Thursday, March 27, 2008

soy

Some of you have asked me about soy, and here is the promised article on it.

Many people say that soy is good for you, because it acts as a weak estrogen that locks into the estrogen recepters on cells in the body, preventing the more powerful estrogen produced by the body from doing so. Here is a good summary of that argument. Thus it should be good for people who have fibroids, because we have too much estrogen in our system.

However, others have pointed out problems with soy. For me the first inkling that soy might not be the perfect wonder food it's made out to be in the media started with a reproductive endocrinologist I saw a couple of years back in my fibroid journey. She told me if nothing else I had to stop eating soy -- she had seen too many vegetarian patients where soy had set their hormones awry, with the problem resolving when they stopped eating the soy.

And indeed recently there is evidence that in our rush to add soy to everything, people are now getting too much. This article summarizes some of the problems with soy, and you can find more information in the book The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food and in this article.

In my case, I am taking my own somewhat middle path.

First of all, I am avoiding soy milk, tofu, and anything made with isolated soy protein. As the article cited in the last paragraph puts it: "For American industry, the age-old Asian method of using the whole soybean and fermenting it to remove its toxins took too long and the end product was often dull and tasteless. To speedily process soy "waste" into soy protein products, U.S. soy producers washed beans with alkaline, heated and pressure-cooked them, combatting their naturally bitter taste with sugar and infusing them with additives to prevent spoiling." All the processing done to the various soy protein products commonly eaten in the U.S. (think soy hot dogs or all the soy in the average energy bar) takes the food pretty far away from its natural state.

Second, I am only eating whole soy fermented products, like natto, miso, and tempeh. As this article states, "Fermenting soy reduces the quantities of phytic acid (which can interfere with the absorption of minerals like calcium, iron and zinc) and renders the soy more digestible, in addition to providing beneficial microorganisms." Fermentation is the traditional Japanese way of eating soy, and they should know!

I'm also making sure not to eat too much soy. This article has a good discussion of this principle of moderation for soy. I just have it a couple of days a week, usually in the form of natto. As I've written elsewhere, natto contains enzymes that help dissolve fibrin, which is what fibroids are made of. It's also a good source of protein, and it's actually tasty if you drown it in barbecue sauce! If I had more time to cook, I would experiment more with tempeh, as actually it's pretty tasty as long as you can ignore its greyish color.

I am also being very careful to only eat organic soy, as soy is one of the most genetically-engineered products out there.

A final note, early on in my fibroid-fighting I was consuming a lot of soy. This was right after I read Healing Fibroids Naturally, which recommends soy as a good protein source for women with fibroids. Taking out the dairy and meat from my diet, I didn't know what else to eat and soy was easy especially since it's served at so many restaurants and one can get soy milk practically everywhere now. Eating soy helped me be more "normal" when eating with other people -- heck I could even get something at Starbucks. However, I think it was going overboard -- I probably had soy milk every day. Telling my current acupuncturist about this now, she says "all that soy milk, it was probably too much phlegm." And indeed this site supports that idea -- soy milk is one of the things to avoid if you have phlegm. And from a Chinese medicine perspective, phlegm seems to be a big issue in my fibroids.

Here are links to two other articles I wrote on soy after this one:  here and here.

23 comments:

Rosie "Peppy" Parke said...

Thanks for your article. I stumbled upon it but it is excellent.

Peace

Fibroid Shrinker said...

Glad you enjoyed it!

rethinking neoliberalism said...

Yes, thank you so much for sharing this. I've been up all night trying to find some answers. You've moved me closer to understanding what my body's been trying to tell me all along.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

I'm so glad that it was helpful. The best of luck to you in deciphering your body's message.

deborah said...

Thank you so much for this article. I fwd to my mom. It seems as though her fibroids have resurfaced and she has been very concerned about her daily soy milk intake (she is unable to drink milk). We will seek another alternative. Thank you again!

Fibroid Shrinker said...

Sorry to hear your mother's fibroids have resurfaced. Glad the article might be helpful. Has she tried either almond milk, or So Delicious which is based on cocunut milk?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey...I am starting on mine having been (age 41) diagnosed with a 4.5cm fibroid in the walls of my uterine muscle tissue. Neither of my older sisters or my Mom have had this problem, and I am the only 1 of them to jump to Soy milk and other "marketed" health products since 1995...I am using Almond milk, don't like the hormones etc in milk...cut out red meat except once a week - I love red meat, but neither of my sister's touch it...added cheese and nuts to keep my protein source high. I am tracking my journey to see if it will shrink.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

Hello Anonymous
Best of luck to you and please keep us posted on shrinking results yuou see.

mijizanine said...

Thank you for this piece and to all who posted! I had a Uterine Artery Embolization two years ago and felt back to myself after months of sudden discomfort from my huge fibroids (5 months pregnant is how my doctor referred to their size so I'd have a better understanding). I'm a vegetarian and recently become concerned with the size of my stomach (again) and how difficult it is for me to lose weight. I'm very active and am worried they're back. I've got an appointment next month with my Ob who supports keeping my uterus (thank God for her!). This info on soy is greatly appreciated and will be shared!!! Thank you :0)

Fibroid Shrinker said...

Thanks for the feedback and wishing you the best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the info. I stumbled across as I was searching for answers to my fibroid problems since the doctors seem to have none. Mine are only a cm or 2 iin size but are causing severe menstrual problems (had to have an emergency d and c two days ago). I'm sure this will not be the whole answer to my prayers but I have been consuming soy milk almost daily so that ends today. again, thanks for the info, we women don't speak out about these problems enough.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

You're welcome. Sorry to hear about your situation. I was drinking a lot of soy milk too when my fibroids got started. Hope you'll find other helpful info in this blog too. Good luck to you, and you are so right women don't talk about this kind of thing enough!

Smbdy said...

I see this article is from 2008. I'm wondering if you were able to get rid of your fibroids. I've had mine since 2007, well that's when I found out about them anyway. I was twice scheduled for a hysterectomy but couldn't go through with it. My fibroids are pretty large but I still want to believe it's possible to get rid of them naturally. Information is so conflicting though. It's hard to know what to believe.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

Hi Smbdy
Thanks for the note and question. I have not been able to get rid of my fibroids yet, but I believe that this is because I have been doing IVF treatments and the drugs from them has made fibroid shrinking difficult.
How large are your fibroids? The bigger they are the harder they are to get rid of but some people with larger ones have had success too.

Anonymous said...

Blackstrap molasses are the way forward. Having said that I am having my 11cm fibroid removed by myomectomy in August as I simply can't bear the symptoms any longer and it's growing every day.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had an operation similar to the one I am going to have as I am terrified.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous: I had an abdominal myomectomy in 2007. I was reading this blog and found great amount of information about the procedure and recovery. Hope it's fine to post a link:
http://blog.geekwithfibroids.wordpress.com/2006/09/21/how-are-you-feeling-after-your-abdominal-myomectomy/

Good luck with your myo!

Anonymous said...

I first learned that I had a small 1.8cm fibroid in 2007. It was measured again in 2009 at 2.1cm. Now in 2011 it is 2.5cm.

My last period was in Feb, of 2010 so I have officially been in menopause 1yr and 7mos. All I know is that it is not good that it has grown since going into menopause.

While waiting for my doctor to send me to a specialist I am trying to get as much info as I can. It occurred to me that if fibroids are estrogen fed and that soy mimics estrogen then maybe it might be a good idea to avoid soy.

I've never been a big soy user. Mostly only eaten what comes in other foods.

Any thoughts on this situation and about my cutting out soy completely?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Have you all heard of using amino acids l arginine and l lyocine to help with the shrinkage. I am so terrible with sticking to any pill. However my menses was/is so severe I am using overnight pads and super plus tampons! I took these for a month and the next month my cycle was very light. Look into it.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

very interesting, hadn't heard of using those for shrinkage.

Have you tried blackstrap molasses? helps many people

venus69 said...

I know that this is against public opinion, but I find eating soy definitely reduces my fibroids. I gave up soy milk and all soy products for several years, and then recently in a period of feeling hopeless, I had both soya milk and miso on the same day, and noticed a softening and shrinking of my fibroids literally within hours - I was really surprised.

No I am tentatively reintroducing soy to my diet - and will see what happens. I am desperate to reduce my symptoms - which are definitely sensitive to what I eat. Coffee, red meat and alcohol all make my fibroid grow in leaps and bounds...so the proof of the tofu is in the eating! So far, each time I have soy, my fibroids seem a bit better, but it's early days.

I drank soy for a long time, and intuitively always felt good on it...but gave it up when it went from being a wonderfood to a 'nasty".

I feel that constitution plays a large part in these matters, and what is good for one person is not necessarily right for someone else.

Just wanted to share my experience - and send love to you other ladies on the 'fibroid journey'...great site - thanks.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

Hi Venus69
Thanks so much for sharing. My philosphy is definitely "whatever works!" There are some experts who proactively recommend soy, and indeed as you mention many of these things depend on your own constitution.
If you're doing soy, you might want to try natto, as the enzymes in it are supposed to be good for fibroids.
Please keep us posted on your progress!

sophie said...

i hope it's not too late to try the soy method. as the doc just diagnosed my fibroids as 16cm and operations (whichever methods) are not something i'm looking forward to. right now, i just hope the fibroids will not grow bigger and finding ways to shrink them. so thank you for sharing this blog and i hope i'm finding it at the right time & right place.

Fibroid Shrinker said...

thanks Sophie and wishing you the best on your fibroid shrinking