by: Dr. Mercola
July 30, 2012
According to Medical News Today1, a paper published in Biology of Reproduction2suggests that exposure to estrogenic chemicals in the womb or during childhood has the potential to negatively affect a woman’s fertility as an adult.
This coincides with earlier research on neonatal effects of exposure to plant or environmental estrogens. In studies with mice, researchers found that causes of infertility included:
- Failure to ovulate
- Reduced ability of the oviduct to support embryo development before ovulation, and
- Failure of the uterus to support effective implantation of blastocyst-stage embryos
According to Medical News Today:
“The team now reports that neonatal exposure to genistein changes the level of immune response in the mouse oviduct, known as mucosal immune response. Some of the immune response genes were altered beginning from the time of genistein treatment, while others were altered much later, when the mouse was in early pregnancy.
Together, those changes led to harmfully altered immune responses and to compromised oviduct support for preimplantation embryo development, both of which would likely contribute to infertility.”
Since human development of the reproductive tract continues through puberty, researchers believe that estrogenic chemical exposure to human females as a fetus, infant, child, and adolescent could have impacts on fertility. The authors suggested that minimizing the use of soy-based baby formula would be a step toward maintaining female reproductive health.
Earlier research has also found that the compound genistein impairs sperm as they swim toward the egg. Even tiny doses of the compound in the female tract could destroy sperm, which would impair your ability to conceive in the first place.
Do You Still Believe Soy is a Health Food?
Soybeans contain compounds called phytoestrogens or isoflavones, which have been found to produce a variety of mild hormonal actions within the human body by mimicking the sex hormone estrogen. An increased risk of breast cancer is another potential hazard, especially if you’re exposed to high amounts of estrogen-mimicking compounds from birth.
Making matters worse, unless you’re buying USDA 100% Organic soy products, chances are you’re consuming genetically engineered (GE) soy, or feeding it to your baby, and GE crops—soy in particular—has also been linked to serious fertility problems. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has similarly been implicated in causing miscarriages, and both conventional- and genetically engineered soy is typically treated with heavy doses of this herbicide.
All in all, the health hazards of unfermented soy products—particularly genetically engineered varieties—are so serious and numerous, I strongly suggest avoiding them altogether, whether you’re planning a pregnancy or not. But clearly, it’s of particular concern for pregnant women.
For an excellent summary of the many dangers of consuming unfermented soy, please see this previous article by The Weston A. Price Foundation.
Unfortunately, many Americans who are committed to healthy lifestyles have been hoodwinked and manipulated into believing that unfermented and processed soy products like soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers and soy ice cream are good for them. This is a tragic case of shrewd marketing and outright lies, with the end result of producing large profits for the soy industry and impaired health for most who have been deceived into using unfermented soy long-term.