Soy Weakens Your Immune System
June 08, 2002
A hormone-like compound found
in soy products, including soy-based infant formulas and menopause remedies,
may impair immune function.
When mice were injected with
the "plant estrogen" genistein, which is found in soy products,
levels of several immune cells dropped and the thymus, a gland where immune
cells mature, shrank.
Of course, people eat rather
than inject soy products, but the thymus also became smaller in mice that
consumed genistein in their diet. This is particularly concerning, researchers
say, since the resulting blood levels of genistein in the mice were lower
than those reported in human babies fed soy formula.
A few reports from the late
1970s and early 1980s suggested that a soy-based diet impaired infants'
immune functions. About 15% of infants in the US, or roughly 750,000 children,
consume soy-based formula each year.
of the National Academy of Sciences May 21, 2002;99:7616-7621