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Is Eating Soy Safe for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors?

Is eating soy safe for breast cancer patients and survivors?


There has been widespread concern about whether it is safe for women with breast cancer to eat soy.

An excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, and protein, soy is usually associated with a health-conscious diet, but research concerning its safety has been mixed.

Some studies have shown isoflavones, a class of phytoestrogens, or plant-derived compounds, found in soy could impact a woman’s estrogen levels and increase the risk of cancer recurrence among some breast cancer patients. Estrogen is known to promote the growth of breast cancer cells.

Wendy Y. Chen, MD, MPH, a breast cancer expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, has conducted research that shows that soy is safe to eat for breast cancer survivors.

Wendy Y. Chen, MD, MPH

“We looked at data among many breast cancer survivors both from the United States and Asia,” says Chen. “We found that women who ate a large amount of soy had a similar or decreased risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to women who didn’t eat soy.”

Dr. Chen adds if women with breast cancer want to make soy a regular part of their diet, it should be dietary or food-based soy.

She doesn’t recommend people use soy exclusively in their diet or that they use forms of processed soy or soy in pill form.

“It’s very easy to find soy products in neighborhood grocery stores now,” says Chen. “Besides the more common ones like soybeans, soy sauce and tofu, now you can easily buy food-based soy products like miso soup, soy milk and soy nuts. Also, many of the dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in isoflavones.”

Besides eating a healthy diet, Chen says there are other things breast cancer survivors can do to reduce their risk of the disease returning.

“Exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight have been shown to be very helpful in improving survival,” she says.

This article was brought to you by Dana Farber – Cancer Institute

Cheers to Your Better Health!

Katrina van Oudheusden


June 24, 2011 Posted by | Alternative Health, Health, Health and Wellness, Men's Health, Nutrition, Reliv, Soy, Women's Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study: Soy May Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors


TUESDAY, December 8, 2009 ( — Women with breast cancer who eat more soy are less likely to die or have a recurrence of cancer than women who eat few or no soy products, according to a new study.

In the past, physicians have often warned breast cancer patients not to eat soy. The new research represents “a complete turnaround” from the previous understanding about the link between soy consumption and breast cancer, says Sally Scroggs, a registered dietician and senior health education specialist at M.D. Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center in Houston.

“We have gone from saying, ‘No soy for breast cancer survivors’ to, ‘It’s not going to hurt,'” Scroggs says. “Now it looks like we can say, ‘It may help.'”

The study followed more than 5,000 women in China who had undergone a mastectomy for about four years. The women who consumed the most soy protein (about 15 grams or more a day) had a 29% lower risk of dying and a 32% decreased risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to the women who consumed less than about 5 grams of soy protein a day, according to the study, which appears in the December 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program funded the study.

Women who ate between 9.5 and 15 grams of soy protein saw nearly the same decrease in risk as the women who ate more than 15 grams. In fact, the researchers found no additional benefits to eating more than 11 grams of soy protein a day. (An 8-ounce glass of soy milk and a cup of shelled edamame contain about 7 and 14 grams of soy protein, respectively.)

In all, 534 women had a breast cancer recurrence or died from breast cancer during the study period.

Soy foods—such as milk, tofu, and edamame—are rich in naturally occurring estrogens (especially isoflavones) that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the female body. Because the most common types of breast cancer depend on estrogen to grow, experts once feared that soy isoflavones could stimulate the estrogen receptors in breast-cancer cells, even though the estrogens in soy are much weaker than those produced by the body.

The current study suggests the exact opposite: Soy may actually reduce the amount of estrogen that’s available to the body.

“Soy isoflavones may compete with estrogens produced by the body. Soy isoflavones may also reduce the body’s production of estrogen, and increase clearance of these hormones from the circulation—all of which together reduce the overall amount of estrogen in the body,” says the lead author of the study, Xiao Ou Shu, MD, PhD, a cancer epidemiologist at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Shu says, however, that factors beyond estrogen may be at work. Other components of soy foods, such as folate, protein, calcium, or fiber (or some combination thereof) may also be responsible for the health benefits reported in the study, she says.

The new findings, which seem to contradict what many women have heard from their doctors over the years, could prove perplexing for women such as Andrea Mulrain, 44, a former music executive who was first diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago.

After her diagnosis, Mulrain’s doctors told her to steer clear of all soy foods because these foods could encourage the growth of cancer cells. Mulrain had estrogen-sensitive breast cancer, which means that estrogen helps the cancer grow.

Her doctors eventually softened their stance a bit, and said she could consume soy in moderation. “I pretty much avoided soy for 10 years after diagnosis but recently was told it was OK to have soy in moderation as long as I read the labels and make sure it’s not the main ingredient in any food,” says Mulrain, who is currently being treated for a recurrence.

In the study, the association between soy consumption and lower risk of death and cancer recurrence was seen in women like Mulrain with estrogen-sensitive breast cancers, and in women taking tamoxifen, a drug designed to prevent cancer recurrence by blocking the effects of estrogen in the breast tissue.

Despite the study’s findings, the final verdict on soy and breast-cancer recurrence is not yet in, according to an accompanying editorial written by Rachel Ballard-Barbash, MD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and Marian L. Neuhouser, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The follow-up period in the new study was relatively short, they say, and breast-cancer diagnosis and treatment may be different in China compared to the United States. Similarly, there may be differences in the types of soy foods that Chinese and American women eat. (In general, Chinese women consume significantly more soy than American women.)

More studies are needed to confirm these findings, especially as they apply to women with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer or those who take drugs such as tamoxifen to keep breast cancer at bay, say Ballard-Barbash and Neuhouser. Still, they say, “Patients with breast cancer can be assured that enjoying a soy latte or indulging in pad thai with tofu causes no harm, and when consumed in plentiful amounts may reduce risk of disease recurrence.”

The study should be reassuring to women who have been trained to steer clear of soy, says Scroggs. “Don’t freak out if there is some tofu mixed in with your vegetables at an Asian restaurant,” she says.

Her soy prescription for breast-cancer survivors? “Eat soy in moderation, and your soy proteins should come from foods, not concentrated supplements,” she says. “Soy is a complete protein so it is high in fiber and has a place in a healthy, balanced diet.”

Eating more soy is beneficial because it tends to replace less healthy foods in people’s diets, Scroggs says. “When people are eating soy protein, they are likely eating less of something else, such as red meat,” she says.

As this study shows… soy is still out for debate but I have a lot of friends who took Reliv during treatment and had more energy. Do your research and decided if taking Reliv is right for you. If you need more information please contact me through my Reliv site.
Yours in getting healthy again,

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Good Information about Soy

Ever wonder if soy is something you can take? Still on the fence if you should be adding soy to your diet?

Ready for the controversy over soy to be over?

The following is an article by Dr. Neal Barnard, MD

Soy products are remarkably versatile. Manufacturers have found ways to turn them into soymilk, veggie burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, yogurt–you name it. One day, they’ll probably turn soy into snow tires.

Because soy products are so widely consumed, some people have raised the question as to whether they are safe. The biggest question mark was whether they affect the risk of breast cancer and, for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, whether they would help or harm their chances for survival.

After years of research, science is weighing in. Here is what the studies show:

Cancer Prevention and Survival

Women who include soy products in their routines are less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with other women. In January 2008, researchers at the University of Southern California found that women averaging one cup of soymilk or about one-half cup of tofu daily have about a 30 percent less risk of developing breast cancer, compared with women who have little or no soy products in their diets (1). However, to be effective, the soy consumption may have to occur early in life, as breast tissue is forming during adolescence (2-3).

What about women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer? A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2009 shows that soy products may reduce the risk of recurrence (4). In a group of 5,042 women previously diagnosed with breast cancer who were participating in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study over a four-year period, those who regularly consumed soy products, such as soymilk, tofu, or edamame, had a 32 percent lower risk of recurrence and a 29 percent decreased risk of death, compared with women who consumed little or no soy. An accompanying editorial suggested that inconsistencies in prior research may be attributable to the comparatively low soy consumption in the United States, making beneficial effects harder to identify (5).

Why should soy products reduce cancer risk? Most research has zeroed in on phytoestrogens found in soybeans (phyto means “plant”). These compounds are in some ways similar to the estrogens (female sex hormones) in a woman’s bloodstream, but are much weaker. Some have suggested that phytoestrogens attach to the estrogen receptors in a woman’s body, blocking her natural estrogens from being able to attach and stopping estrogen’s cancer-inducing effects.

By analogy, the estrogens in a woman’s body are like jumbo jets that have landed at an airport. Phytoestrogens are like small private planes that are occupying the Jetways, blocking the jumbo jets from attaching. This explanation is probably overly simplistic, but it may serve to illustrate how soy’s weak hormonal compounds can have beneficial effects.


Soy products may reduce the risk of fibroids, knots of muscle tissue that form within the thin muscle layer that lies beneath the uterine lining. A study of Japanese women found that the more soy women ate, the less likely they were to need a hysterectomy, suggesting that fibroids were less frequent (6). In a study of women in Washington State, soy did not seem to help or hurt, perhaps because American women eat very little soy, compared with their Japanese counterparts (7). What did have a big effect in this study were lignans, a type of phytoestrogens found in flaxseed and whole grains. The women consuming the highest amounts of these foods has less than half the risk of fibroids, compared with the women who generally skipped these foods. So, again, phytoestrogens seem beneficial, countering the effects of a woman’s natural estrogens, although in this case the benefit comes from foods other than soy.

Soy and Male Hormones

How about men? Although compounds in soy products have been likened to very weak female hormones, they have no adverse effects on men and may actually help them prevent cancer. A meta-analysis to be published in Fertility and Sterility, based on more than 50 treatment groups, showed that neither soy foods nor isoflavone supplements from soy affect testosterone levels in men (8). An analysis of 14 studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that increased intake of soy resulted in a 26 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk (9). Researchers found a 30 percent risk reduction with nonfermented soy products such as soy milk and tofu.

Thyroid Health

Clinical studies show that soy products do not cause hypothyroidism (10). However,
soy isoflavones may take up some of the iodine that the body would normally use to make thyroid hormone (11). The same is true of fiber supplements and some medications. In theory, then, people who consume soy might need slightly more iodine in their diets (iodine is found in many plant foods, and especially in seaweed and iodized salt.) Also, a note for people with hypothyroidism: Soy products may reduce the absorption of medicines used to treat the condition (10). People who use these medicines should check with their healthcare providers to see if their doses need to be adjusted.

Other Health Effects

Soy products appear to reduce low density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol (12). They may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who consumed at least one-fourth cup of tofu per day averaged a 30 percent reduction in fracture risk (13).

Protein: A Little Goes a Long Way

Many soy products are high in protein. Manufacturers have exploited this fact, packing isolated soy protein into shakes and turning it into meat substitutes. But some have raised the concern that pushing protein intake too high–from any source–might not be wise. The concern is that an overly high protein intake may boost the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in the bloodstream (14), a phenomenon known to occur with cow’s milk (15). High IGF-I levels are linked to higher cancer risk. Some reassurance comes from the fact that soy intake is linked to lower, not higher, cancer risk, and simple soy products, such as tempeh, edamame, or soynuts, are unlikely to affect IGF-I levels, in any case.

In summary, evidence to date is reassuring. Soy products may reduce the risk of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence. They do not appear to have adverse effects on male hormone function or on the thyroid gland, but may reduce the absorption of thyroid medications.

Having said that, soy products are certainly not essential. Many people who start a healthful vegan diet, as I and many other doctors recommend, seem to feel they must have soy products. But the fact is, a vegan diet can follow a Mediterranean tradition, focusing on vegetables, fruits, beans and pasta. Or it might follow a Latin American tradition of beans, rice, and corn tortillas. Soy products come from an Asian tradition with many healthful delights and the most enviable health statistics on record. So soy is handy, but it is certainly not essential. If you choose to include soy products in your routine, you’ll have science on your side.


1. Wu AH, Yu MC, Tseng CC, Pike MC. Epidemiology of soy exposures and breast cancer risk. Br J Cancer 2008;98:9-14.

2. Korde LA, Wu AH, Fears T, et al. Childhood soy intake and breast cancer risk in Asian American women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18:OF1-10.

3. Shu XO, Jin F, Dai Q, et al. Soyfood intake during adolescence and subsequent risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2001;10:483-8.

4. Shu XO, Zheng Y, Cai H, et al. Soy food intake and breast cancer survival. JAMA. 2009;302:2437-2443.

5. Ballard-Barbash R, Neuhouser ML. Challenges in design and interpretation of observational research on health behaviors and cancer survival. JAMA. 2009;302:2483-2484.

6. Nagata C, Takatsuka N, Kawakami N, Shimizu H. Soy product intake and premenopausal hysterectomy in a follow-up study of Japanese women. Eur J Clin Nutr 2001:55:773-7.

7. Atkinson C, Lampe JW, Scholes D, Chen C, Wahala K, Schwartz SM. Lignan and isoflavone excretion in relation to uterine fibroids: a case-control study of young to middle-age women in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 2006:84:587-93.

8. Hamilton-Reeves JM, Vazquez G, Duval SJ, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS, Messina MJ. Clinical studies show no effects of soy protein or isoflavones on reproductive hormones in men: results of a meta-analysis. Fertil Steril. June 11, 2009. DOI:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.038.

9. Yan L, Spitznagel EL. Soy consumption and prostate cancer risk in men: a revisit of a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1155-1163.

10. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature. Thyroid 2006;16:249-58.

11. Divi RL, Chang HC, Doerge DR. Anti-thyroid isoflavones from soybean: isolation, characterization, and mechanisms of action. Biochem Pharmacol 1997;54:1087-96.

12. Pipe EA, Gobert CP, Capes SE, Darlington GA, Lampe JW, Duncan AM. Soy protein reduces serum LDL cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol and apolipprotein B:apolipprotein A-1 ratios in adults with type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2009;139:1700-1706.

13. Koh WP, Wu AH, Wang R, et al. Gender-specific associations between soy and risk of hip fracture in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;170:901-909.

14. Dewell A, Weidner G, Sumner MD, et al. Relationship of dietary protein and soy isoflavones to serum IGF-1 and IGF binding proteins in the Prostate Cancer Lifestyle Trial. Nutr Cancer 2007;58:35-42.

15. Heaney RP, McCarron DA, Dawson-Hughes B, et al. Dietary changes favorably affect bone remodeling in older adults. J Am Dietetic Asso 1999;99:1228-33.


The best thing  you can do is educate yourself.

I chose Reliv International nutrition because I wanted a complete nutrition. I wanted something besides a vitamin, mineral, berry, vegetable, herb, and anti-oxidants. I wanted all of it together because I knew I would never get enough of what I need for my body if I tried to do it separately. I love the fact the Reliv’s basic nutrition has 72 vitamins, mineral, herbs, and everything else my body need to nourish itself. If you would like more information about Reliv, visit

Yours in becoming healthy!

Katrina van Oudheusden

Independent Reliv Distributor

March 17, 2011 Posted by | Alternative Health, Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Reliv, Soy, Women's Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soy Supplements as Effective as Hormone Therapy in Easing Menopausal Symptoms

This was an interesting article about how soy supplement are just as effective as hormone therapy in easing menopausal symptoms. This is awesome news for those of us in the Reliv business.

Here is the article by

Dietary soy supplements may be as effective as hormone therapy at easing menopausal symptoms in post menopausal  women, a new study suggests.

The study published in the Sep 10, 2010 issue of Maturitas show both soy isoflavone and hormone therapy equally significantly improved somatic symptoms like hot flashes and muscle pain in  post menopausal women.

For the double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, Carmignani L.O. and colleagues from Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at State University of Compinas in Brazik assigned sixty postmenopausal women aged 40 to 60 years a dietary soy supplement containing 90 mg of isoflavone and hormone therapy based on 1 mg estradiol and 0.5 mg norethisterone acetate.

soybeans_ars_403973269.jpgAt 16 weeks of treatment, the researchers assessed menopausal symptoms including psychological, somatic and urogenital symptoms using the Menopause Rating Scale and they found all the treatments including placebo were equally effective except for urogenital symptoms for which the placebo did not seem to be effective.

Both the soy supplement and the hormone therapy improved somatic symptoms such as hot flashes and muscle pain by 49.8 percent and 45.6 percent respectively and improved urogenital symptoms (vaginal dryness) by 31.2 percent and 38.6 percent respectively.

The researchers concluded “Dietary soy supplementation may constitute an effective alternative therapy for somatic and urogenital symptoms of the menopause.”

Jimmy Downs


The reason I found this article so intriguing is because Reliv Distributors talk about how SoyEssentials is the woman’s nutrition. I have heard many stories from women saying that they have never experience or had minimal menopausal symptoms.

Wouldn’t you like to never experience menopausal symptoms? If you are going through menopause right now wouldn’t you like to take something that is nutritional and helps you? For more information visit me at

To Your Optimal Health!

Katrina van Oudheusden

Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. Our products are designed to provide optimal, balanced nutrition and to target specific wellness needs.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Alternative Health, Health, Health and Wellness, Soy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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