protein is a very popular dietary component that is isolated from soybean meal. It is typically processed into three kinds of high-protein commercial products - soy flour, concentrates and isolates. The popularity of soy protein has increased in recent times due to its growing use in many health food products and many countries allow health claims for foods containing soy protein.
Soy protein is generally considered to be made up of particles called protein bodies, estimated to contain at least 60-70% of soy protein. Upon germination of the soybean, the protein is digested and the released amino acids transported to locations of seedling growth. Soy protein contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones, which act like estrogens and bind to estrogen receptors in the body. Additionally, soybeans also contain many biologically active proteins such as enzymes, trypsin inhibitors, hemagglutinins and cysteine proteases that are very similar in their activity to papain.
Soy isoflavones are believed to be effective in the treatment of conditions such as osteoporosis and symptoms of menopause. Eating soy is said to keep bones strong, especially in the first 10 years after menopause when estrogen level drops and rapid bone loss happens. Also, soy products are said to improve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats - although studies have used different soy sources with different measures of success, which makes it difficult to come to a definitive conclusion. Overall, soy isoflavones rather than soy proteins have shown the most promise for treatment of menopausal symptoms.
If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, taking an anti-aging supplement
may help reduce some symptoms such as hot flashes and low energy.
However, the latest in a series of disappointing studies seem to show that soy supplements do not actually have any effects on menopausal symptoms or reduce aging-related bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. During menopause, a woman's body produces less estrogen and progesterone. Soy protein has been considered a possible treatment for this condition ever since researchers observed that women in Asia tend to have lower rates of bone loss and osteoporosis. As a result, soy has been widely promoted as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Also, since soy is a natural food, many health-conscious women mistakenly believe it is a safe choice. However, not only does soy available in the US market appear to be ineffective, it may actually be damaging health.
For instance, a new study of women taking either soy isoflavone tablets or a placebo for two years found no difference when it came to bone mineral density in the spine, hip or neck, while a significantly larger proportion of participants in the soy group experienced hot flashes. So it appears soy supplements may do more harm than good. Soy contains natural compounds which mimic estrogen - so it seemed sensible to scientists that replacing those hormones would alleviate menopausal symptoms. When this was done artificially using synthetic hormones, negative side effects, such as an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and insulin levels were seen. Soy was considered a ‘natural’ alternative. Unfortunately, the vast majority of soy available in the US today is not a health food, for many reasons.
Unlike in Asia, where people eat small amounts of whole, mostly fermented non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products or the vast majority of unfermented soy available in the US today. For example, soy isoflavones may actually disrupt delicate hormone systems in the body while also acting to suppress thyroid function, leading to anxiety and mood swings, insomnia, difficulty losing weight, difficulty conceiving as well as digestive problems and food allergies.
Not only that - soy foods also contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens, some of which interfere with the enzymes needed to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the large amounts of soy consumed nowadays by many Americans may pose a health threat. Many studies link excessive consumption of unnatural, non-fermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility - and maybe even cancer and heart disease.
Also, it is still unclear as to whether soy isoflavones are safe for consumption. It is generally believed that eating and drinking soy on a daily basis carries no known risks although the long-term effects of diet high in soy have not been well-studied. In this regard, high soy intake can't really be considered safe until more research has been carried out. For instance, experts are not yet in agreement as to whether soy phytoestrogen can lead to cancer like estrogen can and whether a high-soy diet increases risk for breast cancer.
Health experts believe that soy products may help to prevent osteoporosis, decrease risk of heart disease and dementia and protect from certain cancers - but only if the soy is fermented and organic (non-GMO). This is because after a long fermentation process, the phytate and anti-nutrient levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become more readily available. For instance, one of the main benefits of fermented soybeans called natto is that it is the best food source of vitamin K2 - which is essential for preventing osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diseases of the brain such as dementia, and various cancers including prostate, lung, liver cancer and leukemia.
Fermented, organic soy products considered safe for consumption in moderate quantities include tempeh a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor; miso,a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture, commonly used in miso soup; natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor; and soy sauce, which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes, although many varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.
There are many alternatives to soy if you’re in the market for the best anti-aging products without soy. For example, Secretagogue Plus from the Institute for Vibrant Living, which includes Citrulline, a natural anti-aging treatment and human growth hormone stimulant. Purchase yours today.
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