A study done with human sperm exposed to low levels of genistein, an estrogen-like substance in soy products, showed that the compound damaged sperm in such a way that they became unable to fertilize eggs. It is possible that women who eat soy products may have enough genistein in their system to cause sperm to “burn out” before they encounter an egg. Once sperm enter an egg a reaction occurs that allows them to fertilize the egg. If this reaction occurs too early, while the sperm are still in the uterus or fallopian tube, then it could cause the sperm to lose fertility. My advice to women attempting conception is to avoid all soy products. Of course soy has other negative effects on the body, potentially interfering with thyroid hormone production and impairing mineralization of bones.
The results of the study were reported by Professor Lynn Fraser (King’s College London) at the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology.
More good news about folic acid
It is common knowledge that folic acid has the ability to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord when taken during pregnancy, and that folic acid can reduce the risk of heart disease. Now a Dutch study has shown that folic acid can improve memory. As people age, memory tends to become impaired. This study examined the effect of 800 micrograms of folic acid per day in 818 people 50 to 75 years-old. As people age there tends to be a decline in brain function and memory. Those subjects who took folic acid performed at a level 5.5 years younger than the control group on memory tests, and 1.9 years younger on tests of cognitive speed.
The results of the study were reported by researcher Jane Durga (Wageningen University) at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia.
Brain Scans as Prevention
Is it useful to know our predisposition to diseases or illness patterns? In Chinese medicine the patterns of illness, even the typing of personalities, can lead to an effective preventive herbal and acupuncture program that is individualized to each person’s unique combination of symptoms and imbalance. A holistic approach to health should include prevention of predispositions. If a close family member had heart disease or breast cancer, then it is wise to closely monitor one’s health for these problems, look for genetic markers of cancer, or watch for signs of cardiovascular inflammation (through tests for homocysteine and C-reactive protein) and begin a preventive program targeted to these problems. Programs that strengthen the immune system and antioxidant supplements will help prevent cancer. Folic acid, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats will help prevent heart disease. We can target these patterns with individualized plans of prevention.
A new test shows promise of predicting Alzheimer’s disease almost a decade before symptoms of the disease begin. Researchers have developed a brain scan-based computer program that quickly and accurately measures metabolic activity in a key region of the brain (hippocampus) affected in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Applying the program, they demonstrated that reductions in brain metabolism in healthy individuals were associated with the later development of the memory robbing disease. The hippocampus, a sea-horse shaped area of the brain associated with memory and learning, diminishes in size as Alzheimer’s disease progresses from mild cognitive impairment to full-blown dementia.
Here is what the primary researcher, Mony de Leon, said about the new test. “Right now, we can show with great accuracy who will develop Alzheimer’s nine years in advance of symptoms, and our projections suggest we might be able to take that out as far as 15 years.”
“Our basic results will need to be replicated in other studies and expanded to include PET data from diverse patient groups,” adds Dr. De Leon. “But we’re confident this is a strong beginning, demonstrating accurate detection of early Alzheimer’s disease. Now we have a better tool to examine disease progression, and we anticipate this might open some doors to prevention treatment strategies.”
I am not suggesting that everyone run out to get a computer-assisted PET scan of their brains, but this type of research does show that modern diagnostic tools can be used for early detection of subtle changes that can lead to prevention plans. Anyone with a family history of serious disease processes, especially those that are known to have a genetic component (diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s) would benefit from consulting a qualified holistic health care provider to develop an individualized prevention strategy. The number of nutritional supplements available to us can be a confusing morass of information overload. However, experts in nutrition and holistic practice can tailor a program to your needs that could just save your life.
The results of the study were reported by researcher Lisa Mosconi (New York University School of Medicine) at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia.