Soy: Fertility Friend or Foe?
Soy is one of those foods people either love or hate. Between the conflicting reports about its possible benefits and harmful effects and its relatively subtle flavor many people just don't know what to make of it. "I heard soy is good for your heart, is that true?", "What does soy taste like?", and "Doesn't eating soy cause breast cancer?" are all questions I have been asked. Now there is a new question on the block: "Will soy help me get pregnant or will it prevent it?" A study published in Fertility and Sterility last week aimed to answer that question for women who are undergoing assisted reproductive technology, ART for short.
The researchers measured the amount of soy 315 women who had gone through at least one cycle of ART ate before treatment. They then placed the women into four categories based on how much isoflavones they had in their diet. Side note: Isoflavones are a phytoestrogen found in all legumes, though the highest amounts are found in soy. What researchers uncovered was the group of women who had the most soy in their diet had a higher rate of pregnancy. Here is the part that made me uber excited, women in that same group were also more likely to have live births. Not only did they seem to have a better chance of becoming pregnant they also seemed to have a higher chance of giving birth to a baby at or after at least 24 weeks. That is exciting news!
How much soy exactly did the women in the highest group take in? Between 0.34-1.02 servings or 7.56-27.89 mg of isoflavones per day, on average. That's 1.36 ounces to 4.08 ounces of soy foods. Not much at all really, and well within what we know is a safe amount.
For now, it looks like soy is a fertility friend, at least when not too much is eaten.