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Volume 11, Number 10

Guy R. Schenker, D.C.
October, 2000

Dear Doctor,

Last month we butchered a favorite sacred cow of the health food industry – soy foods. We would much rather devote these Letters to expanding your awareness of the benefits of achieving metabolic balance through the NUTRI-SPEC objective testing system – but the soy monster has become so big, and is attacking so many of your patients, that we have to devote whatever space is necessary in this Letter to refute the heavily hyped and mega financed misinformation campaign promoted by the quacks and charlatans of the health food industry.

You learned last month that:

  1. Soy is not a source of protein, but is actually a source of protein destruction.

  2. Soy is not cancer protective, but rather, will often cause cancer.

  3. Soy is a phyto-endocrine disrupter which potentiates the toxic effects of estrogen, accelerates aging, exacerbates cardiovascular disease, contributes to osteoporosis, causes fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer, inhibits the thyroid, and elevates cholesterol.

  4. Soy is not (contrary to the health food industry myth) a staple in Asian diets, but is used only in small quantities as a condiment.

  5. Soy inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and especially zinc.

  6. Soy foods cause enlarged organs, particularly the pancreas and thyroid gland, as well as increased deposition of fat in the liver.

So -- to complete our roasting of the disgusting and dangerous soybean, let us read on ...

The health food industry promotes soy foods as helping to prevent cancer. It is true that some of the substances isolated from fermented soy foods such as isoflavone aglycones as extracts have shown anti-carcinogenic activity in laboratory tests. However, no studies have shown any anti cancer effect of a high soy food diet. But, it doesn't matter anyway, since these isoflavone aglycones are destroyed in soy products such as tofu and soy milk. Furthermore, there are many actual carcinogens that have been isolated from soy. Some evidence exists that the rapid increase in liver and pancreatic cancer in Africa is due to the introduction of soy products there.

Katz "Food and bicultural evolution: A model for the investigation of modern nutritional problems" Nutritional Anthropology Alan R. Lic Inc. 1987 p.50.

Robuck, et al. "Effects of dietary fats and soybean protein on pancreatic carcinogenis" Cancer Research 1987 March 1;47(5):1333-8.

One other damaging effect of the extreme chemical processing, high temperature, high pressure and hot air spray processing that soy under-goes is that the fatty acids are made rancid. Not only are the soy oils made rancid in the processing, but hexane and other solvents which are used to extract the oil from the soybeans remain as traces in soy foods.

There is a ton of easily found information on the damaging effects of soy in terms of its estrogen content. Here are just a few references of hundreds we could give you on the toxic estrogenic effects of soy.

Levy et al, "Effects of prenatal exposure to the soy phyto-estrogen genistein on sexual differentiation" PSEBM 208, 60, 1995.

Lyn-Cook et al. "Methylatation profile and amplification of proto-oncogenes (cancer causing) in rat pancreas induced with phyto-estrogens" PSEBM 208, 116 1995.

Petrakis et al. "Stimulatory influence of soy on breast secretion in pre-and post menopausal women" Cancer Epidemological Bio-Markers Preview 1996 Oct 5:10, 785-94.

This study showed gross cystic disease fluid protein concentration in response to soy. Furthermore, there was breast hyperplasia in seven out of twenty four women during the months they ate soy.

Hilakivi-Clark, et al. "Maternal genistein exposure mimics the effects of estrogen on mammary gland development" Oncology Reports 1998 May/June 5(3)609-16.

This study showed that both human and animal data indicate that high maternal estrogen exposure from soy during pregnancy increases breast cancer risk among daughters. It was also concluded that genistein acts as an estrogen in utero, and may increase the incidence of mammary tumors if given to a pregnant mother.

The other gland that is devastated by bean consumption in general, and soybeans in particular, is the thyroid.

Ishizuki, et al. "The effects on the thyroid gland of soybeans administered experimentally in healthy subjects" Endocrinology in Japan 1991 May 20 67:5, 622-9.

Hypo-metabolic symptoms such as malaise, constipation, sleepiness, as well as goiters appeared in half the subjects after taking soy beans for three months.

Suzuki, et al. "Plasma free fatty acids, inhibitor of extra thyroidal conversion of T4-T3 and thyroid hormone binding inhibitor in patients with various non-thyroid illnesses. Endocrinology In Japan Oct 1992 39:5, 445-53.

Whitten, et al. "Potential adverse effects of phyto-estrogens" Journal of Nutrition 1995 March 125:3.

Food allergies to soy are extremely common.

Ganse, R. "Causes of food allergies" School Food Service Journal V40(4), May 1986 pp38-39.

Here is one for good measure that popped up with my soy search which refutes another health food industry myth -- the purported benefits of flax seed.

Obermeyer, et al. "Chemical studies of phyto-estrogens in related compounds" Proc soc exp bio med 1995 Jan 208(1):6-12.

This study showed that flax seed contains damaging levels of phyto-estrogens every bit as bad as soybeans.

One of the most pernicious uses of soy is as the main ingredient of soy-based infant formulas. This one cannot be blamed on the health food industry, as it has been a standard practice of Agri Business (to unload the by-products of soy produced for soy oil) for 50 years in America. Along with trypsin inhibitors, these formulas have a high phytate content which has been shown to cause zinc deficiency in infants. Aluminum content of soy formula is ten times higher than milk based formula, and one hundred times higher than unprocessed milk. Aluminum has a toxic effect on the kidneys of infants, and has been implicated as a causative factor in Alzheimer's Disease in adults.

Soy milk formulas are often given to babies with a milk allergy, but the truth is that allergies to soy are just about as common as those to milk. Soy formulas are also totally deficient in cholesterol, which is an absolute essential for the development of the infant's brain and nervous system. Soy formulas also have no lactose and galactose, the milk sugars that are equally important in the development and function of the infant's nervous system.

Lonnerdal, B. et al, "The effect of individual components of soy formula and cows' formula on zinc bioavaibility," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition V. 40 Nov 1984, pp. 1064-1070.

Palmer, G. "The politics of breast feeding," Pandora Press, London, 1993, p. 310.

Ganse, R. "Causes of food allergies," SchFoodServJ, V.40(4), May 1986, pp 38-39.

Dukakis, E., et al, "Evaluating the nutritional quality of infant formula," Nutr-Res, V.9(1), Jan 1989 pp.93-104.

There is a brochure put out by the Weston A. Price Foundation (website:www.WestonAPrice.org) which gives many additional facts to shoot down the soy myth. First, their literature confirms that Asians do not consume large quantities of soy foods. Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.

They also confirm the damage done by left-winged socialist internationalist bureaucrats in America and Europe that have force fed soy foods to developing nations in the name of preventing starvation, and saving the planet from eating "too much" meat, poultry and eggs. In third world countries, soybeans have been forced down the people's throats as a replacement for their traditional crops and natural, healthful foods. Meanwhile, the only real beneficiaries of this left-winged lunacy are the multi-national Argi-Business corporations who grow the soy crop (which requires tremendous amounts of herbicide, creating toxic run-off -- a tragedy which the environmentalists choose to ignore.)

The Price Foundation literature also does a nice job of attacking the use of soy formula for infants. They point out the damage from the trypsin inhibitors that destroy protein and affect pancreatic function; they show that such a diet leads to stunted growth; they show that soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D and thus decreases bone mineralization and growth; and, they show that the reduced availability of iron and zinc damages the development of the infant's brain and nervous system, as does the lack of cholesterol in soy formula.

The literature also points out that the outrageous doses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls, and the delayed or retarded sexual development in boys. This is a fascinating subject about which you and your patients must be aware.

Babies fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula.

Infants exclusively fed soy formula receive the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day.

Male infants undergo a "testosterone surge" during the first few months of life, when testosterone levels may be as high as those of an adult male. During this period, baby boys are programmed to express male characteristics after puberty, not only in the development of their sexual organs and other masculine physical traits, but also in setting patterns in the brain characteristic of male behavior.

Pediatricians are noticing greater numbers of boys whose physical maturation is delayed, or does not occur at all, including lack of development of the sexual organs. Learning disabilities, especially in male children, have reached epidemic proportions.

Soy infant feeding -- which floods the bloodstream with female hormones that inhibit testosterone -- cannot be ignored as a possible cause for these tragic developments. In animals, soy feeding indicates that phytoestrogens in soy are powerful endocrine disrupters.

Almost 15 percent of white girls and 50 percent of African-American girls show signs of puberty, such as breast development and pubic hair, before the age of eight. Some girls are showing sexual development before the age of three.

Premature development of girls has been linked to the use of soy formula and exposure to environmental estrogen-mimickers such as PCBs and DDE.

A high intake of phytoestrogens during pregnancy may have adverse affects on the developing fetus and the timing of puberty later in life. Many people (vegetarians in particular) delude themselves into thinking that soy foods are a vegetarian source of vitamin B12. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the Price Foundation literature points out, vitamin B12 is not absorbed from plant sources, and modern soy products actually increase the body's needs for vitamin B12.

Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology Vol. 1, 1972.

The Price Foundation also points out that many people delude themselves into thinking that since soy foods contain phytoestrogens, they can help prevent osteoporosis. Again, this is opposite to the truth. When we give you a complete report on the toxic effects of estrogen, you will see that estrogen actually causes osteoporosis -- it does not prevent it. But, as regards soybeans, soy foods, in addition to their estrogenic effect, can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D which we all know are needed for healthy bones. It is also pointed out that the calcium form bone broth, and the vitamin D from sea food, lard, and organ meats, is what prevents osteoporosis in Asian countries -- not the little bit of soy foods they consume.

You will also see a brief summary of the hormone disrupting effects of soy foods in the Price Foundation Brochure (they use many of the same references that we have already given you). Soy isoflavens are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At minimal dietary levels they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypo-thyroidism with its lethargy, constipation, weight gain, and fatigue.

They go on to point out that soy foods can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors, and cause thyroid pathology, particularly in association with menopausal difficulties. Furthermore, women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function. In Japanese Americans, tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer's Disease in later life.

Furthermore, numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Soy consumption enhances hair growth in middle age men, indicating that it decreases testosterone levels. Tofu was consumed by Buddhist Monks to reduce libido.

So, Doctor, we have not even gotten a fraction of the way through all the literature on the damaging effects of soy, and we have already probably reached the point of over-kill. Do yourself a big favor -- stay off the soy; keep your family off the soy; warn all your patients about soy; and give each patient the diet that objective tests show is ideal for his or her metabolic type.

Guy R. Schenker, D.C.