Soy comes from soybeans which are a leguminous plant that grows throughout the world. It one of the major food crops of the world. The beans are processed into powder which is soy protein. It is made into soy milk which is a popular beverage mostly used as a supplement to cow milk. However recent studies have proved that soy comes with its own share of side effects that poses a lot of harm to the body.
Top 10 Unexpected Side Effects Of Soy
1. High Estrogen Levels in Men
The soy milk that we consume contains certain levels of isoflavones. These raise the estrogen levels in the body when it is consumed. This adversely affects the appearance of men. Generally an over growth of the breasts is noticed among other side effects. This mostly occurs when you are consuming soy milk in large quantities. It also causes a reduction in sex drive among men.(1)
2. Reduces Natural Estrogen levels in Women
The above mentioned isoflavones are extremely beneficial for women in their post-menopausal stage. It helps to fight against the hot flashes they experience after menopause along with the other side effects that are related to this period. But that is just for those in post menopause. On the down side it blocks the natural estrogen that is produced. This also ensures that the body does not get the benefits of the natural estrogen. This makes you prone to breast and uterine cancers before menopause. It also gives rise to hormone sensitive cancers in people.(1)
3. Digestive Problems
The certified clinical nutritionist Lauren Talbot says that soy blocks the enzymes required for proper digestion of food in the digestive system. This leads to various problems like bloating, indigestion and constipation. Over time it takes the worse shape of sinus problems, asthma exacerbation, colds and irritable bowel syndrome.(2)
If you consume soy, you accelerate your chances of developing hypothyroidism or other autoimmune thyroid diseases, especially if you are already diagnosed with under-active thyroid gland. Phytoestrogens and goitrogens are two compounds present in soy that affects the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It also leads to an acute iodine deficiency in the body when consumed regularly. This too affects hypothyroidism as the thyroid gland does not function well in the absence of iodine.(3)(4)
5. Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Soy contains a lot of proteins that are beneficial for health. But at the same time it also contains compounds that hinder the synthesis of proteins. You will be suffering from bloating, indigestion and constipation. Soy also releases mucus like substances that break down and line up against the inner lining of the stomach, preventing proper digestion of food. You will end up having stomach aches, irritable bowel syndromeor diarrhea.
Soy is widely consumed and is extremely popular in the vegan diet. However excessive consumption of Soy can lead to the above side effects, but they would subside. But if the problem persists, one needs to seek medical attention at the earliest and get the cure for any of the side effect immediately.(5)
6. Mineral Absorption
Soy contains phytic acid that prevents the absorption of essential minerals in the body. Consuming excess of soy affects the strength of the body thus making the body and immune system weak.
7. Kidney Disease
Excess of aluminum is harmful for the renal system and soy is a rich source of this mineral. It contains oxalate that leads to the formation of kidney stones. Our digestive system cannot break down oxalates easily and they accumulate in the kidneys forming kidney stones. In the long run it leads to kidney failure as well.
8. Endometrial Cancer
Continuous usage of soy in large quantities leads to precancerous changes in the tissues of the uterus. This will increase your risks of endometrial cancer. If you are already suffering from cancer then do not indulge in consuming soy as it will make your condition worse.
9. Urinary Bladder Cancer
Soy products have also been known to cause urinary bladder cancer especially when consumed in large quantities. If you are already a patient of bladder cancer then avoid it at all cost .If you have a family history of bladder cancers then avoid it as well.
10. Harmful for Pancreas
Soy contains trypsin inhibitors which stimulates the trypsin enzyme. This helps in the break down of proteins in the small intestine. Various studies have shown that these inhibitors prohibit the proper functioning of the trypsin and this damages the pancreas.
[ Read: Unexpected Side Effects of Tomato ]
- Soy and phytoestrogens: possible side effects : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270274/
- Gas production in human ingesting a soybean flour derived from beans naturally low in oligosaccharides : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9925135/
- Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16571087/
- Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on the Effect of Soy on Thyroid Function : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408586/
- Soy hypersensitivity in children with food allergy : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1380784/
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