SOY, ESTROGENS, and PEOPLE
Recently a great number of questions have been raised about whether
soybeans have chemicals in them that act like estrogens in people.
Estrogens and their Effects
Estrogens are hormones that promote the development of female
features in people. The usual source of estrogen is the human ovary.
Any estrogen-like substance could have an impact in people, too.
But the key point to make is that even a change of one atom in an
estrogen molecule can render that hormone completely inert to the
Consider the difference between testosterone and estrogen.
We all know that testosterone causes the body to look and act male,
and that estrogen causes the body to look and act female.
Could any two substances have a dramatically more different impact?
And yet the actual physical difference between testosterone and
estrogen comes down two atoms of the entire molecule!
Do estrogens in soybeans have an impact on people?
So what about estrogens in soybeans? These are called phytoestrogens
(meaning, plant estrogens). These phytoestrogens are chemically quite
different from our own human estrogens, so it could be they have no effect
on people, or act like estrogens, or act like other hormones.
The only way to know is to look. So some researchers in St. Paul, MN
looked at dozens of published studies where dozens of researchers
looked at what happened to men who ate soy products. The question
they asked was: will eating soy products change their testosterone or
other hormone levels, and did they develop any female physical features?
The answer is resounding no.
So at this time, the evidence strongly suggests that eating soy,
soybean, edamame, tofu, soy milk, soy vegetable protein, or
other soy products, has no hormonal impact on people.
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