On 20th September 2022 The Fuji Foundation for Protein Research, the Alpro Foundation and MyNutriWeb held an online Symposium on the Topic of “The Future Of Soya For Health & Sustainability”
A group of world-leading experts shared the latest research insights on the above topic and the following is a summary of the findings.
- Soya is a uniquely rich source of the isoflavones genistein, daidzein and glycitein. As naturally occurring plant compounds (phytoestrogens) they can bind to oestrogen receptors (ER), mainly to ER beta, in the body and have both weak estrogenic effects and anti-estrogenic effects.
- The health benefits of soya foods and of isoflavones have been rigorously investigated over the past 30years with a large database of observational and clinical studies being published showing they are both effective and safe for human consumption.
- There is consistent evidence showing that soya foods and soya isoflavones do not act as endocrine disruptors, do not cause hormonal abnormalities nor have adverse health effects on a wide range of outcomes. This is the case for both primary and recurrent breast cancer, thyroid function, male and female reproductive function and the onset of puberty in children.
- Soya isoflavones have benefits for preventing age related oestrogen deficient bone loss in women especially if combined with regular physical activity. Individual variations in response to isoflavones may result from population heterogeneity in the ability to produce the active metabolite equol from daidzein in the gut.
- Soya foods and isoflavones also show protective effects against hormone related cancers such as breast cancer. There are a variety of potential mechanisms of action including inhibition of the action of oestrogen dependent cancer cell proliferation.
- In addition to oestrogen receptor (ER) dependent mechanisms of action there appears to be an ER- independent mechanism of equol on the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation for cancers beyond those linked to oestrogen.