In an increasingly polluted environment, we are killing ourselves for more than just soy, says Li.
This is because of our addiction to soy and the toxic products we consume, like PCBs, antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides.
But as we age, our bodies are changing.
We’re living longer and our bodies need a break.
We can no longer afford the huge cost of industrial soy farming, so Li and his colleagues at the Centre for Environmental Science and Policy in China and their colleagues in France and Brazil wanted to look at the impact of soy on our bodies.
“We wanted to understand the impact on our health, to try to understand what kind of impact it has on the health of the population, and how it could be reduced,” Li said.
We want to understand how much of this pollution is being absorbed into our bodies and what impact it is having on our quality of life, to make a decision whether or not to use soy products in the future, Li said, and to make this a sustainable process.
The team used MRI scans to look into the brains of mice exposed to different amounts of soy and measured how long it took for them to experience memory impairment.
They found that mice exposed for up to 20 days to soy had a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, which was linked to a decrease in dopamine in the brain.
In fact, they found that the amount of soy in the diet affected the number of genes that are expressed in the neurons, so it may help to prevent the development of the disease.
“It’s not just soy,” Li added.
“I’ve also noticed that there is a strong association between exposure to the toxin Bisphenol A (BPA) and the development and progression of Alzheimer, as well as other health conditions.”
The study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
“Our study found that exposure to a low dose of soy caused a reduction in dopamine levels in the brains,” said Li.
“This is not a new finding.
Other studies have shown that soy has the same effect.
But this study suggests that it could have an even bigger impact.”
Researchers believe that the soy-induced brain damage may occur in part because of a hormone known as estrogen, which plays an important role in controlling the growth of brain cells.
But the effects on our body’s DNA also may be linked to the stress hormone cortisol, which increases in the body as we get older.
Stress hormones are known to affect the development, function and maintenance of brain tissues.
“Cortisol plays a key role in our immune system and plays an essential role in the regulation of brain function and memory function,” said senior author Dr. Yu Zhou, a researcher at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
“And the stress hormones, such as cortisol, have a significant impact on brain development, which in turn affects the functioning of the immune system.”
In fact the number and severity of brain tumors has been linked to stress hormones and to other factors.
“The study also shows that in addition to the effects of stress hormones on brain cells, there may be a direct link between soy consumption and the risk of brain cancer,” Zhou added.
Researchers hope the findings will help explain why soy consumption is linked to higher risk of cancer in older people.
“There are many studies that show that soy consumption in the western world is linked with a lot of different diseases, such a diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s,” Zhou said.
“But the data we’ve obtained on the effect of soy consumption on the brain is very new, and it could potentially be an important factor that we can use to better understand how to reduce the risk.”