Nearly 20 years ago, the low incidence of hot flashes among Japanese women prompted clinical research into the effects of soyfoods on the alleviation of menopausal symptoms. Earlier this year, the results of the most extensive and sophisticated analysis of the intervention studies to date, which was published in the journal Menopause, showed very clearly that soybean phytoestrogens (isoflavones) cut hot flash frequency and severity by more than half (1). Unfortunately, recent media coverage of a study from the University of California may have unintentionally misled thousands of women into believing that soy may not help alleviate menopausal symptoms….
Omega-3 fatty acids are frequently in the news for their proposed myriad health benefits—everything from reducing risk of heart disease and cancer to alleviating symptoms of arthritis. The two omega-3 fatty acids most often mentioned are EPA and DHA, which are found in certain types of fatty fish. A third omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), makes the news much less frequently, but is, in fact, the omega-3 fatty acid that is actually an essential nutrient. That is, it’s the only one of the omega-3 fats that is required in the diet. EPA and DHA are not considered essential since humans can make them from ALA. Soybean oil is the major source of ALA in American diets….
According to the British Thyroid Association (BTA), there is no evidence that people who have hypothyroidism need to completely avoid soyfoods. They do recommend waiting four hours after taking thyroid medication before consuming soy products, however. This is because soy protein can interfere with the absorption of the medication. The BTA also noted that the recommendation for soy is the same as it is for high-fiber foods, iron and calcium supplements, as well as antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium. All of these products also impair the body’s ability to absorb thyroid medication. Many drugs and herbs have similar effects. Thyroid medication is meant to be taken in the morning and on an empty stomach.
Following an extensive review of the scientific literature, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), concluded that breast cancer survivors can safely consume soyfoods. The AICR position concurs with that of another leading cancer organization, the American Cancer Society (ACS), which issued their position statement earlier this year….
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide and in the United States (1). Estimates are that approximately 160,000 Americans will die of lung cancer in 2012.
While genetic susceptibility plays a role in lung cancer risk, cigarette smoking is by far the most important risk factor. Smokers are as much as 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. Cigar and pipe smoking also increase risk. Other risks include exposure to radon gas released from soil and building materials, and occupational or environmental exposure to secondhand smoke, asbestos (particularly among smokers), certain metals (chromium, cadmium, arsenic), some organic chemicals, radiation, air pollution, and paint (occupational)….
The European Union recently initiated the Benefit-Risk Assessment of Foods, or BRAFO program. Its purpose is to assess the benefits and safety of consuming specific foods, and one of the first foods to be assessed was soy. The scientific panel found that the beneficial effects of soy outweigh any potential risks. Consequently, the concluded that consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day, in contrast to the current negligible intake among Europeans, would translate to an overall benefit for the general adult population….
While skin aging is inevitable, it’s possible to slow the damage, and—according to new research—perhaps even reverse aging that has already occurred.
A decline in estrogen is part of the explanation for skin changes seen with menopause. Estrogen therapy in older women produces increases in collagen—the protein that gives skin its elasticity and resilience—and also increases skin thickness. It’s possible that plant estrogens, like the isoflavones in soyfoods, can have a similar effect. Soy phytoestrogens are not the same as the hormone estrogen but phytoestrogens and estrogen do share some properties in common….