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Soy foods can boost fertility

Soy foods can boost fertility

Soy foods can combat the effects of a chemical that can lead to fertility problems, a new study has found.

The chemical bisphenol A (BPA), found in certain plastic consumer products and the lining of some canned foods, has long been linked to conceiving troubles. This is because it has been found to disrupt conception and implantation of a fertilised egg in the womb. It can also mimic oestrogen in the body.

However, researchers from Harvard University have concluded soy foods can protect against the effects of BPA on the reproductive system.

"The results were actually what we were expecting to find," lead study author Dr Jorge Chavarro, of Harvard University, told Reuters.

Dr Chavarro's team took their lead from a previous experiment done on rodents, which proved that soy could offset or reduce the effects of BPA.

"We wanted to follow-up on the results of two experimental models in rodents where two independent groups had found that some adverse reproductive effects of BPA would be prevented by placing the mice on a soy based diet," he continued. "We wanted to see whether a similar interaction occurred in humans."

For the study, researchers looked at 239 women who underwent in vitro fertilisation cycles between 2007 and 2012. Each filled out questionnaires on their diet, which included their intake of 15 soy-based foods, and gave urine samples before egg retrieval for each fertility cycle.

Nearly 75 per cent of the women consumed some soy foods (including tofu, soy burgers and miso soup). Their intake varied from less than once a month, up to twice daily.

It was found that the women who ate soy didn’t have their fertility outcome affected as their urinary BPA levels increased.

However those who didn't eat the food product found that as urinary BPA levels increased, they experienced low rates of implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth.

"We still need to evaluate whether the same is also true for couples trying to get pregnant without medical help or whether risks extend to the health of children," Dr Chavarro stated.

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