While soy products such as tofu, edamame and soy milk were once a staple in the health food community, a variety of studies have left patients wary of this vegetarian-friendly protein source. The alleged downsides of soy are especially nerve-wracking for our cancer patients. It’s been suggested that certain soy products can increase the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Despite the controversy over soy, we’ve seen great results with one very specific soy product: fermented soy.
Traditional Soy vs. Fermented Soy
The biggest problem with traditional soy products is the presence of isoflavones, plant-based compounds that are classified as phytoestrogens due to their estrogen-like structures. Initially, researchers believed that isoflavones had the power to activate estrogen sensors in breast cancer, essentially fueling tumor growth.
While there have been several studies disproving this theory, worries persist about traditional soy products due to its status as a genetically modified organism, or GMO. Additionally, non-fermented soy products contain growth-stunting compounds that can affect the consumer’s ability to digest proteins. Fermentation removes or de-activates these undesirable compounds. Early research actually links the isoflavones in fermented soy to a lower breast cancer risk. That’s exciting news for a lot of our patients, particularly those actively undergoing cancer treatment.
Fermented Soy’s Effect on Cancer
Fermented soy’s effect on cancer is an exciting new innovation, particularly for breast cancer patients. One study performed in Germany observed breast cancer cell line BT474 when treated with Doxorubicin, a chemotherapy compound for breast cancers. After treatment, the cancer cells showed a 4.6 percent survival rate.
The researchers then studied Haelan 951, a fermented soy product, which produced a 4.8 percent cancer cell survival rate. However, when combined, Doxorubicin and the fermented soy product resulted in a cancer cell kill five times stronger than the Doxorubicin produced by itself. Those are incredibly powerful results. Fermented soy doesn’t just impact breast cancer patients—one study on prostate cancer shows soy isoflavones may reduce prostate cancer risks by up to 50 percent.
While soy contains a lot of vital nutrients, unfermented soy beans are hard for many people to digest. This is largely because they contain a high amount of protein enzyme inhibitors and difficult-to-digest sugar compounds. However, during the fermentation process, the enzymes produced by the bacteria and yeast break down and become easier to digest. The fermentation of soy products can convert minerals like iron, potassium, copper and zinc into more soluble forms so that the body gets more of those vital nutrients.
Fermented soy products like natto, a popular Japanese superfood, provide a large amount of calcium to maintain healthy bones. For example, natto provides 22 percent of the recommended daily calcium intake, slowing age-related bone density loss and reducing the chance of falls and fractures.
Heart health is another major benefit of fermented soy. The FDA recently approved a health claim for the cholesterol-lowering effects of soy protein, which is a major factor in reducing heart disease risk.
The benefits of fermented soy are certainly promising, but how do you find a soy product that works for you? At Kare Health & Wellness, we’re intrigued by the benefits of Haelan, the cancer treatment formula mentioned earlier.
This formula was originally developed to provide nutritional support for hospitalized patients recovering from chemotherapy and other medical treatments. Now it’s been shown to speed up the killing of cancer cells. One bottle of this product contains 25 pounds of concentrated non-GMO, fully organic soy.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of fermented soy, reach out to Kare Health and Wellness in Springfield, Missouri at 417-881-4994. Our goal is twofold: to improve your immediate health and prevent future health issues through functional medicine.
Whether you’re undergoing treatment for breast cancer in Springfield Missouri or are simply looking to live a longer, healthier life, our experts can connect you with supplements like fermented soy, getting you one step closer to lifelong wellness.