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Soy intake During PG

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I don't want to start a hole mess of debates but this is somethign that has concerned me for a long time. I see alot of moms who have a really high soy intake under normal circumstances and consider it very healthy. When I was PG with my dd I started doing research about soy - we have long known that soy is a pytoestrogen and the increase in this hormone during a pg when your baby is developing its internal organs has to have an effect What follows is a few links and articles regarding birth defects related to soy intake during pregnancy, it is largely geared to male uro-genital deformities and disorders but it does effect females as well - as does a high soy intake in nursing moms and soy formula fed babies (I was a soy fed formula baby as a result I had an extremely early onset of pubery and begun developing breasts before I even turned 8 and I strted menstating at 8 years old - both exceptionally early).

Again, I am not trying to start a debate I merely am offering up the information, natural food companies know how to market their goods as well and they are not above propaganda to sell - this is after all the USA and everyone in any sales business is after the almighty dollar in most cases... just food for thought....


The Dominion
21st February 2000
Deformities Found in Sons of Vege Mums

Vegetarians are convinced of the healthiness of their diet. They claim a lower incidence of heart disease and of some cancers. Those who prefer steaks and look askance at pallid salad and bean-eaters will have had their prejudices confirmed by reports in the British Journal of Urology and the British Medical Journal.

It seems that, whatever its advantages, vegetarianism isn't the best diet for mothers hoping to produce the sires of the next generation. The most common genital malformation of the penis is hypospadias. It occurs once in every 350 male births. In hypospadias, the meatus, the opening of the urethra, is situated on the underside of the shaft of the penis, rather than at its tip. The actual opening can be anywhere from its usual site to the scrotum. Usually it is located an inch or so from where it could be expected.

A survey started in 1991 has shown that the rate of hypospadias in baby boys born to vegetarians is five times higher than in those born to meat-eaters. The suggestion is that the phyto-oestrogens in some vegetarian food, particularly soya, may be responsible. Phyto-oestrogens are natural chemicals found in plants which have properties similar to oestrogen – the female hormone. Greener vegetarians are blaming pesticides and artificial fertilisers.

This research may have greater implications than is first apparent. One of the mysteries of modern medicine is why congenital abnormalities of the male genital tract are increasing. The incidence of undescended testes, of testes which are liable to twist (tortion of the testes), of cancer of the testes – a young man's disease – has been increasing steadily for a hundred years, as has the number of men with low sperm counts. Perhaps steak and chops should be added to folic acid as essential requirements of the pre-conceptual diet.

Vegetarian Diet In Pregnancy Linked To Birth Defect
Mothers who ate a vegetarian diet during pregnancy had a five-time greater risk of delivering a boy with hypospadias, a birth defect of the penis. The research team suggests that phytoestrogens, hormone-like compounds found in soy, may be responsible for the link.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that mothers who took iron supplements and those who had influenza in the first 3 months of pregnancy also had a higher risk of having a baby boy with hypospadias. The authors suggest that more research is needed to see if any of the associations found in the study actually cause the birth defect.

It is important to note that there is biological evidence that vegetarians have a greater exposure to phytoestrogens and thus a causal link is biologically feasible.

Hypospadias is a birth defect where the opening of the penis is found on the underside of the penis rather than at the tip. It is a common congenital defect, affecting about 1 in 300 newborn males. The condition requires surgery to correct it, where the foreskin is used to repair the problem. Untreated, it can interfere with urination and sexual function.

The investigators asked mothers to fill out questionnaires during pregnancy regarding obstetric history, lifestyle, and dietary practices. Of 7,928 boys born to mothers participating in the study, 51 cases of hypospadias were identified.

Mothers with a vegetarian diet in the first half of pregnancy had a 4.99 times greater risk of having a boy with hypospadias compared with mothers who included meat in their diets, the researchers report. In addition, mothers who took iron supplements had double the normal risk of having a boy with hypospadias, and influenza during the first 3 months of pregnancy increased the risk of by just over three times.

BJU International January 2000;85:107-113



The evidence continues to mount. Just because you are a vegetarian does not mean you are healthy. One of the main reasons is due to the soy issue addressed here. It appears that the soy phytoestrogens increased the risk of the birth defect by 500%. Not only are the soy phytoesrogens an issue, but most vegetarians consume far too little protein and far too many grains. However, the vegetables, or course, are a huge benefit and to provide some partial compensation in some areas.

Again, please take this for the information it is intended to give and not a slam against vegetarians or those who prefer to have soy in their diet. I present this info because I have seenthe result and have a very dear friend who has had to put her son through several painful surgeries as a result of her soy intake during PG, I don't think any of us want to see that happen to any child, especially when we can prevent it.
post #2 of 43
How timely, thank you. I was just coming to research whether or not to give soy milk to my toddler, or if rice milk would be a better choice.
Looks like I found a place to start my research!

Thanks again!

post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 
Glad I was able to give you a starting place Peggy! That was my intention when I posted!

Have a GREAT day!
post #4 of 43
Thanks. Good info. I used to eat a lot more soy than now--was veggie, but not anymore. We're going to start ttc next month (yay!) and even though my soy intake is lower than before, I'm still cutting down--alternating rice dream and soymilk, eating more rice and beans when I do want a vegetarian meal. Another concern about soy, I think, is that so may soy products are so processed. I used to eat a ton of those products, too--soy deli slices, boca burgers, etc. I think some are okay, but as with anything, moderation is the key.
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
I agree - I think it is largely the processing of it that makes it as bad as it is. For that matter, the processing that most food goes through is what is the scary part!
post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 
Why are some people so mean?

I posted this on another boeard that I'm on and got nothing but rudeness. I jsut cannot beleive some people. accusing me of being anti-soy and all sorts of other things, telling me that I dont' know what I'm talking about. I just don't get some people. I'm only trying to help put information out there that many peopel aren't aware of and/or don't have access to and I get slammed, I jsut dont' get it....
post #7 of 43
People are mean. I once replied to a post listing the dangers of canola oil
(my area of interest is on lipid research) and I got nothing but mean replies too.
Some people don't want to hear about the dangers of soy, canola oil etc.. It's shakes up their belief system too much and they don't want to change that heavens forbid!
post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thanks Elenie. It's just amazine that peopel think you are the bad person when you're only trying to help. Thanks for the support!
post #9 of 43
I think it's just awful that you got flamed for posting it. You were providing information only..people can take it or leave it.
It's not like you made it up or said people who eat soy are morons!!!
I'm glad you posted it here and that people took it for what it is..information.

post #10 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thank you Peggy - that is the way I felt to. It's not as if I said doemthing like "soy will make your boys develop without a penis" or Soy will make your boy's penis fall off if you are nursing him while you drink it"

I was trying to help and I thank you for your support, I have found so much more support and useful information here and in this magazine than elsewhere but I feel it is my responsibilty to share what could be improtant information with other pregnant and nursing moms. So much for trying to be helpful I suppose.

Thanks again so much Peggy! And everyone here on the Mothering Boards - Here I know peolpe don't think I'm nuts!
post #11 of 43
Ona sidenote to all this my friend (one of the anti soy researchers) proposed an article about it to Mothering magazine and they would not print it.
Luckily Nexus did and so the word is getting out there.
I'm also an alternative health practitioner and I won't get in to details (confidential) but I've seen/see quite a few children and women with problems directly relating to the consumption of soy (soymilk in particular).
When the soymilk is removed the problems in women usually clear up right away but the childrens problems seem to be deeper and have a more long term effect.
Please, for the health of your children be moderate with the amount of soy you give them. And steer clear of highly processed soy foods like meat substitutes and things made with soy protein isolate .
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 
THANKS! It seems to me that for too long governments and companies the world over have had the "what they don't knwo can't hurt them" attitude - I just wish that were true but we all found ou t differently on 9-11 didn't we... Not to make a radical staement but the long term effects can be that devastating to the mother of a child with a birht defect that could have been prevented if the info was only available...
post #13 of 43
Is it safe to eat some soy products during pregnancy? How much? Thanks, laura
post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 
Laura - if you check the links listed I beleive they have information regarding "Safe" levels of soy intake. I think the biggest danger comes from soymilk becuase it is processed so much more than dairy.
post #15 of 43
I do have a couple questions that you guys can maybe help me with. I've looked through all this stuff actually just last week after one of the replies to my questions about a protein substitute (thanks for the info Michelle!!) and I came to the conclusion that I would use a soy-based protein drink to help me meet my daily protein needs. So it's not that I don't *believe* the info on soy, just that this was the decision I made. On to my questions...

Is there a certain point during the pregnancy that soy would be especially bad i.e during the first 12 weeks etc.. (can't remember when the genitals fully form...) then it would be okay after? I'm 17 weeks right now and have just recently started drinking this soy protein drink.

And mainly it seems this info is geared toward soy formula and soy milk. Other items look to be less problematic, or so I'm assuming for the information. So having a sandwich with soy-meat substitute a couple of times a week or a soy drink several times a week shouldn't cause major problems...am I right??

I guess I figure I do all kinds of other things that I know without a doubt are beneficial...I don't eat meat with chem. or hormones, I only buy organic dairy products..so I'm thinking adding some soy to my diet isn't going to be the root of all evil.

I really do appreciate you guys sharing info here...no matter how much I "know", there's always something I'm not up to speed on; this being an example. It seems I've read a lot of differing opinions on this subject...

And as far as other boards yeah, they're not going to be as accepting of different viewpoints. I do admire you for putting yourself out there Michelle, because preaching to the choir is always easy but trying to make people *think* about their choices is more difficult. You and I agree on many things, but some things we won't and that's a good thing I think!! (Just an aside - I hadn't thought about this new generation of girls hitting early menarche being fed soy formula...I was thinking more of the soy eating moms. )

Anyway, thanks for more input on this!! I'm always interested in learning more....
post #16 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thanks Cheryl! I have to tell you that I think you have been wonderful - on whichever board I see you on and I appreciate teh way you voice your feelings and opinions - you always seem to do it with consideration fo how the other people may feel and show respect for the differences that they may have. I appreciate that a great deal.

Now - to give you some sort of answer for your questions...
From what I have been able to understand about it I think that the soymilk poses the most danger outside of formula and I don't see why you can't have some of it now and again - I think that after week 20 or so you would be a bit better off than now but if your not consuming it in quantity then I don't see a problem with it. My thoughts are all things in moderation. On another note - If you do run across the carbolite brand in a store I would really recommend their egg based protein shake - not becuase it's egg based necessarily - I just think it tastes MUCH better than the soy based drinks(I've tried them both and Carbolite makes both I just think the flavor is better in the egg based shake)! I think that largely the problem with soy is in the way it is processed so if you aren't taking in tons of it (soymilk a soyburger and a soyshake) daily I don't think it's an issue to be overly concerned about but if you limit it to say a serving per day then you should be fine. That is jsut my opinion though.

I didnt' really think alot about it until I started doing a low-carb diet and lets face it the protein sources are everywhere but you get a bit bored with what you have available. When I did that is when I started lookign into the whoel soy thing. That happened about the same time my mom started having HRT problems and her doc recommended she try drinking soymilk to supplement her own estrogen. It worked - even when HRT drug therapy faild the soymilk worked - for her it has been a lifesaver - she needs the estrogen because her body no longer makes it's own , but me - I'm hormonal enough! I don't need to add to it! Just goes to show that different things work for different people - it all depends on what your body aneeds and how it absorbs what you put into it. Though I bet that soymilk would make a GREAT facial!

I don't have a huge issue with whether anyone eats/drinks it or doesn't - I have it on occasion (love a good BBQ'd garden burger!) and some of the bake mixes I use as a low-carber are nothing but soy I have just elected not to take in any (or very little)when I'm PG or nursing - at least for the first trimester but I am going to ask my midwives about this when I go in next just to get their input on the whole thing, I think their opinion/knowledge would be helpful they are so good about everythign else!

BTW - do you mind me asking what part of Ohio you are in?

Have a great day!
post #17 of 43
I'm a bit north of Columbus where all I've been seeing is RAIN lately!!

Again, thanks for the soy info. After I posted last night I did a big old Google search on the topic just to make sure I had thought about all the possible issues - and I feel okay with the soy stuff for now. I read where the study also mentions that mothers who had the flu in the first tri were 3x more likely to have a boy with this defect, and moms who took too much iron were 2x more likely. Although you're right, the taste of this drink still isn't what I'd hoped it would be. I may check out the carbolite next time I'm in the store. (At least then I can keep eating my soy meats without so much concern lol!)

I guess my last question is this: since soy is heavily gmo and pesticides/herbicides are used so heavily on soy crops, are we *sure* that it's not those reasons that are causing the problems? (I always buy non-GMO, organic) I just have to mentally cover all the angles before I totally cut soy out for now. I mean, I understand the hormone issue, but even plastics have a component that mimics estrogen and therefore you shouldn't cook with it or store food or water in it for long periods. How do we know that these gmo/chemicals don't *add* to the problem?

I'd like to read the actual study and not just articles citing it...do any of you know where I might find that??

Sorry to be a doubting thomas....I must have been from the "show me state" in a previous incarnation lol! I just have to read into both sides of the info before making big changes. And I just love my soy meats lol!
post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 
You aren't being a doubting thomas Cheryl, you are askign good questions! Once upon a time I did have some of the research and not jsut articles about it - DH is a biologist and has an interest in these things so we usually keep stuff like that but our system crashed and hard drive dies in December so we lost alot of good information that we have not been able to get back. I can tell youthat I know there have been studies done on non-gmo crops of soy as well - unfortunately I don't have the information - it is among the lost things from the computer death . but it is a very valid point (which is why we looked into it too).

We are in Cincinnati and have had rain threatened for days but still havent' seen more than a sprinkle since early last week!

I know you can order the carbolite online too so you might want to give it a shot - it's not too terribly pricey and it's a good size can. We jsut think it tastes a WHOLE lot better! There is just something abou thte way the soy powders mix that even when you add friut or sugar free flavors or whatever that doesn't quite taste right to me. I was wrong - carbolite is whey protein not egg but it still doesn't change how ymmy these are! Here is a link if you would like to try them (they do sell their soy shake mixes here too FYI) http://www.carbolitedirect.com/cgi-b...ink&search=yes

Have a great day everyone!
post #19 of 43
Just thought I'd mention how much I am enjoying this civilized discussion.
No, we may not all agree on all the points but we are being open minded and respectful.

Thanks Mama's!!!

post #20 of 43
Here's a link explaining why the more processed soyfoods may not be the best way to consume soy.
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