Soy in integrative medicine and future proofing health
Soy food intake has been associated with a low risk of several cancers. In addition, soy food consumption during cancer treatment may result in better outcomes and longer survival. These observations led to in vitro and in vivo mechanistic studies to elucidate the biological actions of various compounds in soybeans.
Soy isoflavones have been found to have profound biological effects and modulate many of the pathways involved in cancer development and progression. In addition to their selective estrogen receptor modulatory effects, these compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and epigenetic effects, which may explain their potential role in cancer prevention and treatment.
Soy foods and soy isoflavones can be easily taken together with conventional cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted agents and immunotherapeutic agents. They may enhance the efficacy and reduce the toxicities of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other conventional cancer treatments.
Soy isoflavones should be investigated in symptom control, quality of life, palliative care, survivorship and integrative oncology research In addition to their benefits in cancer prevention and treatment, soy foods may also have potential uses in the prevention and treatment of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease. Soy isoflavones have also been shown to have anti-bacterial, and anti-viral effects and modulate the immune system promoting better immune function
where needed and suppressing overactive immune function such as in inflammation and autoimmune disorders because of its unique epigenetic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
In summary, soy foods are not only excellent source of high-quality protein and valuable nutrition, but also provide many bioactive compounds with potential benefits for the entire body, ranging from infections and immunologic diseases to cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.