Is Soya Safe For Women?

There has been a lot of attention in recent years about whether soya is safe for women or whether it can cause or exacerbate breast cancer because of the phyto-oestrogens it contains.

My own view has always been that it is positively beneficial for women – because it contains the phyto-oestrogens. The weaker soya oestrogens actually compete with the stronger body oestrogens at the receptor sites and that can have the effect of protecting women from oestrogen dominance and especially if the woman has a lot of the most risky oestrogen types (which you can see in a hormone test). Less strong or risky oestrogen at receptor sites means less risk of breast cancer. That’s how I see it anyway.

If, however, a woman is not producing a lot of oestrogen and is low (check your adrenals as they have to pick up the slack after 40ish!), the extra that comes from soya can really help pick levels up. But, women have been reluctant to follow that advice because of the soya breast cancer worry.

Anyway, I was interested to see an article in the Natural Medicine Journal today which gives more weight to the safety of soy. Have a read; it’s interesting if not totally conclusive research-wise (more needs to be done), but they do say:

To date, not a single study of moderate soy consumption has found detrimental effects in any women with a history of breast cancer (premenopausal or postmenopausal, ER-negative or ER-positive).

Soy and Breast Cancer

More research in defense of soy

That’s encouraging isn’t it? For more on oestrogen dominance, check the factsheet in the A-Z here:

Oestrogen Dominance

And for more on low oestrogen, check here:

Menopause

Hope that helps! Just one last tip: make sure the soya foods you consume are good ones – none of yer soya protein isolates please, check the packets!!

Are You Oestrogen Dominant?

hormone womanI’ve just finished the latest factsheet for you, this time on oestrogen dominance in men and women. Here’s a flavour for you and you can continue reading the free factsheet here for more on how to test and what to do about it if you are. Hope it helps..

Oestrogen Dominance

Oestrogen dominance affects both men and women but you only really ever tend to see it discussed for women. It basically means where your oestrogen to progesterone ratio is out – the oestrogen is out of proportion.

That can be because the progesterone is too low – pretty common – and/or because the oestrogen intake from meds or the environment is too high.

Either way, too much oestrogen is not a good idea since many cancers and medical conditions are oestrogenic. Too much circulating about can be used, if you see what I mean. That might mean in endometriosis, fibroids or breast cancer, for example in women, or low libido, fertility issues, man ‘boobs’ or even prostate problems for men.

Here is a bit more info for you, taken from a factsheet written by Nutri, because it clearly gives male and female oestrogen dominance symptoms.

Oestrogen Dominance Symptoms: 

 

Men
 

✓  Difficulty putting on muscle

✓  Low libido

✓  Fatigue

✓  Headaches/migraines

✓  Foggy thinking

✓  Excess fat and redistribution of fat

✓  Breast growth (“man boobs”)

✓  Balding

✓  Reduced body hair

✓  Depression

✓  Anxiety

✓  Hypoglycemia

✓  Sleep problems

✓  Difficulty with urination,

✓  Increased frequency of urination

✓  Prostate enlargement

✓  Erectile dysfunction

✓  Fertility issues / low sperm count

 

 

Women
 

✓ Mood swings

✓ Depression

✓ Anxiety

✓ Low energy

✓ Foggy thinking

✓ Dry eyes

✓ Disrupted periods

✓ Low energy

✓ Hypoglycemia

✓ Weight gain

✓  Low libido

✓ PMS

✓  Hair loss

✓ Headaches/migraines

✓ Weak bladder control

✓ Irregular menstrual periods

✓ Sleep problems

✓  Fibroids

✓ Endometriosis

✓ Fibrocystic or painful breasts

✓  Cervical dysplasia

✓ Systemic lupus erythematosis

✓ Fertility issues

✓ Family history of breast cancer

Menopause Brain: Is It a Lack of Testosterone?

We all have those moments where we just can’t find the right words, let alone recall what we walked into a room for, but from perimenopause onward (which can be up to several years before actual menopause), many women (and men) find brain fog and cognitive skills get even worse. As a PCOS sufferer all my life, I hope to goodness mine don’t get any worse; my memory and brain fog have been terrible since my teens!

The general thought is that ‘menopause brain’ is because of reducing oestrogen or progesterone, but actually some experts think it is more likely testosterone. That’s perfectly possible, I reckon, because clinically I often see low DHEA on adrenal tests and consequently low testosterone levels as you make testosterone partly out of DHEA (It’s much more complicated than that, we are talking hormones here, of course, but lack of DHEA = reduction in testosterone particularly.

The answer in these cases is not to rush to the doctor for testosterone pills – in effect a form of HRT – but to boost waning adrenal function. Most people just think of having hormone tests, which is of course the obvious thing to do, but don’t forget your adrenals.

You make much more of your steroid or ‘sex’ hormones from your adrenals after about forty, and most of us with stressy lifestyles are pounding away at our poor adrenals expecting them to cope and, Bob’s your uncle: not only do you feel less able to cope with life as you used to as your adrenal output starts to drop (so-called adrenal fatigue), you also start to get ‘hormone deficiency’ type symptoms.

Moral of the story: look after your adrenals after your 40s, men and women. You can read much more about adrenal fatigue here, testing hormones here and testing adrenals specifically here.

Also, here is the article that sparked that post for you:

Brain fog: is it a real side effect of menopause?

Iodine Needs Not Being Met in Pregnancy

Interesting piece on iodine for you today – this is an indication of how many people are actually iodine deficient, not just pregnant women. I am finding it a lot via the iodine loading test, which I do primarily to check for the cause of conversion problems in the thyroid. It’s amazing how often it is pretty low. That rather stuns me as I was never taught to check iodine really; it is very much assumed in the UK that we all have enough. Not what I am finding though, so I thought I would share this for you in case.

With the UK population now classified as mildly iodine-insufficient many people may be thinking that it doesn’t affect them directly, or that they don’t have a thyroid problem so why should they take any notice?

Low iodine in the population is a serious problem for women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant. Adequate levels of iodine are crucial for foetal neuro development and mild iodine deficiency has been linked with developmental impairments. A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has revealed that most women are not only oblivious to their requirements but are not meeting current iodine recommendations for pregnancy.

Daily iodine intake is recommended by WHO to be 250µg/d for pregnancy (150µg/d for the general population) and the team of researchers from the University of Glasgow found that almost three quarters of women surveyed were not reaching this target even when taking supplementation into account. Over half of the women were unable to identify any iodine-rich foods and a majority falsely believed that dark green vegetables and table salt (which is not fortified in the UK) were iodine rich foods. An alarming 84% of women were unaware that iodine from the diet is important for the healthy development of their unborn baby.

This study has sparked much debate as to how mothers should best achieve their 250µg/d during pregnancy and lactation. Currently in the UK there are no guidelines on supplementation of iodine as there are in Canada and the US. These supplemental recommendations are endorsed by WHO in recognition of the fact that achieving adequate iodine from dietary intake in early pregnancy can be challenging and requires high intakes of dairy and seafood. What is clear in the UK is that health campaigns, fortification, supplementation and nutrition education should be seriously considered when addressing pregnant women.

Reference:
Combet E et al. Iodine and pregnancy: Awareness and intake. 2015.  British Journal of Nutrition. First view article DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515001464 Source Nutri E news June 15

New Breast Cancer Cell Check Spares Chemo

Good news, here. Let’s hope the NHS funds this test sooner rather than later…

Mail on Sunday 26.4.15 “CELL CHECK SPARES WOMEN CHEMO FOR BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer patients may be spared chemotherapy thanks to new tests that pinpoint genetic markers in the tumour which determine its aggressiveness.  After surgery, the cancer cells are sent to a lab to be tested & women can be told within days if they have a high or low risk of the cancer returning.  Most women with breast cancer are routinely given gruelling drug treatment which has side effects, including complete hair loss, nausea, sickness, extreme fatigue etc.   If the newest test, EndoPredict, shows a low score patients can opt not to have chemo.  Most of the tests are available only privately & cost about £2,500, although breast specialists hope they may soon become available on NHS.

PMS: A Primer

hormone womanI see Patrick Holford has recently written a mini primer about how to approach PMS with natural health methods. I agree with pretty much everything he says – especially the anti-inflammatory Low GL, low allergen diet, plenty of magnesium, B6 and co-factors, with support for the key neurotransmitters, especially if you have mood symptoms, and herbs like dong quai etc.

Over the years, I have found Marilyn Glenville’s female health support products really effective and would point you to those specifically if you need help in this area. Here is my standard protocol for you in case it helps. (Do remember to use the ND discount code to save some monies too if ordering anything, see here):

PMS Protocol

Belly Fat Diet (ignore the name; it’s a simple low allergen low GL diet which happens to balance insulin, the main cause of belly fat gain)

Agnus Castus Support

PM Support – for the P5P B6, chromium and siberian ginseng, which is fab for adrenal balancing.

A little extra magnesium preferably – 1-2 per day of Magnesium Citrizorb and

Omega Support for fish oils

Anyway, here’s Patrick’s primer for you:

Beating PMS with Diet

Note that he suggests supplementing with 5HTP. This can really help but I’ve often found that the low GL diet automatically leads to an increase in protein consumption which, in turn, increases natural tryptophan levels, so you may not need it. Some people do boost it for up to 3 months to start with but then you should find you can do with out it. You can use this 5-HTP if necessary then. It’s always best to start with a lower 50mg dose rather than use 100mg type products because you have much more flexibility in dosage then. My view is always to start with 50mg per day before bed or on rising and build up to max 250mg-300mg per day – preferably between meals as you absorb it better then. Many people only need low doses. Be led by your health professional, as usual.

Hope that helps. If you have really severe PMS throughout most of the month, by the way, do read this post too:

PMDD: Do You Have PMS Most of The Month?

Women Smokers: Stop Before Middle Age!

Great piece in The Lancet for you today showing that if women stop smoking before they hit middle-age, preferably well before, they can reverse 97% of the damage done and live another 10 years on average! The researchers did a prospective study on well over a million women and concluded:

Although the hazards of smoking until age 40 years and then stopping are substantial, the hazards of continuing are ten times greater.

Stopping before age 40 years (and preferably well before age 40 years) avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking; stopping before age 30 years avoids more than 97% of it.

That’s huge. Have you stopped yet?!

Have a read:

The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK.