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Mercola, Weston Price wrong on Soy "dangers"
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James Offline

Posts: 2,827
Joined: Feb 2012
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Post: #1
Mercola, Weston Price wrong on Soy "dangers"

Mercola, Weston Price wrong on Soy "dangers"

I regularly see research on soy and the vast majority of research papers prove the health benefits of soy. Based on the body of science and the errors evident in his "Facts", what Dr. Mercola has stated is undocumented, unreferenced bull recycled from Weston Price.

All legumes contain significant levels of phytoestrogens; why is soy singled out for this abuse using cherry-picked out-of-context "facts" that aren't really backed them up when the research is reviewed. Do you ever hear such slanders against the #2 source of phytoestrogens (pinto beans)?

In fact, many of the negative studies cited come from the animal feed industry and refer to raw defatted soy meal, the pulp left over after extracting soybean oil. This is not what humans eat! We aren't fed raw defatted soy meal as the major protein source in our diet, and many of the negative issues with raw dried soybeans disappear with proper food preparation (i.e., cooking). They also don't apply to edamame (raw soybean pods with the beans inside), since some of these "anti-nutrient" factors form during drying and are removed during cooking (except for genetically engineered soy that contains exceptionally heat-resistant anti-nutrient compounds).

Here are some actual facts about soy (in contrast to the Mercola/Weston Price data dump of uncritically collected studies); and I have the studies to back this up:

Phytates are common in grains, less in legumes; the supplement IP-6 is this exact compound, useful to stimulate NK cells and immunity

Trypsin inhibitors are only a problem in raw soy flour and GMO soy products, not the typical uses of non-GMO soy

Phytoestrogens such as isoflavones are not endocrine disruptors, this is nonsense; have you ever heard of these problems with pinto beans, the #2 most abundant food source and a major component of the Mexican diet? Of course not.

Soy, like cruciferous vegetablles, only affects thyroid function if one is iodine deficient and the addition of iodine to the diet corrects this symptom. The real problem is a nutrient deficiency.

Most plant foods are known to be poor sources of bioavailable B-12, not just soy, and this is common knowledge so why single soy out? Bias?

D-2 is a natural compound found in the food supply and is neither toxic nor a synthetic form; all vitamin D is produced by chemical synthesis, whether in the body or in a lab, but the forms of D-2 and D-3 utilized in supplements and food fortification are both nature-identical natural forms synthesized in labs.

Most soy protein isolate is not denatured; by the way, another term for denaturing is "digestion" and this is good unless you need intact proteins from food (as in whey protein isolate's valuable immunoglobulins).

All proteins when digested produce free glutamates; this is natural. Only susceptible people who have had severe chemical exposure or are low in protective nutrients like antioxidants and magnesium suffer from this. I have spoken with and attended lectures by Russ Blaylock for about 20 years and am well versed in this mechanism and its causes and solutions.

Soy proteins do not test high in heavy metals; rice protein is actually far higher in actual tests at parts-per-billion detection levels.

Asians consume far more soy products than is claimed by your sources; the typical isolflavone content of the diet there is established to be about 50 mg daily, the amount found in a couple ounces of soy protein at 90% strength, which represents several ounces of unconcentrated soy at about 30% protein.

Soy is not carcinogenic; review studies confirm that soy protein isolate, not fermented soy, has been proven to reduce cancer rates from breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers by about 30%.

Soy upregulates Phase 2 liver detoxification, much like cruciferous vegetables, and is actually a detox aid rather than a source of toxins.

Long term studies of infants fed soy formula find no differences in age of puberty, sexua| maturity, or other hormonal measures; soy is 'implicated" only by those unwilling to openmindedly review the research to confirm or prove false their wild theories.

PS, I was in China recently and they eat plenty of tofu and edamame, both unfermented soy foods, in greater quantities than fermented soy.

Some of Weston A. Price Foundation's citations listed as "evidence" of soy's "toxicity" include these titles that obviously don't fit the negative label; that's why I characterize their list as a "data dump":

"Salt poisoning due to ingestion of soy sauce." (How does this prove that non-fermented soy is toxic?)

"Hypothesized health benefits of soybean isoflavones." (A study that is positive of soy's health benefits)

"Rhinitis and dermatitis caused by exotic woods." (This is a non-soy herb: Pterocarpus soyauxii)

"A nutritional comparison of rapeseed oil and soybean oil."

"[Concerning the absence of goitrogenic factors in soybean oil for cooking.]" (Exonerates soybean oil from thyroid issues)

"Eastern black nightshade: An increasing concern for soybean and forage producers." (A farming issue, not a nutritional one)

"Medicinal Plants of lndia and Pakistan." (Actually refers to a non-soy plant: Indian red wood tree, Soymida febrifuga Adr. Juss.)

Posted by Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA at 4:59 PM

Labels: anti-nutrient, Asia, bias, dangers, endocrine, fermented, food safety, Mercola, myths, protein, soy, Weston A. Price Foundation

yvonne said...

Hi Neil

I would like your take on this. My son is 4 and cows milk does not agree with him, I originally switched him to Soy milk but then heard that it is high in Estrogen which down the road can result in harming him.
First is that true?
I have now switched him to Rice milk and have thought about perhaps Almond instead.
I would like your take on what is the best choice for a milk substitute.
Thank you and keep up the great work, I am so happy I found your blog.
1:00 PM
Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts, Yvonne.

Soy is NOT rich in estrogen; like all legumes and flax, it is rich in phytoestrogens. The difference is that plant estrogens are not in harmful forms - most research indicates that they are actually protective nutrients - and have only 1/1,000 the strength of animal or human estrogens so are far more dilute. That dilution factor is important, as phytoestrogens fit/block/satisfy estrogen receptors without having anywhere near the power of estrogen to effect cellular changes. Soy isoflavones have been documented to act much like cruciferous vegetables in preventing the oxidation of estrogens into harmful forms (better balance of 2- to 16- hydroxyestrones), as well as helping with other measures of cellular health such as apoptosis, differentiation, etc.

Regarding the choice of milk substitutes, I actually like the idea of switching around and giving your son a variety of milk substitutes, preferably unsweetened or lightly sweetened, and always non-GMO. You may find more protein in the non-rice varieties, if that is a need to support his diet. Also look for levels of vitamins A, D, and calcium, which may differ from cow's milk. I always read nutritional labels to compare nutrient content, rather than rely on price alone, but flavor is always an important factor with childen.

My opinion, based on reading a lot of research, is that the true culprits involved in estrogen risks are environmental exposures to certain plastics (esp. microwaving in plastics or reusing #5 and #7 plastics) and agricultural chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc). But reasonable consumptions of natural phytoestrogen sources such as soy, pinto beans, flax seeds, alfalfa sprouts, chili, etc. should not be a concern in terms of estroegn overload and most probably will help protect against that problem.
3:12 PM
Frank said...

Hi Neil;

Interesting article that I'm sifting through. So much misconceptions out there that I'm always asking 'where the source?' Maybe you can help here.

You mentioned that all legumes contain significant levels of phytoestrogens; why is soy singled out for this abuse using cherry-picked out-of-context "facts" that aren't really backed them up when the research is reviewed. Do you ever hear such slanders against the #2 source of phytoestrogens (pinto beans)?"

How much phytoestrogens is in soy and how much is in pinto beans? Where is the source of this information?

11:18 AM
Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA said...


That's a fair question. Look at these sources:

“Pinto beans have almost as much genistein and diadzein as soybeans. Other beans high in phytoestrogens include: kidney beans, black beans, split peas, and mung, lima, and fava beans—and peanuts.” James Duke, PhD, The Green Pharmacy

See also:

Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Tori Hudson, ND and Christiane Northrup, MD

The Encyclopedia of Women's Reproductive Cancer by Carol Turkington and Mitchell Edelson, MD

Assessing phytochemical intake in a group of Mexican women.
Salud Publica Mex. 2007 Mar-Apr;49(2):126-31. (Mexico's National Institute of Public Health)
12:56 PM
Anonymous said...

Majority of the soy is genetically modified and round-up ready. The round-up binds magnesium and other nutrients and also depletes valuable nutrients from the soil(see recent article "Monsanto's Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health"
by Jeffery Smith on Everyone should also watch Jean-Michel Cousteau's PBS documentary, Ocean Documentary: return to the Amazon(rent it on Netflix). and see he aerial view of the devastation GMO soy grown across S. America as feed for the American livestock.
8:38 PM
Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA said...

It's true that most of American-grown soy is GMO and I NEVER revcommend that. In fact, I've lectured on this topic ("Playing with our Food: Nutritional Differences Between Organic, Conventional, and GMO Crops")

GMO-soy is a bad food source.

But that does not indict non-GMO soy, and many of the trumped up charges against soy predate the GMO issue.
06-18-2012 04:14 PM
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James Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Mercola, Weston Price wrong on Soy "dangers"
I totally agree. Mercola is sitting on the board of the Weston Price Foundation, which is funded by the beef and dairy industries. Therefore, they have spent a lot of time and energy creating and distributing false propaganda about soy, which is the biggest competitor for the beef and dairy industries. I have posted on this a number of times myself. Here is one of my responses to Mercola's false claims about soy:

Mercola is twisting things and even outright wrong on a lot of what he is claiming. For example he claims that low cholesterol is dangerous and since soy lowers cholesterol that this makes it bad. VERY misleading. There are a lot of foods that lower cholesterol this does not make them bad. And he did not point out that the liver synthesizes the majority of the cholesterol our bodies need. The sterols in the soy are only going to bind the cholesterol being released in the gut keeping some of it from being reabsorbed. Some of this cholesterol is going to be expelled in the feces anyway. So does he also think that constipation is good since it keeps us from losing that cholesterol? The only thing he got right in that statement is the fact that low cholesterol is dangerous. But if the liver is working properly then this is not an issue since the liver produces cholesterol when we need it and breaks it down when it is too high.

As to his claims about phytic acid, this again is misleading. As I have pointed out several times in the past first of all phytic acid is found in seeds, including grains. So why is soy being singled out unless the person has an agenda to make soy look bad? And as I also pointed out phytic acid has a higher affinity for heavy metals and iron that can harm us than it does for beneficial minerals.

His real whopper is his claims about the phytoestrogens in relation to cancer and birth defects. First of all phytoestrogens average 200 to 400 times weaker than the body's own estrogens. So you would have to consume more phytoestrogens that you could possibly ingest to even equal the estrogenic activity you would normally find in the body. So this is one of the most persistent myths being spread around the net. And they do not promote cancer, they inhibit cancer. Due to their weak nature they lock on to estrogen receptor sites blocking stronger cancer causing estrogens from locking on. If they don't lock on to these receptors they have no effects on the body. Therefore phytoestrogens are well known anti-cancer agents. For example red clover blossom has a long history of being used in the treatment of cancer. Red clover blossom contains the same two phytoestrogens found is soy, plus two others.

It is also these phytoestrogens that numerous studies have shown that improve bone strength, not the vitamin K as he is claiming.

The biggest laugh is his claim that phytoestrogens increase the risk of birth defects by 500%. Where does Mercola come up with this garbage?!!! Phytoestrogens are found in virtually everything you eat. sage, parsley, yams, peas, kudzu, beans, carrots, bananas, oranges, grains, barley, grapes, baker's yeast, beets, pomegranates, cherries, garlic, oats, olives, peppers, sunflower seeds, flax seed, rye, spinach, sesame seeds, pumpkin, rhubarb, tomatoes, rice, plums, potatoes, papaya, dates, eggplant, anise, fennel, cucumber, peanuts, and onions are just a few examples of the many phytoestrogen sources we eat on a daily basis. According to his ridiculous claim we should have all been born with birth defects and be dying from cancer!!!

I would be curious to see his diet. Being that if he is trying to avoid all isoflavones, since they are estrogenic, this would eliminate all plants. So this would leave meats and dairy, which both tend to be loaded with very strong estrogens that are hundreds to thousands of times stronger than phytoestrogens. And if he eats fish then he has to deal with the mercury he is also paranoid of. Our water is contaminated and many alcohols are loaded with phytoestrogens. So I guess Mercola must not eat or drink anything.

I ran a search under "tofu and Alzheimer's" and "soy and Alzheimer's" to find the study he claims about the Japanese men having a higher risk of Alzheimer's. No such study came up in PubMed anywhere. Only studies showing soy can inhibit cognitive decline. In other words prevent problems such as dementia and Alzheimer's.

He then complains that soy is high in manganese. But he just got done complaining about the phytic acid, which binds minerals like manganese. I guess he just ignored that fact since his goal is to badmouth soy with false propaganda!

Then he claims it is a goitergen, which is semi-true. Soy has goitergenic activity IF it is not cooked or fermented. All soy products I have seen are either cooked or fermented, so this is not an issue. I wonder why Mercola is not having a fit over goitergenic foods normally eaten raw and unfermented like broccoli, cabbage, turnips, strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach, pine nuts, radishes, cauliflower.........?

What is ironic is that Mercola calls flax seed a superfood. But flax contains about 250% higher levels of goitorgenic and in his words carcinogenic phytoestrogens than soy. And unlike soy, which is cooked and fermented destroying many of the phytoestrogens, flax seed is not meaning it retains all of its extremely high levels of phytoestrogens.

Apparently his desire to spread false propaganda about soy far exceeds his ability to do use common sense and to do real research on the subject. So I am not going to spend all day discussing his various other mistakes. Again, people should not rely on propaganda websites for their information. They should do their own research to verify claims. PubMed is a good place to start to see what studies have really been done and to see how those studies were done and interpreted. Here is a link to PubMed:
06-18-2012 04:24 PM
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