Is Soya Safe? – new guide reveals all

London: The Safety of Soya Leading health charity the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) has created a new nutritional fact sheet “The Safety of Soya”.

The fact sheet reviews the latest science on soya and is essential reading for vegetarians, vegans and meat- eaters alike. VVF give you the facts on the wealth of health benefits and discuss the supposed risks of the humble soya bean.

VVF senior health campaigner and fact sheet author Dr Justine Butler says: “Soya is an excellent source of nutrients and can protect against heart disease, certain cancers and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms; it might even help boost brain power. However, not all the reports on soya are favourable; the health benefits have been questioned by some while others have gone even further, launching a vigorous anti-soya crusade. The result is confusion – people don’t know who to believe. VVF has looked at the research in its entirety and sets the record straight in this timely fact sheet”.

“The Safety of Soya” Dr Butler says “explains how soya foods are a good source of protein, good fats including omega-3s, antioxidants, B vitamins, iron and are cholesterol-free. Calcium- and B12-fortified soya products provide a valuable source of these important nutrients. The new fact sheet explains how soya lowers cholesterol and so protects against heart disease. It describes how soya has been shown to improve bone health and reduce menopausal hot flushes”.

In answer to the soya detractors Dr Butler argues that “Millions of people have been safely consuming soya foods for thousands of years. In fact, millions of infants have been raised on soya-based infant formulas in the UK and US, many of whom are now well into their late 30s and early 40s. The absence of any reported ill effects on millions of babies would suggest there are no adverse effects, either biological or clinical.”

Dr Butler warns “Much of the concern is based on the presence of natural substances found in soya called phytoestrogens (plant hormones that act like oestrogen but are much weaker). VVF is far more concerned about the actual oestrogen content of cow’s milk and dairy products. Cow’s milk contains over 35 different hormones and 11 growth factors, several of which have been linked to cancer. Considering the main complaint about soya is that it contains phytoestrogens, many thousand times weaker than animal oestrogens, it begs the
question: what is the real motivation behind the anti-soya crusade?”

Decide for yourself by reading The Safety of Soya available for 40p including p&p from Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation, 8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol,
BS2 8QH. Tel: + 44(0)117 970 5190 9am- 6pm. Email or visit our website at < ahref=""

What is the VVF?

The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) is a charity established to monitor and interpret the increasing amount of scientific research linking diet to health.
VVF communicates this information to the public, health professionals, schools and food manufacturers and provides accurate information on which to make informed choices. It is a vital – and almost solitary – source of accurate and unbiased information and advice on diet and health and is free from any commercial or vested interests.

Soya supplement proven to relieve menopause symtoms without dangerous side effects, reveal two new studies


London: Two new studies, each involving 400 menopausal women, who were given a natural soya supplement has shown that it did not cause the potential dangerous side effects sometimes associated with oestrogen such as a thickening of the womb lining or breast cancers.

The studies were carried out by the French pharmaceutical company Arkopharma in relation to its supplement Phyto Soya, which helps relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes by boosting levels of the hormone oestrogen naturally.

Nearly 400 women took part in each of the studies. The first looked at the effects of Phyto Soya on the endometrium – the lining of the womb – in women aged 45 to 65 years old. In this case the 310 biopsies that were available for evaluation at the end of the trial showed no cases of hyperplasia – an abnormal increase in the number of cells or cancer.

Separately, in another international study, which hasn’t yet been published, the women who were taking Phyto Soya were checked for changes in their breasts with mammography and breast ultrasounds. It found no changes at all in any of the subjects, and therefore no risks of breast cancer associated with the supplement. This study also confirmed that it caused no cases of endometriosis.

The studies’ authors are keen to point out that their results only apply to the brand of soya known as Phyto Soya and do not apply to any other soya isoflavone extract.

The good news for women is that a third study showed that trialists taking Phyto Soya experienced significantly fewer hot flushes a day, with two-thirds of them saying their number of hot flushes had been halved and 73% rating it as good or excellent.

The study concludes that menopausal women worried about the long-term effects of taking HRT now have a new, safe alternative in the form of soya extract.

The low incidence of menopausal symptoms in countries like Japan, where people eat a lot of soya, has long caused some experts to claim that soya extracts could do the same job as HRT. However, there was no proof that it was any less risky to take – until now, that is. But these new clinical studies have shown that Phyto Soya not only significantly reduces hot flushes but also is definitely safe when taken over long periods of time.

Soya is one of a number of plants that includes extracts called phytoestrogens, which are chemicals that act like oestrogens in animal cells. Isoflavones, which are found chiefly in soybeans, are specific phytoestrogens that have a chemical structure that is very similar to human oestrogen. This means that they can affect the way that women’s bodies produce oestrogen, if the right types and amounts are used.

The Phyto Soya range by Arkopharma


Phyto Soya is the only natural range of soya isoflavones, which is clinically proven to work. The range is specially formulated to help women cope with the menopause years. The core elements of the range are capsules, both for pre-menopausal and menopausal women.

Phyto Soya Capsules
o Phyto Soya is clinically proven to reduce hot flushes by 61%
o 90% of women tolerated it with no side effects
o 20% of the study’s respondents reported that they had less vaginal dryness – vaginal dryness is a common side-effect of the menopause
o 73% of women rated Phyto Soya as good or excellent.

Phyto Soya is perfect for women who do not want to take HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), have had to stop using HRT because of side-effects or would like to complement the effects of their prescribed medication.

In addition, to the range of capsules, Phyto Soya now offers a range of other products for women at this key life-stage.

• Phyto Soya Vaginal Gel
Contains 10% soya isoflavones to enable hydration and protection of this sensitive area of the body.
– 36% of women say it helped with intimate hydration
– 54% say it boosted natural lubrication
– 38% said the skin became more elastic

• Phyto Soya Feminine Wash (500ml)
Contains soya isoflavones, calendula and coconut oil. This unique combination helps to combat the effects of oestrogen deficiency, soothes, softens and creates a protective film.

• Phyto Soya Body Firming Lotion (200ml)
Contains soya isoflavones, tea phytosterols, shea butter, glycerine, mannitol and vitamin E. Helps to firm and tone areas of the body that are prone to dryness.

• Phyto Soya Age-Minimising Cream
Clinically proven to improve skin smoothness right from the first month of use. A trial shows a 20% decrease in the depth of wrinkles and a 44% in collagen production.

Live-longer Secrets from around the world

These are the countries in which women have the longest lifespan, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Health Data 2005:

Japan 85.3
Spain 83.7
France 82.9
Australia 82.9
Iceland 82.5
Canada 82.1
Finland 81.8
New Zealand 81.1
UK 80.7
USA 79.9


Finland had the highest rate of deaths from heart disease in the world in the 1970s. It has now reversed that trend by combining a healthier diet and outdoor exercise. Half of women walk or cycle to work and the populace defy sub-zero temperatures to hike and ski.


Although the French diet is higher in dairy fat, they have less heart disease, are slimmer and live longer than most Europeans. Garlic and red wine are thought to be responsible for some of the lower levels of cardiovascular disease.


A combination of beneficial foods including fish, rice, soya and vegetables mean the Japanese have lower rates of heart disease than Europeans. Soya improves bone health and prevents hot flushes and is thought to fight cancer. Antioxidant vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, are also popular. The Japanese also drink green tea which is full of antioxidants


There is less Alzheimer’s amongst elderly people in India than in most Western countries.

Circumin, the active ingredient in tumeric a speice used in curry, has been linked to these lower levels of disease. Scientists at the University of California believe it may slow down the progression of the disease. They discovered that there were half the number of amayloid plaques – the protein thought to be implicated in Alzheimer’s – in people who consumed circumin. It has also been shown to stop the spread of some cancers.