Research in monkeys suggests that the natural plant estrogens found in soy do not increase markers of breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. In fact, they may provide a protective effect in some women. The research is reported today in Cancer Research.
"Even at high doses, we found no evidence that the estrogen-like compounds in soy, called isoflavones, stimulate cell growth or other markers for cancer risk in breast tissue," said Charles E. Wood, D.V.M., Ph.D., lead researcher, from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "The study also suggests that women who have higher levels of estrogen may actually gain a protective effect from higher doses of soy isoflavones."
Wood said there has been much debate about whether higher levels of dietary soy are safe or beneficial for postmenopausal women. Some evidence has suggested that isoflavones may protect against the more powerful estrogen produced by the body, which is an important risk factor for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. For example, population studies show that women who consume diets high in soy generally have lower rates of breast cancer.
Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
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