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Soyfoods a Healthy Choice for Men

WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- June is Men's Health Month, a perfect time to summarize the science showing that soyfoods -- from tofu, soymilk, edamame, soy yogurt and frozen dairy-free soy treats to non-meat alternatives, soy nuts, soy nut butter, and/or cereals and bars with soy -- promote the health of men by helping to protect against prostate cancer, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and aide in weight management.

"Today more than ever before, the science is clear: a large body of research documents important health benefits for men who consume soyfoods and does not conclusively find any negative effects on male fertility or erectile function," said Nancy Chapman, RD, MPH, Executive Director of the Soyfoods Association of North America.

The weight of scientific evidence examining how soy affects men's health continues to show soy intake has no effect on erectile function, testosterone levels, reproductive hormones, sperm motility, or sperm quality. This evidence includes a large body of U.S. government and National Institute of Health-sponsored human and primate research, in which controlled amounts of isoflavones from soy were fed and no effect on quantity, quality or motility of sperm were observed. In fact, a small-scale, preliminary study by Dr. Jorge Chavarro (1) found that "soyfood and soy isoflavone intakes were unrelated to total sperm count, ejaculate volume, sperm motility, or sperm morphology," which are the important measures of sperm quality and male infertility.

Misperceptions have developed regarding the estrogen-mimicking phytoestrogens and several men's health problems, including erectile dysfunction (ED). According to the American Urological Association Foundation, there is no association between soyfoods and ED. Rather, the causes of this condition include damage to nerves, muscle, or tissue; lifestyle choices including smoking and being overweight; psychological factors such as stress or depression; and several common medicines used to treat high blood pressure and depression. Additionally, there are no clinical research studies linking soyfoods with a lack of men's sexual performance, low sperm count or infertility.

A study of prostate mortality rates in 42 countries documented significantly lower prostate cancer death rates with soy consumption.(2) A growing body of research suggests that regular consumption of soyfoods may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 30 percent. (3, 4)

At a time when heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men, (5) a growing body of research continues to find that soy protein lowers both the total amount of cholesterol and the so-called "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. In addition, soy protein may also help maintain or moderately increase the "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, (6) and may help lower triglycerides, which both are linked with improved heart health. These findings reinforce the science behind the health claim approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999 stating "25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." While the health claim is currently under review to assess the effect of more recent data, a substantial amount of research conducted since the original soy protein health claim continues to support the role of soy protein as part of a heart healthy diet. (7, 8, 9)

For the estimated 68.3 million men over the age of 20 who are classified as overweight or obese,(10) an evidence-based review conducted by the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana finds soy protein is equal to other protein sources, such as dairy or meat, in helping to battle weight by promoting fat loss. (11) Findings from this review also support the possibility that soy protein helps decrease short-term appetite and calorie intake, which is why men battling extra pounds should try soyfoods to curb cravings and replace foods high in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Men can have complete confidence that eating soyfoods is not only safe, but also that soy is a healthy option. For the most part, soyfoods are easily digestible, low in calories and saturated fat, and contain no cholesterol. Improved men's health and eating soyfoods go hand-in-hand. For more information, please visit


  1. 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;23:2584-90.
  2. Hebert JR, Hurley TG, Olendzki BC, Teas J, Ma Y, Hampl JS. Nutritional and socioeconomic factors in relation to prostate cancer mortality: a cross-national study. J Natl Cancer Inst 1998;90:1637-47.
  3. Yan L, Spitznagel EL. Meta-analysis of soy food and risk of prostate cancer in men. Int J Cancer 2005;117:667-9.
  4. Lin Yan L & Spitznagel EL. Soy consumption and prostate cancer risk in men: a revisit of a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1155-63.
  5. "Leading Causes of Death in Males, United States, 2004." Centers for Disease Control. 9 Jun 2009. <>.
  6. Harland JI, Haffner TA. Systematic review, meta-analysis and regression of randomised controlled trials reporting an association between an intake of circa 25 g soya protein per day and blood cholesterol. Atherosclerosis 2008;200:13-27.
  7. McDonald A. "Effects of Soy Protein on Total Cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol: Review of Published Studies 1998-2008." Radiant Development., May, 23, 2008. Submitted to FDA in response to the review of the soy protein health claim, FDA Docket No. 2007N-0464 on June 18, 2008.
  8. Anderson J. "Soy Protein Effects on Serum Lipoproteins: A Quality Assessment and Weighted Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Studies." Submitted to FDA in response to the review of the soy protein health claim, FDA Docket No. 2007N-0464 on June 18, 2008.
  9. Solae LLC. "Evidence-Based Review In Support of The Soy Protein & Coronary Heart Disease Health Claim." Submitted to FDA in response to the review of the soy protein health claim, FDA Docket No. 2007N-0464, June 5, 2008.
  10. "Weight-control Information Network." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). 9 Jun 2009. <>.
  11. Cope M, Erdman J, Allison D. "The potential role of soyfoods in weight and adiposity reduction: an evidence-based review." Obes Rev. 2008;9:219-35.

SOURCE Soyfoods Association of North America
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