Soy feminizes men with estrogen
You've probably read several contradictory things online about soy and its various byproducts, particularly about its estrogenic effects and how it mimics the female hormone in both men and women. Some pro-soy health bloggers have tried to downplay soy's estrogenic properties, while others have been overly dramatic about its effects. It's hard to find the truth on the internet, so we'll dig into the truth with some real scientific studies... some that have been ignored by the pro-soy bloggers.

Since soy is in almost everything, we'll also tell you how you can combat the magical little bean's estrogenic effects in your body by naturally increasing your testosterone. 
The most common soy product that you'll find in at least 90% of everything that is in your cupboards and pantry is soy lecithin. Non-soy lecithin is an essential emulsifier that appears regularly in almost all living things. The soy version of lecithin is the most affordable and commonly used lecithin in baked goods, soups, creams and various powders and flavorings. The lecithin used in most products is extracted from soy beans. Other forms of lecithin are extracted from seeds, sunflowers and corn, but the most commonly used is soy lecithin, mainly due to its low cost and abundance on the global market.

Unfortunately, like almost all soy products, soy lecithin is estrogenic. Most, if not all soy products, contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens mimic the effects of estrogen in the human body, regardless of sex or gender. Some soy products, like soybean oil, contain less phytoestrogen than more solid soy products and byproducts. 

In a 2011 study published by Maximillian Behr, Jorg Oehlmann and Martin Wagner, soy lecithin was found to be "strongly estrogenic":

To assess the total estrogenic activity of foodstuff, we employed the Yeast Estrogen Screen (YES). We analyzed 18 food samples and five milk-based infant formulas. Soy-based products contained potent estrogenicity of 100–1500 ng estradiol equivalents per kilogram (EEQ/kg). The estrogenicity in soy-free products was far lower (10–40 ng EEQ/kg). We also detected significant estrogenic activity in three infant formulas (14–22 ng EEQ/kg).

Furthermore, we found soy lecithin to be strongly estrogenic. It might, therefore, be a major contributor to total estrogenicity. We conclude that dietary estrogens are omnipresent and not limited to soy-based food.

In an exposure assessment we calculated a total dietary intake of 27.5 and 34.0 ng EEQ/d for adults and 1.46 ng EEQ/d for infants. While the dietary exposure to estrogenic activity is lower than previously estimated, our results demonstrate that many food types are a source of unidentified estrogen-like compounds still awaiting toxicological evaluation.

Other studies prior to 2011, and more recent studies, have confirmed the estrogenic effects of soy-based products and foods. Strangely, many health bloggers and soy activists have downplayed the results of these studies, while some claiming to be doctors have even falsely stated that soy lecithin has "insignificant" estrogenic effects. You shouldn't believe them. 

It is important to note that no studies have ever linked soy consumption during childhood to sexuality and there is no evidence to suggest that it can, or does, determine sexuality. However, signs of high estrogenic activity during childhood is often characterized in adult men by: minimal facial and body hair, lower bone density, restricted muscle growth, higher pitched voice and higher levels of anxiety and depression. These side effects are more commonly seen when higher levels of estrogen are evident during, or prior to, puberty. In adult men, higher levels of estrogen or estrogenic activity can cause depression, mood swings, anxiety and low fertility. Extremely high levels of estrogenic activity without a proper balance of testosterone can cause other, severe physical side effects in adult men. 

Other minor studies have, in fact, contradicted the "strongly estrogenic" properties of soy lecithin not by revealing that it necessarily contains less phytoestrogens, but by attempting to establish the idea that there is little evidence to show that phytoestrogens actually have the same estrogenic effects as natural, human estrogen. The behavior of phytoestrogens is admittedly complex, as few studies have been able to successfully confirm how phytoestrogens actually work in the human body. 

However, troubling statistics about male fertility could give us a clue. Since soy consumption has risen in North America, male fertility rates have dropped an astonishing 52% in just a few decades. 

Last year, CNN reported that the fertility rates of Western men are plummeting: 

Sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging, according to a new analysis published Tuesday.

Among these men there has been a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011, the analysis, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, said.
Scientists determine sperm count by looking at a sample of ejaculate under a microscope. For sperm concentration, they measure how many millions of sperm there are in each milliliter of fluid. Sperm count, then, is sperm concentration multiplied by the total volume of an ejaculate.

This has been reported for several years, by several news organizations and studies in America and Europe. Sperm counts among Western men are declining... rapidly. Now, of course, other dietary factors, including obesity, can cause a reduction in male fertility, but let's take a look at North American soy consumption over the past forty years. 

This clipping from Mother Earth News shows how soybean oil consumption has not only skyrocketed, but that it may also be contributing to obesity:

Notice the apparent jump in soybean oil consumption in the late 1960s... about 50 years ago. This data also correlates with the dramatic increase in the use of soy lecithin in everything from chocolate to medicines beginning in the mid to late 1950s. The United States lecithin industry was well established by the 1940s, but it was with the growth of mass markets and industrialization that cheap soy lecithin eventually became the most commonly used form of lecithin. 

You can do what you will with this information, but there are two important facts to always remember: soy contains phytoestrogens and Western fertility rates among men are dropping. Those are two undeniable, scientifically known facts. 

If you browse through your cupboards and refrigerator, you'll have difficulty finding things that do not contain soy lecithin or some kind of soy-based product. If you were to try and reduce your consumption of soy lecithin, it would require starving to near death or existing on a strict meat and vegetable diet. To avoid most soy, you would need to cut out most junk foods and guilty pleasures, like cheesecake and chocolate. Sandwiches won't work either, because bread contains soy lecithin. 

If you're a man, another way to counteract the estrogenic effects of soy is to naturally increase your testosterone levels. Here are a few simple things you can do:

-Exercise more

-Do weight training at least twice a week

-Sleep no less than 6 hours per night

-Consume more red meat, preferably beef

-Consume more zinc, magnesium and vitamin D daily

-Cut back alcohol consumption and fatty foods

      April 2018 | Augustus
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