Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in western countries. This condition, which usually affects older adults, causes damage to the retina resulting in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula). Macular degeneration makes it difficult (or sometimes impossible) to read, and also to recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life….
Acute inflammation—characterized by redness, heat, swelling, and pain around an injury—is a normal immune response to infection or injury. It’s healthy and temporary. In contrast, low-grade, chronic, and “systemic” inflammation is an abnormal condition that may raise risk for heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and arthritis, among many other conditions….
Chronic functional constipation (CFC) is defined as having one bowel movement every 3 to 15 days. As many as 36% of children who see a pediatrician have CFC. Some research has identified a sensitivity to cow’s milk protein as a possible cause of CFC. Australian researchers recently examined whether children with CFC would benefit if soymilk replaced the cow’s milk in their diet. Children with an average age of about 6 ½ years consumed a little more than 1½ cups of soymilk or cow’s per day for two weeks Following that 2-week period, the children consumed no milk and then for two weeks, they switched milk consumption so that those who had consumed soymilk for the first two weeks were now consuming cow’s milk. Constipation completely resolved when children drank soymilk instead of cow’s milk but the problem returned in several children when going back to drinking cow’s milk. These results agree with previously published research and strongly suggest that replacing cow’s milk with soymilk can be effective for alleviating constipation.
Most epidemiologic research indicates that higher soyfood intake is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer. However, most of this research consists of case-control studies, a type of study design that carries less scientific weight than prospective studies. In prospective studies, researchers enroll healthy participants into the study and follow them for a period of years in order to determine whether those with particular lifestyle habits are more or less like to develop a particular disease. A just-published Japanese prospective study confirms that high soy intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer….
The prevalence of food allergy seems to be on the rise and more and more people are avoiding foods because of a perceived allergy. Any food protein, including soy, can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. But even though soy protein is one of the eight foods responsible for approximately 90 percent of food-induced allergic reactions in the United States, soy allergies remain relatively rare. A nationally representative telephone survey found that only approximately 1 out of 2,500 adults reported having a doctor-diagnosed allergy to soy protein. Allergy to milk was 40 times more common than to soy. Children are more likely to be allergic to soy than adults, which is not surprising since food allergies are less common in adults than children. And by age 10, an estimated 70 percent of children will outgrow their soy allergies….
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….
It’s been nearly 20 years since the first research suggested a link between early soyfood consumption and a reduced risk for breast cancer. Researchers believe that consuming soy isoflavones during puberty can affect breast cell development in a way that provides protection against cancer. Since then, several studies have confirmed this relationship in Asian women but there have been fewer findings among non-Asians.
New research from Canada suggests that soy may be protective in Caucasian women as well. Women with and without breast cancer filled out a food frequency questionnaire designed to assess isoflavone intake within the past two years and also during puberty and early adolescence. In this study, adult intake of soyfoods wasn’t associated with risk for breast cancer. However, women who consumed the most soy isoflavones during their teenage years were about 20% less like to have cancer later on in life.
Isoflavones were protective primarily against estrogen-sensitive breast cancer, that is, breast cancer whose growth is stimulated by estrogen. More importantly, the women in this study consumed very little soy during adolescence since soyfoods were not commonly consumed at that time. This raises questions about whether such low intakes of soy isoflavones could possibly be protective. But while further research is needed to confirm the findings, they add to the growing body of data suggesting a protective role for soyfoods in the diets of young girls.
Anderson LN, Cotterchio M, Boucher BA, Kreiger N. Phytoestrogen intake from foods, during adolescence and adulthood, and risk of breast cancer by estrogen and progesterone receptor (ERPR) tumour subgroup among Ontario women. Int J Cancer 2012.