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Soy Formula May Inhibit Intestinal Growth in Babies

Two studies by a University of Illinois professor have shown the soy isoflavone genistein -- in amounts present in commercial soy infant formulas -- may inhibit intestinal cell growth in babies. The concern is far overdue in my mind, considering about 25 PERCENT of formula-fed babies in the United States consume soy formula.

Although babies on soy formula appear to grow normally, soy formulas contain very high concentrations of genistein (from 32-45 milligrams) that exceed those found to affect menstrual cycles in women. In the first study, researchers treated intestinal cells in culture with genistein in the amount present in soy infant formula and found that the cells stopped proliferating.

In a more recent study, scientists fed one group of newborn piglets a cow's milk-based formula, while feeding other piglets formula supplemented with genistein at the level found in soy formula. (Newborn pigs are an excellent model for human infants because they have a similar metabolism and physiology, researchers said.)

In the piglets fed genistein, the number of proliferating cells in the intestine was 50 PERCENT LOWER than piglets fed the cow's milk formula alone. Because concentrations of genistein in the piglets' blood were similar to those of babies fed soy formula, these data may be applicable to human infants.

If you want to know how severely genistein impairs early growth, the male offspring of rats fed diets containing this chemical found in soybeans developed abnormal reproductive organs and had sexual dysfunction as adults.

The fact is, all soy formula is WORSE than worthless for human infants and is nearly guaranteed to cause problems down the road. Consider these other problems associated with soy formula:

Science Daily December 27, 2004

Pediatric Research 2004, DOI: 10.1203/01.PDR.0000150723.87976.32

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