This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, which supports those who struggle with not being able to conceive a child. Although many people who are infertile believe it is hereditary or caused by another medical condition, the truth is that diet plays a huge part in the health of the human reproductive system. Infertility is a huge problem for both men and women in the United States and the dangers of soy are definitely a contributing factor to this growing epidemic.
The vast majority of soy products contain soy protein isolate, which is a food ingredient used as a dry powder that has been isolated from the other parts of the soybean. This protein is often found in shakes, protein bars, cereals, soups, mayonnaise, veggie burgers, and is abundant in processed foods.
Soy protein isolate (genetically modified soy) can cause side effects of the reproductive system including: erectile dysfunction and decreased libido in men, and hormonal disruption, infertility, endometriosis, and even miscarriages in women.
A Brazilian study was conducted on female rats and was published in The Anatomical Record in 2009 and looked at the impact of soy on their reproductive system. Female rats were fed genetically modified soy for 15 months and were compared to female rats that were fed organic soy or no soy at all.
The study showed that the rats fed genetically modified soy developed early ovulation and that the lining of uterus called the endometrium contained more cells than normal and that the glands were enlarged. These hormone-induced changes confirmed that a diet of GM soy was wrecking havoc on the female rats’ reproductive systems.
According to Dr. Stanley Ewen, a senior UK pathologist with Grampian University Hospitals Trust and member of the Independent Science Panel, the same destruction of the reproductive system could occur in women who eat genetically modified soy. This research suggests that the dangers of soy cause infertility in women who consume it.
He said that if women experienced similar changes to their hormone levels and changes in the lining of the uterus, it could increase their risk of retrograde menstruation, which causes menstrual discharge to travel backwards into the body instead of through the uterus. This often leads to a disease called endometriosis, where cells from the lining of the uterus grow on other areas of the body. This condition causes severe pain, heavy menstruation, and infertility.
In addition, Ewen mentioned that the herbicide Roundup is highly likely the main cause for the hormonal disruption of the soybeans. Genetically modified soybeans are now designed to be “Roundup ready” and are inserted with a bacterial gene, allowing the plants to endure a deadly dosage of weed killer. The spray does not kill the plant, but leaves its active ingredient glyphosate to accumulate into the beans which is then consumed by animals and humans.
Glyphosate interferes with aromatase, which produces estrogen and is demanded by luteal cells to create hormones for the menstrual cycle. Glyphosate is also toxic to the placenta which connects a mother to the fetus.
A French study at the University of Caen was conducted in 2009, proving that glyphosate can kill cells in the trophoblast membrane (the outer layer of the human placenta) which could lead to the death of the placenta. As soon as the placenta is damaged, the result can lead to a miscarriage. Even small amounts of glyphosate consumed by a pregnant mother can cause serious birth defects to her child.
Even more alarming is that not only does glyphosate harm the female reproductive system it can also affect men as well. This was proven in a study published in the US National Library of Medicine in 1995, when a group of researchers investigated the side effects of chronic treatment of glyphosate in mature male white rabbits from New Zealand.
The results showed that there was a significant decrease in sperm concentration, libido, ejaculate volume, semen osmolality. Furthermore, there was an increase in abnormal and dead sperm in the rabbits.
Soy consumption has increased dramatically over the past decade because it is cheap to manufacture and can be used to create a large variety of food products. But not many people know how hazardous genetically modified soy really is. The dangers of soy can cause infertility, due to the poisonous plant killer Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate that accrues in the beans which humans then ingest. The side effects from eating genetically modified soy literally destroy the reproductive system in women and reduce the sperm count in men. For those desperately trying to conceive a child, it is recommended to avoid infertility to eat only organic (fermented) soy or avoid soy altogether. Better safe than sorry.
By Amy Nelson