I know about you and appreciate your quote: " According to
Dr. William Harris, author of the compellingly persuasive "The
Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism" the reply should be "How
much [protein] do you think you need"?
am also considered a soyfoods expert. I have a follow-up question
regarding a recent VegSource Q&A regarding a vegan w/high cholesterol.
You mentioned undercooked soyfoods as a possible cause of elevated
cholesterol. I would love for you to expand on that for me. This
is something I have not heard and would be an important topic and
one that I should know about.
This was my
quote: "Hypothyroidism is associated with elevated cholesterol
levels and it in turn can be caused by overconsumption of undercooked
Then I checked
and decided that you had caught me off base. When dinosaurs ruled
the Earth and I was a first year med student I thought my biochem
prof had said that raw soybeans cause goitre. But now my biochem
and nutrition textbooks only mention soy as a trypsin inhibitor
but say nothing about goitrogenic properties, although they do put
the finger on kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rutabaga,
strawberries, etc. as goitrogens.
So my immediate
thought was "The three signs of old age: the first one is loss
of memory and I've forgotten the other two."
Then I went
on the web and found some anti-soy gossip that confirms my original
... Soy's effect
on thyroid was first noticed when hypothyroid babies given soy formula
became more severely hypothyroid. They were unable to overcome the
anti-thyroid effects of soy. A report to this effect appeared in
the New England Journal of Medicine in 1960. Since then many other
small studies have confirmed that soy is a goitrogen, a substance
that can cause enlarged thyroid (goiter). Soy is listed as a goitrogen
in many nutrition books including "Super Nutrition for Menopause"
by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD. Endocrinologists (thyroid specialists)
are frequently unaware of the potential anti-thyroid effects of
soy on hypothyroid women who are in menopause and are often eating
a lot of soy or popping soy isoflavone capsules to ward off hot
A substance or product that may cause thyroid enlargement and formation
of a goiter, such as soy or millet.
We're sick of
hearing that there are no harmful effects of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens
disrupt thyroid function.
of the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine noted in 1988 that 'thyroid
enlargement in rats and humans, especially children and women, fed
with soybeans has been known for half a century'.
In fact, thyroid
problems associated with soy were also well known to bird-breeders,
which is how Soy Online Service first became aware of the goitrogenicity
known, but that fact seemed to escape manufacturers of the first
commercially available soy formulas. Those formulas were known to
cause in goitre in infants and one can only wonder how many other
infants were left hypothyroid or suffering from permanent thyroid
damage by soy formulas.
The iodine levels
in soy formulas were increased and instances of goitre in infants
fed these products ceased. However, there appears to have been no
attempt to isolate or remove the goitrogenic properties from soy
formulas. This is of grave concern because, although elevated iodine
levels would have helped to nullify the effects of the goitrogens,
the goitrogens would still have been actively suppressing thyroid
function in infants. Hence millions of babies (particularly in the
United States where soy formula feeding is most common) have needlessly
been exposed to goitrogenic agents; Soy Online Service believe that
infants fed soy formulas unnecessarily risk abnormal thyroid function
and a greater risk of thyroid disease in later life.
So just what
are these goitrogenic agents? In 1997 research from the FDA's National
Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) showed that the darling
of the soy industry, the isoflavone genistein, was a potent inhibitor
of Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO); in fact genistein is a more powerful
inhibitor of TPO than common anti-thyroid drugs! If genistein could
inhibit TPO in vitro, it follows that it could result in an elevation
of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and a subsequent decrease
in thyroxine (T3) in vitro; in other words consumption of the soy
isoflavone genistein might result in hypothyroidism and goitre.
leaves little doubt that dietary isoflavones in soy have a profound
effect on thyroid function in humans. A study by Japanese researchers
concluded that intake of soy by healthy adults for a long duration
caused enlargement of the thyroid and suppressed thyroid function.
These researchers studied the effects of feeding 30 g of soybeans
per day on thyroid function and found that after one month there
was a significant increase in thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
levels in a group of 20 adults (group I) but no change in thyroxine
and hypothyroidism appeared in some of these subjects and about
half of another group of 17 adults (group II) that took soybeans
for 3 months. This group also had increased TSH levels, especially
in older subjects, but once again there was no significant change
in plasma thyroxine. After three months of soy intake other relevant
symptoms included constipation (in 53% of subjects), fatigue (in
53% of subjects), lethargy (in 41% of subjects). It should be noted
that iodine intake (via seaweed) was normal in all subjects.
The goitre was
a diffuse goitre (degrees I and II enlargement) and occurred in
3 of group 1 and 8 (47%) of group 2. One subject in group 1 developed
sub-acute thyroiditis. Two of the 11 subjects with goitre showed
no reduction in goitre size one month after cessation of soy but
goitre size was reduced in the other 9 subjects. The two subjects
received thyroxine treatment and their goiters reduced in size after
two and six months respectively.
of a moderately elevated TSH with a normal free thyroxine defines
subclinical hypothyroidism, a condition which may evolve towards
overt hypothyroidism especially in persons with anti-thyroid antibodies.
The condition is defined as the state in which a reduction in thyroid
hormone secretion is compensated for by an increased TSH production
to order maintain a clinically euthyroid status. Subclinical hypothyroidism
is of increasing importance and its prevalence appears to be growing
such that studies to define both its evolution and strategies for
its management are warranted. Thyroid experts have noted that dietary
factors may well play a major role in the development of this condition
since high goitrogen intake can increase TSH secretion.
We have already
noted that isoflavones bioaccumulate in infants fed soy formulas.
Hence, there is strong evidence from both in vitro and in vivo studies
that persistent TPO inhibition will occur in infants subjected to
soy formulas long-term (for more than three months). The work of
Ishizuki indicates that this persistent exposure to the anti-thyroid
agents in soy will result in variable and elevated levels of TSH,
even if iodine levels are sufficient. There is a bounty of evidence
showing that scenarios such as this can result in various thyroid
diseases in humans.
Soy Online Service
believe that it is utterly irresponsible for soy formula manufacturers
to continue to place infants at risk of thyroid damage by refusing
to remove isoflavones from their products. Soy Online Service also
believe that it is totally irresponsible and a sign of moral corruptness
to promote anti-cancer benefits of soy without any inference that
there may be other health risks (for example to the thyroid).
is an epidemic of thyroid disease in the United States. If you were
fed a soy formula and suffer from a thyroid disorder, or have any
reason to believe that soy may have caused you to develop a thyroid
disorder, please contact us.
on developmental disorders caused by thyroid dysfunction is available
for sufferers of thyroid abnormalities is at Krispin Sullivan's
For more information
on thyroid disease, visit Mary Shoman's thyroid website and also
read the following article by Robert J. Thiel published on www.healthresearch.com/thyroid.htm.
Also read Jennifer Phillips article on Thyroid Hormone Disorders.
Health' the popular Australian health resource website:
Read the testimonies
of people who have suffered thyroid problems because of soy/isoflavone
supplements and the shocking results of Larrian Gillespie's "self
as a guinea-pig" experiment.
Also read our
Big Ugly Bull Award to the FDA-CFSAN for endorsing the consumption
of thyroid disease causing compounds.
truth about soy.
Soy Online Service
is a small group of private citizens with a mission to inform the
public of the truth about soy. We have no membership as such and
are not sponsored by industry or any other group, in fact our research
is funded out of our own pockets. We do not seek the destruction
of the soy industry or to stop people eating soy. We have no desire
to stop you being Vegan or to cause you to switch to dairy products.
Rather we seek to expose the deceit of the major soy companies and
to uncover the truth about soy products. We do this by providing
you with factual material that you can read for yourself, so that
in the future you can make an informed choice about what you eat.
You are probably
well acquainted with all the wonderful things soy is purported to
do for you. That's because the multi-million dollar soy marketing
machine has done its job on you. But are you aware that there is
a darker side of soy?
did you know that soy contains several types of natural toxins?
The soy industry has known about them for years. If you were to
ask the soy industry about the soy toxins you'd most likely be told
that: (blah, blah, de blah...........)
of the nearly slanderous remarks above strongly smell of cow's with
black Fedoras carrying violin cases, so I would like to know who
really put this stuff out. However, I don't know of anyone who eats
uncooked soy and see no reason to avoid tofu and other soy products
in moderation. Being vegan isn't just about eating soy beans though,
and there are plenty of other good plant protein sources.
wanted the gentleman who asked about his high cholesterol and his
thyroid problem to know that there could be a theoretical connection
if he was one of the few who tries to eat raw soy products. It's
not very likely though. Sincerely,
received a degree in physics from the University of California Berkeley,
where he earned Phi Beta Kappa honors. He received his degree in
medicine from the University of California at San Francisco, and
received his postgraduate training at San Diego County Hospital.
He holds a Medical License in the State of Hawaii. He has been an
Emergency Department physican since 1963, and the Director of the
Kaiser Permanente Vegan Lifestyle Clinic on Oahu until his retirement
in 1998. Dr. Harris is the author of The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism.
addition, he was the 1950 Big Ten Trampoline Champion, is an accomplished
hangglider and commercial pilot, and at age 70 became a skydiver
with 108 jumps to date. Dr. Harris has been vegetarian since 1950,
and vegan since 1963.