August 28 2016

Soy, Fermented foods, Obesity, Nutrition

Yet another study has come out that touts the health benefits of soy, specifically with regards to reducing body fat and inflammation.  Here are my take home points of the study as well as some of my cautions about soy:

 

  • Obesity is a risk factor for increased inflammation and the development of insulin resistance in the body, which in turn can lead to type II diabetes.
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) help to regulate the activity of these cells that cause this inflammation and subsequent sugar-regulation abnormalities.
  • In this study, the researchers were investigating whether a compound found in soy (the soy isoflavone called daidzein) could affect the PPAR actions, thus affecting the interaction between fat cells with other cells, and leading to decreased inflammation.
  • To answer the above, cultures of fat cells and macrophages (cells that can initiate inflammation in the body) were treated with daidzein, some with and some without inhibitors for PPARs. Afterwards, gene expression of inflammation was assessed.
  • The results showed that the soy isoflavone daidzein significantly decreased inflammatory levels and suggested that daidzein helps to control inflammatory gene expression certain PPARs, resulting in less inflammation!

Bottom Line

This study is further evidence supporting the potential benefits of soy isoflavones. In this study specifically, there is strong evidence to support that soy isoflavones may be a very helpful treatment strategy for dealing with the dangerous persistent inflammation that comes from obesity. 

Some personal thoughts on the study

The results of the above study are not surprising to me as there have been a slew of studies that strongly suggest the protective power of soy isoflavones in cholesterol and heart disease, Type II diabetes, breast cancer, and PCOS.  That said, as a holistic medical doctor who has worked with many patients and clients with food sensitivities, I often recommend soy with some caution. And the reason is that for all its amazing benefits that have been cited in research articles, and have been witnessed by studying Asian populations who have thrived on soy, there are important things to consider:

  •   The cultivation of GMO plants continue to rise and in 2013, 80% of the world’s population of soybean was GMO.
  •  Even if you believe that GMO soy is constitutionally the same as conventional soy, the pesticide components that are sprayed on GMO soy has been found to be detrimental to human health, with links to cancer and mood disorders… and more studies need to done to investigate the risks.
  • While there were definite health benefits seen in the past among largely Asian populations who were consuming soy, these populations were NOT consuming GMO and pesticide sprayed soy. Furthermore, a lot of the soy consumed was fermented (examples: miso and natto) and processed soy additives were not a feature in their diet as is the case among many Western diets today.
  • Soy food intolerance has been increasing and I’ve witnessed this among clients and patients. I believe this might be linked to again the fact that processed soy and soy additives are in so many “food” products now. Again this is NOT the type of soy that has been established in most cases to have health benefits and in the case of anyone with a soy food intolerance, I recommend an elimination diet first, before a later introduction (if tolerated and desired) of organic soy, preferably fermented, in healthy amounts (no more than 4-5 servings a day).

Short Quiz

Dance Link

This is a piece I did not on pesticides but on weeds. It’s called Weed Song. Please enjoy.

Choreography: Tumi Johnson

Dancer: Tumi Johnson

Sound: Poem (“Weed Song) by Tumi Johnson)

Videography: Dana Gray

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