Whether the same effect occurs in human infants is difficult to say, but a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed over 800 adults, ages 20 to 34, who were fed either soy-based or cow’s-milk formulas during their infancy. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. “Soya is a complete source of protein which makes it ideal is men following a vegetarian or vegan diet,” Ludlam-Raine added. Price lived the kind of cowboy lifestyle that few of his friends, even those decades younger, had the stamina to sustain. Several months later, his estrogen levels—once higher than those of most women—were in the low-to-normal range for healthy men. “The problem,” he says, “is when a thing like soy is touted as this wonderful panacea for health, and people end up going overboard on it.”. What’s more, studies of these phytoestrogens in leading peer-reviewed medical journals suggest that even lower doses—such as the amount in the 25-gram soy protein target cited by the FDA—have the potential to wreak hormonal havoc. Long the foundation of a vegetarian diet, tofu provides protein with little of the saturated fat and none of the moral indigestion that comes with meat. Many men, to be sure, are hard pressed to explain why soy is supposed to be so healthy, but they take it on faith that they should embrace the bean. The gynecomastia that eventually developed became deeply humiliating for Price. “For a long time now,” she says, “people have been finding only good things about phytoestrogens. Dr. Lewi, who had searched the medical literature extensively when trying to solve Price’s case, had come across no papers linking soy to gynecomastia. About Us · Contact Us · Disclaimer · Privacy and Cookie Policy. The slightest touch triggered throbs. Moreover, it contributes to less protein synthesis in the body. But the latter two, which come from animal sources, are more expensive to produce than soy. Both act so similarly to estrogen that they’re known as phytoestrogens (plant-produced estrogens). “Men aren’t supposed to have breasts,” he says today in a quiet Texas drawl. Even my emotions changed.”, Related: The Men’s Health Guide To Erectile Dysfunction: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Penis Healthy For Life. Mood swings and a decrease in libido are not unusual companions to bereavement. While acknowledging that rat results do not always directly translate to humans, the authors of the first study suggest that this time there’s reason to believe they will. It’s a myth that soy increases estrogen in males. Unfortunately, Price soon discovered he was lactose intolerant. One of the few differences to emerge was that the group raised on soy formula regularly used more asthma and allergy medications in adulthood. Dr. Chavarro cautions that this doesn’t prove cause and effect, and that it’s too early to counsel men to avoid soy foods in the hope of boosting fertility. If shooting blanks is worrisome, how about being unable to shoot at all? In a 2005 study in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers comparing soy to casein concluded that “the biological value of soy protein must be considered inferior to that of casein protein in humans.”. “We were very surprised by this at the time,” says Hogervorst, “but a new consensus is starting to form now. The day Dr. Lewi asked him to stop drinking the stuff, he immediately complied. He tried it and liked it. “Tofu’s the modern equivalent of cod liver oil,” added another buddy, Bill. “In today’s supermarkets,” he says, his voice weary, “you can’t hardly get anything without at least some soy in it.”, The 60 Best Black Friday Deals to Check Out Now, My Secret to Navigating COVID-19 Mental Health, 8 Reasons to Quit Your Phone This Holiday Season, No, Vitamin C Supplements Will Not Save Us All, The Hypervolt GO Is the Mini Massage Gun You Need, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Even if I had wanted to do anything physical, I couldn’t have.”, Related: 5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Manpower. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet or taking supplements that may interfere with medications. He asked Price how much soy milk, on average, he drank each day. Though he’d asked Price about his lifestyle and habits innumerable times, he decided to go back once again, and this time to make his questions as specific as possible. A whopping 35 percent of bottle-fed babies in the United States receive at least some of their protein from soy. Even better, the extreme nipple tenderness began abating. He also started drinking milk, a favorite from his childhood that he figured would supply protein and other nutrients. The reason people say soy is bad for you is because it contains what are known as phytoestrogens. They’ve remained in that range ever since, but the physical changes to his penis, his loss of sexual desire, and his heightened emotions have persisted. In 1999, soy protein earned a highly coveted FDA-allowed health claim: Diets that include 25 grams—about a pound of tofu—a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. Realizing his obligation to warn other doctors about the possibility, he told Price he wanted to follow him for several more months and eventually write up his case for a medical journal. The studies, published in the Journal of Andrology and Urology respectively, looked at the effect of daidzein on the sexual function of male rats. (They aren't very effective deterrents, apparently, since soy meal is widely used to feed livestock.). As soon as he saw that Price’s estrogen was once again climbing, Dr. Lewi called his patient. Healthy full-term infants should be given soy formula only when medically necessary, the AAP’s 2008 report states. In 2005, Israel’s health ministry recommended that soy products be limited in young children and, if possible, avoided altogether in infants. Still, his experiences have taught him that the foods we eat are not always what we think they are. Hormones and hormonelike products are not very good for people over 65.”, Related: 8 Daily Habits That Will Keep Your Brain Young and Sharp. “I had no idea,” he says. “But clearly, this story is just starting,” he says. “There are also concerns that soy might decrease a man’s testosterone production and increase his estradiol production, which we tend to associate with female hormone production.”. There are 20 million people in the United States alone who have consumed soy formula as infants. In issuing such a caution, Israel joined France, New Zealand, and Australia in officially embracing a better-safe-than-sorry approach for the next generation. It was a good life. Sex Hormones. In the wake of Donna’s death, Price’s body as well as his emotions began to change, often in ways that were hard to separate from normal grief. Gradually, as some contrasting information accumulates, the paradigm changes 180 degrees and you see people arguing that phytoestrogens are all bad. Only after his breasts started hurting and growing again did it occur to Price that Ensure might also contain the last thing his body needed. Important Disclaimer: The information contained on Healthy Focus is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The authors of the Urology study sound a similar warning. Moderate doses of the phyto-estrogen administered either in youth or adulthood significantly affected the quality of their erections. His breasts by this point resembled the buds of a pubescent girl. ". “More studies need to be conducted.”. He had a commercial pilot’s license and split his time between flying and working the land. “It’s this gunk she calls superfood. Dumbfounded, Dr. Lewi asked Price how he knew that without seeing the test results. Donna cooked well-balanced meals, nothing fancy, just standard American fare. “But the point is I don’t think anyone knows. Yufeng Huang, M.D., a coauthor on both papers, says that the “moderate” dose used in the animal studies leads to approximately the same blood level of daidzein in men who eat soy every day, a common practice in Asia. Of course, most medicines have side effects. There may be a hidden dark side to soy, one that has the power to undermine everything it means to be male. Then Donna developed glioblastoma multi-forme, a lethal type of brain cancer. Thanks to this, doctors now have a newly documented agent to consider when evaluating gynecomastia. “All of a sudden,” he says, “I was living on not-so-healthy meals I’d make for myself.”, Related: 5 Healthy Eating Hacks For Guys Who Hate to Cook. It looked as if gum balls were implanted underneath each nipple. As for other men who might one day develop a similar problem, Price’s advice is unequivocal: Go to your doctor at the first sign of pain or swelling. “I was becoming much more sentimental,” he recalls, describing his emotions as almost feminine. Before Dr. Lewi could even announce the results, Price said, “I already know what you’re going to tell me, Dr. Lewi. While it is fair to say that no single article, be it intended for health professionals or the lay public, is responsible for the myth that soy causes male feminization, a 2009 article in Men’s Health warrants being singled out.