What are the benefits of Soy?

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It is tough as breast cancer survivors to know what to do for the best. On the one hand, we are told by some researchers that dairy is the enemy, so we substitute soy products, in an effort to reduce our risks of cancer recurrence. But, now it emerges that this may be doing us more harm than good. I have had my suspicions having read some research recently and it has been confirmed for me by reading a post on Dr Kathleen T. Ruddy’s excellent blog.

“A diet high in soy, as is seen in Asian populations, reduces the risk of pre and post-menopausal breast cancer by 33%.  This observation has led to a great popularity for soy products in the United States. Unfortunately, it appears that the benefits of soy are only derived when they are used early in life.

The active ingredient in soy is isoflavone – this is what imparts protection against breast cancer.  It is thought that isoflavones stabilize the maturing breast cell and protect it against environmental assaults later in life.  Early pregnancy, that is before the age of twenty, does the same thing.

But when soy is used in the diet of mature adult women it may have deleterious effects.  In mice, isoflavones have been found to increase the rate of breast tumor growth.  Hormone replacement therapy does the same thing.  

It is probably wise to back away from the rage to ingest soy, at least until we are clearer about who would benefit from the isoflavones and when.”

It is a convincing argument and one I am glad to pass on to you.