Soy beans negatively affect
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Scientists in China have found that a
naturally-occurring ingredient of soy beans, increasingly sold as substitutes
for dairy-based food, interferes with a part of the male reproductive system
involved in sperm production.
There is already evidence to suggest that soy beans contain natural chemicals
that mimic the effect of female sex hormones.
Soy contains genistein, known to interact with the ‘receptor’ molecules on cells
designed to respond to oestrogens.
A new study by Ren-Shan Ge of the Wenzhou Medical College in China found that
genistein could interfere with the production of vital enzymes involved in
"Following ingestion, soy isoflavones are known to reach the reproductive
organs. Thus, excessive exposure to agents that exhibit oestrogenic activity may
affect male reproductive tract developments and functions," the Independent
quoted the researchers as saying.
"With regard to this concern, it has been estimated the genistein and daidzein
can reach high concentrations in infants who consume large amounts of soy-based
products," they added.
The concentrations of genistein used in the study are roughly equivalent to the
levels that can build up in the human body following a diet rich in soy
However, Professor Ieuan Hughes of the University of Cambridge said that a
comprehensive inquiry into the oestrogenic chemicals found in soy and other food
has failed to find any adverse effects on male reproductive health.
"I suspect the genistein effect is of little relevance to male human health...
there was no evidence that soy products had adverse effects on male reproductive
health, either via testis function or any other mechanism such as androgen [male
hormone] action," he said.
The study has been published in the Asian Journal of Andrology.
Courtesy: ANI / Times of India