5 Ways Soy Upsets Hormone Balance

5 Ways Soy Upsets Hormone Balance

3rd December 2014

By Dr. Edward F. Group

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Soy has been incorrectly passed off as a health food for a long time. Soybean oil, soy milk, and even tofu are a staple in the lives of many people, especially vegetarians. However, most soy products are not real food — most are highly processed and genetically modified. In my opinion, the marketing of soy as a health food is probably one of the greatest bamboozles of all time.

One of the issues concerning soy is its high level of phytoestrogens — compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. Soy contains two primary phytoestrogens, sometimes called xenoestrogens, genistein and daidzein. Both compounds are known to disrupt the endocrine system in males and females. [1] These, and all, estrogen compounds are classified as isoflavones.

Isoflavones are estrogen mimickers that increase estrogenic activity. This may be helpful at times for relieving symptoms in menopausal women. [2] However, more often than not, isoflavones block and replace naturally-produced estrogen, an action that many experts believe is cause for concern.

So what happens when things get out of balance?

How Soy Upsets Hormonal Balance

1. Contributing to Premature Menstruation

Girls are reaching their first menstruation at earlier ages, now more than ever. Fifty years ago, it was common around a girl’s 13th birthday. Now it’s hitting girls under 10. Studies on young female rats suggest soy is a contributing factor.

2. Leads to Gynecomastia

If this doesn’t scare men away from soy, nothing will. Gynecomastia — male breast enlargement — has been tied to soy consumption. [3] [4]

3. Kills Male Libido

Introducing estrogenic foods like soy into their diet can cause men to experience a loss of sexual desire. [5]

4. May Cause Infertility

Soy may be a factor behind male and female infertility. [6]

5. Linked to Breast Cancer

There’s no denying the connection between xenoestrogens and breast cancer. Considering that breast cancer cells require stimulation via estrogen, it may be a wise idea to keep your consumption of estrogen and estrogen-like compounds in check, from all sources, including soy. [7]

Soy – a Toxin in Disguise?

Perhaps the biggest problem with soy is we’re not fed this product in small amounts. Soy is a cheap, subsidized ingredient used in processed foods in the form of oil, thickeners, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, and nutritive fillers. Check the ingredients, if you’re eating processed food, you’re probably eating soy.

Fermented soy, like tempeh and natto, can be really healthy since the goitrogens and nutritive inhibitors are significantly reduced. Regardless, keep in mind that most soy, even fermented, is likely to be GMO. When it comes to non-organic and unfermented soy, I’ve personally added it to my “avoid” list.

What are your thoughts on soy? Do you eat it? If so, what types of soy foods do you use? Please share with us your thoughts in the comments!

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  • Janice Barlow, RN, NP, Jo Ann P. Johnson, MPH, and Lacie Scofield, MSPH. Early Life Exposure to the Phytoestrogen Genistein and Breast Cancer Risk in Later Years FACT SHEET on the PHYTOESTROGEN GENISTEIN. Breast Cancer and the Environmental Research Program.
  • Cheng G, Wilczek B, Warner M, Gustafsson JA, Landgren BM. Isoflavone treatment for acute menopausal symptoms. Menopause. 2007 May-Jun;14(3 Pt 1):468-73.
  • Valladares L, Garrido A, Sierralta W. Soy isoflavones and human health: breast cancer and puberty timing. Rev Med Chil. 2012 Apr;140(4):512-6. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872012000400014.
  • Department of Biological Sciences. Answers to FAQs about Soy Isoflavones, Soy Infant Formula and Puberty. LeHigh University.
  • Siepmann T, Roofeh J, Kiefer FW, Edelson DG. Hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction associated with soy product consumption. Nutrition. 2011 Jul-Aug;27(7-8):859-62. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.10.018.
  • Chavarro JE, Toth TL, Sadio SM, Hauser R. Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic. Hum Reprod. 2008 Nov;23(11):2584-90. doi: 10.1093/humrep/den243.
  • Russo J, Russo IH. The role of estrogen in the initiation of breast cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Dec;102(1-5):89-96.

Previous articles by Dr. Group:

About the author:

dr edward group iii 240x300 Natural Remedies for Ovarian CystsDr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.


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  • Bonnie

    I read where people with A blood type,benefit from eating soy. So does this apply to rare blood types?

  • I have consumed non gmo soy in the form of tofu for many many years. I sailed thru menopause with minimal symptoms, I love eating soy a couple of times a week as it gives me a feeling of fullness and strength. I am in my early 60’s , mostly vegan and very healthy as far as I can tell. I attribute my health to my plant based diet of many years which as said includes non gmo tofu and non gmo soy milk for my tea, which I also feel does not hurt me.

  • I have been eating organic non GM for years. I have never had a health problem. I used natural progesterone cream throughout my 40’s and never had a menopausal symptom. I would not eat any processed foods, raw foods grown from the earth not from packets are by far the best for your body. You say soy is bad, but in Australia there are people who make soy and soy milk themselves from organic soya beans and we are all very healthy.

    • Wake Up World

      Hi Sarah.

      I don’t think Dr Group made a blanket statement that all soy is bad. He refers to highly processed and genetically modified soy.

      Hope all is well with you in your sustainable home 🙂

  • Maria

    In a few weeks will be making my own natto from organic non-gmo soybeans.

  • Barbara

    The year I was eating a lot of soy products is also the year my thyroid suddenly developed hypothyroidism. I have read many studies that say soy is goitrogenic and adversely effects thyroid glands. I no longer eat any soy products. Grocery shopping takes forever because they have added this poison to all products as was referenced in the above article. I have witnessed firsthand the effects of soy on young girls. I am an RN and worked many years in the Buffalo public schools and it is indeed true that girls are now getting their first period at the age of 8 and are also developing breasts at that early age. I think it is appalling what they have done to our food supply and how it is adversely effecting the health of our people.

  • Graham

    The Anti Soy Brigade are probably sponsored by the Beef industry…Dont forget Cattle in the USA are fed GMO Corn and other products probably including Palm Kernals (Rain Forests in Malysia,Indonesi a etc are being Cleared for Growing Palm Oil Products) and Soy based Animal feeds,Chicken is raised on Cheap GMO soy/corn feed Chinese ,Japanese people have used Soy Products for Hundreds of Years.and their population has not Gone down…Low male Sperm Rates are Usally Associated with Fast Foods and Heavy Animal Fat Diets .Obesity is very Popular in the USA caused Not by SOY but by Processed Fast Foods and Red meat products,I have been Vegetarian for about 40 years and enjoy some Soy Based products and have rarely been sick enough to see a Doctor in all those years. USA grows Tons of GMO Foods and if you dont eat them directly then you eat them via Meat Raised on GMO Feeds…..Where’s the Beef ? Don’t Believe the Hype….GMO is in so much Food products Sold in USA ..