Flashback Friday: Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy?

Flashback Friday: Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy?
4.75 (95.08%) 65 votes

How can soy foods have it both ways, pro-estrogenic effects in some organs that can protect bones and reduce hot flash symptoms, yet also anti-estrogenic effects in others that protect against breast and endometrial cancer?

Discuss
Republish

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When the Women’s Health Initiative study found that menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy suffered “higher rates of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and overall harm,” a call was made for safer alternatives. Yes, estrogen has positive effects, the Women’s Health Initiative found—such as reducing menopausal symptoms and improving bone health, reducing hip fracture risk; but also negative effects—increasing risk of blood clots in the heart, brain, and lungs, as well as breast cancer.

So, ideally, to get the best of both worlds, we’d need what’s called a selective estrogen receptor modulator, something that has pro-estrogenic effects in some tissues (like bone), but anti-estrogenic effects in other tissues (like the breast). Drug companies are trying to make them, but phytoestrogens—natural compounds in plants, like genistein in soybeans, that are structurally similar to estrogen—appear to function as natural selective estrogen receptor modulators. How could something that looks like estrogen act as an anti-estrogen?

The original theory for how soy phytoestrogens control breast cancer growth is that they compete with our own estrogens for binding to the estrogen receptor. As you drip more and more soy compounds on breast cancer cells in a petri dish, less and less actual estrogen is able to bind to them. So, the estrogen-blocking ability of phytoestrogens can help explain their anti-estrogenic effects. But, how do we then explain their pro-estrogenic effects on other tissues, like bone? How can soy have it both ways?

The mystery was solved when we discovered there are two types of estrogen receptors in the body. And, so, how a target cell responds depends on which type of estrogen receptors they have. This may be “the key to understanding the health-protective potential of soy phytoestrogens”—the existence of this newly discovered estrogen receptor, named estrogen receptor beta, to distinguish it from the classic estrogen receptor alpha. And, unlike our body’s own estrogen, soy phytoestrogens preferentially bind to the beta receptors.

If you have people eat about a cup of cooked whole soybeans, within about eight hours, genistein levels in the blood reach about 20 to 50 nanomoles—that’s how much is circulating throughout our body, bathing our cells. About half is bound up to proteins in the blood; so, the effective concentration is about half that. So, let’s see what that means for estrogen receptor activation.

This is the graph that explains the mysterious health benefits of soy foods. Down around the effective levels you’d get eating a cup of soybeans, there’s very little alpha activation—but, lots of beta activation. So, now let’s look at where each of these receptors are located in the human body.

The way estrogen pills increase the risk of fatal blood clots is by causing the liver to dump out all these extra clotting factors. But, guess what? The human liver only contains alpha estrogen receptors, not beta receptors. And so, maybe, if we ate like 30 cups of soybeans a day, that could be a problem. But, at the kinds of concentrations one would get with just normal soy consumption, no wonder this is a problem with drug estrogens—but not soy phytoestrogens.

The effects on the uterus appear also to be mediated solely by alpha receptors—which is, presumably, why no negative impact has been seen with soy. So, while estrogen-containing drugs may increase the risk of endometrial cancer up to ten-fold, phytoestrogen-containing foods are associated with significantly less endometrial cancer—in fact, protective effects for these types of gynecological cancers, in general. Women who ate the most soy had 30% less endometrial cancer, and appeared to cut their ovarian cancer risk nearly in half. 

Soy phytoestrogens don’t appear to have any effect on the lining of the uterus, but still can dramatically improve menopausal symptoms. The Kupperman index is like a compilation of all 11 of the most common menopausal symptoms.

In terms of bone health, human bone cells carry beta estrogen receptors. So, we might expect soy phytoestrogens to be protective. And, indeed, they do seem to significantly increase bone mineral density—consistent with population data suggesting “High consumption of soy products is associated with increased bone mass.” But, can they prevent bone loss over time?

Soy milk was compared to a transdermal progesterone cream. The control group lost significant bone mineral density in their spine over the two-year study period. But, the progesterone group lost significantly less, and the two glasses of soy milk a day group ended up actually better than when they started. This is probably the most robust study to date, comparing the soy phytoestrogen genistein to a more traditional hormone replacement drug regimen. In the spine, over a year, the placebo group lost bone density, but gained in the phytoestrogen and estrogen groups, and the same with the hip bones.

The study clearly shows that the soy phytoestrogen prevents bone loss, and enhances new bone formation, in turn producing a net gain of bone mass. But, the only reason we care about bone mass is that we want to prevent fractures. Is soy food consumption associated with lower fracture risk? Yes. A significantly lower risk of bone fracture associated with just a single serving of soy a day—the equivalent of 5 to 7 grams of soy protein, or 20 to 30 milligrams of phytoestrogens. So, that’s just like one cup of soy milk—or, even better, a serving of a whole soy food, like tempeh or edamame, or the beans themselves. 

We don’t have fracture data on soy supplements, though. So, if we seek the types of health benefits we presume Asian populations get from eating whole and traditional soy foods, maybe we should look to eating those, rather than taking unproven protein powders or pills.

Is there anyone who should avoid soy? Well, some people have soy allergies. A national survey found that only about 1 in 2,000 people report a soy allergy. That’s 40 times less than the most common allergen—dairy milk—and about ten times less than all the other common allergens—like fish, eggs, shellfish, nuts, wheat, or peanuts.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When the Women’s Health Initiative study found that menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy suffered “higher rates of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and overall harm,” a call was made for safer alternatives. Yes, estrogen has positive effects, the Women’s Health Initiative found—such as reducing menopausal symptoms and improving bone health, reducing hip fracture risk; but also negative effects—increasing risk of blood clots in the heart, brain, and lungs, as well as breast cancer.

So, ideally, to get the best of both worlds, we’d need what’s called a selective estrogen receptor modulator, something that has pro-estrogenic effects in some tissues (like bone), but anti-estrogenic effects in other tissues (like the breast). Drug companies are trying to make them, but phytoestrogens—natural compounds in plants, like genistein in soybeans, that are structurally similar to estrogen—appear to function as natural selective estrogen receptor modulators. How could something that looks like estrogen act as an anti-estrogen?

The original theory for how soy phytoestrogens control breast cancer growth is that they compete with our own estrogens for binding to the estrogen receptor. As you drip more and more soy compounds on breast cancer cells in a petri dish, less and less actual estrogen is able to bind to them. So, the estrogen-blocking ability of phytoestrogens can help explain their anti-estrogenic effects. But, how do we then explain their pro-estrogenic effects on other tissues, like bone? How can soy have it both ways?

The mystery was solved when we discovered there are two types of estrogen receptors in the body. And, so, how a target cell responds depends on which type of estrogen receptors they have. This may be “the key to understanding the health-protective potential of soy phytoestrogens”—the existence of this newly discovered estrogen receptor, named estrogen receptor beta, to distinguish it from the classic estrogen receptor alpha. And, unlike our body’s own estrogen, soy phytoestrogens preferentially bind to the beta receptors.

If you have people eat about a cup of cooked whole soybeans, within about eight hours, genistein levels in the blood reach about 20 to 50 nanomoles—that’s how much is circulating throughout our body, bathing our cells. About half is bound up to proteins in the blood; so, the effective concentration is about half that. So, let’s see what that means for estrogen receptor activation.

This is the graph that explains the mysterious health benefits of soy foods. Down around the effective levels you’d get eating a cup of soybeans, there’s very little alpha activation—but, lots of beta activation. So, now let’s look at where each of these receptors are located in the human body.

The way estrogen pills increase the risk of fatal blood clots is by causing the liver to dump out all these extra clotting factors. But, guess what? The human liver only contains alpha estrogen receptors, not beta receptors. And so, maybe, if we ate like 30 cups of soybeans a day, that could be a problem. But, at the kinds of concentrations one would get with just normal soy consumption, no wonder this is a problem with drug estrogens—but not soy phytoestrogens.

The effects on the uterus appear also to be mediated solely by alpha receptors—which is, presumably, why no negative impact has been seen with soy. So, while estrogen-containing drugs may increase the risk of endometrial cancer up to ten-fold, phytoestrogen-containing foods are associated with significantly less endometrial cancer—in fact, protective effects for these types of gynecological cancers, in general. Women who ate the most soy had 30% less endometrial cancer, and appeared to cut their ovarian cancer risk nearly in half. 

Soy phytoestrogens don’t appear to have any effect on the lining of the uterus, but still can dramatically improve menopausal symptoms. The Kupperman index is like a compilation of all 11 of the most common menopausal symptoms.

In terms of bone health, human bone cells carry beta estrogen receptors. So, we might expect soy phytoestrogens to be protective. And, indeed, they do seem to significantly increase bone mineral density—consistent with population data suggesting “High consumption of soy products is associated with increased bone mass.” But, can they prevent bone loss over time?

Soy milk was compared to a transdermal progesterone cream. The control group lost significant bone mineral density in their spine over the two-year study period. But, the progesterone group lost significantly less, and the two glasses of soy milk a day group ended up actually better than when they started. This is probably the most robust study to date, comparing the soy phytoestrogen genistein to a more traditional hormone replacement drug regimen. In the spine, over a year, the placebo group lost bone density, but gained in the phytoestrogen and estrogen groups, and the same with the hip bones.

The study clearly shows that the soy phytoestrogen prevents bone loss, and enhances new bone formation, in turn producing a net gain of bone mass. But, the only reason we care about bone mass is that we want to prevent fractures. Is soy food consumption associated with lower fracture risk? Yes. A significantly lower risk of bone fracture associated with just a single serving of soy a day—the equivalent of 5 to 7 grams of soy protein, or 20 to 30 milligrams of phytoestrogens. So, that’s just like one cup of soy milk—or, even better, a serving of a whole soy food, like tempeh or edamame, or the beans themselves. 

We don’t have fracture data on soy supplements, though. So, if we seek the types of health benefits we presume Asian populations get from eating whole and traditional soy foods, maybe we should look to eating those, rather than taking unproven protein powders or pills.

Is there anyone who should avoid soy? Well, some people have soy allergies. A national survey found that only about 1 in 2,000 people report a soy allergy. That’s 40 times less than the most common allergen—dairy milk—and about ten times less than all the other common allergens—like fish, eggs, shellfish, nuts, wheat, or peanuts.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

What if you’re at high risk for breast cancer? See BRCA Breast Cancer Genes and Soy.

What if you already have breast cancer? See:

What if you have fibroids? See Should Women with Fibroids Avoid Soy?.

What about hot flashes? See Soy Phytoestrogens for Menopause Hot Flashes.

What about genetically modified soy? See GMO Soy and Breast Cancer.

Not all phytoestrogens are beneficial, though. See What Are the Effects of the Hops Phytoestrogen in Beer? and The Most Potent Phytoestrogen Is in Beer.

How deleterious is hormone replacement therapy? See How Did Doctors Not Know About the Risks of Hormone Therapy?.

Synthetic estrogens used in animal agriculture are also a concern. For more on this, see Zeranol Use in Meat and Breast Cancer.

The original video aired on November 25th 2016.

109 responses to “Flashback Friday: Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy?

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. Soymilk is back on my grocery list. Actually, I would like to be able to buy canned soybeans. Mega tons of soy are produced for animal feed, but finding soy in the grocery store can be challenging. I would add soybeans to my cooking if I could find them. I have seen frozen edomome, which can be pricey.

        1. Barb,
          Thanks. Are you keeping up your 1 hour workout, rain or shine? That is inspiring. My workout is around 30 minutes. I’m having to bundle up a bit now and endure some cool wind.

          1. Yes Dan, I am out there every day, sometimes wearing a few layers, hat, gloves etc. I would like to get a good pair of rain pants for cyclists and a windproof jacket but that may have to wait. If it gets icey I may start walking or jogging instead. In the last few weeks I went back to swimming too which is wearing the calories off nicely.

      1. Dan, search for eda-zen frozen edamame at your nearest grocery store. I get them at H-E-B, shelled, for $2.45 in a 12oz steamable bag. I eat them frozen as a snack. Very butter in texture once chewed.

        1. SV,
          Thanks. That is a fair price. I eat blueberries frozen. I find it interesting that some foods do not freeze completely and can be eaten frozen.

    1. Dan C,

      I make my own soy milk at home, and I don’t filter it, so at least I get to eat the whole soybean, even if it isn’t much at a time. (And even if the soybeans are pulverized, which I am learning is not the healthiest way to eat them, since they aren’t intact.). We don’t drink the soy milk, but use it on cereal and in baking and cooking.

      I do use an electric soy milk maker (a SoyaJoy), and buy organic soybeans in 25 lb bags online. Though last time I tried to order, there were none to be had; I’m thinking that might have been due to pandemic hoarding. Very sad if those who buy the soybeans don’t eat them.

      Oh, and I have tried growing soybeans in my backyard — and the rabbits LOVE them!! Rats!! Or should I say: Rabbits!!

      1. Dr. J,
        Thanks. A #25 lb. bag is what I will look into. I helped farm 40 acres of soybeans one year when I was a teenager. A local family picked some for their own use. They were Asian. It would be interesting to know how they cooked them. This was 45 years ago. I think a field of soybeans is beautiful to look at, kind of like the movie, Field Of Dreams.

        1. Dan C – My Mother and Uncle owned a farm that grew soybeans. I have childhood memories of playing hide-N-seek in the fields – we’d lay in the rows hiding while the “it” person looked for us. While lying in the rows we’d pick and eat the beans. No need to cook. They were sweet, soft and chewy. Not to mention yummy. No need to cook them just like there is no need to cook peas in the pod.

          1. Ruth,
            I didn’t know if soybeans can be eaten raw. I think I’ve wondered before. I’ve eaten raw green beans and corn right off the cobb.

    2. Dan C, Eden has organic black soybeans in the cans. They are BPA free and no salt added! Whole Foods sells an amazing shelled and unshelled organic frozen edamame grown in the U.S, but they’re hard to come by right now. Shiloh Foods sells organic dried black soy beans and on their website, they always say where all their products are grown–you can get them usually cheapest on vitacost but I don’t recommend getting canned goods from vitacost as mine have always come badly (like horrifically) dented.

      1. Betty,
        Tofu is inexpensive and easy to eat. Lots of folks have trouble eating food. Tofu is nutricious, healthy and can be eaten easily like scrambled eggs.

  2. I’ve found frozen whole soy beans, shelled and unshelled, at my local Asian store for about half the price in any “health food” or grocery store. I like to add whole soy beans (edamame) to stir fries and salads. Sea vegetable products are also much less expensive in Asian markets. I realize that’s not an option for everyone.

  3. I have a friend who, oddly enough, it she eats anything soy, blows up a full cup size overnight! Figure that one out!!!
    Needless to say she is on the “avoid it” list.

  4. Some good news for a change! A little off-topic here, but just saw this in the news:

    The Department of the Interior is committed to planting 1 Trillion trees world-wide. The DoI established the One Trillion Trees Interagency Council (Council), which will be responsible for coordinating the Federal government’s support of the global One Trillion Trees Initiative. U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt will be co-chair of the Council, along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

    Between 2017-2019, Interior planted more than 58 million trees on federal lands across the country, including more than 17 million trees being planted by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement for active mine reclamation. In addition to the OSMRE, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service all support healthy forest management by planting trees to restore habitats, rehabilitate areas following wildfires and revitalize Tribal lands. Interior expects to plant an additional 22 million trees by the end of this year.

    Sounds like this is a major step in improving the environment.

    https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/25980-department-of-the-interior-announces-trump-administration-furthers-commitment-to-one-trillion-trees-initiative

    1. Darwin Galt,

      As you no doubt know, federal lands are heavily logged by timber companies — private companies who pay a pittance to the government (as I understand it) to harvest trees for private profit. So the cynic in me sees all this tree planting as a way of reforesting deforested land — probably clearcut — left behind by the timber companies, using taxpayer money, which, years down the road, timber companies will log again.

      Are the trees being planted all the same? In rows or grids, for easier clear cutting next time? Or, is a diversity of trees being planted, in no particular pattern, to recreate what was removed?

      1. Dr J,

        This is a world-wide effort, not just the USA. And forest management is key to preventing forest fires like those that destroyed major parts of California.
        It sounds like a win-win situation to me.

        1. Darwin Galt,

          From my limited understanding of forest management to prevent huge fires, it’s a matter of fighting fire with fire: frequent smaller burns, that periodically remove the undergrowth that chokes out growth of bigger trees which survive these burns. It’s the unchecked growth of undergrowth that provides the fuel for the terrifically hot fires that burn everything, even older, more mature trees, especially during the now more frequent hot dry conditions, which appear to be the result of climate change.. Another type of management is zoning: limiting development in or very close to forests.

          But frequent smaller controlled burns come with attendant risks; one in particular is that those living nearby don’t want to deal with the smoke. Or the small possibility of the loss of their homes, which can happen, but to a much, much smaller extent than with huge uncontrolled forest fires.

          It’s not clear to me how planting trees is part of forest management, unless it’s to replace trees removed by logging or fire, or as you mentioned, mining, or destroyed by other means (over grazing? Landslides?), or to replace less desirable trees with more desirable ones (from a logging perspective).

          1. Dr J,

            You’re entitled to think whatever you want, but I think it’s a great idea to plant trees. It will benefit future generations all over the world as well as improving the environment for all living creatures.

            Have a nice evening.

            1. Planting 1 trillion trees is amazing. I wish they would end the production of palm oil, though, which would save countless rain forests. Protecting the rain forests and coral reefs and natural places there already are is the absolute most important, vital, and urgent thing to do. Ending things like palm oil production would be even better. And obviously ending animal agriculture would save an immense amount of rain forests. All the more reason to go vegan or at least completely plant based and boycott palm oil in all things, not just food products but bath products and skin care as well. On top of that, the trillion trees sounds great. And on top of that, we should be recycling and using less and using more sustainable options such as hemp and bamboo, etc. And in regards to forest fires, it seems there should be a better and effective way at managing them in order to prevent them in the year 2020. I’m sure if priorities were right and it wasn’t a cost issue, we could find that way and I’m also sure that if taxes stopped being wasted to subsidize animal agriculture and torture animals in the form of vivisection and other horrible or even just frivolous things, there would be enough money to spend on the right things. There already exists a way to treat drinking water without all the added chemicals, but it’s very expensive. Meanwhile, again, learn about how much money is tested on animal testing in the U.S alone… it’s mind blowing.

              Ok I’m done.

      1. Hi, what is an example of a simple iodine supplement and how much?

        My wife has had low thyroid output for 40 years, since thyroidectomy and radiation treatment in her 20’s, and she has become convinced, by the general nutrition channels, to avoid soy almost completely. But Dr Greger didn’t mention this matter in the video? I would like to encourage her onto some soy for the benefits Dr Greger mentions, but not if it is wrong for her.

    1. Michelle, Geoffrey is correct, Iodine fixes the problem for many people. But if it doesn’t work for you, your doctor can adjust your thyroid meds. Very simple to do.

    2. No need to avoid that or cruciferous veggies, either. Just make sure you’re getting enough iodine. Even if you were deficient in iodine, all you need to do is get a reliable source, not give up soy or kale. These foods are actually protective to the thyroid and can help prevent thyroid cancer.

      1. Fumbles,
        A 10% incidence rate, of kidney stones, in the population (mostly men), is high. Those with high levels of oxalate in their urine might benefit by limiting intake of oxalate containing foods, the latter, it seems, being a long list. Good hydration may help also.

      2. Yes, thanks Dan but that 10% incidence rate applies to all types of kidney stones.

        Calcium oxalate stones are only one type. The others are calcium phosphate, uric acid and cystine stones. And kidney stones seem to be particularly prevalent in obese people. I can’t see that oxalate stones would be much of a challenge in non-obese populations eating little or no animal protein although there would be exceptions like you.

        The US NIDDK advises drinking water, limiting animal protein and sodium to reduce the risk of kidney stones generally. Interestingly, it even recommends considering replacing animal protein foods with soy foods
        https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/eating-diet-nutrition

        1. Fumbles,
          The NIDDIK article on oxalates is the best information I’ve seen so far. I agree; for WFPB, low sodium, properly hydrated, ideal weight individuals, kidneys stones are not much concern.

    1. I am an registered dietitian with 25 year RD experience. The following is from Nutrition Care Manual published by American Dietetic Association:
      (one of four reduce urine oxalate strategies)
      Eat fewer “high-oxalate” foods.
      WHY? The more oxalate absorbed from your digestive tract, the more in your urine. High-oxalate foods to limit, if you eat them, are:

      Spinach
      Rhubarb
      Beets
      Potato chips
      French fries
      Nuts and nut butters

      You do not need to cut out other healthy foods that provide some oxalate. In fact, oxalate is practically unavoidable, because most plant foods have some. Often a combination of calcium from foods or beverages with meals and fewer high-oxalate foods is required.

      Hope this helps.J

  5. Is soy bad for men?
    “Soy can alleviate hot flashes for some menopausal women. However, there have been some concerns that soy might lower a man’s testosterone levels. This is because the active ingredients in soy – isoflavones – are phytoestrogens – plant-based compounds that behave much like estrogens.”

    1. ‘The incidence of prostate cancer is highest in Western countries and lowest in Asian countries, where soy foods are a regular part of the daily diet. In addition, observational studies have found an increased risk of prostate cancer in Chinese and Japanese men who move to Western countries and adopt a Western diet, but not in those who continue eating a traditional diet. [24] Soy isoflavones, specifically genistein and daidzein, are found to collect in prostate tissue and may act as weak estrogens and exert a protective effect against the development of prostate cancer. [25]

      In a meta-analysis of 30 case-control and cohort studies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China, intakes of total soy foods, genistein, daidzein, and unfermented soy foods were significantly associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. [25]

      A review of eight randomized controlled trials examined the effects of soy in men with or at risk of developing prostate cancer. Two of these studies found that isoflavone supplements or dietary soy protein reduced the risk of prostate cancer in men at high risk of developing the disease. However, none of the studies found a significant effect on prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland that is used to detect prostate cancer. There were no adverse effects reported with soy supplementation. The authors discussed limitations of the review including the small number of participants, the short duration of studies (less than one year), and variation in dosages and types of soy given.’
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/soy/

  6. I made a transition to soy-milk, and got off dairy. After being on that diet for a year or so, I started losing my eyebrow hairs. It could have been due to high-stress work, but I was maintaining a healthy lifestyle during that time so I am not sure how much that would have impacted it.

    Thus far, I blame my loss of eyebrows on soy milk. Am I crazy?

    1. Leroy, no you are not crazy. I bet that eyebrow hair loss was a start of hypothyroid brought on by 1. your switch to soy milk, and 2. your iodine deficiency (possibly). Loss of hair/eyebrows is common hypothyroid symptom.

      I don’t take an iodine supplement but I may try it or start using salt since I use soy milk too. Not doing seaweed. Hashimoto’s runs in the family though which is probably why a doctor told me iodine supplements won’t help (me).

  7. The first part of the video discussing risks of hormone replacement therapy is incorrect. The original publication of the Womens health initiative did show increased risks of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and venous thromboembolism. Subsequently in multiple further analysis and long term follow up those findings were no longer true.

    In women less than 60 years of age or within 10 years since the onset of menopause who do not have contraindications, there is a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. There is a negligible increase in breast cancer risk for up to approximately 5 years of use, and a small increase in the risk of stroke and venous thromboembolism that while may be interesting on the population level, isn’t really considered a high risk at the individual patient level.

    The risks are less so with oestrogen only therapy in women without a uterus, or when using transdermal oestrogen.

    HRT also reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures, may have a beneficial effect on memory, and is the best known way to treat vasomotor symptoms ( hot flushes and night sweats) in post menopausal women)

    Happy to provide citations to back up my claims. mainly please search menopause and international menopause society, JAMA, or AJGP to find relevant articles

    I expect better from Dr Greger since he is known to delve into the research. He is providing some information that is outdated by 15 odd years.

    1. Hi Parthian Kamaleswaran, thank you for your comment, I think this is what the study indicated and Dr Greger points out. When the Women’s Health Initiative study found that menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy suffered “higher rates of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and overall harm,” a call was made for safer alternatives. Yes, estrogen has positive effects, the Women’s Health Initiative found—such as reducing menopausal symptoms and improving bone health, reducing hip fracture risk; but also negative effects—increasing risk of blood clots in the heart, brain, and lungs, as well as breast cancer.

      Regarding what you point out, of course the study below looks into more study of HRT and appropriate usage. But, finding beneficial factor in natural way with food is discussed here.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6780820/

    2. Parthipan, but why would you want to increase any amount of risk for cancer, stoke etc. at all when there is a natural way to have the best of both worlds? Doesn’t make sense to me!

    1. Elke,

      Try scrolling down to #13 on Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Vegan Feast Kitchen/ 21st Century Table “SAFETY OF SOY?” blog post (this particular blog post has entries (entrees?) from 15+ years and counting):

      13.) Does soy interfere with thyroid therapy, or cause or exacerbate thyroid problems?
      https://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.com/p/are-you-concerned-about-safety-ofsoy.html

      And there are other scattered references to thyroid issues if you read – or run a search – through the rest of Grogan’s “SAFETY OF SOY?” blog post.

      Note that Grogan is definitely a soy booster – hers may not be an entirely unbiased viewpoint.

      But hers may be a viewpoint worthy of your consideration.

      Bon appétit –

      Vivamus

  8. You didn’t mention tofu, my favorite form of soy. We eat it several times a week and have for decades. My bone density is shockingly high for a 73 year old woman and it helps with hot flashes which never seem to go away as far as I can tell.

  9. I am 70 and have had signs of hypothyroidism for years. At the same time, I was diagnosed almost 15 years ago with osteopenia, and at that time fell once fracturing my wrist. I have fallen several times since, not breaking anything. I use soy products. I think if I have to choose between the two, I would choose the hypothyroidism rather than fractures. But maybe there is a way to avoid both?

    1. Rose, iodine seems to help many women with underactive thyroid, but not all. In that case, you can have your doctor prescribe a thyroid medication. Hypothyroid patients tend to have other issues, such as high cholesterol, reduced metabolism, and hair loss.

    1. Thanks Barb. It’s a good ‘un.

      In fact, I think I’ve even posted that before. Probably, at least once in response to some of the comments by ‘Yeah Right’ who was into all this New Age stuff.

      Should have posted it for that recent commenter who said we should be paying more attention to systems of traditional medicine!

        1. Darwin,

          I was just thinking about Lonie.

          The symptoms he was having before he disappeared and him squatting and not being able to get up make me think we may never hear from him again. He touched my heart.

          When he and I first started interacting, he declared war on me because he was very pro-supplements and I was reiterating the reality that many of the supplement studies had poor outcomes. But for someone who declared war so quickly, he became a delight to me.

          YR, I am afraid that my posting about COVID drove her away. She seemed to have the belief system which was also common in the Christian communities that examining the current situations might accidentally speak something into being. I know that she was more from a New Age perspective but I know that she was uncomfortable with COVID being discussed and Tom has pointed out that she said that she was going to take a break during COVID.

          I guess we shall see if she comes back.

        2. Yes, Darwin. As you say, let’s hope both are OK but, as Deb has pointed out, poor Lonie did seem to have some Covid symptoms before falling silent. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him.

          Not sure if we’ll see Reality Bites again either. (S)he posted a pretty obnoxious comment towards the top of the thread, which has now been deleted. It’s not clear if they have just deleted the post or if, perhaps. they have banned RB for repeated breaches of comment etiquette (and good manners generally). (S)he did seem to get away with a lot of posts that were perilously close to trolling.

          1. I hadn’t noticed that Rb was deleted. It takes a long time to get banned from this site, from what I have seen.

            I was hoping that Rb would come around but, yes, it was very close to trolling and it was fascinating to me the whole time that Rb would be a Plant-Based eater and would be on the same side with so many issues but Rb considered you a troll and you rude for posting off-comments and I just found it interesting that Rb would come against Dr. Greger and against the most passionate commenters on the site who are clearly health-oriented and study-oriented and so helpful.

            Rb was an odd duck.

  10. An interesting read.
    Thank you.
    Just querying an important error. In the transcript it mentions the trial comparing controls, those on HRT and those taking soy, you say “transdermal progesterone cream” was the HRT variable. However, the article in your sources is clear that it was oestrogen not progesterone. An important error to clarify.

          1. Will

            You basically asking for medical advice. Only a physician familiar with the details of your case, can provide that advice.

            That physician would also need to consider the possibility of interactions between your prescription drugs and foods like soy.

            If your physician gives you the OK to eat soy, you might want to consider fermented soy products like tempeh or miso.
            https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30726579/

            However, the key first step is to consult your treating physician.

    1. L Smith,

      Dr. Greger has some soy and males videos, but Tom already gave the punchline.

      The other point that males usually want to know is that it doesn’t give man-boobs.

  11. I live in Dallas, Texas. Appreciate to share where can buy economically large quantities of organic soybeans to make milk. Appreciate it.

      1. Deb,
        There is something amiss in food delivery. One shouldn’t have to order a #25 lb. bag of soybeans through Amazon. Soybeans should be available, in large quantities, in any grocery store, canned, bagged, boxed, deli-ready. Of course, lots of the animal replacement foods have soy. But, I’m talk’in soybeans in large oatmeal-like cannisters, Pet food-sized bags, in plastic bags. Not just frozen or in a specialty store. I’m saying, off the back of a semi, via grain shovel scoops into five gallon buckets.

  12. Off-topic. Coronavirus update – Ivermectin (IVM) – Caution – await completed peer-reviewed double-blinded clinical trials (apparently in progress).

    ——————————————————

    Note – the following is a preprint – not peer-reviewed. The general discussion and the article title are reasonably useful and fit with what we have been hearing here and there – nice to see these in one place.

    The study conclusion, however – a bit much. Introduces us – obliquely – to Ivermectin (IVM). Probably best to sit back and wait and see.

    I mean – why’s everyone in such a hurry?

    Persistent Symptoms of COVID-19: MOLECULAR TESTS BY NASAL AND PHARYNGEAL SWABS DO NOT DETECT THE PRESENCE OF THE VIRUS IN INTESTINES, HEART AND OTHER ORGANS AND SYSTEMS. A Negative PCR result does not indicate that a person has overcome the disease
    Gustavo Aguirre Chang
    National University of San Marcos
    August 2020
    DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.30458.31688/2
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343931153_Persistent_Symptoms_of_COVID-19_MOLECULAR_TESTS_BY_NASAL_AND_PHARYNGEAL_SWABS_DO_NOT_DETECT_THE_PRESENCE_OF_THE_VIRUS_IN_INTESTINES_HEART_AND_OTHER_ORGANS_AND_SYSTEMS_A_Negative_PCR_result_does_not_in

    ======================================================

    Ivermectin (IVM) – lotsa debate, answers not yet in. Could be the next failed treatment – caution is warranted.

    ——————————————————

    Note – the following is a preprint – not peer-reviewed.

    But interesting:

    CON (Ivermectin in COvid Nineteen) study: Use of Ivermectin is Associated with Lower Mortality in Hospitalized Patients with COVID19
    Juliana Cepelowicz Rajter, Michael Sherman, Naaz Fatteh, Fabio Vogel, Jamie Sacks, Jean-Jacques Rajter
    Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared no competing interest.
    Funding Statement – No funding.
    doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.06.20124461
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.06.20124461v2

    ——————————————————

    https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/antiviral-therapy/ivermectin/

    ——————————————————

    https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/product-safety-information/faq-covid-19-and-ivermectin-intended-animals

    ——————————————————

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivermectin#SARS-CoV-2

    ——————————————————

    For the current time:

    Ventilation. Respirators or masks. Eye protection. Distancing. Understand aerosolization – think cigarette smoke – “smoke distancing.” Do not neglect fomites. Be skeptical about official pronouncements – realize that your health has become a political and economic football.

    Err on the side of caution.

    Vote. Early may be best.

    Stay well –

    Vivamus

    1. Vivamus,

      I am staying well.

      The recent Remdesivir study was so disappointing and it was also exactly what I was expecting and I hate being so cynical.

      I have been on cruise control with COVID lately.

      Meaning that I have already evaluated everything.

      I have Vitamin D, B-12, Omega 3 which I take almost daily

      I am back to a low-dose aspirin as we head toward the cold weather.

      I have Vitamin C and Zinc and NAC which I only take when I find out that someone within my circle has been exposed.

      When I have been in closer proximity to people, I do the gargling salt water and saline nasal irrigation.

      For the first time since COVID began, nobody around me is sick.

      Still being careful with social distancing and mask-wearing and I don’t spend long periods of time in public places.

      But I am reaching the point that I want to get my hair cut. I have not had my hair cut in almost a year. Yikes.

      Everybody was sick around here starting around Thanksgiving of last year and I got my haircut about this time last year and then tried to avoid the flu.

      It has gotten so long and has lost all of its styling.

      1. Deb,
        Just to be onry, I might suggest cutting your own hair:
        –It’s not hard to do.
        –You can’t go wrong because hair grows back out.
        –You can trim your hair any ol’ time you please.
        –You will save money which could be used toward your Hawaii fund, or more veggies.

        1. Dan,

          Laughing.

          Yes. Except that I don’t have depth perception and that handicaps me in doing a straight line.

          My mother used to have one of those vacuum haircutter things.

          1. Deb,
            Okay. I do remember, in the movie, “Steel Magnolias,” one of the actors saying they didn’t trust women who do their own hair.

        2. I am working hard at trying to not spend money. It is so hard in this culture.

          All of my money next year will be going to solar panels, but my first payment for those won’t be until after New Years’ and if I ever get stuck, the cost of the monthly payment would be lower than my current electric bills, so I should be okay.

          I just bought special new socks. I have had such good socks for years but they have reached the place where I need to add some new ones. I found some with a lifetime warranty. If they ever wear out they will replace them. They are expensive but I will have a once and done with socks.

          They are expensive. But they are meant to last the rest of my life and that has been the theme of my “once and done” project.

    2. Viv,
      I think I might get a flu shot tomorrow. It might be protective for the flu. It’s supposed to be helpful for Covid. Of course, I could catch something while getting innoculation. Since I venture out anyway to get groceries and do a bit of work in my business, it seems the scale tips in favor of getting the flu shot.

  13. Dan,

    Just a quickie and I have to run.

    You may find the following of interest:

    Interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza and the impact of coinfectionon disease severity: A test negative design
    JSTOWE, PhD, E TESSIER, MsC, H ZHAO, PhD,R GUY, BSc, B MULLER-PEBODY, PhD, M ZAMBON, PhD, N ANDREWS, PhD, M RAMSAY, MBBS, J LOPEZ BERNAL, PhD
    October 13, 2020.
    doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.13.334532
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.18.20189647v2.full.pdf

    This is out of London. Funded by Public Health England.

    Note that this is a preprint. NOT peer-reviewed!

    There are some subtleties in this report that our perspicacious Journal Club participant will only encounter upon full reading.

    Gotta run –

    Vivamus

      1. Dan,

        I have been waiting to see what happens this winter particularly regarding that.

        Swine Flu and the 1918 Pandemic both had the deaths really pick up the second winter.

        COVID does seem to have become less deadly and that is good but some of the strains have been more contagious and one mutation could make it suddenly more deadly or just combining it with the flu could make it more deadly.

        There have only been a slow stream of teachers dying and I am not saying that lightly. So many teachers died in the spring and summer and some the first week of school but it has been just one or so per week lately. They are getting better at treating it.

        I just don’t know what the flu will do.

    1. I just went back to make sure it wasn’t an old video because I remember it being on the news a few years ago. I thought they voted back 3 or 4 years ago.

      I guess it keeps coming back up.

  14. I find the coconut milk having been called coconut milk since 1200 AD seems to be a very good one to show that the word, “Milk” could be in the description without confusing people.

  15. I have had a full hysterectomy around 30 years ago. I am in my middle 60’s. No hot flashes anymore.
    I have started a vegan diet a couple of months ago hoping to reduce my Cholesterol numbers, Blood pressure and all around health benefits. I wish I had started years earlier.
    My question is is it safe to eat soy products having a hysterectomy? I have heard that it will cause Breast Cancer.
    Both my Mother and Grandmother pass away with Breast cancer. They were in there late 80’s when they came down with it and most Doctors don’t seem to be concerned. But they are not in the hot seat.
    I am a little nervous of Soy beans, Temph, Tofu and soy milk.

    1. Hi, Carol Crye! The short answer to your question is yes, it is safe to consume soy after a hysterectomy. It is a common misconception that phytoestrogens in soy are the same as human estrogens, and can increase the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. They are not the same, and do not carry this risk. In fact, the research shows just the opposite. Soy intake appears to be protective against hormone-sensitive cancers in both men and women. You can find everything on this site related to soy here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/soy/ I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you so much for your answer. I have been semi worried for 3 years since going vegan.
        I have just tried my best to avoid soy. It is amazing so many things have it in its ingredients.

  16. A question: I want to start drinking a daily cup of soy milk to help strengthen my bones, but I’ve read that it can interfere with Synthroid function (I no longer have a thyroid). So do I have to avoid soy to keep my TSH levels steady? I am taking a natural approach to improve my bone density and the soy would be helpful, given the information in this video. Thanks!

      1. Thank you, Christine. I appreciate your quick response. Perhaps I don’t have to choose between strengthening my bones and having good levels of TSH after all!

  17. Is there any reliable data regarding soy and thyroid disease? I was diagnosed with Graves disease and had thyroid ablation therapy 20 years ago. I have no thyroid tissue left according to a recent ultrasound. I have avoided soy all these years because I was told it could cause more problems with thyroid hormone absorbtion, but then I read that if you have no thyroid there should be no problem. I don’t know who or what to believe.

  18. Hi, janet MCCONNELL! There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding soy and thyroid function. There are two main issues. First, if iodine intake is insufficient, soy and other foods may interfere with the absorption of iodine, resulting in deficiency, which can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. As long as iodine intake is sufficient, this should not be a problem. The second issue is thyroid medication. Soy may decrease the absorption of medications such as synthroid. That doesn’t necessarily mean that soy must be avoided, but it may be wise to take the medication at a different time, and the dose may need to be adjusted. You can find everything on this site related to soy here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/soy/ I hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This