Soy May Be Harmful to Sexual Behavior

America has a love affair with soy especially women who believe it fights osteoporosis and that soy formula is a good choice for infants. Although promoted as a health food, soy has been linked with numerous diseases including infertility and cancer.

Soybean farming is a multibillion-dollar industry. In fact, many of the worlds rain forests were cleared to provide more land to grow them. And as with so many health issues, once enormous profits are involved, it becomes difficult to get to the truth

I have two concerns about soy products. One is the direct effect of all soy products on health. The second is that more than 80 percent of all soybeans used for manufacturing foods are GMO (genetically modified). Genetic modifications cause the plant to produce abnormal proteins as well as to overproduce toxins normally produced by the plant. (For a detailed discussion on food safety, read my report “How to Avoid Poisonous Foods.”

But it’s not just modified soy that poses problems. Even natural soybeans have real dangers for health. One study found that infant monkeys fed soy extract soon after birth exhibited increased aggressiveness later in life and were socially withdrawn. Bad dietary choices can have profound effects on behavior, even producing criminal and sociopathic behavior. Soy foods are major players in this process.

Because soy contains estrogenic compounds, there is worry that it may disrupt the normal development of the brain, especially the brain’s sexual development. One study found that soy extracts could alter the development of the male hypothalamus, causing males to act more like females. It is the hypothalamus that determines our sexual behavioral development, especially a nucleus called the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA). (

When newborn male animals were fed soy formula (similar to human soy infant formula), this critical nucleus was reduced in size. In addition, males had greater difficulty maneuvering a maze when fed soy formula as an infant. In humans, this would mean boys would have greater difficulty learning.

Some studies have found soy formula had no effect on testosterone levels, but others found they were decreased. Most found that the prostate gland was significantly smaller in the soy-exposed males. Of considerable importance is the worry that feeding soy infant formulas to babies may cause them to act more feminine.

The soy-fed males also were found to have lower levels of brain 5-alpha-reductase in the hypothalamus and amygdala. These areas of the brain play a major role in sexual behavior. Low levels of this enzyme reduce levels of deoxytestosterone in the brain, the more powerful form of testosterone. A careful balance between estrogen and testosterone in the hypothalamus during early development is critical to sexual behavioral development.

The females fed soy had their own problems. The study found that when soy was fed to female newborns there was a significant fall in the release of oxytocin (dubbed the love hormone) from their brains. At least in the mice, this caused a decrease in sexual receptivity  that is, they were less interested in sex. Oxytocin is also critical for normal social development. Among its many additional functions is protecting the brain from inflammation.

The females fed soy as infants also had much lower brain 17-estradiol (estrogen), which was found to have adverse effects on normal female behavior.

In essence, these studies clearly indicate that even small changes in estrogen and testosterone can have undesirable effects on the sexual behavior of both male and female animals. They also demonstrate that compounds such as soy extracts can have negative effects on these delicate hypothalamic nuclei even in adulthood.

Courtesy of Dr. Blaylock

Stimulate Female Sexual Drive Naturally

An estimated 40 percent of U.S. women suffer sexual dysfunction, according to a 2008 survey in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Losing interest in sex would be unfortunate for most people, but for Linda Poelzl it was a professional hazard.
“I just wasn’t feeling much interest in sex, and this was very disturbing to me,” says Poelzl, who lives and works in San Francisco. “I have to have a certain amount of interest in it because of my work.”
Poelzl’s describes her work as a “sex educator and coach,” helping men, women, and couples work through their sexual problems. She says she usually possesses a great lust for lust, but then her libido started dissipating a few years ago when she was in her late 40s.

Shocked and not quite sure what to do, she turned to medical doctors, and found there wasn’t much they could offer, as there’s no prescription medicine like Viagra to help a woman when her sex life gets stuck. The greatest hope for a so-called “female Viagra” was a drug called flibanserin, but it was nixed by a panel of Food and Drug Administration experts on Friday, who said the drug didn’t seem to really help women with sexual dysfunction.

This was the second time a so-called “female Viagra” failed to make it on the market; in 2004, an FDA panel said no to Intrinsa, a testosterone patch meant to hormonally help women with a lack of desire for sex.

Given these two rejections, it could be a while before another pharmaceutical company decides to sink money into developing a new drug for women with sexual problems. One company, BioSante Pharmaceuticals, hopes to bring a testosterone gel to the market in 2012, but there aren’t many other products on the horizon.

“There hasn’t been much action in this area, and that certainly has to come up when a company is thinking about dumping money into researching a drug for female sexual dysfunction,” says Phyllis Greenberger, president of the Society for Women’s Health Research, which received money from Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that makes flibanserin.

That’s despite a seeming need for such medication. In 2008, a survey of more than 30,000 U.S. women in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that nearly 40 percent reported that they’d had a sexual problem at some point in their lives, most often a lack of desire.

Linda Poelzl, a sexual educator and coach, says Chinese medicine has helped her sex drive.

After seeing medical doctors but getting few results, Poelzl decided to take another route. She visited alternative practitioners and began experimenting with Taoist exercises used in Chinese medicine. She practiced six minutes of exercises every morning, such as sitting quietly in a chair massaging her lower abdomen.

While there’s no hard science that shows that Taoist practices will improve a woman’s sex life, Poelzl says it worked for her.

“I noticed I started feeling more energy in my body, and more libido,” she says. “But it took at least six weeks of almost daily practice. You have to be committed.”
In fact, for nearly all alternative practices there are no large-scale studies saying if they work or not. But in the absence of a drug to help women with sexual problems, here’s what’s recommended by some practitioners.

1. Acupuncture

Jill Blakeway, a licensed acupuncturist who practices in New York City, started out doing acupuncture to help women get pregnant. But then a few years later she started noticing something interesting.
“After having a couple of kids, patients were coming back to me and saying, ‘I just never feel like it anymore,'” Blakeway says.
She then developed a specialty in acupuncture to help women lift their flagging libidos. She says acupuncture, like Viagra, increases blood flow to the genitals, but unlike Viagra, it usually takes four to six weeks to see results.

“If your sexuality has been lying dormant for a while, then it’s going to take a while to wake it up,” Blakeway says. “And when it does wake up, I tell women not to see this as goal-oriented orgasmic sex, but rather as a way of connecting to their partner.”
One of Blakeway’s patients wrote an article for the magazine, Cookie, about her experience with acupuncture for her flagging sex life.
To find an acupuncturist near you, go to the website of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and check off “Chinese Herbology Certification.”

2. Chinese medicine

Blakeway says she often has success combining acupuncture with Chinese medicine. To find a practitioner familiar with Chinese medicine, go to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Blakeway says between acupuncture and Chinese medicine, she’s able to help about 65 percent of the women who come to her with sexual problems.

3. Maca

Maca is sold in several forms including powder and capsules.

A root vegetable grown in high elevations in the mountains of Peru, animal studies have shown that maca increases sex drive. It’s widely marketed in Peru as an aphrodisiac, where it’s sold in several forms, including capsules and powdered form.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are studying maca in women with sexual dysfunction.
Here’s more information on the sexual effects of maca from New York University Langone Medical Center.

4. Ginkgo biloba

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that the herb ginkgo biloba was useful in helping women who had sexual dysfunction brought on by antidepressants.
Here’s more information on ginkgo, including its sexual effects, from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

5. Herbal combinations

Dr. Craig Koniver, a Charleston, South Carolina, family physician who specializes in alternative medicine, says he has success treating women with sexual dysfunction with herbal combinations. Several companies, including one owned by Koniver, make herbal combinations.

You can also visit a practitioner familiar with herbs to make a combination for you. You can find a practitioner through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, or if you prefer a medical doctor, visit the website of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, where you can put in your ZIP code and find a doctor who specializes in integrative medicine.

Whatever you try to get your libido back, remember that your first attempt might not work.
“Different things for different women,” Blakeley says. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation