How to Block Breast Cancer’s Estrogen-Producing Enzymes

How to Block Breast Cancer’s Estrogen-Producing Enzymes
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What happens to hormone levels in women (and men) randomized to drink soy milk?

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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.

The vast majority of breast cancers start out “hormone-dependent,” meaning the primary human estrogen, called “estradiol plays a crucial role in [breast cancer] development and progression.” That’s one of the reasons why soy food consumption appears so protective against breast cancer—because soy phytoestrogens, like genistein, act as estrogen-blockers. They block the binding of estrogens, like estradiol, to breast cancer cells.

But, wait a second. “The majority of breast cancers occur [after menopause], when the ovaries have [stopped producing estrogen].” What’s the point of eating estrogen blockers if there’s no estrogen to block? It turns out the breast cancer tumors themselves produce their own estrogen from scratch to fuel their own growth.

Estrogens may be formed in breast tumors by multiple pathways. The breast cancer takes cholesterol, and, using the aromatase enzyme, or two hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes, produces its own estrogen.

So, there’s two ways to stop breast cancer. One is to use “antiestrogens,” estrogen-blockers, like the soy phytoestrogens, or “the anti-estrogen [drug] tamoxifen…However, another way to block estradiol is by using anti-enzymes” to prevent the breast cancer from making all the estrogen in the first place.

And, indeed, there are a variety of anti-aromatase drugs in current use. In fact, inhibiting the estrogen production has been shown to be “more effective” than just trying to block the effects of the estrogen—”suggesting that the inhibition of estrogen synthesis is clinically very important for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.” It turns out soy phytoestrogens can do both.

Using ovary cells taken from women undergoing in vitro fertilization, soy phytoestrogens were found to reduce the expression of the aromatase enzyme. What about in breast cancer cells, though? Breast cancer cells, too—not only suppressing aromatase activity, but the other estrogen-producing enzyme, too.

But, this is in a petri dish. Does soy suppress estrogen production in people too Well, circulating estrogen levels appear significantly lower in Japanese women than American white women. And, Japan does have the highest per capita soy food consumption. But, you don’t know it’s the soy until you put it to the test. Japanese women were randomized to add soymilk to their diet—or not—for a few months. Estrogen levels did seem to drop about a quarter in the soymilk-supplemented group. Interestingly, when they tried the same experiment in men, they got similar results: a significant drop in female hormone levels, with no change in testosterone levels.

These results, though, are in Japanese men and women that were already consuming soy in their baseline diet. So, it’s really just looking at “higher versus lower…soy intake.”

What happens if you give soymilk to women in Texas? Circulating estrogen levels cut in half. Since increased estrogen levels are a “[marker] for high risk for breast cancer,” the effectiveness of soy to reduce estrogen levels may help explain why Chinese and Japanese women have such low rates of breast cancer.

And, what was truly remarkable is that estrogen levels stayed down a month or two, even after they stopped drinking it. This suggests you don’t have to consume soy every day to have the cancer-protective benefit.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Tyler McReynolds, Teetotalin LLC.

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.

The vast majority of breast cancers start out “hormone-dependent,” meaning the primary human estrogen, called “estradiol plays a crucial role in [breast cancer] development and progression.” That’s one of the reasons why soy food consumption appears so protective against breast cancer—because soy phytoestrogens, like genistein, act as estrogen-blockers. They block the binding of estrogens, like estradiol, to breast cancer cells.

But, wait a second. “The majority of breast cancers occur [after menopause], when the ovaries have [stopped producing estrogen].” What’s the point of eating estrogen blockers if there’s no estrogen to block? It turns out the breast cancer tumors themselves produce their own estrogen from scratch to fuel their own growth.

Estrogens may be formed in breast tumors by multiple pathways. The breast cancer takes cholesterol, and, using the aromatase enzyme, or two hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes, produces its own estrogen.

So, there’s two ways to stop breast cancer. One is to use “antiestrogens,” estrogen-blockers, like the soy phytoestrogens, or “the anti-estrogen [drug] tamoxifen…However, another way to block estradiol is by using anti-enzymes” to prevent the breast cancer from making all the estrogen in the first place.

And, indeed, there are a variety of anti-aromatase drugs in current use. In fact, inhibiting the estrogen production has been shown to be “more effective” than just trying to block the effects of the estrogen—”suggesting that the inhibition of estrogen synthesis is clinically very important for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.” It turns out soy phytoestrogens can do both.

Using ovary cells taken from women undergoing in vitro fertilization, soy phytoestrogens were found to reduce the expression of the aromatase enzyme. What about in breast cancer cells, though? Breast cancer cells, too—not only suppressing aromatase activity, but the other estrogen-producing enzyme, too.

But, this is in a petri dish. Does soy suppress estrogen production in people too Well, circulating estrogen levels appear significantly lower in Japanese women than American white women. And, Japan does have the highest per capita soy food consumption. But, you don’t know it’s the soy until you put it to the test. Japanese women were randomized to add soymilk to their diet—or not—for a few months. Estrogen levels did seem to drop about a quarter in the soymilk-supplemented group. Interestingly, when they tried the same experiment in men, they got similar results: a significant drop in female hormone levels, with no change in testosterone levels.

These results, though, are in Japanese men and women that were already consuming soy in their baseline diet. So, it’s really just looking at “higher versus lower…soy intake.”

What happens if you give soymilk to women in Texas? Circulating estrogen levels cut in half. Since increased estrogen levels are a “[marker] for high risk for breast cancer,” the effectiveness of soy to reduce estrogen levels may help explain why Chinese and Japanese women have such low rates of breast cancer.

And, what was truly remarkable is that estrogen levels stayed down a month or two, even after they stopped drinking it. This suggests you don’t have to consume soy every day to have the cancer-protective benefit.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Tyler McReynolds, Teetotalin LLC.

161 responses to “How to Block Breast Cancer’s Estrogen-Producing Enzymes

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  1. There is so much back and forth about the benefits of soy consumption. I had breast cancer removed recently and am living a protective lifestyle but I’m still worried about soy and whether this new information is to be trusted.




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    1. Felicia the only reason there is back and forth is because the dairy industry actually got caught spreading misinformation about soy due to falling profits because of soy milk. I believe it was back in the 90s. Nevertheless, their campaign clearly worked because you still have fear around it. The consensus is quite clear. Soy is abundantly healthy. This site has so much hard evidence showcasing it.




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      1. I beg to differ. I was a “tofuholic” Loved it! I also was susceptible to cysts on my ovaries and lumps in my breast which had to be drained regularly. Read that soy may be a culprit so I stopped eating anything with soy. 15 yrs later. None of the previous health problems. Of course I didn’t have cancer…..but?




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        1. I had lumps in my breasts when I had no soy in my diet 6 years ago. Had a huge lump removed from my breast. Non-cancerous but six 6 years of being plant based vegan and zero lumps in breasts. I drink soy milk often. People can have a soy allergy. Tests can be run to prove that someone has that allergy. But an intolerance or allergic reaction doesn’t equate to getting cancer. Lots of other things in the diet medication can attribute to fiberous tissues as well.




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    2. Felicia,

      I used to believe the lies about soy causing breast cancer, too. In fact, I was taught that in a nutrition class that was based on the Weston Price and other similar research, all of which promote eating animal protein. I never touched soy in any form – organic or not. But after two years of eating grass fed beef and milk from pastured cows that had a nice life, one day I discovered a huge lump in my breast. That was seven years ago and I’m fine now, but in the meantime I used many alternative and some standard treatments, and I found out about the value of plant based eating. I ditched the dairy and all animal protein, and I got well.

      If you will watch Dr Greger’s four or five introductory videos you’ll find that his research is trustworthy. He not only reads what other researchers have published, he checks them out, too. This is important because much of today’s “research” is really bogus marketing by companies with something to sell – like milk, eggs, and meat, among other unhealthy foods. Dr Greger puts all this information out there for us freely, with no corporate advertising that could be used to influence what he publishes.

      If you haven’t read The China Study, you would find it valuable. Dr T Colin Campbell, who did the study with others, and wrote the book with his son, is an impeccable researcher with a 60+-year history of honest research not paid for by corporate interests.

      For those of us who aren’t scientists, it comes down to finding people who understand the research, who are honestly trying to help people, not just to line their own pockets, and then making the decision, based on what we learn about them, to trust what they tell us. If a website sells vitamins or other products, you can’t be certain of who or what is influencing what they publish.

      Based on that, I personally feel confident and trust what I have learned from Dr Greger, Dr McDougall, Dr Doug Lisle, Dr Goldhamer, Dr Neal Barnard, Dr Esselstyn, Dr T Colin Campbell, Dr Pam Popper and a few others. I think if you read what they have to say, you’ll find the truth you’re seeking.




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      1. Yes a good point about health blogs that have a selling agenda. They will promote what they feel will sell more.
        An example of a popular site making huge profits from recommending various vitamins and health products is Mercola … enough said.




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        1. I answer this accusation in the other thread. Dr Mercola’s info has helped a multitude of us as we first venture into Alternative health. His straight forward advice with research to back his information in every article are what led me to his site and his information for years. The reversal in our health issues from awful to good health, came from the extensive information he provides. Throwing stones at someone you either don’t know well or don’t agree with is not a productive way to encourage others who may be where we once were: very sick and badly in need of information. This information we needed came from Dr Mercola’s site and emails. Throw sticks all you want. I’m quite sure my Endometriosis daughter–now without pain after 15 years of misery- is danged thankful we discovered him.
          Dr Greger has excellent information. Obviously, his is well researched. Looking at a variety of resources and doctors is the very best way to learn. AND, the very best way to encourage others into the alternative health arena is through encouragement, not accusing them of selling to “innocents”.




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          1. Teri you can find out the truth for yourself. Go to his website and find a topic like for example the benefit of supplementing with lecithin.(choline) Now go to Medline or Pubmed and see if there is any research that supports his claim.

            What happens when people like him publish this stuff is that they just confuse. I have a patient right now supplementing with a Tablespoon a day yet trying to limit his egg consumption. It is junk.

            It all just leads to a ton of confusion? Could that be on purpose?




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            1. That’s right. They include too many supplements…which is an indication that their dietary approach has deficiencies.

              So pretty much everyone is deficient in D3 (you cannot just point to vegans)… and vegans are at risk of B12 deficiency (which is easily eliminated with a methylcobalamin sublingual supp).

              These guys just love to confuse, and twist the research.

              Wheat Belly… is so full of nonsense, it has been debunked over and over. Yes, “Gluten” is not greatest thing for you. Ok, we know that… but the book points to all sorts of grains and junk conclusions that it’s hard to take the guy seriously.

              And William Davis’ most deceitful suggestion is that Grains and Sugar cause Diabetes T2. When EVERY science-based researched KNOWS after almost 80+ years, that sugar does NOT cause DMT2.

              Intramyocellular Lipotoxicity leads to insulin resistance and DMT2. It’s the FAT in animal foods and not sugar in Plant foods that are at the ROOT of Diabetes T2. But, guy like Mercola and Davis love to get it backwards…. WHY? Because it’s much easier to convince people to put down the grains and pick up the animal foods.




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              1. Research gluten on this site and you will find there are actually health benefits to gluten. I would never say gluten is unhealthy. It only be unhealthy for a very small minority of people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, which is only about 2-3% of the population max. The 10-15% who report gluten sensitivity are just imagining it. It’s all in their heads.

                Also, the methylcobalamin is not as reliable as the cyanocobalamin. Dr. Gregor recommends the cyano for that reason.




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                1. Dr. John Doulliard (Ayurvedic practioner) is leading a pro-wheat (organic that is) crusade.  Although he believes the gluten free diet has its place for celiac sufferers which might be on the rise b/c of the lousy wheat now offered to us he also believes the whole “gluten-free” movement is over done while the industry has become a multi-billion dollar one at that.




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                2. Ben,

                  You’re a plant based friend, but I have to correct you on both points.

                  #1: Even though I do still consume gluten out of choice (mainly Ezekiel bread), there’s no denying the Zonulin effect of Gluten and its negative effect on intestinal lining. The question now is not “does it damage the lining?” The question is “how badly and in what real world quantities”? “And how much compared to a low Fiber diet whereby bad bacteria also damage the lining”? There are many healthier non-gluten grains that one can consume in place of wheat. That goes for everyone, and not just the Celiac crowd. So to be safe, it’s best to keep consumption low. And among all other Plant foods, wheat is lower on the healthy food list.

                  #2: Methyl-Cobalamin is the best option for bioavailability. Cyanocobalamin is the less effective form. That’s why it’s a fraction of the cost. That is why Dr. G recommends high doses of it and why he himself claimed you’ll only absorb about 1% of the quantity you intake. Your body really utilizes the METHYL form, so when it sees the CYANO form, it ends up attempting to convert it to methyl anyway. Plus, there are other benefits to methyl (like staying in the body longer) and side effects to cyano (like cyanide being released in the conversion).




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                  1. +1

                    Methyl is the end product after the body’s conversion.
                    As with so many other systems the older we get the less efficient is our body’s conversion ability.
                    So methyl, for this age group at least, is the way to go.




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                    1. Yes, and even Esselstyn recommends Methyl.

                      It’s not that you can’t do ok with Cyano, but I think it’s just worth it to pay the extra $$ and get right to it with Methyl. No sense in playing games with such a serious concern.

                      Also, B12 stores can take 3-5 years to deplete to dangerous levels anyway (and that’s assuming you’re getting ZERO B12 from fortified foods like Soy Milk, Nutritional Yeast, etc).

                      But if $$ is that big an issue, you get the bloodwork done, then take the Cyano for 6months, and get more bloodwork. If it’s not keep your levels up or improving, then you move on to Methyl.

                      Meat eaters love to point to B12 as if a vegan can’t easily deal with it. It’s so silly.




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                    1. Hahaha. I’m certainly not competing here. But, as Dommy also pointed out, B12 absorption can be an issue (especially for people of certain demographics).

                      Of course you’re welcome to spend or save your money as you wish. For me, the extra $$ for Methyl (and No-fillers) is well worth it. I’ll continue to side with Esselstyn on this one.




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                    2. Casper….We can’t take a side. We follow the data. BTW I lovvve Furhman! Post the article will you because as I said methyl is sooo much easier to buy.




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                    3. Oh man! Greger doesn’t hate wheat. That isn’t what I was trying to say. Did I reply to wrong post? Anyhow Dr Greger does not have a problem with whole wheat. (Of course unless you are gluten sensitive or celiacs. I should just blame my mistake on this silly comment section!!




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                    4. And just to clear it up. We don’t have research to demonstrate that Methyl works. Or at least that I am aware of. If you are aware of something could you please post. Methyl is definitely easier to find.




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                    5. Wait, now you’ve got me really confused.

                      You think Methyl is easier to find? Absolutely not. Cyano is the synthetic, cheap version, and it’s in nearly every B12 supplement. Methyl, is the more expensive, harder to find supplement.

                      I understand Ben is right (that Dr. G recommends Cyano). I wasn’t disputing that.
                      I was simply stating that the conversion need not take place if you simply pay the extra money and purchase Methyl.

                      Greger doesn’t compare the absorption results of Cyano vs Methyl… he simply focuses on loading up on Cyano since only a tiny fraction actually gets absorbed.

                      I’m not trying to take sides. I just prefer to take the more natural, Methyl, because it doesn’t result in any cyanide (as does Cyano), I understand it may be retained by the tissues better, and also they’re looking at how those individuals with mutations in MTHFR may benefit more (or only from) Methyl.

                      It doesn’t really matter, I guess, as long as all of our levels are in the ‘safe’ range. Right? :)




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                    6. Right. I went to Whole Foods and they had only methyl on the shelf. (I normally buy online) I believe if you watch all the B 12 videos you will find we don’t have data of subjects taking the methyl. And you are right. As long as we aren’t deficient.

                      I am on my cell phone and these conversations don’t indent so who knows who I am responding too!




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                    7. I’m shocked that your WF only had Methyl. Mine barely has Methyl and mainly Cyano. I’m in NJ. You?

                      That’s why I found one online, and it’s amazing. Liquid, Vegan, and no Excipients! And, I use 1/4 of the actual serving size and still get positive results.

                      I just did the math and it’s about $.08/day. And, by having only 10 drops instead of the 40 serving size, I’m reducing the 480mcg to 120mcg.

                      So only 120mcg at $.08/day keeps my levels up around 700 pg/mL.




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                    1. Ben, I saw the clip at 9:30… thanks for the clarification. I guess I’ve been lucky then with Methyl and the brand I’m using since I’ve been checking my levels every 6 months and have seen great results. But, point well-taken about the stability factor. And I also understand that Cyano has been heavily studied, whereas Methyl still needs more research. Call me crazy (and no disrespect to Dr. G), but I’ll stick with my methyl drops since they work.

                      Regarding gluten, it’s now been a few years (2014 mainly, but discovery of Zonulin dating back to 2000) since Alessio Fasano, et. al have shaken it up regarding Gliadin, which we now know activates Zonulin signaling and leads to increased intestinal permeability.

                      So my point is, wheat may come with some benefits, but since Gliadin does have some deleterious effects (for anyone), why not just reduce the consumption of wheat to be safe? There are so many other beautiful grains… why is there this need among our community to defend wheat at any cost? Sometimes we have to just look at the most available science and realize that not every single component of the Plant Kingdom has benefits.




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        2. Mercola is a commercial website. This does question neutrality.

          On the plus side, I have learnt much from Mercola, and he does have a large audience, maybe much greater than this one, and has introduced many to healthy eating, greatly improving health for many.

          … I just seem to be seeing more and more selling of his high priced products range, along with editing which heavily promotes those items for sale.

          For example, all other krill oils are described as being greatly inadequate, only the premium priced Mercola krill oil is pushed as being beneficial. Neutrality is open to question. But again, I have learnt much from his website … before I came across Nutrition Facts.




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          1. I think supplements have a place…especially for people late to the nutrition game and with issues….and who are aging Many supplements are mainly concentrated foods and herbs anyway.

            I know of several site/newsletters that tend to promote their own supplements….but one does have a choice as to where to buy them.

            There is some research showing the efficacy of various supplements…not as exhaustive as you’d want…but some is there if you look.

            At least supplements are still available in the US (for now).

            See this page…CLICK on Canada…this is what some want for the US?

            https://www.swansonvitamins.com/helpdesk/shipping-restrictions.html




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    3. Felicia – I understand how your feel I think. My Mother had 2 breast cancers – both new incidences of different types: one Pagets disease and the other “carcinoma”. So the second one was not a recurrence of the first. My Mother felt that milk was the perfect food. She drank a lot of milk all of her life. And as she aged and felt less like cooking, drank even more. She made it her goal to drink 5 large glasses of milk daily. She also had a hysterectomy due to fibroids – also highly correlated with milk drinking. She had so my colon polyps that she had to have 5 followup colonoscopy-surgeries to remove all the polyps. Colon polyps are also highly correlated with meat and milk (liquid meat). I could never get her to look at the evidence of milks high correlation with cancer. And she never stopped drinking milk up until her death – from cancer.

      At 64 now, I stopped drinking milk in my teens and stopped with the rest of dairy 10 years later. I’ve never had any of the physical problems my Mother had. I eat a good amount of soy – either tofu, edamame, tempeh in my WFPB, SOS diet. I’ve eaten soy the last 40 years. By the time my Mother was 64 she had both her breasts removed as well as her uterus – all from cancer. My Mother never ate soy of any ilk.

      I appreciate the confusion you feel about what is safe to eat given how well the meat and dairy industry – like the cigarette industry – can confuse us. But one way I look at things to try to tease out what is closer to the truth is to look at long term trends. What we historically and epidemiologically know is that Asian societies that eat a lot of soy and do not consume milk or meat have healthier longer lives. That evidence has been known for many, many decades now. Then, when actual studies come along – like these that Dr. G is showing us – just reinforces what we think is the truth of the matter. The facts begin to emerge. The Japanese, who eat no dairy for thousands of years, have low to no rates of breast and prostate cancer. They eat plenty of soy and have for thousands of years. I eat soy regularly and never worry about it and have done so for decades now. I take that as pretty good evidence especially coupled with Dr. Gregers research.
      That’s how I look at it.




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    4. Not meaning to sound unkind … If one has already been a cancer victim and still mistrusts sound, advice from a neutral, unsolicited and so highly qualified source, perhaps you should simply enjoy pizza and ice cream every day.




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      1. Sadly you remind me of a friend who has suffered a variety of ailments to accompany a lousy diet. No matter what information I try to give him (mainly from this website) he adamantly rejects nutrition preferring to trust his allopathic doctor’s ever-changing Rx prescriptions.

        “Yeah, because he’s done so great for you, hasn’t he?”

        I stopped bothering once it dawned on me the unquestioning trust he places in doctors borders on a religious faith.




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  2. I do not understand why older women get breast cancer when they have less estrogen. Young women have less? when they have naturally more estrogen.. mthx




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    1. This is because some pre and post menopausal women are often estrogen dominant.There isn’t a balance between the estrogen and progesterone. Your body still continues to make estrogen through testosterone, adrenals and body fat. That is why they give postmenopausal femara or arimidex after a BC diagnosis to block an enzyme called aromatase which converts testosterone to estrogen. You can also do this through your diet and some natural supplements. Stay away from alcohol.




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    2. Hi Sharon
      Breast cancer was on the rise from women taking replacement hormones. Look under topics above and Dr. Greger has a graph that demonstrates the trend reversing. Let me know if you can’t find it.




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  3. Sorry that was convoluted.. Older women get more breast cancer have less estrogen. Young women get less cancer but have more estrogen..




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  4. Dr Mercola has articles stressing the damage soy can do unless it is fermented which is only a few soy products. Soy milk and edamame are not on the list of safe soy as they are not fermented. Both are damaging to gut lining and, according to his research articles, hormone disruptive. Since he is careful to have extensive research and studies supporting his study, this is very conflicting. I often work with women that have major hormone issues. It’s troublesome to see two highly respected doctors -Dr Mercola and Dr Greger at opposite ends of the spectrum on soy -unless I am missing a component in this info vs Dr Mercolas?




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    1. Dr Mercola’s site is hugely commercial, so it’s hard to know if the research he cites is genuine or influenced by commercial interests. He often posts his opinion as fact, and I’ve never heard of him researching the researchers he quotes, as Dr Greger does.




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      1. Also, it’s important to note that Mercola claims that back in 2000 after 3 years of having a Website up… he was $500,000 in debt and had to finance the site out of his medical practice. It was that financial burden that led him to going commercial and selling all sorts of products to balance it out.

        First of all, I’ve run websites in the past.,, especially back around that time… there’s absolutely no possible way that an information-based site can put you in debt like that. Maybe it cost him a few hundred bucks a year or few thousand if he had some people involved… maybe even a $20-50,000 to be extreme.

        So this idea that he had to sell product to make up for his losses is BS. Then he claims… selling the products basically supported those levels of expenses. So think about that. Regardless if what the “actual website” costs were… he created this 1/2 million dollar figure and he’s admitting to generating that much money in sales. So, the guy is making millions in the past 15 years selling supplements and tanning beds.

        That’s why I say he’s like a snake oil salesman.

        Just because somebody may help out some people, doesn’t mean he’s not harming others.

        That’s the difference between Greger and Mercola. Greger harms zero people.




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        1. I could not agree with you more. You may recall as well that Mercola was called up on the carpet by the Federal Government for many of his “claims” connected to products that he sold. Have never and will never trust him. Gregor is the go-to guy in my nutritional world.




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    2. OK. Dr. Mercola is like a snake-oil salesman. He’s right “some of the time”, so he lures in readers (only to sell them products and tanning beds) but he also often misguided and recommends fish and meat as part of a healthy diet (which science clearly debunks).

      To say that Edamame is not fermented so it’s damaging to the gut lining is plain silly. Show us scientific research and support for that claim, please?

      Soy beans, are protective… period. I’m not going to belabor the point here. Getting tired of it. Dr. Greger has tons of vids you can learn from… I do suggest limiting your intake of Mercola and his nonsense.




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      1. One of the dishonest things Mercola will do is reference studies done on rats to show negative effects of soy while ignoring all the studies done on humans which only show benefits. Humans are not rats. Rat studies can be beneficial but only if we can replicate it with humans. Apparently rats have issues with soy. Or maybe they were using too much soy on the rats.




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      2. To Casper:
        There is no ‘period’ to soya – or anything, come to that.
        Soy that is non-fermented is known to be damaging to the thyroid – not exactly good, is it? So some women may do well on soya, others most definitely will not.
        So you cannot just say that A is good and B is bad, period! It’s never that simple. Everything depends on individual needs and sensitivities and if you don’t take that into account, you betray your ignorance. Nutrition is highly complicated.




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        1. Liz, seems you are still caught up in the Thyroid (anti-soy) movement from around 10 years ago.

          The latest (as well as the preponderance of) science on Soy beans (fermented and non-fermented) indicates a positive effect on breast and prostate cancer.

          Regarding soy’s effect on Thyroid, the studies you and others are most likely referencing used soy protein “Supplements” in very high doses. That’s the type of nonsense trials that are performed, and Doctors like Mercola run with it and make it official. Secondly, they performed these studies on women who at the time had signs of hypothyroidism, and in these very high doses of “soy isolates”, a small number of patients developed markers for clinical hypothyroidism. And even if ACTUAL soy beans had the same effect, they’re actually mainly concerned with women who HAVE serious thyroid issues and are taking replacement thyroid medication because too much soy in this case can inhibit the absorption of this medication.

          But you are drawing the wrong conclusion. Soy doesn’t “cause” Thyroid issues or damage the Thyroid. There are many issues that lead to Thyroid issues and some of the main contributors include: lack of Potassium and Magnesium (Standard American diet) and poor immune health (Standard American diet).

          So once again, most of the medical community along with organizations like Weston Price, and guys like Mercola, love to misdirect folks on the ROOT cause of disorders, and blame health foods like soy beans because they interfere with an issue that already existed. The problem is, these folks end up taking Soy and Gluten out of the diet (which is totally fine), but then wonder why the Thyroid issues and Leaky Gut issues and Immune Health persists? Plus, if anything, I guarantee that more Americans consume SOY through eating Animals who eat soy, than the actual soy food itself.

          It’s the same nonsense I pointed out earlier about blaming sugar for T2DM…. it’s not the sugar, it’s the fat. Period.




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          1. Dear Casper

            I speak from personal experience as well. Firstly I have a Japanese friend who had to stop using soya milk and tofu because she developed hypo-thyroid – she was on an anti-cancer diet which inspired her to increase her intake of soya (and this is specifically non-fermented soya) over and above what Japanese people normally eat.

            Secondly, I personally had to stop a similar diet that I had started on the recommendation of a nutritionist (to treat another hormone related problem) – the diet included the maximum possible intake of soya (amongst other things like flax seeds) and I switched to organic soya products wherever possible – soya milk (instead of almond or coconut milk) for everything, added in soya yoghurt for dessert, cooked meals with tofu etc. etc. Three or so weeks into the diet I felt terrible – sleep disrupted, hair and skin became dry and awful looking and my energy levels plummeted. I stopped using soya and things gradually returned to normal. Nothing else changed – I still consumed the same (considerable) amounts of salad, vegetables and fruit, nuts and cheese, with the same recipes except for tofu replacing some meat in recipes.

            Trust me, I felt awful – so I am inclined to agree with those scientists who warn against the goitrogen qualities of soya.




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            1. Liz, appreciate your anecdotes. But #1, in both anecdotes, you mention “maximum” and “above” what Japanese normally consume. That’s part of the problem. Neither Greger nor any Soy advocate would recommend eating huge amounts of soy products. There are limits to some plant foods…. Greger and others caution against consuming too many Avocados due to Persin, which destroys not only cancer cells but also healthy cells. Greger supports Hibiscus Tea big time, BUT warns us not to overdo it. So, that doesn’t mean these foods and drinks are bad. The idea is to ‘include’ Soy along with a variety of other plant foods. You’re not supposed to use it heavily as a disease reversing solution.

              Also, literally more than a Billion people around the world (predominantly in Asia) have been some of the healthiest, long living peoples in the world with the inclusion of Soy (much more than in the West).

              The point is, there are rare situations where Soy consumption should be limited, but limiting soy should never be the default in a healthy plant based diet.




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        2. Liz: The only people who need to avoid non-fermented soy are people who, like myself, are allergic to it. And it’s not some subtle thing that you need to be tested for to find out for sure. If someone is allergic, the soy will let them know in a big, dramatic way!




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        3. Liz: The only people who need to avoid non-fermented soy are people who, like myself, are allergic to it. And it’s not some subtle thing that you need to be tested for to find out for sure. If someone is allergic, the soy they’ve consumed will let them know in a big, dramatic way!




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          1. Then I don’t understand what you think was happening to me! If it’s allergy, even a little will upset you, right? Well. I consume soya milk in cappuccinos every week – that’s the only soy I use, and I am fine with it. So obviously not allergic – or sensitive – to it. I am, however, sensitive to wheat, rice, dairy and a few other things, and I will know immediately I have consumed them, whereas soya is fine.

            So explain to me what was happening when I opted to increase my intake of soya? And it’s not enough for Casper to say that you should ‘never’ eat so much soya. People eat bread, potatoes or rice every day of their lives – several times a day, and do not suffer the way I suffered with that soya/isoflavones diet.

            So I beg to differ – I infer that something quite deep and subtle was going on. Not just an allergy.




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            1. hi Liz, I do not have the quotes handy, but Dr Greger mentioned in a video about soy products that the optimal amount would be about 2 or 3 servings per day. Consuming less than that or consuming more than 5 to 7 servings was not great. A serving would be 1 cup of soy milk for example, or 3 oz of tofu, and products containing soy isolates are not recommended. I, for example , have 1.5 to 2 cups soy milk per day in coffee or on my cereal. If I plan tofu with dinner (maybe every couple of months ) I might decrease the soy milk. If I find the video I will post it




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              1. Thank you Mango! However, I am now avoiding soya except for the odd cappuccino while I am out. My mother had hypothyroid, so I need to be careful. I think even the amount you consume (cereal and tea) would be too much for me every day. I was also taking flaxseed daily in soup or on cereal/yoghurt as another source of phyto-oestrogens. However, the diet didn’t last long as I felt so bad! I had consulted a very well-known and respected nutritionist (which also cost me a fair amount!) so it wasn’t something I did on a wild impulse. But for me, it didn’t, much to her surprise, help at all, and we mutually agreed to draw a line under her treatment of me.




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                1. With all due respect, your nutritionist couldn’t have been very knowledgeable if you were being allowed to eat cheese. Dairy is one of the worst things you can eat, especially for cancer.




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                  1. Hi Janey. You are right about cheese and dairy products, but when your diet is as limited as mine is, you eat what you can. I can only eat pork and beef, not lamb, chicken, duck, eggs or fish. Some nuts are ok, but peanuts, cashews and pumpkin seeds are not. Also, I can’t eat beans, lentils, quinoa or rice. So cheese (goat’s or sheep only, not cow’s) is a welcome part of my diet as a source of protein.
                    And by the way, my nutritionist is actually extremely knowledgeable, one of the leaders in her field. As I said, dietary constraints mean you have to adapt – everyone is different!




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                    1. Thanks for your comments Liz.

                      Sorry to intrude in the middle. I am a Registered Dietitian and a moderator at NF.

                      It seems that your diet is indeed limited, but I should point out that many people do not eat any animal products and still can enjoy a variety of foods. As for the plant protein sources, you do not seem capable of ingesting a variety of protein rich foods, but I wanted to ask you if you could consume whole grain cereals?

                      The latest meta-analysis & systematic review has concluded that & I quote:

                      “whole grain intake is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and total cancer, and mortality from all causes, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes, and all non-cardiovascular, non-cancer causes.”

                      The great advantage of whole grain cereals is that they are high in protein. For example a 100g serving of oats will provide you with 17g of protein. Vegetables and fruit also have protein. Whilst I do not think it’s practical, there are many cases of fruitarians only consuming fruit in their diet and with a B12 supplement (& possibly iodine and omega-3), they can meet all nutritional requirements. This was just to show that protein should not be a concern, in developed countries, it is virtually impossible to be deficient on this nutrient.

                      Hope this answer helps.




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                    2. Thanks Darchiterd for your suggestions. Yes – I can eat whole grain cereals and they are in my diet – I consume oats, millet, corn, buckwheat and rye. Can’t do wheat, spelt etc. However, I try not to consume too much in the way of cereals, as it is apparently often cereals which cause problems in food sensitivity (or so I understand). I also try to ring the changes as much as possible as too much of anything can cause a problem e.g. I have recently become sensitive to flax seed and also runner beans, avocadoes, bananas and potatoes! I was vegetarian for 15 years – now I am just grateful for what animal protein I can eat. Plus which (cat among the pigeons on this website!!) I feel that we humans are supposed to be omnivorous, since we have omnivorous teeth. Just a thought! My diet is restricted, but I manage. I am also having long-term homeopathic treatment, with so far, good results. I still have food sensitivities, but my reactions are less extreme: my IBS has disappeared to be replaced by indigestion/heart burn. Not desirable, but going in the right direction. So I am hopeful I will improve even further.




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    3. A new book based on excellent research: The Skinny on Soy by Marie Osler. https://www.amazon.com/Skinny-Soy-Marie-Oser/dp/1940184355
      A major reason I do not respect Dr. Mercola as a true nutrition authority, is that has a page describing ‘essential’ nutrients found only in animal products, hence why humans must eat animals. Every claim he makes can be refuted by nutrition science. For example, among these nutrients he includes creatine and carnitine. What he fails to explain on this (misleading) page is that our liver produces creatine and carnitine. Also, smaller amounts of carnitine are found in plant foods. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/L-carnitine




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      1. Not to mention, Leo, that Mercola followers are most likely consuming an omnivorous diet. Therefore, they have bacteria in their gut that munches on Carnitine and Choline. We now know….. APRIL 2014 Harvard Study…..(and Mercola types won’t discuss this) that these bacteria consume carnitine and choline which in turn metabolizes as TMAO which is harmful to the body.

        It just goes on and one with Meat-eaters and ignoring the latest science.

        Bottom line is… even when omnivores understand the science, they just don’t want to put down the drumsticks and bloody muscles or scrambled chics. That’s it. It’s the same thing as a modern day smoker who understands it is a carcinogen and says “well I’m going to die anyway…so I wanna enjoy my cigarettes”. Animal foods are the new cigarettes.




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        1. I might be wrong about it, but I take carnitine and creatine supplements along with 9 essential aminos after exercise in order to help with muscle building. Older people have issues with muscle loss….and if you fall on your *** you could be worse off than having other issues for sure. Men who break a hip are less likely to get out of the hospital than women…think about it.

          When you get older your risk of various issues goes up…so you have to weigh your choices….take your chances. I’m guessing that aminos and so forth derived from yeast are “cleaner” than those derived from animal flesh.




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          1. I’ve heard there are benefits for older adults, but would love to see someone weigh in who has researched this extensively for the good and bad, if any.




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    4. Mercola is a charlatan who gets wealthy off of supplements and his personal opinion. He has never published any papers or contributed any science in the field. His test for your ideal diet type should be a huge warning…do you like this or that? It’s so ridiculous it is laughable. So if I like diet pills, crack and heroin, I guess my body need them in my ideal diet too? Dr Greger reports on the compilation of science, NOT his opinion! Huge difference.




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  5. Ok, I believe this reporting, but what about the prior suggestions of limitations on the amount of soy consumed, I think the number was 3-5 units of some sort, per day or week? I’ve been trying to follow all of this, and had switched to oat milk when I figured I was drinking too much soy milk. Now I’m confused. I’d love to go back to soy milk because it’s cheaper and I’ve developed a real liking for it.




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    1. Hi Barbie – I posted above so you can look at that as well if you like. But I thought I’d share with you that I’ve been eating soy all of my life. My Mother and Uncle co-owned a farm which grew soy beans and other feed items for cattle. From the time I was a little girl I ate soy. We would play hide-n-seek in and among the rows of soy plants. While hiding we would lay in the rows and stuff ourselves with fresh soybeans – edamame. I am now 64 and, as stated, have eaten soy all my life whether its edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk (which I use to make mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy – yum!!!). I am not of Asian descent – I am of mostly European descent (German, English, Swiss) in case anyone is curious although i don’t think that makes any difference. And I have never had any cancer of any ilk.
      The Asians who eat their traditional diet of vegg, rice, soy don’t fret about how much soy they are eating . . or have for centuries. I don’t think we should worry about it very much either.




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  6. Is there any difference when you don’t consume soy milk (it bothers my stomach) but consume tofu almost every day? Tofu is my preferred form of soy, so I am hoping the benefits are the same.




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    1. No matter what you do, focus on Organic Soy Products (Tofu, Tempeh, Edamame, etc.) and you’ll be just fine. Just include it… don’t overdo it, and eat a wide variety of plant foods and you’ll enjoy great health.




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      1. Love fresh (live) tempeh every day. I eat it like cheese. Found a great supply in the UK. Also my main protein source as an ‘almost there’ WFBP eater.

        PS: Wish I could find an alternative to coffee whitener (don’t like taste of the soy and coconut ones). Once a replicant of coffee-mate whitener is found, I will be fully WFBP.




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        1. Any tips on how to prepare the tempeh? You must be an expert since you eat so much. I prefer tempeh over tofu because tempeh is a whole food with all the fiber intact. Tofu is still fine, one of those exceptions to the rule where something that isn’t a whole food is still health promoting.




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  7. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer 1 month ago. She’s 35, a health nut and the cancer wasn’t genetic. In any event I’ve been a nutrition buff (studying/researching) for years and have tried to apply my knowledge (recent research in particular with nutrition/supplementation as it pertains to breast cancer and stages of treatment in general: pre-chemo, during chemo, post-chemo) to my wife’s recent diagnosis and I’ve never been more confused with the conflicting opinions/research. We’ve come a long way regarding nutrition but still have a ways to go. Frustrating and just venting. My apologies.




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    1. Really sorry to hear the news, Matthew!

      Dr. G has lots of videos on Soy, and they all support a positive effect on pre and post-breast cancer diagnosis.

      A lot of people out there seem to be afraid of soy (especially after being diagnosed) because of old research that involved “interference with Tamoxifen, etc.”

      But the latest decade of science really supports the population studies, which show soy to be beneficial, as Dr. G points out in all of his soy videos.

      Don’t forget about FLAX, and Mushrooms (especially Big White Button for breast cancer).

      Good luck to you and your wife Matthew!!




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      1. Thanks for the reply and support.  We’ve always ate soy fairly regularly (tofu, tempeh) and continue to do so, flax almost daily and mushrooms (button, shitake, portabella).  She is taking a Coriolus supplement recommended by a local naturopathic Dr. as well.




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          1. Cruciferous veggies in general for prevention: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, etc.  but certainly helps all the time (before, during & after cancer).




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    2. I’m so sorry to hear your wife is struggling with this, and I appreciate that you’re helping her seek answers.

      This is simply my opinion, based on my own research and experience. Chemo has a very poor track record. An oncologist friend of my son’s told me that, by itself, it only has a 3% chance of the patient living five years! Three percent! That doesn’t even come close to what a placebo would do! I had chemo twice (2010 & 2012-13) and there was still live cancer in the tumor they removed, even though it never showed on a PET scan! I’ll never submit to that again, since it doesn’t cure anything.

      Is your wife off ALL animal protein? If so, she is likely on a low methionine diet, and that is very helpful. She may want to consider an even lower methionine diet, the NORI Protocol. She may consider a water fast at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA, which has helped others cure many things, including cancers. If you call you can talk with Dr Goldhamer for free to see if this would be a viable alternative for her. Dr McDougall has also had good response to cancers with his starch based diet, and he is very good about answering email.

      There is a lot to be learned from people who have cured cancers, using mostly natural methods, on the website, http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com.

      Please do keep us up to date, and you wife is in my prayers.




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        1. I don’t know where Chris stands on everything… but what I do know is that McDougall did a couple of Q&A’s with Chris. So I’m sure he checked out Chris’ medical history and all that to ensure Chris really was diagnosed with cancer.

          So more power to Chris!!!




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    3. I am so sorry to hear that news. Please try to keep a positive outlook. My Mother had 2 separate breast cancers over her lifetime and did just fine with both so please try to keep the faith.
      I don’t know what your diet is like, but both breast and prostate cancers are highly correlated with dairy. Search this site for that information as Dr. Greger has done many videos on dairy and cancer. Also:
      http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/09/15/bovine-leukemia-virus-breast-cancer/

      I realize I don’t know what your lifestyle is like . . just wanted to share info in the event you were not aware of it.
      Hang tight.




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    4. I am so very sorry to hear that your wife has breast cancer. She is lucky to have a health advocate like yourself at hand for support. My main concern is that, as we all know, Monsanto has put its dirty little fingers into the soy industry and the majority of soy grown in North America is treated (more like poisoned) with Roundup making it a genetically modified organism. How do we find the good soy because Monsanto has successfully stopped labeling of GMO foods. Quite a conundrum.




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      1. Eating organic soy (Tofu/Tempeh) only I think pretty much solves the Monsanto problem?
        I keep hearing how lucky my wife is to have an advocate like myself.  I don’t get that unless people are just being supportive which is great.  As a husband isn’t it our duty to do our damndest to help our wives?  Doesn’t that go without saying?  That’s what we signed up for.  “Through sickness and in health.”  Besides, your spouse should be the most important person in your life. I’ve got a 2 and 4 year old and I can’t imagine life without my wife as I truly believe she is the best mom I’ve ever met.




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        1. You’re a lucky man Matthew. But, sadly, not all men are supportive of their wives as you are. I know some who have divorced their wives when they had cancer. There really are some snakes out there. I agree that your wife is your best friend, your end-all-be-all for life. Keep doing what you are doing. You’re one of the good guys.




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          1. Well thanks for the kind words and kind ear.  I guess I am naive.  I’ve been divorced myself.  I have read that the pressure cancer puts on marriages often leads to divorce but to leave someone when they are most vulnerable seems unconscionable to me.




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  8. This is troublesome. So much negative info about soy from many areas. But 2 longest living cultures consume it. Japanese and Loma Linda. Maybe it’s just the soy protein isolate we should be concerned about. Or the one none organic soy because of gmos. So maybe organic soy/tofu, tempeh, miso is okay. But not those fake soy hotdogs!




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    1. You got it, Sara! It’s the isolates that are problematic… and also “supplements” which have been used in Breast Cancer studies and have led to misleading results. It’s flawed science and the Dairy industry as well as ignorant media that are perpetuating myths.




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  9. Chances are, people are not going to overload on Soy…. it’s highly unlikely. So there’s no fear.

    Even if they consume soy DAILY, it’s not easy to eat 5 servings a day (if you are scared “5” servings is too much).

    For example, you’d have to eat something like this daily:
    1 cup of Soy milk with a breakfast smoothie or oats
    1 bunch of Edamame, as a healthy snack
    1 5th block of Tofu crushed in your salad
    1 1/2 block of Tempeh in one of your meals
    1/2 cup of Soy Ice Cream

    How many people are actually following the above menu daily?




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    1. I can eat an entire block of tofu for a meal, which I think would cover it. I wish I could do this every day because I love it so much.




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      1. Haha.

        Well, how many Soy servings (all sources) do you actually get on an avg daily basis?

        I mean, too much of a good thing becoming bad doesn’t make it a bad thing by nature. Know what I mean? I’m crazy about avocados, but there’s limits to it as well. Same with Hibiscus tea.. limits.

        All depends I guess what your health goals are. That’s why if we eat a wide variety of fiber and phytonutrient foods, it’ll have the best impact as all the phytonutrients will work synergistically, as Campbell pointed out in his book, Whole.




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        1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I do know what you mean. I’ve just heard from McDougall and I think some of the other doctors who don’t recommend tofu and soy products as a daily staple. I don’t do soy milk or many other soy products regularly. I just really like those blocks of firm tofu.




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          1. Hi Lydia – Mcdougall has stated that he does not recommend soy on a “eat-often” basis because he feels it is high in fat – about 40%. But that is his only issue. He has not ever stated not to eat soy because of any estrogen-cancer issue.

            In discussions like these its important to be clear and factual.




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            1. Hello Rachel, I’m not intending to muddy the issue at all so my apologies if I have done so. I don’t have the links in front of me, but I believe that McDougall also advises to restrict tofu due to concentrated protein content. And if I’m not mistaken, he advises against high protein in the diet for several reasons, one of which is increased cancer risk. He refers to the amounts that are eaten in traditional Japanese cuisine as minimal vs. my suggestion that I could eat an entire block as a meal. Admittedly this is slightly off topic in a video about estrogen, just a side note comment that I wanted to make regarding tofu.




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              1. I will let you look up your own reference re: Mcdougall. He has always stated that he is against processed soy that is concentrated into what he calls “fake meats” like soy burger, dogs, pepperoni etc.
                https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2002nl/oct/021000sickly.htm
                It is these manufactured soy foods that he is against as they end up increasing the protein concentration up to 70% from its natural 30%.

                To quote McDougall from his newsletter:

                “McDougall’s Recommendations:
                Despite concerns, there is no definite evidence that soy is harmful at levels normally consumed. Consider the tens of millions of people living in Japan, consuming soy products throughout their life, and they enjoy the longest life expectancy of the people of any country (Japanese women are expected to live 84.93 years, compared to US women of 79.5 and Japanese men to 78.07 years, compared to 74.1 for US men).

                I believe that use in amounts similar to those seen in Asian populations is without harmful effects, and is actually beneficial. Therefore, we have always recommended, and will continue to recommend, that people use soy products as condiments in their meals; such as small pieces of tofu cut up in a rice “stir-fry,” soy milk on their cereal or in cooking, or an occasional soy hot dog.”

                He further writes:
                “I do have serious concern for people consuming very high amounts of soy protein in the form of “fake meats,” like soy burgers and luncheon meats. The first ingredient listed is isolated soy protein – as much as 70% of the calories comes from this ingredient.”




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                1. We are in agreement. I’ve read that newsletter and was basing my earlier comment (where I said that I love tofu but restrain myself from eating an entire block myself for dinner) in part on that very quote from the second paragraph you cited in McDougall’s newsletter:

                  Therefore, we have always recommended, and will continue to recommend, that people use soy products as condiments in their meals; such as small pieces of tofu cut up in a rice “stir-fry,” soy milk on their cereal or in cooking, or an occasional soy hot dog.”

                  I don’t eat soy hot dogs or other products. I’m only talking about tofu. I think it’s pretty clear in the quote you provided, that McDougall doesn’t recommend eating an entire block of the stuff as a meal unto itself. That was my only point.




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                  1. Bought a block today. May eat half tonight and half in the morning. Then, it’ll be a week or two before I get to another store with such great selection as to include soy in the form of a tofu block. No way in heck I’ll eat too much, just isn’t practical at my “remote” location. It’s been two weeks or more since my last one. Now, what to season it up with? Cheers and have a block!




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                    1. I’m jealous that you live somewhere remote… As to the seasoning, I eat a lot of it plain/raw with a little bit of salt before it ever gets into a recipe.




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  10. Calling Dr Mercola a snake oil salesman is highly accusatory and, in and of itself…unresearched. This man was one of my main resources during my venture of working my daughter off 12 medications at age 18 years–all prescribed by medical”specialists”. Studying the cause of endometriosis led to waking up to the estrogen issue so many young ladies have today. The end result is my daughter off all 12 meds-pain free periods for the first time in 15 years and my book that has helped many struggling with gut and hormone issues. My main resource during my initial foray into alternative health: Dr Mercola. While I have expanded greatly on my research sources and studies, I am forever thankful for Dr Mercola and his research based articles/blogs that opened my mind to the perils of the poisons in our environment and diet. My question today involved one of his articles where he DID list research studies. Obviously, there are two sides to this controversy. His article states fermented soy as beneficial with non fermented being the potential for damaging with goitrogens risky to thyroid health as well as constituents for damaging gut lining–all from unfermented soy with fermented soy having good benefits . I now have Dr Gregers info in this video that will be a guide to research further. However, accusing Mercola of fake articles is a statement made by someone who has no idea how many of us he has helped. His “unresearched” info led me to the information that literally saved my childs life as well as helped me resolve supposedly “life long” conditions of lupus and fibromyalgia”. Our family today is zero meds and healthy lifestyles. There is much to be said for “snake oil ” doctors since the beginning of time. Dr Gregor and Dr Mercola both emphasize, organic, non GMO and limited portions. To each his own and to each doing his own research. However, questions are how we learn. Answers that answer instead of accusing or name calling are much more beneficial to this learning process.




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    1. Teri, I’m very happy that Mercola has led to helping your daughter and you regarding your conditions. I truly am.

      However, I’m not going to apologize for saying he’s like a snake-oil salesman because that is what I believe he is like. I’m not saying he’s the most awful nutrition-based doctor out there. But he and guys like William Davis get caught up on hot topics like “wheat and soy” and lure people in while they continue to recommend harmful ANIMAL foods. If we cannot all agree that animal foods are packaged deals that come with all sorts of deleterious effects, then we probably shouldn’t continue the discussion. There’s not valid science-based arguments for promoting the consumption of animal foods for health. It just makes no sense.

      Guys like William Davis recommend 15 GRAMS of FIBER per day. That is CRIMINAL in my eyes. And he worries about the Zonulin effect of gluten, so people get off gluten (which is just fine), but they continue to be FIBER-deficient. So they bad bacteria ends up munching on their Gut lining anyway. Do they tell their followers this?? No, because he’s too busy worried about selling books and having people join his seminars.

      Are they better than Atkins? Of course. But in my opinion (and I think I’m entitled to my opinion), they are sneakier. Because at least Atkins was blatantly silly about the Fat-based diet he recommended… so even most lay people realized his approach was completely harmful.

      Mercola sells and recommends Tanning beds. Can we all agree that recommending Vitamin D through Tanning beds is a horrible idea?? Forget UVA vs UVB… it’s silly. There are NO safe Tanning beds. End of story. The only 2 vitamin supplements that are required by a human being is D3 and B12. There’s no need to buy Mercola’s special “UVB”-safe tanning bed.




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    2. I’ve been on Dr. Mercola’s site many times and he doesn’t have every single thing wrong. Obviously he advocates dropping sugar and junk food, and he emphasizes eating whole fresh food. I am glad he helps some people get better that way. But his advice about some things is self-serving to get them to buy supplements. The tanning bed thing is dangerous, and he is wrong about animal products and ridiculous about vaccines. But unfortunately, because he continues to say it is healthy to eat large amounts of animal protein I can’t trust the rest of it.




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      1. Any time you go to his web site you see a dazzling array of adds for,,, (ok maybe it was the snake going by outside my window that made me smell snake oil), well you name it. But I do think it appropriate that, as you just did, acknowledge that sometimes even a blind pig can find an acorn.




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    3. Terri, Many of the plant-based doctors have had patients find success with treating endometriosis with a WFPB diet. Dr. Barnard writes about such a case in his new book, The Cheese Trap. Perhaps take a look…




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    4. “However, questions are how we learn. Answers that answer instead of accusing or name calling are much more beneficial to this learning process.”

      Simply bad-mouthing someone isn’t really very effective…..points to underlying issues?

      The world is complex…do your own research and go with the best you can put together.




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  11. And, of course, we all know just how readily available this information about soy is to everyone. I have a mother-in-law who developed breast cancer which metastasized to bone cancer. The prescribed drug, letrozole (an Estrogen Blocker), which was replaced by tamoxifen (same thing) and then she moved on to faslodex (AKA: Fulvestrant) which is a hormone injection therapy that replaces the aforementioned drugs. Drugs, drugs and more drugs. How many more weeks or months could have been gained were our medical establishments schooled in the assiduous use of nutrients that benefit us as a specie? Dr. Gregor has helped me regain my health, eliminate diabetes and become vigorous again. I wish that you had a prime time show for all to see and from which to learn. I may not be able to add years to the life of mother-in-law but, I think that I have a leg up on keeping my wife around for a lot longer thanks to your continuing efforts in nutrition and common sense. Thank you Dr. Gregor. You’re a peach. An organic peach, of course.




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  12. Should children, prepubescent and premenopausal women drink soy milk? Dr Greger states that it decreases estrogen levels by half…would a low estrogen level affect growth and development?




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  13. Should children and prepubescent, drink soy milk? Dr Greger stated if deceased the estrogen level circulating by half . Would this low level of estrogen affect their growth and development?




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    1. No, only positive benefits have been shown with children consuming soy. The reason the soy lowered estrogen so much is because they had excess estrogen, a common problem in today’s world.




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  14. I hear so much about benefits of consuming soy, but I also hear that most of the soy produced in North America is GM. So, is it okay to eat GM soy?




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  15. Hi, I was diagnosed with breast cancer last month and am very blessed to have it detected at a very early stage. My question is the interference soy products seem to have with my coumadin and INR levels. What if any ways are there around this issue … I really would appreciate any solid, proven medical advice along with supportive studies, if available. I have 2 metal valves and my INR levels must be stable!




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    1. Hello Stephanie! Unfortunately, Dr. Greger is unable to answer most of the questions posted here, however, we do have an amazing team of volunteer doctors, nurses, and dieticians who answer questions. I have forwarded your question to them. Please note that we don’t have enough volunteers to get all questions answered, so an answer is not guaranteed.




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    2. Hi Stephanie,
      Food and drinks high in vitamin K can potentially affect your INR. Most soy milk products are low in vitamin K, however having said that after doing further research I found out that there could be other mechanism that could be working in soy that could effect the INR when consuming soy product. So please refer to these refernces for further information.

      Warfarin (Coumadin®) Interactions with Food
      Effect of soy milk on warfarin efficacy.




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  16. hi Arun, most of the soy produced is GM since most of the soy is destined for animal feed. Look for the Non-GMO label and/or the certified organic label when you purchase soy products or foods containing to ensure you are consuming GMO-free soy.




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  17. Phytoestrogens are one of the most controversial topics in the most recent nutritionists debates. There is no strong evidence regarding their benefits but also there are many supporters to the benefits of the plant based estrogen. Another recent study which I read but cannot quote states that Japanese and Chinese women have extremely low breast cancer rates due to the fact that they traditionally do not consume dairy products.
    Also huge part of their diet consists of fish, algae, and fermented vegetables including soy. In fact most of the soy products are mainly fermented which supplies the body with a very wide selection of minerals and vitamins.

    Stating that soy provides valuable source of estrogen is correct but also it has not been studied well enough how this is used by the body. Additionally when looking at the factors causing breast cancer we need to take into account the whole hormonal system. Women who go through menopause are affected not just by a few hormones. Their whole body is going through hormonal storm and the hormonal equilibrium in the body is hugely disturbed.

    I cannot accept of deny either of the statements regarding the phytoestrogens, I just try to keep an open mind until more convincing research is done. Untill then everything in moderation is not harmful.




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  18. As I am a breast cancer suvivor, I would urge everyone to take a look at use benefits of organic mushrooms. Google Paul Stamets and/or take a look at Host Defense Mushroom capsules. They are a definite benefit toward keeping one’s immune system healthy and able to fight off cancer cells. Do some googling, do your research, but I would definitely recommend the MyCommunity comprehensive immune support capsules to everyone.




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  19. I am at increased risk of breast cancer because of HRT and was relieved to read that drinking soymilk might be helpful to reduce my risks. I am 55 and use kliogest hormone replacement therapy. I know that there are risks with this but personally I will stay on it as I was suffering a lot. At the same time I try to eat mostly plant based food, including soy milk at about one to two cups a day. Also tofu. I hope in the grand scheme of things I am balancing some of my risks.




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  20. Hi Everyone

    I am not understanding the thumbs down thing. We have had that ability on this website all along but no one used it. This current group of commenters seems to be fond of the message.

    Just wondering if it wouldn’t be more constructive if we knew what the issue was and we could have a conversation. Maybe there is something we can teach eachother.




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    1. Yes, it’s a very poor expression of dislike/disinterest/disagreement, very poor indeed.

      I certainly wouldn’t use it unless we have a full-blown trollish post, but then it’s best to report the post (can we even do that now?) such that we eliminate rather than feed the trolls. There is unlimited space here for discussion, zero space for trolling. Youtube, however is rife-is the epicenter of a community of trolls, trolling, and supertrolls. The kids really have fun with it there. I hate it for the really good video makers. I don’t care for the big commercial junk sites.

      The thumb tags came with this bass-ackwards WordPress commenting package. The Disqus, that worked so well, only had a “like” button (and was far superior in every other way). It’s my understanding that Disqus was ditched for a security issue.

      Also DISQUS had an EDIT function. Yes it did. Oh I miss the ability to edit.

      (now i proof twice before every post and yet miss edits, net effect-less posting and often less flow in the reading and some typos)

      I agree. Thumbs Down? really? Please state your business, thank you.




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      1. It also would be nice to see who up-voted and who down-voted. With Disqus you could just run your cursor over the icon, & it would list them for you.




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        1. or Facebook or anywhere else “up to date”. WP has been a huge backwards step any and every way I can see it sliced.

          Hope WP gets better or we get a better format soon. I wasn’t really a “fan” if Disqus until it got taken away from us.

          Now I miss it dearly.




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        2. I disagree about knowing the names of who up-voted and down-voted somebody. It gets too combative. “So&so down-voted me, so I’ll make sure to do the same whenever they say something.” Grade school mentality IMO.




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  21. Dr. Greger,

    I’m a life-long soy eater (Japanese-American) so I appreciate studies that support my food choices. However, as someone with a scientific mind, I was wondering if there were any controls for the people in the trials who drank soy milk to good effect. In other words, could it have been that they weren’t drinking mammary secretions during the trial period and that could have resulted in lowered estrogen as well? I realize that your videos need to be short and to the point and can’t include all the details, but I couldn’t help but wonder.

    Thanks for all the exceptional work you and your team do!
    Donna




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      1. Thanks, WFPBRunner – good to know about the Sources link. I saw one abstract describing a study with only six females drinking soy milk over a month and another study testing only ten females. I was fairly disappointed with the tiny sample sizes. Also, the link to “free full text” doesn’t work.




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    1. Hello Cathy! Unfortunately, Dr. Greger is unable to answer most of the questions posted here, however, we do have an amazing team of volunteer doctors, nurses, and dietitians who answer questions. I have forwarded your question to them.
      Please note that we don’t have enough volunteers to get all questions answered, so an answer is not guaranteed.




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  22. Dr Greger, could you help me please? What is the best B12 supplement to take? I don’t want to take one with any nasties in it if I can help it. I live in Japan so maybe I need to get it online. I really look forward to hearing back from you or someone in your team!




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    1. Hello Kayleigh! Unfortunately, Dr. Greger is unable to answer most of the questions posted here, however, we do have an amazing team of volunteer doctors, nurses, and dietitians who answer questions. I have forwarded your question to them.
      Please note that we don’t have enough volunteers to get all questions answered, so an answer is not guaranteed.




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    1. Yes, I am not a fan of the new commenting system. Too un-user friendly! It’s pretty obvious to see why Thea resigned.
      You can’t edit. <— That is a big problem
      You can't follow up on comments <— an ever bigger problem
      It is very difficult to search videos. I can search for video's faster on Google with more accurate results than NutritionFacts.org.

      Too bad Discus was such a pain to deal with it was highly functional compared to what we are left with now.




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  23. Really great piece! Another great eduVideo to show my patients. As always thank you.

    Too bad you all lost Thea! It’s very hard to find that kind of support.




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  24. To Dr. Greger or one of his moderators,

    I have a request for a new article or video: The bioavailability of animal protein vs plant protein. The story that “animal protein is far superior to plant protein because of animal protein has a better amino acid profile and is more bioavailable” has been repeated ad nauseam in the bodybuilding community. I know that animal proteins ARE more bioavailable — but by a negligible amount. However, I am unable to find research supporting this claim as I am not as proficient as Dr. Greger and his team of 20 volunteer researchers.

    I think this would be a perfect topic for a future video or article.




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    1. Bradley, have you searched the videos and articles already up here? As I understand it you may need/prefer to use an outside search engine (with site-specific search function), but I’m kinda sure this idea has been covered by Dr. Greger in the past. I just don’t have time now to do that searching for you. Thanks for the request just the same. Be healthy, eat wise. WP




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  25. So…. since I have breast cancer, should I start drinking soy milk and eating tofu? If so, how much on a daily basis? I understand this should be nonGMO.




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    1. Hello Sandra,
      Sorry to hear about your breast cancer. I am a family doctor and volunteer moderator for this website. As you have probably learned, Dr. G. does recommend soy products, both to prevent breast cancer, and for use in breast cancer survivors. Here are a few other videos about this:
      1) https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-soy-healthy-for-breast-cancer-survivors/
      2) https://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-shouldnt-eat-soy/#comment-262204 — this one addresses “how much”, and also talks about soy’s protection against
      osteoporosis.
      3) https://nutritionfacts.org/video/breast-cancer-survival-and-soy/ — this also addresses “how much”.
      4) https://nutritionfacts.org/video/tofu-vs-tempeh-2/ — this looks at tofu vs. tempeh vs. edamame (whole soybeans).

      Hope this helps.




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  26. I tried to translate it for the Spanish speakers, I did share the post.
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    COMO BLOQUEAR LAS ENZIMAS QUE PRODUCEN ESTROGENOS Y CANCER DE MAMA.
    La vasta mayoría de “cancer de seno” comienza como hormona dependiente, llamada “estradiol”, esta juega un role crucial en el desarrollo y progresión del cancer de mama. Esta es una de las razones porque el consumo de alimentos de soya aparece como tan protectivo contra el cancer de mama (debido a que los fitoestrógenos de la soya como “genistein” actiuan como bloqueadores del estrógeno). Los fitoestrógenos bloquean el enlace o unión de estrógenos (como el “estradiol”) con las células de cancer de mama. Pero, esperen un segundo! la mayoría de los cancer de mama ocurren después de la menospausa, cuando los ovarios han parado de producir estrógenos, entonces, cuál es el punto de comer bloqueadores de estrógenos si no hay estrógenos que bloquear? El punto es que los tumores de cancer de mama producen su propio estrógeno de la nada para alimentar su propio crecimiento. Este estrógeno es producido por diferentes vias. El cancer de mama toma colesterol y usando la enzima ” aromatose” o usando dos enzimas “hydroxysteroide dehydrogenase” produce su propio estrógeno. Entonces, hay dos vias para parar el cancer de mama, una es usar anti-estrógenos o bloqueadores de estrógenos como los fitoestrógenos de la soya o la medicina anti-estrógeno llamada “tamoxifen”…sin embargo, otra via is bloquear el “estradiol” usando una anit-enzima para prevenir que el cancer de mama produsca todo el estrógeno desde un inicio. Y, en efecto, hay una variedad de medicinas “anti-aromatase” de uso actual. De hecho, inhibiendo la producción de estrógenos ha sido mas efectivo que solo tratando de bloquear los efectos del estrógeno. Esto sugiere que la inhibición de la síntesis de estrógeno es clínicamente muy importante para el tratamiento el cancer de mama dependiente de estrógeno. Luce que los fitoestrógenos de la soya hacen ambas cosas. Usando celulas de ovario tomados de mujeres en tratamiento de fertilización “in vitro”, los fitoestrógenos de la soya redujeron la expresión de la enzima “aromatase”. Que pasa en las células de cancer de mama? las células de cancer no solo suprimen la actividad del “aromatase” sino también la otra enzima produciendo estrógeno. Pero, esto pasó en un laboratorio, realmente la soya suprime la producción de estrógenos en las personas también? Bueno, los niveles de estrógenos circulando en sangre aparecen significativamente mas bajos en las mujeres japanosas que que las blancas americanas. Y Japon tiene el mas alto consumo de soya percápita en el mundo. Pero, no sabemos realmente si es la soya es el responsable de esto hasta que no se ponga a prueba. Un grupo de mujeres japonesas fueron alimentadas por azar con leche de soya por algunos pocos meses. Los niveles de estrógenos cayeron en un 25% en aquel grupo suplementado con leche de soya. Interesantemente, cuando se trató de hacer el mismo experimento en los hombres, el resultado fué similar, una significativa caída en los niveles de hormonas femeninas sin alterar los niveles de testosterona (la hormona masculina, el enfasis es mio). Aunque los resultados fueron en hombres y mujeres que ya consumian soya como base de su alimentación. Fué una cuestion de mas o menos consumo. Que pasa cuando mujeres en Texas fueron alimentadas con leche de soya? Los niveles de estrógenos circulando en sangre cayeron un 50%. Los niveles en sangre de estrógenos son un indicador de alto riesgo de cancer de mama. La efectividad de la soya para reducir los niveles de estrógenos puede ayudar a explicar porque las mujeres chinas y japonesas tienen tan bajo niveles de cancer de mama. Lo que es transcendetal aqui es que los niveles de estrógenos permanecieron bajo por un mes o dos, aún después que dejaron de tomar leche de soya. Esto sugiere que ni tenemos que consumir soya todos los dias para obtener el beneficio protectivo contra el cancer.




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  27. Thanks for the video. This kind of information really needs to get out there. I’ve heard soooo many people; patients, family, friends, other nurses, & plenty of doctors, talk about avoiding soy because it increases breast cancer growth. In my experience it is a widely and *firmly* held belief. I know the dairy industry has put out a number of smear campaigns over the years, so that may have something to do with it. Also, I know in years past we had less understanding of how it worked exactly. But, for whatever reason, the soy=increased breast cancer idea seems nearly unshakable. (This and that soy causes boys to be feminine). :/




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  28. My mom had breast cancer. And at the time her doctor told me that based on the type of cancer she had, I should NEVER eat soy and should stay away from it since I am at high risk. Is this true? Certain types of breast cancer should avoid soy?




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  29. Dr. Steven Gundry is seriously badmouthing soy with one of these typical videos that goes on forever about how great he is and why you should never eat soyl My understanding of the science is that he is FOS What do you know about him?




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