Soy may help some women overcome fertility challenge

By Laura Mize • Published: May 27th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Soy foods may have yet another benefit.

Eating foods derived from the humble soybean may help protect women from the reproductive effects of a chemical found in some common plastic products, new research suggests.

The chemical is chemical bisphenol A [bis·phe·nol A] — better known as BPA. BPA is suspected of throwing the endocrine system into disarray, though research to establish a definitive connection is ongoing.

Now, soy may be a savior: A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has found that soy-based foods may help mitigate some of the harmful effects of BPA in women trying to become pregnant.

Some animal studies have shown that higher BPA levels are associated with reduced fertility, while other research suggested that soy could offset those effects. The researchers wanted to know what would happen with humans.

In the study, they tracked 239 women who underwent in vitro fertilization during a five-year period. Among four groups of women who consumed soy, differing levels of BPA in their bodies had no correlation to their success rates in getting pregnant.

But for women who did not consume soy foods, pregnancy rates dropped as their BPA levels rose. Researchers said this suggests a relationship between the consumption of soy products, BPA levels in the body and fertility.

The study’s results may be a step toward using soy-based foods to offset the reproductive effects of BPA. Because this is the first inkling of positive results involving BPA and soy products, the researchers said more study is necessary. The jury is still out, but soy milk and tofu may be helpful to women who are trying to have children.