Researchers link soy beans with production of sperm

A naturally-occurring ingredient of soy beans has been found to interfere with a part of the male reproductive system involved in sperm production.

Soy products are increasingly sold as substitutes for dairy-based food but there is evidence to suggest they contain natural chemicals that mimic the effect of female sex hormones. Soy contains genistein, known to interact with the "receptor" molecules on cells designed to respond to oestrogens.

A laboratory-based study by Ren-Shan Ge of the Wenzhou Medical College in China found that genistein can interfere with the production of vital enzymes involved in producing sperm.

"Following ingestion, soy isoflavones are known to reach the reproductive organs. Thus, excessive exposure to agents that exhibit oestrogenic activity may affect male reproductive tract developments and functions," the researchers say in the study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology.

"With regard to this concern, it has been estimated the genistein and daidzein can reach high concentrations in infants who consume large amounts of soy-based products," they say.

The concentrations of genistein used in the laboratory study are roughly equivalent to the levels that can build up in the human body following a diet rich in soy products.

However, Professor Ieuan Hughes of the University of Cambridge said that a comprehensive inquiry into the oestrogenic chemicals found in soy and other food has failed to find any adverse effects on male reproductive health.

"I suspect the genistein effect is of little relevance to male human health... there was no evidence that soy products had adverse effects on male reproductive health, either via testis function or any other mechanism such as androgen [male hormone] action," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Metail Ltd: Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific

£35,000 - £40,000 based on experience : Metail Ltd: As a Business Development ...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Owner

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product ...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - £17,000 Basic, OTE Uncapped

£17000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company are looking for a S...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line Technical Analyst

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 1st / 2nd Line Technical Anal...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate