ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
CANCER
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Eating Free Range
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Add your Article

Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Eating half a serving of soy food a day lowers sperm concentrations and may play a role in male infertility, particularly in obese men, Harvard University researchers report.

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.

"There have been a lot of interest in estrogen and isoflavones in particular and a potential relationship to fertility and other reproductive disorders," said lead researcher Dr. 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. However, there is very little evidence of how these findings apply to humans, he said.

The new research, he added, lends support to how results of animal studies apply to humans. But Chavarro considers the findings preliminary and inconclusive. "It's way too early to say stop eating soy foods," he said. "It's not time to worry about whether you're eating too much soy. There's not enough information to conclusively say that. "

His report was published in the July 24 online edition of the journal Human Reproduction.

For the study, Chavarro and colleagues collected data on 99 men who attended a fertility clinic for evaluation. The men were asked about how much of 15 soy-based foods they ate in the past three months.

The foods men were asked about included tofu, tempeh, tofu or soy sausages, bacon, burgers, soy milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and other soy products like roasted nuts and energy bars.

Because different foods have different levels of isoflavones, half a serving of soy is equal to about one cup of soy milk or one serving of tofu or soy burgers every other day, Chavarro noted.

Chavarro's team found that men who ate the most soy had 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter of semen compared with men who did not eat soy foods. Normal sperm counts range between 80 million and 120 million per milliliter, according to a press release from the journal, a monthly publication of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology.

In addition, the researchers found that the link between soy and sperm concentration was stronger among overweight and obese men. Overweight and obese men produce more estrogen than thinner men, and soy may increase those estrogen levels even further, they speculated.

Moreover, the link between soy and sperm concentration was strongest in men with higher sperm concentrations. Men who have normal or high sperm counts may be more susceptible to soy foods than men with low sperm counts, Chavarro said.

Infertility expert Dr. Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad, an associate professor of urology at UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School and Hackensack University Medical Center, agreed that soy may be one factor affecting fertility, especially in overweight and obese men.

"When patients are overweight, the fat tissue converts male hormones to more female hormones," Sadeghi-Nejad said. "So, it is possible that the combination of this estrogenic source [soy] and the extra internal estrogen that is caused by the conversion of androgen to estrogen through the fat has a more deleterious effect in that group of patients."

In addition, Sadeghi-Nejad noted that although sperm counts decreased most among men who have the highest counts, that should not affect fertility, since sperm counts were still in the normal range.

"But this is a good reminder that if you have an overweight patient, with abnormal semen parameters, and a very high soy intake, it may be wise for them to decrease this factor," Sadeghi-Nejad said.

More information

For more about obesity and infertility, visit the Obesity Action Coalition.



SOURCES: Jorge Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D., research fellow, department of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad, M.D., associate professor of urology, UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School, Hackensack University Medical Center; July 24, 2008, online edition, Human Reproduction

Last Updated: July 24, 2008

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