European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology Summary: Men who eat an average of half a serving of soy food a day have lower concentrations of sperm than men who do not eat soy foods. The association was particularly marked in men who were overweight or obese, the study found.
Isoflavones daidzein, genistein and glycitein are plant-derived compounds with oestrogenic effects that are found mainly in soy beans and soy-derived products. Animal studies have linked the high consumption of isoflavones with infertility in animals, but so far there has been little evidence of their effect in humans. Dr Chavarro and his colleagues analysed the intake of 15 soy-based foods in 99 men who had attended a fertility clinic with their partners to be evaluated for sub-fertility between and They asked them how often and how much they had eaten in the previous three months; the foods included tofu, tempeh, tofu or soy sausages, bacon, burgers and mince, soy milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream, and other soy products such as roasted nuts, drinks, powders and energy bars.
Different foods have different levels of isoflavones in them, and so the researchers related the size of the serving to the particular food. For instance, a standard serving of tofu was g and for soy milk it was one cup millilitres.
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The men were divided into four groups according to their intake of soy foods and isoflavones. Prostate normal size ml men in this group had intakes of soy foods as high as nearly four servings per day.
They also found the relationship between soy foods and sperm concentration was strongest in men with the higher sperm concentrations.
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The study does not reveal why soy foods have this effect on sperm, but Dr Chavarro speculates that increased oestrogenic activity may have an adverse effect on the production of sperm by interfering with other hormonal signals. This effect could be strengthened further in overweight and obese men because men with high levels of body fat produce more oestrogen than slimmer men, leading to high overall levels of oestrogen in the body and reproductive organs.
Soy foods are the most important source of phytoestrogens in people in the Western world, and the researchers say they were able to comprehensively assess the men's soy intake.
They did not assess intake of isoflavones from other sources, such as bakery products made with soy flour. Prostate normal size ml könyökizom fájdalom say that the clinical significance of their research remains to be determined, and further randomised trials are needed.
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Journal Reference: Jorge E. ChavarroThomas L. TothSonita M. Sadioand Russ Hauser. Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic.