, the “father of toxicology” if you can’t or
> won’t understand that.




Instead of talking of things that have nothing to do with what I have
discussed, how about trying to actually answer any of the questions I
have asked you or respond to any of the statement I have made, or
comment on the studies I have cited. If you didn;t keep beating around
the bush, this would not have taken 17 emails.



>Scoff enough almond kernels and you will get sick.


Scoff enough of anything and you will get sick. So what?


> Soy is not a rare event like almond pits….it is widespread in the daily
> diet and numerous researchers have established toxic doses of isoflavones in
> cancer cells, breasts, the thyroid gland, the immune system and fertility.




And once again, what evidence is there that any humans have been
adversly affected by this?


> Since you are willing to keep using it, we will not infringe your right to
> choose.Now please go away.



I will go away when you publish my testimonial. How come you haven’t
published it yet?

From: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> 

To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> Date: Jan 16, 2005 7:00 AM Subject: Re: Thyroid

We quote Theo colborn for your assistance. Adding iodine just remonved the
effects of isoflavones to other parts of the endocrine and immune systems.
As you know (we hope) (and to quote Dr Iain Robertson, Senior Toxicologist
at the Auxckland Medical School on 1995…adding one toxic agent to counter
another is unneccessary juggling. I see no good reason why soy formulas
should be fed to an infant.)
  Nine years later the UK Chief Medical Officer advised all UK doctors the
same course becaose of the risk of reproductive harm.
All you keep doing is demonstrating your complete ignorance of the
biological effects of isoflavones.

From: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com>

Reply-To: Stuart Adams <adams.sj@gmail.com> To: Valerie & Richard James <divulge@xtra.co.nz> Date: Jan 16, 2005 7:14 AM Subject: Re: Thyroid

You have given me quotes from people who have stated their opinion,
rather than providing me with evidence to support why such opinions
are held. If I quote someone with a PhD as having said that drinking
ones own urine can prevent cancer, does that therefore make it true,
or would you wish to se what evidence such a claim is based upon.

There have been a plethora of studies examining soy intake on human
health, and none have found adverse effects on thyroid function since
the 1960’s.

You acuse me of being ignorant, yet evidently you are the one who can
not support your argument, and in fact, you have resorted to using
fallacious logic.


Perhaps you are experiencing some sort of selective thinking or you
suffer from true believer syndrome, so I will write it this time in
capitals to make it a bit harder to ignore.

WHY HAVE YOU NOT PUBLISHED MY TESTIMONIAL AND WHEN WILL YOU?

WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT ANY HUMAN HAS BEEN HARMED BY SOY
CONSUMPTION IN THE LAST HALF CENTRURY (OTHER THAN INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE
HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS)

WHAT COMMENT DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE REGARDING THE HUMAN TRIALS WHICH HAVE
SHOWN SOY CONSUMPTION TO HAVE NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON THYROID FUNCTION?


And heres a new one, though given your track record (this being the
18th email) it may take a few more emails for it to sink in: Where did
your web master earn his Doctor of Philosiphy?


Try to avoid falacious arguments:

http://www.don-lindsay-archive .org/skeptic/arguments.html #selective

It will only make you look stupider than you do already.

They never repplied. They still haven’t published my testimonial.

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