Safety and interactions

Soy is considered safe, but gastric discomfort has been noted.4 There is an allergic potential, and significant events including angioedema, respiratory distress, and rash have been noted.8 Soy-based infant formulas have been closely studied and declared safe by the American Academy of Pediatrics.9 Eating raw soybeans is not recommended. The heat used to cook and process soybeans makes the nutrients more bioavailable. No drug interactions have been identified.

Cost and how supplied

The cost of soy is minimal. Given the endless variety of ways to consume soy, advise patients to take a trip to their local health store.


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Summary

Soy products are safe, available, and potentially beneficial. Though they have not proved to be the miracle food researchers once suspected, they remain a very healthy addition to our diet. Encouraging soy intake for your patients is clinically sound advice.

References

1. Soyfoods Association of North America. Sales and trends.

2. Natural Standard Monograph (2009). Soy. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Natural Standard, Inc.

3. Sacks FM, Lichtenstein A, Van Horn L, et al. Soy protein, isoflavones, and cardiovascular health: an American Heart Association Science Advisory for professionals from the Nutrition Committee. Circulation. 2006;113:1034-1044.

4. National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. Soy.

5. Sirtori CR. Risks and benefits of soy phytoestrogens in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, climacteric symptoms and osteoporosis. Drug Saf. 2001;24:665-682.

6. Messina M, McCaskill-Stevens W, Lampe JW. Addressing the soy and breast cancer relationship: review, commentary, and workshop proceedings. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006;98:1275-1284.

7. Messina M, Kucuk O, Lampe JW. An overview of the health effects of isoflavones with an emphasis on prostate cancer risk and prostate-specific antigen levels. J AOAC Int. 2006;89:1121-1134.

8.Cordle CT. Soy protein allergy: incidence and relative severity. J Nutr. 2004;134:1213S-1219S.

9. Merritt RJ, Jenks BH. Safety of soy-based infant formulas containing isoflavones: the clinical evidence. J Nutr. 2004;134:1220S-1224S.

All electronic documents accessed March 15, 2010.

By Sherril Sego, FNP-C, DNP. Ms. Sego is a staff clinician at the VA Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., where she practices adult medicine and women’s health. She also teaches at the nursing schools of the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas.