Soy May Shield Against BPA for Fertility Treatments

The road to fertility is different for every couple. For some, treatment results in a quick conception and happy pregnancy, for others years of testing, waiting, and trying are common. Pinpointing the root cause of infertility is a difficult task that fertility doctors in Viera are specially trained to do. While there are many factors that can be categorized as exclusively male or female issues, there is also another elephant in the room that causes harm to both male and female patients and light has only been recently shed on this issue. This, of course, is the issue of foreign chemicals that we interact with on a daily basis. While chemicals like phthalates and Organochlorine pesticides are difficult to get away from, a new study suggest that consuming soy may help mitigate the effects of BPA, and help reclaim fertility.  

Bisehphenol A, better known as BPA, is a chemical that is in nearly every plastic packaging product out there. It has been shown to cause early puberty, error in oocyte cell division, obesity, and masculanziation of the central nervous system in girls whose mothers were exposed to it while they were pregnant. For boys under the same circumstances, it has proven to alter development of the prostate, as well as feminize the central nervous system. While the FDA has acknowledged that the public is worried about this chemical, no scientific study has convinced them that the low levels of BPA we consume on a daily basis are harmful. However, they have amended their decision and do not allow the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups or packaging for infant food and formula. The FDA has committed to continue looking into BPA’s safety as more studies are published. For many people the knowledge that these chemicals are in our food and water, isn’t a very big deal. To those experiencing fertility issues however, this knowledge causes worry for the effect this and other chemicals have on their reproductive systems.

Encouraging news for these couples comes from a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Researchers have found signs that soy may shield women undergoing fertility treatments from the effects of BPA.

The problem with BPA is that it can mimic estrogen and may contribute to reproductive disorders and hinder fertility treatments. Soy may be helpful to women attempting to become pregnant with fertility treatments because the beans contain a high concentration of isoflavones, a plant made estrogen. More research is needed to prove how this isoflavone-rich food source protects women against the reproductive harm of ingesting BPA, but a link has been made in this recent study.

The current study examined data that link diet to in vitro fertilization success rates and BPA exposure. It centered on 239 women between the ages of 18 and 45 who received IVF treatments at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. They measured BPA through urine samples and had the women complete a lifestyle questionnaire to ascertain how often soy-based products were consumed. In this study 176 women routinely ate or drink soy products. They found that the women who had a high level of BPA in their urine did not consume soy and had less successful embryo implantation and pregnancies.  They noted that the women who ate soy regularly had no impact BPA concentration on their IVF treatment and pregnancy.

Because it is impossible to avoid BPA, this news may help some women on their road to fertility. If consuming soy can help the outcome of fertility treatments, ordering the edamame and switching to soy milk could be an easy step in the right direction. Avoiding hazardous chemicals can be difficult for everyone, but especially so for women who are pregnant and seeking to become pregnant. There are, however, some things you can do to limit your exposure, they include:  

  • Attempt to eat an organic diet and avoid environments that have been treated with herbicides and pesticides. This can include your front lawn and even some parks in open areas.
  • Make informed choices about the fish you consume,  very large fish have high levels of Mercury dioxin and PCBs.
  • Do not smoke and stay away from second-hand smoke.
  • Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles. Choose instead glass or stainless steel varieties.
  • Do not put plastic containers in the microwave.
  • Purchase only pregnancy-safe personal care products that do not contain phthalates or other toxic chemicals.
  • Use only earth-friendly home cleaning products.
  • Avoid using synthetic fragrances commonly found in air fresheners and fabric softeners.
  • Avoid industrial glues and solvents.

While that may seem like an exhaustive list of things you should not do, it could make a world of difference in the the outcome of your fertility treatment. Protecting yourself  and your new family from environmental toxins is important for couples seeking fertility treatment.

While we certainly hope that new studies will reveal better ways to avoid these endocrine disrupting, reproductive system inhibiting chemicals, adding soy to your diet may provide the buffer you need. If you have any questions about environmental factors that may be hindering your ability to become parents, please contact us at the Viera Fertility Center today.  We hope to be able to provide you with answers and a path to your journey of parenthood.