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Soy vey! Does eating tofu lower sperm count? - Scientific American Blog Network
The reason for this relationship between soy and sperm count isn't clear. However, researchers speculate that soy increases estrogen activity, which may have a negative affect on sperm production and also interfere with other hormonal signals. Jorge Chavarro, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Research in animals has shown that isoflavones and estrogen can have a potentially negative affect on reproduction, including decreased fertility, Chavarro said.
This file photo taken on June, , shows soybeans in fields in the northern Argentine province of Santa Fe. The study is the largest in humans to look at the relationship between semen quality and a plant form of the female sex hormone estrogen known as phytoestrogen, which is plentiful in soy-rich foods. Chavarro said studies in animals have linked high consumption of plant-derived estrogens known as isoflavones with infertility, but so far there has been little evidence of their effect in humans.
High isoflavone intake has been related to decreased fertility in animal studies, but data in humans are scarce. Thus, we examined the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters. The intake of 15 soy-based foods in the previous 3 months was assessed for 99 male partners of subfertile couples who presented for semen analyses to the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.