Soy Intake and Prostate Cancer

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by Warren Matthews of Xtend-Life

There has long been controversy over whether men should ingest soy because it contains isoflavones. Some web sites paint real horror stories about this substance suggesting that it causes prostate cancer. Unfortunately, like many things on the internet the truth is somewhat distorted.

Isoflavones play a crucial role in the good health of both men and women. The main active ingredients of isoflavones are genistein and diadzein. Isoflavones help prevent prostate cancer if, like all nutrients it is taken early enough. Many studies bear this out.

It is for this reason that we use a modest amount of isoflavones in both our Men and Women’s version of Total Balance. There is a definite deficiency of isoflavones in the typical western diet and the amount we include in Total Balance is at a level to help overcome that deficiency and provide the protective effects that your body needs. Remember, that although that isoflavones help in the prevention of cancer there is little evidence to support that they will help after the event. Some scientists argue that they could in fact be undesirable after cancer has been detected but that’s not definite either.

So, unless it has definitely been proven that you have cancer, isoflavones should definitely be part of your regime….in moderation. More is not better! Remember also that a mildly elevated PSA is NOT a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Incidentally our Total Balance Unisex does not contain any isoflavones or any nutrients that may influence the body’s hormones, so whether you are a man or women, if you suspect that you have any sort of cancer then you can switch to this version.

There is an article about soy intake and prostate cancer on Reuters:

Soy intake may stave off early prostate cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Consumption of the estrogen-like “isoflavone” substances found in soy may reduce the risk of developing early prostate cancer, but isoflavones appear to be associated with advanced disease if prostate cancer does occur, Japanese researchers report.

Isoflavones found in traditional foods that Japanese eat throughout life may be protective against prostate cancer, Dr. Norie Kurahashi told Reuters Health, but we can not recommend isoflavones from Supplements to those who don’t consume them regularly, “because isoflavones may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer.”

Kurahashi and associates from the National Cancer Center, Tokyo, investigated the association between dietary isoflavones and risk of prostate cancer in a study of Japanese men, who generally consume large amounts of soy products and have a low rate of prostate cancer.

The study, which is reported in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, involved some 43,500 men followed from 1995 through 2004. During that time, 307 of them were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Consumption of isoflavones (principally genistein, but also daidzein and soy foods) was associated with a decreased risk of early prostate cancer, the authors report. Genistein and daidzein, however, were associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer, the results indicate.

The protective effect of isoflavones for early prostate cancer was clearest among men over 60 years old, the researchers note, as was the association of isoflavone with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer.

“We suggest that isoflavones delay the progression from latent cancer to clinically significant prostate cancer in Japanese who consume isoflavones regularly throughout life,” Kurahashi said. “However, we do not know when or how isoflavones affect latent or (early) prostate cancer development and whether isoflavones can be used in the treatment or…prevention of this cancer.”

More studies are needed “to clarify what period in life soy consumption exerts an effect against prostate cancer and what type of prostate cancer it can prevent,” Kurahashi concluded.

SOURCE: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, March 2007

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