Your Thyroid Hates Soy


Soy is not good food because it disturbs your hormones.  It is goitrogenic, meaning it can suppress thyroid gland functions, which can result in problems like goiter, thyroid enlargement, and related thyroid diseases.  The only safe use of soy as food is in a fermented form (like tofu) as a small part of the diet – and never for babies.

Myths: Asians have been using soy as food forever...

Not so.  First a little historical background on soy in Asia:

The Literature of Chinese Traditional Medicine spans thousands of years.   The Zhou Dynasty era (at least 2200 years ago) was a particularly fruitful time for the medicine, and what is considered the classic on herbs and their medicinal use was written at this time – the Shen Nong Ben Ciao Jing.  Professional medicinal use of soy was limited to tea of the germinated seed, in combination with other herbs.  Soy itself was considered toxic.  Use of fermented soybean for medicinal uses dates to another classic on herbs from around 500 AD.

It’s hard for most westerns to grasp the idea that Chinese culture can reference government literature on vast topics ranging to such things as the legume soybean, and its uses in agriculture and medicine – from over hundreds of years.  Yet this is the case.  References to the prominence of soy date to that era, along with rice, barley, wheat, and millet, but references show its use for crop rotation to help the soil, not for food!  The agricultural literature also verifies this.  The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes.

The bioscience understanding of soy for crop rotation is that the soy plant helps the nitrogen content of the soil; therefore excellent for crop rotation practices.  Modern bioscience also has some other disturbing things to say about soy that isn’t generally known.  More on that a little later.

Anyway, once methods of fermentation spread in the same time era, soy was made for food in stuff like what we call today soy sauce, miso, tempeh, and natto.  Tofu came later, say somewhere around 150 years before Christ, and spread to other parts of Asia.   So Asians didn’t traditionally eat soybeans, only after finding out how to make something edible with it using fermentation techniques did they start to eat soy products.

Lets fast forward to our times.

“Thyroid enlargement in rats and humans, especially women and children, fed with soy beans has been known for half a century” – Theodore Kay

Modern Soy Research Findings

edamame soyA 1998 survey found that in Japan, the daily amount of protein from soy was about 7-8 grams, less than two teaspoons.  A study in China found the average to be about 9 grams, so around the same 2 teaspoons range.  You can see that what studies show is that Asians by and large don’t consume much soy products. The only exception to this is with monastery monks who find soy foods helpful because it lowers libido!!

Among certain populations in America now, especially with vegetarians, soy consumption is very high.  Regardless, we can say that on average the Japanese eat about 30 times as much soy as Americans.  They have lower incidence of breast, uterus, and prostate cancer, but Asians in general have much higher rates of esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, and guess what: thyroid cancer!!  Hmm.

In 1988 Theodore Kay (quote above) did research to find how much iodine was required to mitigate the goitrogens in soy.  He found that small amounts of iodine could prevent noticeable thyroid enlargement, but even large amounts wouldn’t prevent long-term pathological changes to the thyroid gland.  He also noticed that goitrogens in soy cannot be removed by cooking!

Yet the soy lobby was and continues to be strong.   Soy was and is promoted as a health food!  It is not.

Around 2001 a report published in Cancer Research, showed that one of the isoflavones in soy (which is what makes it goitrogenic), was more carcinogenic than a synthetic estrogen that is linked to high rates of cervical cancer!

The authors of the study concluded in the understatement of the year that : “. . . the use of soy-based infant formulas… and the marketing of soy products designed to appeal to children should be closely examined.”

Other Health Problems with Consuming Soy

The news that it is the isoflavones in soy that make it toxic to the thyroid gland, came as a shock to the soy industry which promotes these phytoestrogens as great for everything from of course menopausal discomforts to osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.    (Just like they wanted you to believe Hormone Replacement Therapy was a so good for you!)

There is no lack of studies showing all the bad news about soy and thyroid depression.  Turns out only a handful of roasted soy nuts, little more than a glass of soy milk, or a couple of chunks of tofu contain enough isoflavones to able to provoke the mental confusion associated with disruption of thyroid function.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.

Other substances in soy can contribute to the digestive problems so common in individuals with thyroid troubles, including potent enzyme inhibitors that block the breakdown of protein, and lectins that are highly irritating to the digestive tract.  These compounds tend to occur in higher amounts in genetically engineered soybeans.  And of course these days all commercial soy products come from genetically engineered soy beans.   Its one of the most genetically engineered crops, right up there with corn, and  rapeseed (canola), which is also garbage.

Soy and Babies

In Asia, soy is mostly consumed in fermented form, and is not considered appropriate food for babies. When a mother is unable to nurse and a wet nurse is unavailable, her infant is given milk from cows or water buffalo. However in the US, annually around 750,000 babies receive infant formula that contain soy.   This is terrible news not only because of the isoflavones issue, but also the high levels of phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, lectins, manganese and phytoestrogens.

Manganese overdose is associated with brain damage leading to violent behavior.   Overdose can occur because babies lack the blood-brain barrier which would keep older humans safe.  Furthermore, as compared to milks, soy lacks many factors that are essential to normal brain development including essential fatty acids, DHA-brain growth factor and cholesterol.

But the biggest problem for young humans remains the isoflavones, the thyroid disrupting compounds.  One estimate is that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives as much estrogen as the equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day!  Can you imagine?  This accounts for the alarming levels of premature onset of menstrual cycle in girls, and a whole host of problems in both sexes including extreme emotional behavior, depression, asthma, immune system problems, pituitary insufficiency, thyroid disorders and irritable bowel syndrome.

infant soySo then why is there soy infant formula’s so readily available?   The soy lobby is strong and the baby formula industry is also strong.  The industry is large and powerful, able to influence the outcome of “scientific research” and wage successful publicity campaigns.

In a recent University of Iowa study, funded by the formula industry and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared the reproductive health of adults who had been fed soy- or milk-based formula as infants. The survey found that the soy group had higher levels or reproductive disorders, asthma and allergies! Females of the soy group were more likely to be sedentary and to have taken weight loss medications. But can you believe the authors omitted these findings and conclude that “. . . the findings of the current study are reassuring about the safety of soy infant formula.” The University of Iowa study is widely cited in the press as proof of soy formula safety!!

Soy is everywhere, in everything

  • Soy protein is now found in most supermarket breads.
  • Soy oil is in many canned and boxed goods.
  • Soy is in probably every brand of vitamins you find at your health food store!
  • Soy milk has been pushed on everybody including the Asians.
  • Soy milk sales are rising and soybean milk processing plants are sprouting up in places like Kenya.
  • Even in China, where meat is a sign of wealth and health and soy is traditionally a poverty food, now has Western-style soy factories rather than developing grasslands for grazing animals!

Do yourself a favor, read the labels of what you purchase and avoid soy.  You’ll be surprised how many products have it or its oil is in.

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