ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
CANCER
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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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