Today’s generation of children could aptly be called Generation A where the “A” stands for allergies. Food intolerances and of all kinds are rampant with the very first frequently becoming apparent when a formula-fed infant demonstrates an allergy to commercial milk-based formula. The typical recommendation by a conventional doctor in this case? Put baby on a soy formula such as Isomil or ProSobee immediately.
About 25% of American babies are fed soy infant formula according to the website of Dr. Sears.
Elemental infant formula might also be suggested, but these are usually reserved for preterm infants and those with specific medical problems such as severe allergies to both milk and soy. Elemental formulas also tend to be foul-tasting compared with milk or soy-based formula and babies tend to reject them for this reason.
Many parents make the switch to soy formula in haste hoping to ease the digestive discomfort their child is experiencing on commercial milk formulas not realizing the full implications of their decision.
In some cases, parents may never even try a dairy formula at all if a milk allergy already runs in the family. There is no evidence that using soy formula reduces the risk of a dairy allergy later, however. For this reason, the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the use of soy formula in infants who are potentially allergic to cow’s milk. A milk-based formula should still be the first choice even in those situations.
The Three Reasons Why Soy Formula is So Bad for Babies
The primary problems with soy protein found in non-dairy commercial formulas are threefold: trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid, and phytoestrogens.
These are proteins found in plentiful amounts in soybeans that inhibit digestion and absorption of nutrients. They are large in size and require the application of high heat for appreciable periods of time to neutralize.
The industrialized process of producing soy infant formula deactivates the majority of trypsin inhibitors. Unfortunately, some remain and even in low amounts, they have been found to prevent normal growth in rats. Given that a baby’s brain grows at its most rapid rate the first year of life, growing to about 75% percent of adult size (it is 25% of adult size at birth), even slight retardation of growth could be devastating to the development of the brain and nervous system.
Note that protease inhibitors in soy are also an issue, as they greatly hinder the digestion of protein. Potential harm to the pancreas is another grave risk.
Phytic acid is an organic acid, which like trypsin inhibitors, is present in large amounts in soybeans. Phytates are present in the outer portion of all seeds and block the absorption of critical minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and particularly zinc. Phytic acid is also extremely irritating to the digestive tract.
Unlike other seeds, soybeans have extremely high amounts of a type of phytic acid. This anti-nutrient is particularly resistant to deactivation. Researchers testing soy formula in 1967 found that soy formula caused zinc deficiency in every single infant who received it. Again, this is due to the mineral blocking effect of phytates within the digestive system.
Zinc is known as the intelligence mineral because it is critical for the optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. As a result, deficiency of this nutrient in infants at a time when the brain is growing at its most rapid rate could have lifelong implications and possibly reduce IQ.
Phytoestrogens or Isoflavones
Phytoestrogens represent the most serious problem with soy infant formula. These estrogen-like compounds have the potential to disrupt the baby’s hormonal system for life.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Toxicologists estimate that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day. By contrast, almost no phytoestrogens have been detected in dairy-based infant formula or in human milk, even when the mother consumes soy products. A recent study found that babies fed soy-based formula had 13,000 to 22,0000 times more isoflavones in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula.
Soy Formula Health Problems for Boys
Flooding of an infant boy’s bloodstream with female-like hormones has the potential to cause serious developmental problems at puberty. During the first few months of life, a baby boy has testosterone levels that could be as high as that of an adult male. This “testosterone surge” readies the baby boy’s hormonal system for puberty both for normal development of the sexual organs and also patterns of male behavior.
Could soy infant formula be responsible for the increasing problem of boys where physical maturation is delayed or even completely absent with retarded development of the sexual organs?
Soy Formula Health Problems for Girls
Baby girls fed soy infant formula may suffer negative hormonal impact as well from early soy exposure. In a 2011 published study, time-to-menarche was assessed in nearly 3,000 girls.
Those girls identified as early soy-fed via soy infant formula had a 25% increased risk of menarche specifically in early adolescence.
Early sexual development in girls can herald serious problems with the reproductive system later in life such as unexplained infertility and breast cancer.
Research from 2012 published in Biology of Reproduction’s Papers-in-Press describes the effects of plant estrogens found in soy on the mouse oviduct. The study was specifically designed to model the effects of soy-based baby formula on human infants. The results of the study suggest that exposure to estrogenic chemicals in the womb or during childhood has the potential to negatively affect a woman’s fertility as an adult.
Organic Soy Formula No Protection from Soy Dangers
Some parents mistakenly believe that genetically modified soy is the main problem and that buying organic soy formula is protective for their infant.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While organic soy formula does indeed provide a better quality source of soy, organic soy still has the same problems as GMO soy. Trypsin and protease inhibitors, high levels of phytic acid, and large amounts of hormone-disrupting plant estrogens can devastate the baby’s digestive development and hormones potentially for life!
Healthy Options to Soy Formula
Parents wishing to provide the highest quality formula for their baby should breastfeeding not be an option should consider a homemade formula made from grass-fed raw cow milk.
If cow milk is a problem, goat milk formula can be tried instead. Goat milk has a slightly different fat composition and protein profile that is easier for some babies to digest. Please note that powdered goat milk is not recommended. The powdering process denatures the fragile proteins in goat milk. Powdered goat milk is not as nutritious as whole raw goat milk. Moreover, the chances are high that it will cause an allergenic response in the baby at some point.
If all dairy even if unprocessed and grass-fed is still problematic, a homemade nondairy formula based on homemade bone broth can be utilized instead.
Thousands of mothers have successfully used these homemade formulas with their babies in recent decades with excellent results!
Weaning after Formula
One more point of note. When your child is ready to be weaned off homemade formula at one year old, skip the soymilk! Soy as a food or beverage is not any more appropriate for toddlers than it is for babies! If your child is allergic to raw milk from pastured animals (best choice), wean him/her onto a nutritious milk substitute instead.
How neonatal plant estrogen exposure leads to adult infertility
Estrogenic Foods, Herbs, and Supplements
Soy Lecithin in Baby Formula
I’m a graduate student in a Masters of Nutrition Science program and this article is being used as an example of sensationalist writing that is not backed by science. In my class of dozens of graduate students, not one supports this position after conducting a review of the published science. The research does not support Pope’s claims and she is offering both false and potentially damaging advice to parents.
I’m glad the article is being used in class. No doubt at least a few in your class will see that it is not “sensationalist writing” as you regurgitate your marxist professor’s words because you can’t think critically for yourself.
So, do you think the term “soy boy” just started being used within the last 10 years by coincidence?
The role of soy formula in feminizing today’s men and reducing testosterone levels in boys whose mothers were duped into feeding it to them is 100% factual and evidence-based if you are open-minded enough to look.
Of course, I realize that universities are more about brainwashing than educating these days!
Go ahead and feel smug about your degree … you’re only being taught what Big Pharma and Big Food want you to know so you can operate within their matrix of lies to keep humanity sick and dependent on their products.
They’re not teaching you the truth … who do you think donates all the big bucks for your “research” budget and those spiffy buildings? Those donations have a price. They get to decide your pseudo-curriculum.
Can anyone tell me if there was a baby formula taken off the market in 1969 or 1970? The doctor called our house and told my parents not to give my sister that formula.
Did the dairy industry pay you to write this article? It’s complete BS. Phytoestrogens cannot be metabolized by humans, they are estrogens relevant to PLANTS! Stop your fear mongering and go back to your milk mustache “got milk” campaigns. As Steve Jobs said “milk is the biggest scam ever orchestrated on consumers”.
Sarah Pope MGA
It seems you didn’t read the source studies on the dangers of soy, particularly for children. By the way, Steve Jobs avowed fruitatarian who died a premature death from his “no one ever ate this way in history” diet and known to be emotionally unhinged from nutritional imbalance isn’t exactly a good one to quote!
So, I was fed soy formula back in the early 70s. Grew up to be 6’2″, did well in school, etc., etc. This strikes me as fear mongering.
Sarah Pope MGA
Just because your n=1 experience turned out well is not evidence that soy formula is not hurting anyone else!
Two of my children had an organic soya formula. Subsequently they have bad teeth, onset of hormonal underarm body odour around their 5th birthday and other problems. I’m sure the soy formula has caused this and have contacted the company to ask if any of their other clients have complained of the same. They’ve denied the research that says soya formulas cause these problems, have said it’s probably a genetic condition for my children. How do I proceed with proving their milk has messed up my children. The one child who didn’t have the formula has none of these problems. How can I make this company accountable for the damage?
What goat milk formula do you recommend?
Sarah Pope MGA
This one. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/goats-milk-formula/
Ned G. Littell Jr.
It’s the early menarche that is associated with breast cancer as stated that is associated with soy based baby formula. Other factors included the amount of body fat and the higher amount of iodine and iodide that are in many Asian foods. Americans consume only 100th the amount of those two essential nutrients compared to the Japanese and Korean populations. This is one reason the their IQ’s are more than 20 points higher than Americans.