Is there a link between soy and erectile dysfunction?
There sure is…
Which can partially be explained by the
estrogenic isoflavones in soybeans…
Which reduce the production of androgens
And if the soy happens to be genetically modified, things get even worse.
Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov took a group of hamsters…
And fed them Monsanto’s genetically modified soy over 3 generations.
And these hamsters, when compared to the control group not given soy, had 5 times the infant
They also suffered shocking testicular alterations….
Like something out of a science fiction movie, in the soy group, the testis actually changed color from pink to dark blue???
Which may explain the disruptions in sperm cell formation the soy fed group also experienced
And even worse, by the end of the study period, several of the hamsters in the soy group were sterile, outright.
Which is bad news for soy eating men because 91 percent of the soybean fields in the USA grow genetically modified beans.
Combine this with the fact that raw soy beans are processed with a chemical called Hexane…
An agent proven to negatively impact the male reproductive system by reducing sexual behavior, lowering fertility and altering sperm shape and counts.
Once you consider all these facts….
It’s not much of a stretch to say that soy and erectile dysfunction can easily be mentioned in the same sentence.
Now here’s David Jaynes with more details on the link between soy and ED.
Soy and Erectile Dysfunction Part 2:
If you’ve got a short attention span, I’ll say it right out front:
If you want good morning wood, avoid the soy.
If you’re interested in why soy is terrible for your morning wood, read on…
Soy reduces testosterone
Soy reduces testosterone and other androgens, so it’s not a great thing for men’s health in general.
This is especially worrying because soy is increasingly difficult to avoid.
To give you some idea of what I mean, here’s a list of products you probably didn’t know contain soy:
- Canned soups, canned tuna, and canned and processed meats
- Low fat peanut butter
- Skin care products
- Fresh meat and eggs (they ingest it through their feed)
- The vast majority of all packaged and processed foods
This stuff is almost impossible to avoid.
Of course, you can reduce your intake substantially if you eat organic, grass fed meat and cook all your own food, but there’s always going to be a little bit in your system…
Which is why if you’re working on improving your T-levels, it presents a problem.
Many sites out there (some supported by the soy industry) will claim that soy doesn’t have any impact on men’s health.
In fact, it’s still often heralded as a superfood, despite some resounding scientific evidence to the contrary.
For example, researchers at the Colorado State University found a molecule back in 1982 called equol (this is an isoflavone – more on those later).
When men eat soy, their levels of equol go up.
Then, in 2004, those same researchers found that equal is actually a strong anti-androgen, inhibiting the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Another example (and there are dozens of studies) that hits a little closer to the issue of ED was a case study of a vegan 19 year old man.
A sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products
When the diet stopped and the soy ingestion returned to normal levels, his testosterone and DHEA levels returned to normal, and his performance problems in the bedroom ceased entirely.
The researchers concluded that this was the result of isoflavones acting on his sex hormones (source).
Finally, a study on 35 men looked at different levels of soy consumption over 57 days. The researchers gave their participants either milk, a little bit of soy protein, or a lot of soy protein.
Here’s what they found:
•Those who didn’t take any soy protein saw their androgen levels stay the same
•Low protein soy decreased their DHT/testosterone levels by 9%
• High protein soy decreased their DHT/testosterone levels by 15%
•Both low and high protein soy increased their levels of estradiol and estrone (source)
These are just three examples of a multitude of studies that show that soy decreases testosterone an increases female sex hormones like estrogen.
Soy Isoflavones Mimic Estrogen
The studies above mention something called isoflavones. Isoflavones are the main reason why soy is bad for men’s health in general and your morning wood in particular.
Isoflavones are molecules in soy that mimic the effect of estrogen and bind to estrogen receptors in your body.
Soy contains genistein, daidzein, glycitein.
These are all various types of isoflavones. Isoflavones are further characterized as phytoestrogens, which is a plant material that mimics hormones.
What this means for your body is that it thinks that it’s producing more estrogen then it is, which suppresses testosterone and other androgen production (as we’ve seen).
Unfortunately, since soy is in baby formula, scientists have started to look at the impact of consuming soy early in life on erections in adulthood
By looking at rats and feeding them different levels of soy, researchers have found a relationship between how much soy they consume and how skinny their erections are as adults.
Essentially, the more soy the rats have early on, the thinner their erections are later in life.
What this means, if you were bottle fed on a soy based formula, you might want to start thinking about boosting your testosterone, since you’re already facing an uphill battle.
So we know that soy, because of its estrogen-like properties, reduces your testosterone. And we know the less testosterone you have, the harder it is to get it hard.
But soy isn’t done yet…
Soy And Erectile Dysfunction-Why It Happens
Sometimes it seems like soy is uniquely trying to keep soft dudes soft.
In addition to reducing testosterone while making your body think it has more estrogen, soy also has a negative impact on your ability to get blood into your penis and keep it there.
An article published in Urology in 2008 looked at the impact of daidzein (one of soy’s pesky isoflavones) on smooth muscle cells, collagen and elastic fibers.
These are three key physical structures your body uses to build erections.
In normal circumstances, when you get aroused the soft, spongy tissue in your penis fills with blood and gets trapped, which causes your package to swell.
However, when the researchers dosed rats with daidzein, they found that the rats’ collagen levels increased and their smooth muscle and elastic fibers decreased.
In other words, the rats who were given daidzein had more penile collagen, less blood flow, and softer, weaker erections (source).
Phytic Acid in Soy Reduces Mineral Absorption
In order to get a good quality erection, you need to be putting the right stuff in, especially minerals.
Specifically, you need healthy levels of:
Since your body can’t manufacture minerals, you need to get them into your system, and then you need to absorb them so your body can use them (unabsorbed minerals are generally just peed out).
Soy interferes with the absorption process of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc because of its high level of phytic acid.
Phytic acid tends to hang around as well, and the only way to get it out of soy is from long, slow fermentation.
And since most soy consumption in the West comes from unfermented soy found in most processed foods, many men take in too much phytic acid, and have low mineral levels as a result.
Soy Reduces Sex Drive And Vitality
Last but not least, soy has a negative impact on your sex drive and vitality.
Several animal studies have demonstrated that soy reduces mounting behavior and sexual frequency.
A study in the journal Human Reproduction found that men who had the most soy in their diet only had between a half to a third as much sperm per milliliter as non-soy eaters.
Another study found that genistein interferes with the ability of your body to make sperm by interfering with the enzyme that catalyses the reaction turning cholesterol into testosterone in the Leydig cells….
Which further drops your testosterone levels and reduces sperm production.
UPDATE: Soy May Put Men at Risk of Dementia
Most people certainly don’t think about dementia every day (or at all).
Nonetheless, eating the wrong foods can increase the risk of the condition, severely limiting men’s ability to lead healthy and rich lives.
Dementia is not a specific disease but a condition characterized by impaired cognition, memory, and decision-making that can impact a person’s quality of life, productivity, and relationships.
For these reasons and many others, dementia can also impair sexual function, affect men’s attitudes toward sex, and hinder their ability to achieve and maintain a firm erection.
Most men diagnosed with dementia need time to adjust to the new reality and often lose interest in intimacy, at least for a while.
In some cases, depending on what parts of the brain are affected, the person might see a permanent reduction in sexual desire coupled with erectile dysfunction.
For example, in one paper, researchers looked at erectile health in 55 older men with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.
They found that loss of erection was reported in 53 percent of 55 men with Alzheimer’s.
Interestingly, some patients, particularly those where the condition affects the frontal and temporal lobes may begin to express their sexual interests more directly.
While that might not seem that bad, we can all agree that trading mental clarity and well-being for a slightly stronger sexual appetite is not worth it.
Okay, but what does all of this have to do with soy, which many believe is a good protein alternative to red meat, poultry, and other foods?
Some research suggests that soy can increase the risk of dementia in men.
For instance, in one recent paper, researchers examined the relationship between total soy consumption and the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
While their findings were mixed, some of the data suggests that certain soy products, such as tofu, can contribute to a higher risk of impaired cognitive function.
Let’s go over another study on the matter…
Roccisano and colleagues examined some of the existing data on Alzheimer’s in the US and looked at one potential contributor to the issue.
According to one hypothesis, new Alzheimer’s cases could more than double by 2050.
In addition, the Alzheimer Association in the US indicates that up to 25 percent of adults will be affected by dementia by 2031.
Okay, but what is the potential contributor to these worrying projections? Industrial soy foods.
One idea floating around is that eating foods produced from unfermented soybeans can have unfavorable effects on hormonal health (including thyroid function).
Additionally, soy consumption may be a considerable contributor to dementia and should in no way be excluded as a possible contributor.
The authors speculate that dementia could partly result from neuro-toxic compounds that manage to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
A significant source of such harmful chemicals could be the very food we consume.
Of course, we need more research to conclude, but given the initial findings and soy’s other adverse effects (e.g., lower testosterone, weaker erections, etc.), my early suggestion still remains, avoid soybeans.
Especially if you have a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Soy and Erectile Dysfunction – Conclusion:
To recap, soy is terrible for your erections because it:
- Reduces your testosterone levels
- Negatively impacts semen parameters
- Makes your body think it has more estrogen than it does (further suppressing testosterone production)
- Increases collagen in your penis (making critical soft tissue hard and brittle)
- Reduces your elastic fibers, so it’s hard to get it as hard as you would like
- Soy may increase your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Makes it more difficult for your body to absorb key minerals needed for healthy erections