The therapeutics of soy phytochemicals…

The therapeutics of soy phytochemicals in treating and preventing cancer

The health benefits of soy have been controversial. Although the soybean matrix is complex and contains a great amino acid protein base, anti-viral, anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, vasodilator and anti-cancer properties there are people against soy products. Much of the disagreement between those “for” or “against” soy products comes from the fact that all soy products are not created equal. 

Unfermented soy products contain haemagglutinin and trypsin inhiitors, which are growth stunting factors. In addition, unfermented soy products have one of the highest phytate levels of any grain or legume. Most critics of soy dislike soy products for these reasons. However, a good fermented soy product eliminates undesirable compounds and accentuates the positive benefits of the components in soy. Haelan 951, a commercially available fermented soy beverage has a study showing that stunted animals are restored to normal growth after consuming this fermented soy product. Research also shows that the complaint about the phytate content in soybeans is offset by the fact that the mineral binding characteristics of the phytates prevent colon and colon-rectal cancers and slow down the growth rate of other cancers. A good fermented whole soy product does not have the objectionable characteristics found in unfermented soy products. Research has shown anti-aging and other health benefits derived from soy components in numerous studies. It is safe to say unfermented soy products have problems but a good fermented soy product can be great. They can provide tremendous health benefits, particularly for cancer patients. 

An NCI $20 million study of anti-cancer compounds in foods discovered five super star classes of anti-cancer compounds. All are in soybeans. These were identified as isoflavones, protease inhibitors, phytosterols, saponins and phytic acid compounds. A report on these anti-cancer compounds was published in the Journal of the NCI on April 17, 1991. Since this publication there have been more than 8,000 studies on soy and its beneficial health promoting compounds. All soy products are not created equal. A good one is fermented. Some products are manufactured from the whole soybean while others contain isolated components of soy. One fermented whole soy beverage, Haelan 951, has an extensive anti-aging clinical study and is considered by many to be the best anti-aging product in the world. The healthy beneficial mechanisms of soy compounds include DNA repair, anti-angiogenesis, restoration of apoptosis, immune stimulation, detoxification, improved estrogen metabolism, enhanced organ function, reduction of cancer cell division times (mytosis), protection from the toxic side effects of chemotherapy treatments, and the prevention of cancer cell mutations induced by chemotherapy.

In summary, fermented soy products are known to contain isoflavones, protease inhibitors, saponins, phytosterols, and phytic acid compounds that exhibit anticancer activity in preclinical models. Research supports the prospective evaluation of fermented soy products as an alternative therapy in patients with chemotherapy refractory ovarian cancer and other cancers that are not responsive to chemotherapy. The use of these products to enhance chemotherapy, reduce toxic effects of chemotherapy and prevent mutations induced by chemotherapy offers new hope for many patients. In addition, these products can help the physician manage the disease while it is treated with conventional therapies resulting in improved treatment compliance and patient outcomes.

Walter H. Wainright, President, Haelan Research Foundation

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