3 Soy Milk Estrogen Myths
If you have found yourself asking, “Does soy milk have estrogen?” then keep reading. At first, this might seem like a silly question, but the reality of soy estrogen, and what that really is, has caused quite a stir in the health food buzz. You might have heard claims extending from thyroid problems to sexual orientation. In this article we will uncover three myths about soy milk and estrogen.
#1 Myth: Soy milk contains estrogen
While soy foods do not actually contain estrogen, they do contain isoflavone phytochemicals. These chemicals are really “phytoestrogen”, or “plant” estrogen. This is not the same thing as human estrogen, and it certainly does not have the same effect on us as our own estrogen does.
One study presented in the Cambridge University Press suggested that phytoestrogens are used as part of the plants’ natural defense against herbivores by minimizing male fertility. Run that through the rumor mill just once and you’ll get a whole slew of bad ideas.
Isoflavones do share a similar structure to estrogen, but they function in very different ways. A number of health benefits have been attributed to isoflavones, such as heart and bone health, reducing the symptoms of menopause, and even minimizing the risk of various cancers.
#2 Myth: Soy milk will make men infertile
You thought mad cow disease was bad, well beware the “estrogen soy milk”! In fact, since soy milk does not contain human estrogen, but rather phytoestrogen, it will not make men infertile. It will not lower testosterone levels, or “feminize” men, as the passing rumors suggests.
Several trustworthy studies have shown that consuming soy does not harm sperm quality or quantity. They also revealed no connection between soy and sexual hormone levels for men. Breast size and erectile function were also unaffected. Soy can actually play a good role in men’s health.
#3 Myth: Soy milk increases the risk of breast cancer.
A few in vitro and animal studies have suggested a connection between soy isoflavones and breast cancer. Whole soy foods did not have the same effect, however. And human clinical trials actually support the health and safety of consuming soy isoflavones. Furthermore, a recent study has even indicated that soy may potentially decrease the reoccurrence of breast tumors. And the American Cancer Society has agreed that breast cancer patients are safe to enjoy soy milk, tofu, edamame on a regular basis.
Soy milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk, especially for those who suffer from lactose intolerance. Getting the right information from trusted sources can allay many fears from false rumors. It’s always a good idea to look into the particular brand and soy product you are thinking of making a part of your diet. And talk to your health care provider if you notice any side effects or unexpected reactions to a soy product.
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