So here’s what you rarely hear about soy and low sperm count: there are few silver bullets in the world of fertility and men’s’ health, and more importantly…
No matter what some snake-oil sales types might suggest, the viability of your balls is a complex matter that takes diet, activity, psychology, sociology, relationships, environment and mood all into account.
No single thing is going to make all of that better, instantly, overnight.
All that said, a few things might be considered “silver bullets” from the werewolf’s perspective — as in, this is something to definitely avoid or bad things will happen.
Soy may well be one of them. You’ll see exactly why below.
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Despite being touted by vegetarians as the next best thing to steak, and proclaimed a “superfood” back when that was a thing, a variety of things about soy make it not so great for men’s health…especially our reproductive health.
Here’s the low-down on why this Legume of Doom is best avoided if you love your testicles as much as they love you.
Soy and Low Sperm Count: The Smoking Gun
Like a lot of dietary fads, soy got popular with the front-line gurus before proper research could be conducted.
Once that research came in, it painted a pretty grim picture about its relationship with sperm counts. The core of the findings had to do with how soy interacts with estrogen production.
• A 2016 study by Dr. Jorge Chavarro at the Harvard School of Public Health compared sperm count to soy consumption, finding that subjects who ate a lot of soy had a sperm count of 41 million per millimeter lower than men who ate no soy. Since normal concentration falls between 80 and 120 million per milliliter, this is a significant drop.
• The same study found the decrease was even greater in overweight and obese participants.
• An earlier study, also conducted at Harvard over the course of six years, found that a half a serving of soy per day dropped sperm production by just under 50% in males with normal or high sperm counts.
• A 2009 study at the University of Geneva Medical School’s Department of Genetic Medicine and Development found soy and soy-derived foods to reduce sperm count in both humans and animals.
The trouble here is isoflavones found in soy.
The specific compounds soy contains are phytoestrogens, compounds that mimic the behavior of estrogen, and stimulate your body to behave as though it had an elevated estrogen count.
As we’ve discussed time and time again on this blog, estrogen and testosterone work together in a yin-yang sort of balance.
Since testosterone is the most important hormone in stimulating sperm production (and in making sure what sperm you do produce is healthy), this explains the findings about soy and sperm production.
But Wait, There’s More!
Keeping your boys healthy and happy is only one of the reasons men should Just Say No to soy.
Let’s look at a what else science has been discovering about how it can negatively impact your body:
The scariest finding came from Dr. Lon R. White of the Hawaii Center for Health Research, who conducted a longitudinal study of over 3,700 Japanese-American men, looking at the effects of diet and aging over the course of 30 years.
He found men who ate tofu daily were at up to 240% the risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who ate no tofu.
General cognitive function deteriorated more rapidly in subjects without Alzheimer’s, with those who ate tofu two times or more per week performing as if five years older than their chronological age.
Several other ways soy can wreck the male body include:
• Goitrogens in soy suppress the function of your thyroid by preventing it from getting enough iodine no matter how much you take in. Thyroid failure is linked to mood problems, weight gain, fatigue and mental issues ranging from concentration and memory loss to some severe mental illnesses.
• The phytates in soy are present in all legumes, but are present in such concentrations it’s impossible to leach them out. Phytates block your digestive tract’s ability to absorb the minerals in your diet.
• Trypsin is a digestive enzyme that lets you digest protein. Soy contains lots of trypsin inhibitors. With enough of those in your digestive tract, your body will respond to protein like a lactose intolerant child who just at a gallon of ice cream. It’s bad news you don’t want any part of.
• Hemagglutinins found in raw soybeans cause blood cells to clump together and even clot, leading to suppressed growth and nutrient transmission in the best cases and all the dangers of internal blood clotting in the worst.
All of these issues occur when people consume raw soybeans.
Though it’s true that cooking, bathing or heat-treating (which is different from cooking) can reduce the presence of some of these compounds, none reduce enough of them to make soy truly safe to regularly eat.
Fermenting soy can get rid of almost all of the non-fertility-related problems, which is why natto is popular in Japan, but that’s a lot of work to do what just eating a burger instead will accomplish just as effectively.
Conclusion About Soy And Your Semen
A 2008 survey of consumer attitudes in the United States found that 85 percent of Americans consider soy products “healthy” — that’s a significant increase from the 50 percent who thought so a decade earlier. It also looks to be dead wrong.
Like all foods, soy is safe when eaten in small amounts. Go ahead and order that plate of edamame the next time you’re out for teriyaki or sushi.
But soy milk should only be drunk by people with severe lactose intolerance, and those soy burgers nobody likes anyway are only for people who literally can’t process animal proteins.
Stay away from soy. Your testicles, brain, thyroid and digestive tract will thank you.