Pregnancy Use

Soy is likely to be safe when used as a food; however, pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid the use of soy isoflavone supplements pending long-term safety studies.

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Soy is a component of many foods and a nutritious source of protein.

• There are many different types and formulations of soy and people may react differently to soy products depending on their diet and the activity of their gut bacteria.

• In countries where people regularly consume soy products there appears to be lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, menopausal symptoms and some cancers; however, these effects have not yet been definitely attributed to soy consumption.

• The most active agents in soy are the isoflavones, which are used to treat menopausal symptoms, and prevent osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease; however, their use is not yet based on large-scale clinical trials.

• The ability of soy to reduce menopausal symptoms is uncertain at present.

• Although there has not been much research on the use of soy in infants, there does not appear to be any adverse effects of feeding infants with soy formula.

• The long-term benefits of soy may relate to the lifetime exposure to the use of soy products.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this supplement do for me?

Soy is a nutritious food and a good source of protein that appears to have beneficial effects on cholesterol, and possible activity against cancer, heart disease osteoporosis and may positively affect cognitive function. When will it start to work?

Clinical studies suggest the effects of soy take between 6 and 12 weeks to appear. Are there any safety issues?

Soy is generally considered safe when taken as a food source or protein substitute; however, soy isoflavone supplements should be taken with caution in pregnancy, and in those with breast cancer or prostate cancer.

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