home
RSS
June 3rd, 2011
03:51 PM ET

How much is too much phytoestrogen?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Asked by Keyana of Spokane, Washington:

I have two questions. What is considered to be a high/harmful amount of phytoestrogen in a woman's diet per day? And should a woman who has had cancer not take estrogen replacements or eat a diet high in phytoestrogens?

Expert answer:

Hi, Keyana. These are interesting questions. I'm going to assume that you are talking about breast cancer since the association of phytoestrogen consumption and breast cancer risk is the most concerning to many women.

Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that act like the hormone estrogen. There are two basic types of phytoestrogens: isoflavones and lignans.

Soy products are the most common source of isoflavones, and the controversy surrounding cancer and phytoestrogens are related to soy products. To provide you with the best possible response to your question, I turned to noted cancer nutrition expert Rachel Beller, who addresses this question on a regular basis at the Beller Nutritional Institute in Los Angeles.

Beller explained that while phytoestrogens are similar to human estrogens, their effect on human estrogen levels has not been well-researched because plant estrogens are 1,000 times weaker than the estrogen produced in our bodies.

Many studies suggest that soy isoflavones' estrogen-like effects are probably too weak to have any significant consequence on breast tissue in healthy women - that includes breast cancer survivors.

Regarding the association with breast cancer, Beller points to a 2011 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention that found soy to be safe and favorable, even for breast cancer survivors, when eaten in its natural, unprocessed state - for example, tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso soup.

In fact, experts agree that fermented soy (miso, tempeh) is good for you. The fermentation process alters the chemical makeup of soy, which reduces the level of isoflavones by as much as 300%.

Therefore fermented soy foods have three times less of the chemical in question.

While this study does not conclusively establish the safety of soy, phytoestrogens aside, soy is not only an excellent source of heart healthy plant-based protein, which is encouraged in the latest dietary guidelines for Americans, it also contains dozens of nutrients that also appear to help fight cancer development.

These nutrients can protect cells from becoming damaged, encourage faulty cells to die instead of reproducing, regulate cell growth and even improve cell communication. These are all things that help strengthen your body against cancer and heart disease.

A study has also shown that consumption of soy early in life may help protect against breast cancer later in life, even if it may be more questionable for post-menopausal women.

What's also noteworthy is that Asians have been eating soy foods in large amounts for centuries, and their traditional soy-rich diets are associated with lower risks of breast and prostate cancer than Western diets.

Beller goes on to say that the "bad rap" that soy's been getting is due to the fact that when we hear something's "good for you," we process it to the max, extract the good stuff and concentrate it, which basically makes it lose its original identity.

Skip the processed soy foods and supplements, especially if you have a history of breast cancer.

The bottom line: If you have no history of breast cancer, there is no known high or harmful amount of phytoestrogens, and foods such as unprocessed soy are an important part of a healthy diet.

If you have a history of breast cancer, as with nutrition in general, you should not focus on a single food or nutrient. The key is moderation.

The phytoestrogens consumed by eating moderate amounts of relatively whole and unrefined forms of soy foods (two to three times a week) can be considered part of a healthy, complete diet.

Regarding estrogen replacement therapy, according to the National Cancer Institute, "Studies of hormone use to treat menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors have produced conflicting results," so I suggest speaking with your physician to determine the best approach for you.

Follow Dr. Jampolis on Twitter


soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. JnscCrulk

    viagra viagra grapefruit interaction can you buy viagra without a prescription http://erectilejyzd.com/index.php?called=terms – viagra indien bezahlung mit paypal ’

    February 1, 2021 at 03:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. KbbgMile

    buy viagra uk Sumycin original viagra uk http://erectilejyzd.com/ – Micardis ’

    February 1, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Shirly Mrozoski

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!

    https://yt1s.com/youtube-to-mp4

    February 1, 2021 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Money Robot

    Get Our Passive Income System – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then just wait and earn your income 100 on autopilot. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://bitly.com/2EgbfPr

    February 1, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. FhnhZisse

    Cordarone Microzide Sustiva https://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/ – pharmacy intern ’

    February 1, 2021 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. NgscZisse

    cheap viagra online india where can i buy viagra online safely how to viagra online http://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/Fitness/how-to-get-a-six-pack.html – how to purchase viagra online ’

    February 1, 2021 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. AhmdEncox

    cialis in canada pharmacy Cialis cialis dose https://impotencecdny.com/ – Floxin ’

    February 1, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. NncsZisse

    generic viagra master card accepted costco pharmacy pricing canada and viagra online

    February 3, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. JbnbCrulk

    viagra canada cialis canada canada pharmacy no prescription

    February 3, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. KbcxMile

    canadian pharmacies apollo pharmacy online ed drugs

    February 4, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. FqhhEncox

    canada pharmacy online no script antibacterial Cialis Soft Tabs

    February 5, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JbbvEncox

    no prescription pharmacy canadian king pharmacy online medicine shopping

    February 5, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Rosalie Mcgarvie

    Earn $100/Day With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021

    https://bit.ly/2Uvb6R4

    February 5, 2021 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jose Kettman

    Earn $1000/Day With Our Passive Income System – Best Autopilot income system 2021

    https://warriorplus.com/o2/a/xp4h3/0

    February 6, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. FvfcZisse

    store selling viagra in tronto viagra aderal ordering viagra online legal

    February 6, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. AhkdEncox

    canadian pharma companies canadian pharmaceuticals online reviews viagra generic canadian pharmacy

    February 7, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Kuikseelt

    viagra soft tabs brand viagra cheap 50 on line viagra questionarre

    February 7, 2021 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Brian Macalma

    What can you do in 30 Minutes? Well according to one famous pizza chain, you could order a pizza and have it delivered to your house. And while pizza is awesome, it won’t help you create an amazing life for yourself and the people you love. But what if, in that same 30 minutes, instead of ordering a pizza, you could order website visitors… And what if those website visitors could go to a system that makes sales FOR YOU… I don't know about you... But I'd much rather order website visitor that could make me commissions, than order a pizza. Especially if they both take about the same amount of time. Interested… Click the link to get the full details! https://bit.ly/3aNq5gl

    http://jtayl.me/4nw13

    February 9, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Alycia Guerry

    I remember back when I was a kid, there was a famous pizza chain commercial that would end with their jingle, “Call 662-5555” I would sing it all the time… “Call 662-5555” Here I am, 30 years later….I remember that number just like it was yesterday. All you had to do was dial that number, tell them what you wanted then….. BAM Your pizza would show up at your doorstep 30 minutes later It was simple. REALLY simple That’s how simple my new affiliate marketing system is. You simply pick up the phone, order your traffic and… BAM Sales start coming right into your inbox. It’s just that simple. If you can order a pizza, you can start earning commissions with this system. Click this link to learn more https://bit.ly/3aNq5gl

    http://jtayl.me/4nw13

    February 9, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. LbsxEncox

    canadian viagra generic pharmacy can i buy viagra without a prescription best canadian online pharmacies

    February 9, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. JbnvCrulk

    cash in advance albany ny payday loans 89121 webmoney loan

    February 10, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. NbnhZisse

    sildenafil generic viagra pill 100mg cost of viagra in usa

    February 11, 2021 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. KvaxMile

    fast cash loans with low interest rates payday loans banned in nj how to stop payday loans texting me

    February 11, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FqbbEncox

    cash advance group getting a cash advance on a credit card ace cash advance virginia beach

    February 12, 2021 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. JbbnEncox

    cialis receta medica can cialis cause high blood pressure qual Г© mais forte viagra cialis ou levitra

    February 12, 2021 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Kbbfseelt

    viagra prix viagra gold 800mg walmart viagra prescriptions

    February 14, 2021 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. FbsgZisse

    cialis usa online original cialis canadian pharmacy no prescription generic cialis

    February 14, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. AhbzEncox

    payday easy loans cash loans bellville cape town cash advance mass

    February 15, 2021 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. plaquenil over the counter

    treat erectile dysfunction without drugs plaquenil rash pictures erectile dysfunction icd 10

    February 15, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 1000000GSA Backlinks

    500000 Scrapebox Blast Live SEO blog Comment Backlinks: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Traffic/833336/I-will-drive-20000-google-organic-visitors-using-targeted-keywords

    February 16, 2021 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    Create a profitable digital marketing strategy and plan: https://www.seoclerk.com/Virtual-Assistant/840836/I-will-create-a-profitable-digital-marketing-strategy-and-plan

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    February 16, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. LabxEncox

    cialis sprzedaz cialis y la diabetes wirkzeit von cialis

    February 17, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. plaquenil and vision

    is erectile dysfunction a va disability rates what is plaquenil for erectile on demand pdf

    February 18, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. generic hydroxychloroquine

    hydroxy chloriquine hydroxychloroquine generic name who produces hydroxychloroquine win

    February 19, 2021 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. SocialMedia Services2021

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, subscribers? Our Company provide SMM Services that means (Social Media Marketing) that is directly using social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote a website. High Quality Services / Our prices are the cheapest in the market, starting at $0.01 / 24/7 Support / API Support for panel leaders / Best prices Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/auth/signup

    https://bit.ly/2Hnl7vE

    February 19, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. buy aralen online uk

    chloroquinone aralen for sale chloroquine vs chloroquine phosphate

    February 19, 2021 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. SocialMedia Services2021

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/

    https://bit.ly/3iYGuRO

    February 19, 2021 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. tadalafil online

    mambo 36 side effects tadalafil 40 mg daily mambo 36 ingredients

    February 21, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. NbmoZisse

    cialispills online cialis viagra cialis daily

    February 26, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. KndnMile

    viagra connect usa how much does viagra cost how much viagra can you take

    February 27, 2021 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Rae


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.