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Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
Soya Controversy

Q: I recently purchased your new book, “Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer”. So far I am finding the advice most helpful; however, I have one query; as a breast cancer patient (age 69) I was advised to avoid all soya products, but the advice given in your book suggests that eating them can be beneficial. Please would you clear this up this apparent contradiction for me.

A: "There´s no contradiction. Whoever told you that you shouldn´t touch Soya is wrong. In EYNTK we list a number of studies that show soya is beneficial. Meanwhile dairy is decidedly off limits.

But, there´s a but. The benefit in breast cancer is to do with the oestrogen receptor sites on breast cells. This is very similar to the current euphoria over soya and blocking Er positive receptor sites.

Put simply, the aggressive form of oestrogen is oestradiol. It alights on the receptor sites and creates havoc inside the cell. It may be denatured by natural compounds  such as indole 3 carbinol, or I3C, (found in broccoli and brassicas) into a sister oestrogen called oestrone which is about 40 times less aggressive.

Oestrone can sit on the same receptors, but causes less problems.

Then there are phytoestrogens typically from plants and pulses. These are far far weaker than human oestrogens. And they can sit on the same receptor sites blocking any attack from oestradiol -exactly the rationale for tamoxifen.

So it is phytoestrogens you want ... lots of greens, plants and pulses such as dried beans, chick peas, lentils, and ... soya.

And here´s the but ... soya is relatively new as a food in the West, a lot of it is now GM and i would avoid it, and can cause infant allergies, and frankly you shouldn´ t just exchange drinking lots of milk for lots of soya. Soya should be just a part of your phytoestrogen mix.

Having said that please read up on I3C as this doesn´t just denature oestradiol, it even changes the ability of the receptor sites to pick it up. I3C has been called the new safer Tamoxifen.

And ...

soya contains genistein, which has research to support its actions in Er+ breast cancer. Only recently the NCI in America conducted research and showed it was one of the natural compounds that could stop cancer stem cells regrowing.

All this is in EYNTK. I don´t usually reply to questions because this is all on our website and in the EYNTK book you have. You might ask the soya critic for his research against soya. Even CRUK produced pro-soya research.


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