By Robert Cohen Executive Director

They’re Taking the Joy Out of Soy

Does soy shrink the brain? Leave you anemic? Promote rather
than prevent cancer? Interfere with your thyroid hormones?
Is soy a toxin, a food or a drug? If you eat soy, look out,
here come the soy bashers. And you won't believe who they

By Bill Sardi, Health Reporter
Knowledge of Health, Inc. May 2000

It went from being the darling of the natural products
industry to being labeled as a potential toxin. Not even a
year ago it was heralded in Time Magazine as the bean that
brought down cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Time
Magazine said the Food & Drug Administration was soon to
approve a health claim for soy protein – that it reduced
cholesterol for people with elevated fatty plaque levels in
their blood circulation. Just 1.5 ounces of soy, said Time,
can lower both total and LDL "bad" cholesterol levels. [The
Joy of Soy, Time Magazine, June 7, 1999]

What a joy, that soy, a natural food product, would gain
such credibility that the FDA would grant a health claim for
it. It was time for a soy festival. The normally pro-
pharmaceutical FDA had finally succumbed to the reality that
foods are a good way to prevent and even cure disease. The
FDA says scientific studies confirm that 25 grams of soy has
a significant cholesterol-lowering effect.* There was an
asterisk attached to the FDA announcement however (see
below). A soy burger has 9 to 18 grams, and soy milk about 4
to 9 grams of soy protein, according to the Soyfoods
Association of North America. The cardiovascular health
claim was issued October 26, 1999. [FDA T99-48 Talk Paper]

Just a relatively short time ago soy was considered a yucky
un-American food. But today two-thirds of American consumers
now believe it is healthy to consume soy, which is a big
jump from the 14% who felt so in 1997. Soy sales were over
$1 billion in 1997 and are expected to soon jump over the $2
billion mark. Health Products Business Magazine reports that
the number of new soy beverages is growing at an astounding
pace. More soy, more soy!

But no sooner had the FDA approved a cardiovascular health
claim for soy protein than the critics came out of the
woodwork, and not from places one would expect. The greatest
criticism of soy has come from natural health advocates
themselves. Hold up on that soy protein bar, the tofu
scramble and the soy milk. You might come down with
Alzheimer's disease, your growing children may shows
premature signs of puberty, your thyroid gland may
malfunction and your body may not be able to absorb
essential minerals, according to reports on soy now
circulating in natural health publications.

It took less than a month from the date of the issuance of a
soy health claim for a bombshell to hit the soy industry. On
November 19, 1999, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reported on a
study conducted by Lon White, MD, MPH, formerly of the
National Institute on Aging and now with the Pacific Health
Research Institute, in Hawaii. Dr. White and his colleagues
indicated tofu (processed bean curd) could induce "brain
aging." Just two servings per week could be harmful said the
subheadline. The newspaper report was generated from an
abstract of a presentation at the Third International
Symposium on the role of soy in Preventing and Treating
Chronic Disease. [Journal American College of Nutrition 19:
242, 2000] Data from that report linked tofu consumption
with Alzheimer's disease and low brain weight upon autopsy.

By April 29 of this year, Fox News published its version of
the soy debate, acknowledging that soy products like tofu
and tempeh have "moved out of the vegetarian ghetto," but
also warned that some experts claimed that "soy can mimic
powerful human hormones and yield unpredictable results."
The wind was changing. Was the soybean craze just a fad? Fox
News quoted Dr. Lon White as saying that soy isoflavones,
one of the active hormonal ingredients in soy, are "true
drugs that are sold without warning." [Fox News April 29,

David Zava, PhD, a biochemist, chimes in on the anti-soy
bandwagon in the newsletter. A specialist
in breast cancer, Zava accurately points out that occasional
soy consumption is probably the best course to get the
benefits out of soy without any undesirable side effects.
But he, unfairly and inaccurately characterizes some of the
components of soy as being nothing short of poison. Zava
says soy contains allergens, mineral blockers, enzyme
inhibitors, hormone modifiers, and iodine blockers that
interfere with normal thyroid function. Zava says soy is a
medicine in moderation and a potential poison in excess.
[] The wording is alarming. Soy is
beginning to be compared to hemlock.

Sally Fallon and Mary E. Enig, from the Weston A. Price
Foundation in Washington DC, write in the April-May edition
of Nexus Magazine and the July and August/September issues
of TLfDP that soy is not a perfect food (nobody said it
was). They repeat claims that it contains anti-nutrients and
toxins, which inhibit digestion block and absorption of
vitamins and minerals. Fallon and Enig believe most of the
information consumers read about soy is "propaganda."

They say, until a few decades ago, soy was considered unfit
to eat, even in Asia. These self-appointed soy antagonists
claim the enzyme inhibitors in soy cause pancreatic cancer
(not so), and that other components in soy induce clumping
of red blood cells. They admit most of the growth-
depressants in soy are removed in processing and
fermentation, but not completely eliminated. The very
interest in soy for cancer prevention emanates from its
ability to thwart growth of tumors.

While Fallon and Enig acknowledge that the Japanese and
Asians have lower rates of breast, prostate and colon cancer
and that they eat 30 times more soy than North Americans,
they also indicate the Japanese have higher rates of other
types of cancer, particularly esophageal, stomach, thyroid,
pancreas and liver cancer. They give the misimpression that
soy prevents some tumors and promotes others. This just
isn't an accurate characterization. The stomach cancers in
Japan are attributed to the consumption of pickled, smoked
and salted meats and fish as well as raw sushi that may
contain parasites. The frying of meats promotes the
development of carcinogens. The cancer-promoting agents in
these foods can actually be countered by the inclusion of
soy protein with ground meat prior to frying. [Basic Life
Science 52: 105-18, 1990] A hidden epidemic among males in
Japan is that of alcoholism, as well as rampant tobacco use,
which would be likely causes of liver, esophageal and
stomach cancers. Instead, Fallon and Enig imply that soy is
a hidden carcinogen in Japan.

Fallon and Enig cite the work of Mark Messina, author of The
Simple Soybean and Your Health (Avery Publishing 1994], who
reviewed 26 animal studies at the Third International Soy
Symposium. According to Messina, 65% of these studies
confirm the protective properties of soy against cancer.
Fallon and Enig claim that Messina purposely left out a 1985
study by Rackis which showed that soy increases the risk of
pancreatic cancer in rats. [Advances Experimental Medicine
Biology 199: 33-79, 1986] At a workshop conducted by the
National Cancer Institute, researchers pointed out that the
pancreas of a few species of animals, notably rats and
chicks, are extraordinarily sensitive to dietary protease
inhibitors as found in soy. This effect has not been
demonstrated in other species such as hamsters, mice, dogs,
pigs, and monkeys and is "not expected to occur in humans,"
says the report. Human populations that consume high levels
of soy exhibit decreased rates of pancreatic cancer. [Cancer
Research 49: 499-502, 1989] While the enzyme (protease)
inhibitors in soy protein increase the weight of the
pancreas, they do not appear to produce lesions, abnormal
growths or DNA abnormalities among rats. [Journal Nutrition
117: 247-52, 1987]

One wonders why Fallon and Enig included in their anti-soy
epitaph the story of New Zealand bird breeders Richard and
Valerie James. The James' apparently purchased a new type of
bird food that contained soy, which made their birds sick,
impaired their fertility and changed the coloring of their
feathers. The James' related these symptoms of illness to
those of their young children, who had been fed soy-based
formula. The flock of birds under their care was restored to
health by the elimination of the soy-based bird food. But
heavens, you don't see birds naturally eating soybeans. They
know better. It's obvious the James' knew less about bird
feed than their feathered pets! That the James' children
were intolerant to soy and may have had soy allergy, or that
they may have had health problems unrelated to soy, serve as
more likely explanations.

Fallon and Enig go on to quote Dr. Claude Hughes' animal
research concerning soy isoflavones and thyroid function.
Hughes claims his work will be "somewhat predictive of what
occurs in humans." But there are differences between animal
and human studies, particularly when it comes to soy.
Scientists cannot infer that animal data applies to humans.
Remember Thalidomide, the drug that caused all the birth
defects in Europe? The data on that drug checked out on
animals, but among pregnant women interfered with their
offspring's development.

Fallon and Enig cite 68 scientific references in their Nexus
Magazine report. The 40 scientific journal reports cited
were published on average 13 years ago, with many dating
back to the 1970s. Among the authoritative references listed
in support of their report were "Cheese Marketing News" and
"Natural Health News published by L & H Vitamin Company."
The Weston Price Foundation website, of which Fallon is
president, claims their purpose is to dispel health myths.
Yet a report on their own website indicates "the New Zealand
government is considering removing soy formula from the
market and making it available only by prescription," and
lists a citation number #58. Their claim may be true, but
when the reader looks for the citation in the end notes, it
is missing. So the reader has to wonder why. It appears that
Fallon and Enig are making a career out of bashing soy, but
are they backing up their opinions with good science?

Much of Fallon and Enig's criticism is generated from
reports on the use of soy infant formulas. In 1998, K.O.
Klein of the Department of Clinical Science at the A.I.
duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware,
reported that soy-based infant formulas had been used for
over 60 years and fed to millions of infants worldwide and
studied in controlled research. Klein says the medical
literature provides "no evidence of endocrine effects in
humans from infant consumption of modern soy-based formulas.
Growth is normal and no changes in timing of puberty or in
fertility rates have been reported in humans who consumed
soy formula as infants." [Nutrition Reviews 56: 193-204,
1998] The Journal of Pediatrics also conducted an earlier
study that came to a similar conclusion. [Journal Pediatrics
124: 612-20, 1994]

With no supporting evidence, Fallon and Enig state that
learning disabilities among male children have reached
epidemic proportions and that soy infant feeding, which
began in the 1970s, "cannot be ignored as a probable cause
for these tragic developments." Yet no citations are listed
to back up their claim. They go on to say that one percent
of all girls show signs of puberty before the age of three
and quote a 1997 report in the Journal of Pediatrics. But
that report makes no mention of soy.

Fallon and Enig also make the claim that Asians have lower
rates of osteoporosis than Westerners, not because of soy
consumption but because their diet provides plenty of
vitamin D from shrimp and seafood and plenty of calcium from
bone broths. They provide no references for this claim. They
go on to claim that high rates of osteoporosis in Western
society are attributed to the substitution of soy oil for
butter. They advocate butter as a traditional source of
vitamin D that helps to build strong bones.

Butter only provides about 56 units of vitamin D, and shrimp
about 152 units of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, which are
almost insignificant according to the latest reports on the
need for vitamin D. [US Department of Agriculture data] Skin
exposure to sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D.
Even sunlight-deprived women who consume a diet that
provides 600 IU of vitamin D/day have been found to be
lacking in this essential nutrient. [Journal Internal
Medicine 247: 260-68, 2000] Recent reports indicate blood
levels of vitamin D don't even begin to rise till 4000 IU of
vitamin D is consumed. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition
69: 842-56, 1999] The textbooks need to be re-written for
vitamin D, and Fallon and Enig are using out-dated
information. Furthermore, butter raises cholesterol.
[European Journal Clinical Nutrition 52: 650-54, 1998]

Did all of these negative scientific reports on soy somehow
escape the attention of the FDA reviewers? Is the FDA run by
individuals who are completely beholden to commercial
interests? The Federal Register, October 26, 1999, Volume
64, Number 206, provides a 66-page discussion on the
positive and negative reports concerning soy and health in
relation to the approval by the Food & Drug Administration
that soy protein helps to reduce cardiovascular risk by
lowering cholesterol. The report, written by the Food & Drug
Administration, cites 167 pertinent scientific studies.

According to an FDA scientific review, soy does not
interfere with childhood growth, does not cause pancreatic
or breast cancer, does not significantly interfere with
mineral absorption as long as dietary consumption is
adequate, does not induce early puberty, and does not
interfere with fertility. Soy may induce allergies, but that
is not sufficient reason to ban it from the marketplace.
Epidemiological studies do not confirm that soy accelerates
the rate or incidence of brain aging nor does soy increase
the prevalence of thyroid disorders. There is a consistent
body of scientific evidence that soy protein consumption
results in a significant reduction in total and LDL
cholesterol for those whose cholesterol is elevated (above
250 mg per deciliter blood sample).* Approximately 25 grams
of soy is needed to produce this health benefit. This is the
asterisk noted earlier in this report. Soy doesn't lower
cholesterol among individuals with normal blood fats.

It's not like soy hasn't been investigated thoroughly.
Health reporter Jack Challem notes that in a three-year
period from 1996-98, over 1000 articles on soy isoflavones
were published in medical journals. But once the gate was
opened for a health claim for soy (cholesterol reduction),
the rest of the still-to-be-confirmed health claims were
ushered in. Some scientific reports indicate soy can reduce
hot flashes among menopausal females, promote bone formation
and may reduce the risk of cancer. Consumers are likely to
think that if a little bit of soy is OK, then more is even

The natural health gurus are correct on one point. Soy is
being over-promoted by billion-dollar companies that grow
the beans. Estrogenic compounds are found in other natural
foods such as alfalfa sprouts and sunflower seeds, but they
aren't being aggressively marketed by multi-national
agricultural companies. One of these corporate giants uses
shill companies as a front to their soy promotion efforts so
as to hide their involvement. The United Soybean Board works
more openly to get more soy into the diets of school lunch
programs. [] Because the FDA approved soy as
a healthy food that reduces cholesterol among adults with
high blood fats is no reason to promote it as an alternative
source of protein for growing children. Its growth
inhibitors and mineral chelators aren't ideally appropriate
for children.

But to show you how confusing the debate on soy gets,
consider the following two quotations from health experts:

On December 9, 1999, Doctor's Guide on the internet reported
that there is no clear-cut evidence that estrogens from
plants such as soy actually prevent breast cancer. Walter
Willett, MD, DrPH, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition
and Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard
School of Public Health in Boston said "a few studies even
found that phyto (plant) estrogens promote cancer. We do not
know if plant estrogens increase or decrease risk."

Yet Herman Adlercreutz MD of the University of Helsinki says
there is "no evidence in the literature suggesting that
phytoestrogens, present in amounts found in human foods,
could have biological effects, or stimulate already existing
cancer, and there is also no evidence that such
phytoestrogens could initiate cancer." [Annals of Medicine
29: 95-120, 1997]

So what are we to conclude? Soy does/doesn't, prevent
cancer. With that kind of doubt being created on its cancer
prevention benefits, and its safety being clouded by reports
that allege soy causes brain disease, one wonders if
consumers will even feed soy to their pets. Who knows, some
environmentalists may soon ask for the soy toxin to be
removed from garbage dumps.

Who is behind the scenes in the soy debate? Who can profit?
Pharmaceutical companies don't like the idea of a food
competing with the patented hormone blockers, like
raloxifene and Tamoxifen. In the September 1998 issue of
Nutrition Science News, health reporter Jack Challem notes
that tamoxifen and raloxifene reduce the risk of breast
cancer but tamoxifen increases the risk of endometrial
cancer and blood clots in the lungs, and with raloxifene are
more likely to suffer from hot flashes and leg cramps.
Tamoxifen increases the risk of going blind from cataracts
by about 400%. [American Journal Ophthalmology 125: 493-501,

Let's see if we can make some sense of the soy debate.

1. The reason why soy gained the attention of Western health
researchers is because the American diet is almost
completely devoid of phytoestrogens. Hormones can get out of
balance, and hyperthyroid and over-production of estrogen
can produce symptoms and pose health problems as much as low
hormone levels. A small amount of plant estrogens in the
diet may act as hormone controlling agents.

2. Like any food, soy may induce allergies. So does cow's
milk, eggs, wheat, corn and fish. But nobody is warning the
public away from these foods.

3. While mother's milk is widely promoted for newborns, when
baby needs to be weaned, cow's milk or soy-milk formulas are
often relied upon. Cow's milk appears to result in superior
bone mineral content, but soy formula appears to produce
similar bone mineral content to breast milk. [Journal
Pediatrics 113: 205-07, 1988; Journal Pediatrics 110: 687-
92, 1987] Soy milk formula appears to produce similar weight
gain (growth rates) as produced with cow's milk formula in
young infants. [Pediatric Research 15: 1240-44, 1981] Soy
infant formulas can be modified to suspend minerals and thus
improve bone mineral content. Modified soy formula has been
shown to improve bone mineral content among infants
comparable to cow's milk formula. [American Journal Diseases
Children 146: 1302-05, 1992]

For infants who are allergic to cow's milk, soy milk is the
alternative of choice. But even one in four allergic infants
have problems tolerating soy formula. Better to look into
whey milk formulas. Whey milk is probably superior to soy
milk when it comes to minimizing allergic reactions among
infants. [Arerugi 46: 1044-51, 1997] In one study 84-99% of
infants who were allergic to cow's milk were able to consume
whey protein formula without allergic reaction. [Journal
Pediatric Gastroenterology Nutrition 26: 398-401, 1998] In
another study, whey milk formula reduced the incidence of
allergy among 6-month old infants by over 5 times compared
to cow's milk. [European Journal Pediatrics 154: 488-94,
1995] Furthermore, whey appears to produce the same growth
rates as cow's milk. [Allergy 51: 192-95, 1996]

4. Some of the components of soy have been mistakenly
identified as anti-nutrients. For example, IP6-phytic acid,
the primary mineral chelator in soy, was branded as an anti-
nutrient because it blocks mineral absorption. Minerals,
particularly iron, calcium and zinc, are important during
childhood growth. It is easy to improve iron absorption in
soy infant formulas by adding some vitamin C. [Pediatric
Research 36: 816-22, 1994] But adults tend to over-
mineralize as they grow older. The threat of iron overload
is universal in male adults and postmenopausal females.
Calcium tends to accumulate in the joints (arthritis), heart
valves (mitral valve), kidneys (kidney stones), blood
vessels (atherosclerosis) and lens of the eye (cataracts)
with advancing age. So there is a need for dietary mineral
chelators, to prevent calcifications and iron-induced
oxidation in living human tissues, particularly with
advancing age. In 1987 Ernst Graf, PhD, was the first to
describe IP6-phytic acid, found in whole grains and nuts, as
a potent antioxidant and mineral chelator. It is the only
antioxidant known that can completely counter the adverse
effect posed by the hydroxyl radical, a free radical species
involved in all cancers. [The Lancet, September 19, 1987]
Most soy protein products already have undergone processing
to remove most of the IP6-phytic acid anyway. [Acta
Paediatrica 402: 105-08, 1994] The removal of IP6-phytic
acid from soy increases iron absorption. [American Journal
Clinical Nutrition 60: 567-72, 1994]

The IP6-phytic acid in soy has been found to reduce the risk
of colon cancer in an animal study via its ability to
chelate iron. [Proceedings Society Experimental Biology &
Medicine 221: 80-86, 1999] The IP6-phytic acid in soy may be
the primary ingredient that helps to control cholesterol.
[Journal Nutrition 125: 606-611S- 1995]

IP6-phytic acid is not only found in soy, it is provided in
other whole grains, particularly bran. But no one is
proposing that bran is toxic because of its IP6-phytic acid
content. Cow's milk (probably due to its lactoferrin
content), and eggs also tend to decrease the bioavailability
of iron from plant foods. [Federal Proceedings 42: 1716-20,

The primary reason why adults do not get enough of some
minerals with advancing age is the diminished production of
hydrochloric acid, not the inclusion of IP6-phytic acid in
whole grains and soy. [Advances Experimental Biology
Medicine 249: 173-84, 1989] Soybean compounds such as IP6-
phytic acid, protease inhibitors and isoflavones, among
others, appear to reduce the incidence of colon, prostate
and breast cancer. [Journal Nutrition 125: 733-743S, 1995]

5. Why get so bothered about soy? Indeed, spices such as
thyme, oregano and turmeric bind with estrogen or
progesterone and are thus known to be hormone blockers.
[Proceedings Society Experimental Biology Medicine 21: 369-
78, 1998] Even though the American diet is said to be
lacking in soy phytoestrogens, beer contains significant
amounts of isoflavones (probably from hops). [Steroids 63:
14-20, 1998]

6. Science backs the consumption of soy protein and/or soy
extracts (phytoestrogen-isoflavones) for males with prostate
tumors. In immune-depressed rodents whose prostate glands
were inoculated with human cancer cells, soy significantly
reduced the size of tumors and the number of blood vessels
that feed tumors. [Journal Nutrition 129: 1628-35, 1999]

7. There is a great difference between animal and human
studies. Soybean cereal has been shown to interfere with the
growth of young rodents. [Medicina 59: 747-52, 1999] But in
infants, there was no difference noted in weight gain nor
pancreatic enzyme production when fed soy or a whey protein
formula. [Scandinavian Journal Gastroenterology 32: 273-77,
1997] Be wary of so-called experts who only quote animal
data to support their claims that soy is toxic or

8. The fact that isoflavones in soy are reduced
significantly by their first pass through the liver
following ingestion, limits their hormonal effects,
particularly on children. [Proceedings Experimental Biology
Medicine 217: 386-92, 1998] Recent data shows that neither
soy, nor soy isoflavones, exert estrogenic effects on
vaginal tissues in postmenopausal females. [Journal Clinical
Endocrinology 84: 3479-84, 1999] In monkeys, soy
phytoestrogens reduced cholesterol but did not affect the
reproductive hormones. [Journal Nutrition 126: 43-50, 1996]

9. A recent study conducted among 31 patients with high
cholesterol, who were provided 33 grams per day of soy
protein (providing 86 mg of isoflavones), reveals that LDL
"bad" cholesterol levels were significantly reduced even
among subjects who were already taking vitamin E supplements
(400-800 IU). The soy protein did not increase the risk of
hormone-induced cancers. [Metabolism 49: 537-43, 2000]

10. Soy is a known goiterogen. It may interfere with iodine,
a trace mineral required for thyroid function. [Biochemical
Pharmacology 54: 1087-96, 1997] Infants with congenital low
thyroid output, when placed on soy formula, need to have
their thyroxine dose increased. [Journal American College
Nutrition 16: 280-82, 1997] Infants with normal thyroid
output need not be concerned. But adults who are on thyroid
hormone replacement would be wise to review their
consumption of soy with their physician and to be aware of
symptoms such as fatigue and loss of hair, which may occur
with low thyroid.

11. What about the link between brain shrinkage and soy
consumption? Dr. Lon White MD, the lead researcher who
reported this link, compromised his own credibility when he
was quoted as saying: "Those who ate a lot of tofu, by the
time they were 75 or 80 looked five years older." Tell us
Dr. White, did you count the wrinkles? We await
corroborative research studies.

12. Stephen Holt, MD, writing in Natural Pharmacy, has done
the best job of sorting out information about soy. He says
soy protein should be distinguished from the soy extracts or
isoflavones. Consumption of up to 120 milligrams of soy
isoflavones from soy foods should not be considered
worrisome. He says phytoestrogens in soy are far weaker than
the potent synthetic or natural estrogens commonly
prescribed to women for menopause symptoms. But he does
caution against excessive consumption of soy isoflavones in
food supplements or from fermented sources (tempeh, miso)
which Fallon and Enig advocate. His guess is no more than 45
milligrams of conjugated isoflavones from fermented or
supplmental sources daily. [Natural Pharmacy, April 2000]

While soy has gained the most attention because it is backed
by powerful agribusiness, its cousin lignan may soon become
a more desirable phytoestrogen. Herman Adlercreutz, one of
the world's top isoflavone researchers, emphasizes the
importance of other phytoestrogens. "Don't forget the
lignans," he says. [Nutrition Science News, September 1998]
We can see why researchers are turning their attention to

Lignan is a normal component of the diet, albeit it is only
consumed in small amounts. It is a phytoestrogen that does
not interfere with thyroid function. Lignan is most abundant
in flaxseed. Lignans in flaxseed have been compared to
Tamoxifen, a hormone-blocking drug often prescribed in cases
of breast cancer. [Cancer Letters 125: 69-76, 1998]
Adlercreutz says the areas of the world where consumption of
isoflavones and lignans are high have low rates of prostate,
breast and colon cancer. Animal experiments confirm that
lignans and isoflavones prevent cancer in blood vessel
disease. [Annals Medicine 29: 95-120, 1997] When rates of
disease are investigated by the type of phytoestrogen, both
isoflavones derived from soy, and lignans found in flaxseed,
whole-grain rye bread, berries and some vegetables, are
attributed to the reduction in breast, prostate and colon
cancer. Where consumption of lignan is low (USA, Finland,
Sweden, Australia) breast cancer levels are high.
[Baillieres Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism 12: 605-23,

In one study prostate tumor cells were injected into rodents
who were placed on different diets. Only 50% of the sites
injected with tumor cells grew tumors among the animals on
soy, and only 30% of injection sites exhibited tumors among
the animals that consumed lignan-rich rye bran. The tumors
that did grow were smaller in the animals consuming soy and
rye bran and there was less secretion of prostate specific
antigen (PSA). The addition of fat to the rye bran diet
reduced its protective effect against prostate cancer.
[Prostate 42: 304-14, 2000]

In a study where rodents were given a tumor-promoting agent,
a diet enriched in soy did not reduce the number of colon
tumors (1.38 tumors per animal) compared to a diet low in
soy isoflavones (1.36 tumors per animals. But a lignan-rich
rye bran diet did reduce the number of tumors! (0.17 tumors
per animal). [Carcinogenesis 20: 927-31, 1999]


Soy is not hemlock. It is not a toxin, nor does it contain
toxins. Soy is like table salt. Overuse can be troublesome.
Learn to use it sparingly. If you are looking for lignans in
your diet, throw in some flaxseeds, or cold-pressed lignan-
rich flaxseed oil. Lignan may soon create a greater stir
among health advocates than soy.


Bill Sardi
Health Reporter
Knowledge of Health
Source page:

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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