Is Soy a Fertility Food: The Link between Soy Products and Fertility

By on February 2, 2012


Does soy increase fertility or deplete your baby making potential?

 By Julia Indichova.

The question of soy as a fertility food, appears to be a contentious subject even among  experts in the baby making world.  So here is a quick overview of what I gleaned from research and two  decades of observing my own, as well as my clients’ response to soy. SoyFertilityFoodGraphic

Over eighty percent of the women I’ve worked with as a fertility educator, wrestle with various levels of digestive difficulties.

The protease inhibitors in unfermented soy foods, such as soy milk, tofu, processed soy cheeses, inhibit the key enzymes that help us digest protein and can cause bloating, intestinal disorders and impaired pancreatic function.

So unfermented soy foods can not only impair fertility, they can interfere with absorption of nutrients and impair our overall level of energy and health.

Soy and impaired thyroid function

A statistically significant number of women with fertility challenges wrestle with impaired thyroid function. Since the consumption of certain soy products is linked with impaired thyroid function, clearing up the fertility and soy confusion is a priority especially for the population of women who suspect a thyroid issues.

Soy products can interfere with the absorption of iodine. Iodine deficiency leads to slowed metabolism, weight gain, fatigue, intolerance of cold and other symptoms of an underactive thyroid.

Women with thyroid related issues have done well with a moderate amount of fermented soy foods, such as tempeh, tamari, miso and nato. but only when combined with iodine rich foods such as seaweed. (See the Hijiki  Joy Salad recipe and other fermented soy recipes in The Fertile Female.)

What about fermented soy?

Fermentation  adds beneficial microorganisms that help break down complex proteins into highly digestible amino acids and fatty acids. The phytoestrogens in soy products can help raise estrogen levels in women who, like myself, have been diagnosed “irreversibly infertile” due to high FSH and low estrogen levels. Although the debate over the pros and cons of even fermented soy foods continues, most clinicians agree that women over 35 can benefit from  incorporating fermented soy combined with iodine rich foods, in their food plan.

Fermentation also deactivates the soy’s mineral depleting phytates and other anti-nutrients. Otherwise the impaired mineral absorption—of calcium for example—especially for women with fertility challenges such as depleted ovarian reserve, can be a serious concern.

Fertile Heart OVUM

Who is in charge of the menu?

Of course, no fertility food adjustments or fertility supplements will “get to where the trouble is” unless our entire Holy Human Loaf cooperates with the repairative process. Which is why I encourage using the Ovum tools around food to reveal the hiding places of our inner Orphans, learn to love them through the choices we make, and call on our Visionary and the Ultimate Mom to plan the menu of the day. When we do that, the perfect “fertility diet” unfolds for us one bite at a time.

Last night in our fertility food-centered Visonary Mom Teleconference we decided to make one Visionary-rooted change that involves food. I am letting go of the Organic Nectar Pistachio Gelato I’ve been attached to lately. It’s great stuff,  agave sweetened and there is really nothing wrong with a treat, but just as an experiment, I want to see what comes up for me as I let go of it for a while.

Perhaps you want to embark on an experiment of your own, making one fertility enhancing food change as you plan your menu for tomorrow.

Whatever you ultimately choose to place on your dinner table, let go of guilt and eat it with pleasure and gusto, and it will become the most potent fertility food!

Copyright @ Fertile Heart 2010; No part of this document may be reproduced without the permission in writing of FertileHeart.com and Julia Indichova.