Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mercola, Weston Price wrong on Soy "dangers"

I regularly see research on soy and the vast majority of research papers prove the health benefits of soy. Based on the body of science and the errors evident in his "Facts", what Dr. Mercola has stated is undocumented, unreferenced bull recycled from Weston Price.

All legumes contain significant levels of phytoestrogens; why is soy singled out for this abuse using cherry-picked out-of-context "facts" that aren't really backed them up when the research is reviewed. Do you ever hear such slanders against the #2 source of phytoestrogens (pinto beans)?

In fact, many of the negative studies cited come from the animal feed industry and refer to raw defatted soy meal, the pulp left over after extracting soybean oil. This is not what humans eat! We aren't fed raw defatted soy meal as the major protein source in our diet, and many of the negative issues with raw dried soybeans disappear with proper food preparation (i.e., cooking). They also don't apply to edamame (raw soybean pods with the beans inside), since some of these "anti-nutrient" factors form during drying and are removed during cooking (except for genetically engineered soy that contains exceptionally heat-resistant anti-nutrient compounds).

Here are some actual facts about soy (in contrast to the Mercola/Weston Price data dump of uncritically collected studies); and I have the studies to back this up:

  • Phytates are common in grains, less in legumes; the supplement IP-6 is this exact compound, useful to stimulate NK cells and immunity
  • Trypsin inhibitors are only a problem in raw soy flour and GMO soy products, not the typical uses of non-GMO soy
  • Phytoestrogens such as isoflavones are not endocrine disruptors, this is nonsense; have you ever heard of these problems with pinto beans, the #2 most abundant food source and a major component of the Mexican diet? Of course not.
  • Soy, like cruciferous vegetablles, only affects thyroid function if one is iodine deficient and the addition of iodine to the diet corrects this symptom. The real problem is a nutrient deficiency.
  • Most plant foods are known to be poor sources of bioavailable B-12, not just soy, and this is common knowledge so why single soy out? Bias?
  • D-2 is a natural compound found in the food supply and is neither toxic nor a synthetic form; all vitamin D is produced by chemical synthesis, whether in the body or in a lab, but the forms of D-2 and D-3 utilized in supplements and food fortification are both nature-identical natural forms synthesized in labs.
  • Most soy protein isolate is not denatured; by the way, another term for denaturing is "digestion" and this is good unless you need intact proteins from food (as in whey protein isolate's valuable immunoglobulins).
  • All proteins when digested produce free glutamates; this is natural. Only susceptible people who have had severe chemical exposure or are low in protective nutrients like antioxidants and magnesium suffer from this. I have spoken with and attended lectures by Russ Blaylock for about 20 years and am well versed in this mechanism and its causes and solutions.
  • Soy proteins do not test high in heavy metals; rice protein is actually far higher in actual tests at parts-per-billion detection levels.
  • Asians consume far more soy products than is claimed by your sources; the typical isolflavone content of the diet there is established to be about 50 mg daily, the amount found in a couple ounces of soy protein at 90% strength, which represents several ounces of unconcentrated soy at about 30% protein.
  • Soy is not carcinogenic; review studies confirm that soy protein isolate, not fermented soy, has been proven to reduce cancer rates from breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers by about 30%.
  • Soy upregulates Phase 2 liver detoxification, much like cruciferous vegetables, and is actually a detox aid rather than a source of toxins.
  • Long term studies of infants fed soy formula find no differences in age of puberty, sexual maturity, or other hormonal measures; soy is 'implicated" only by those unwilling to openmindedly review the research to confirm or prove false their wild theories.
  • PS, I was in China recently and they eat plenty of tofu and edamame, both unfermented soy foods, in greater quantities than fermented soy.
Some of Weston A. Price Foundation's citations listed as "evidence" of soy's "toxicity" include these titles that obviously don't fit the negative label; that's why I characterize their list as a "data dump":

  • "Salt poisoning due to ingestion of soy sauce." (How does this prove that non-fermented soy is toxic?)
  • "Hypothesized health benefits of soybean isoflavones." (A study that is positive of soy's health benefits)
  • "Rhinitis and dermatitis caused by exotic woods." (This is a non-soy herb: Pterocarpus soyauxii)
  • "A nutritional comparison of rapeseed oil and soybean oil."
  • "[Concerning the absence of goitrogenic factors in soybean oil for cooking.]" (Exonerates soybean oil from thyroid issues)
  • "Eastern black nightshade: An increasing concern for soybean and forage producers." (A farming issue, not a nutritional one)
  • "Medicinal Plants of lndia and Pakistan." (Actually refers to a non-soy plant: Indian red wood tree, Soymida febrifuga Adr. Juss.)

Increased US Vitamin D Recommendations

Chicago Tribune’s report “Don’t overdo vitamin D, calcium, experts warn” focused only on the risks of taking very high doses of these essential nutrients but missed the most important part of the new NIH Institute of Medicine (IOM) report by omitting that there are now higher daily recommended allowances (RDA) for vitamin D intake. It’s uncommon to take toxic amounts of vitamin D but far more common for some to be deficient, with resultant health deficits and increased healthcare costs.

Trib readers didn’t learn that the IOM panel raised vitamin D’s RDA by 50% to 600 IU (800 IU if over age 70), while doubling the tolerable Upper Limit (UL) to 4,000 IU.

In Chicago, it’s already been months since we could make any of the “sunshine vitamin” from sunlight, since the sun must be high enough in the sky so one’s shadow is shorter than his/her height. Darker skin allows less vitamin D production even with adequate sunlight; sunscreen blocks it. Chicagoland residents must rely on fortified foods and dietary supplements as primary sources of vitamin D for over half the year.

The IOM statement that people get enough vitamin D refers only to its conclusion that bone health is the only as yet proven role for this nutrient. Yet the IOM’s European counterpart, the European Food Safety Agency, recognizes an established cause and effect relationship between vitamin D and normal muscle health, immunity, inflammation, reproduction, and cellular health. Researchers have estimated that these additional benefits occur when people take 1,000-2,000 IU daily. Scientific toxicity reviews show safety up to intakes of 10,000 - 20,000 IU daily; multiples of the recently doubled UL.

By ignoring vitamin D’s increased RDAs and other benefits, and publishing broad statements that focus primarily on the unlikely “risks” of vitamin D and calcium supplementation, Tribune readers missed important parts of the IOM report.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

New evidence that many Americans don't get sufficient vitamin D!

These quotes are from an NIH-funded study at Mayo Clinic, just published by the the American Society of Hematology in its medical journal "Blood" (Shanafelt TD, et al. Vitamin D insufficiency and prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Blood. 2010 Nov 3. PMID: 21048153). It suggests that 30-40% of the general population is deficient in vitamin D, and that this vitamin has a "central role" in the body beyond bone health:

"Vitamin D insufficiency is common globally and in the United States. Approximately 25-50% of patients seen in routine clinical practice have vitamin D levels below the optimal range, and it is estimated that up to 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency." 1-3

"Vitamin D has a central role in maintaining serum calcium and skeletal homeostasis as well as multiple other cellular effects including regulation of differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, metastatic potential, and angiogenesis.5 Several reports now suggest low serum 25(OH)D levels may be associated with increased incidence of colorectal,6,7 breast,8,9 and other cancers.10 Consistent with these results, one population based, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial found women who increased their daily vitamin D intake by 1100 IU reduced their risk of cancer by 60-77%." 11

"Consistent with the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in the general population,1-3 30-40% of CLL patients in the two observational cohorts studied had vitamin D insufficiency."

These quotes cited the following references in the statements posted above:

1.Thomas MK, Lloyd-Jones DM, Thadhani RI, et al. Hypovitaminosis D in medical inpatients. N Engl J Med. 1998;338(12):777-783.
2. Holick MF. High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006;81(3):353-373.
3. Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(3):266-281.
5. Bikle D. Nonclassic actions of vitamin D. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(1):26-34.

6. Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, et al. Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005;97(1-2):179-194.
7. Yin L, Grandi N, Raum E, Haug U, Arndt V, Brenner H. Meta-analysis: longitudinal studies of serum vitamin D and colorectal cancer risk. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009;30(2):113-125.
8. Crew KD, Shane E, Cremers S, McMahon DJ, Irani D, Hershman DL. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency despite supplementation in premenopausal women with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27(13):2151-2156.
9. Chen P, Hu P, Xie D, Qin Y, Wang F, Wang H. Meta-analysis of vitamin D, calcium and the prevention of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009.
10. Garland CF, Gorham ED, Mohr SB, Garland FC. Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global
perspective. Ann Epidemiol. 2009;19(7):468-483.
11. Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium
supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(6):1586-

Monday, December 06, 2010

European regulators recognize effects of vitamin D beyond bone health

To date EFSA (the European Food Safety Agency), has published positive opinions on article 13.1 health claims relating to beneficial effects of vitamin D supplements not only on bones and teeth, but also relating to muscles, immunity, inflammation, and reproduction. * Yet the United States' Institute of Medcicine (IOM) committee did not reach similar conclusions and therefore did not consider the need for amounts higher than needed just for bone health when recently resetting the recommended and upper limits for vitamin D. (* from For more on the FDA decision, see:

Here's what the EFSA has published about these positive benefits (I bolded some text to highlight these points):

"The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of vitamin D and contribution to the normal function of the immune system and healthy inflammatory response, and maintenance of normal muscle function."

"The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of vitamin D and maintenance of normal bone and teeth, absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus and normal blood calcium concentrations, and normal cell division."