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Does Edamame Contain Estrogen?



Another question, does edamame give you estrogen?  Does any kind of soy?  The short answer is no, but I am never satisfied with the short answer.  I needed to dig and see what all the fuss was about.


So, my husband and I had this conversation recently and it got me thinking.  We are growing a bunch of edamame (soy beans) in our garden and he invited some friends over for an edamame boil.  One of the friends said that he doesn’t like to eat edamame as it contains estrogen.  Now, this is second hand information so I am not exactly sure if this is what was said but there was something about edamame and estrogen so I wanted to do some research.


Like most things in the health related field, soy is controversial.  Since soy beans are very economical , it can be a great and inexpensive way to get protein so it is in mixed in a lot of things.  That being said, it is also a very heavily sprayed herbicide crop (round-up) and can be genetically modified so watch out for that.  We are growing organic edamame, and if I buy it that is all I will buy so I am not worried about what we are consuming.


What does Edamame contain?

So, let’s get back to estrogen and soy.  Soy has many health-related phytochemicals.  To help keep cell growth and activity normal, we have protein kinase inhibitors.  To help regulate cholesterol we have phytosterols and saponins and we also have phenolic acid and phytates as antioxidants.  (1)  We also have isoflavones which is what is being called into question here.


According to Breastcancer.org, “There are the isoflavones, which are weak phytoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds found in plants). Isoflavone levels vary in different types of tofu and soy milk products. Your body's estrogen is much, much stronger than the estrogen-like isoflavones in soy. So if the weak soy substance replaces the natural high-strength estrogen in cells, then maybe the soy will protect against cancers that would prefer a stronger estrogen signal.”


Does soy cause breast cancer?

Soy doesn’t contain estrogen but estrogen-like compounds that may or may not affect your estrogen levels.  Since we are all different, we are affected differently by foods and other substances.  In the above article from Breastcancer.org, it is necessary to mention that the link between soy and breast cancer or other estrogen related issues is complicated by many issues.  Scientist are not able to definitively say that soy is the culprit.  In America we have a lot of things that can contribute to it including our diet, exercise levels, weight and alcohol consumption.


If we look at populations who consume a lot of soy products, such at the Japanese, we see that their risk of, and rate of breast cancer is minimal compared to the American population.  Yet the Japanes