- New research indicates that high-soy diets do not compromise fertility in females.
- The plant-based estrogen found in soy doesn’t affect fertility in female primates which could have implications for human females.
- An investigation was carried out to explore the common belief that a high-soy diet could potentially impact women’s fertility, and the study concluded the contrary.
- A year-long study found no changes in menstrual cycle characteristics or hormone levels among primates fed a high-soy diet compared to those with protein from animal sources.
New research suggests that the plant-based estrogen found in soy doesn’t affect fertility in female primates, thereby indicating a potential implication for human females as well.
Research Overview and Objective
Insights uncovered by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and Emory University School of Medicine led to the conclusion that soy-based diets do not compromise fertility in females. The research was initiated to investigate a common supposition that a high-soy diet could potentially impact women’s fertility.
Jay Kaplan, the team’s lead researcher, stated: “Our findings indicate that a high-soy diet is unlikely to hinder fertility in women. However, our study did validate prior findings suggesting that stress levels can indeed influence fertility.”
The Soy Isoflavone Connection
Asian women, known to have a high-soy diet, have conspicuously lower breast cancer rates compared to American women. It has been theorized that isoflavones present in soy might decrease ovarian hormone levels or extend the length of menstrual cycles. Both outcomes would reduce a woman’s overall exposure to estrogen. However, the belief is that opposing changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle could impair fertility.
Jay Kaplan’s Study Details
Kaplan’s research aimed to determine whether a soy supplement containing double the plant estrogen typically consumed by Asian women would alter any aspect of menstrual cycle or ovarian function in primates. It’s pertinent to note that female primates exhibit a menstrual cycle that closely parallels that of human females.
High-Soy Diet vs Animal-Based Protein Diet
The year-long study divided the subjects into two groups. One group adhered to a high-soy diet while the other received their protein from animal sources. “There was no change observed in the characteristics of the menstrual cycle, including cycle-length, overall bleeding, or hormone levels, upon the consumption of soy,” said Kaplan. “This suggests that any protection that soy might offer against breast cancer does not result from changes in the menstrual cycle.”
The findings of the study were exhibited at the yearly meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Philadelphia.
For further reading about women’s fertility, visit the website for the National Infertility Association.