So being a male and liking to have my testosterone as high, and my estrogen as low as possible, when it came to phytoestrogens, my only thought used to be: avoid!
But now I read this:
" 4) Use Phytoestrogens To Promote the C-2 Pathway Include foods with phytoestrogens in your diet because they will take natural and chemical estrogens out of play in the body. Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that can bind to estrogen receptors, but they have about 1/1000th of the effect on the body as real or chemical estrogen. When phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors they basically take up the parking sport of the true estrogen, and keep it from exerting its effect. Lignans and isoflavones are the main phytoestrogens, and in addition to binding with estrogen receptors, they can increase SHBG levels (protects the body by binding to estrogen), decrease aromatase (prevents testosterone turning into estrogen), and shift metabolism of estrogen away from the C-16 pathway to the C-2 pathway (the safer pathway). The best phytoestrogens to include in the diet are flax, sesame, leafy greens, kudzu, alfalfa, clover, licorice root, and legumes. Greens, flax, and sesame can be easily added to the diet, and the others can be supplemented to support estrogen detoxification. "
So what shoould one do now, eat or avoid?
If you avoid phytoestrogens, you are going to have to basically avoid plants. Don't do this.
When people say that phytoestrogens should be avoided, I believe they are talking about the food sources of phytoestrogens which are orders of magnitude higher than most other foods. Avoiding large sources of flax (a little would be okay) and almost all forms of soy (beans, tofu, milk, etc) takes the biggest culprits out of the equation.
Garlic has a lot of phytoestrogens, too. It also has about 175x less than a proportionate amount of soybeans. Yucca (my favorite starchy root) is known to have high levels (like garlic), but again, compared to the actual top outliers, it's minimal.
I suppose I would watch out for concentrated sources (e.g. soy sauce, bean sauce, etc), as well. However, most of these foods and processed products are non-paleo anyway, so that's easy enough.
Finally, the idea of "taking up the spot of true estrogen" isn't necessarily a good thing. Phytosterols "take up the spot of cholesterol" in the body's cholesterol processing, and this interferes with normal cholesterol processing. So, I would go saying that phytoestrogens are good or bad solely because of this.
My mind is continually blown when people avoid weakly estrogenic phytoestrogens and then eat "full fat dairy," which is loaded with 17β-estradiol, the most estrogenic compound there is. Since so much of the dairy consumed these days is extracted from pregnant cows, the concentration is even higher than it used to be.
That being said, you won't catch me snacking on soy either.
I lean toward avoid. I see it much like O3 vs O6. There's a TON of sources in the modern environment for O6. So you don't want to actively add to it. There's a TON of sources for phytoestrogens/estrogens in the modern environment. Look at your drinking water for example. Modern water treatment plants don't do anything with the excess estrogen from the birth control pill that women pee out. So you don't want to actively add to it.
Incidentally, having your estrogen as low as possible isn't necessarily healthy for you either. Your body needs it to an extent (even us guys).
My two cents, phytoestrogens are not something that I worry about too much. I certainly do not spend time stressing over whether I have consumed too many phytoestrogens in a given day. Since I avoid soy and most legumes there is little risk of consuming them in a mass quantities. On the same point, I do not believe them to be a super-food or something to actively look for.
Xenoestrogens, on the other hand, definitely screw with hormonal balance.
There seems to be a lack of understanding of the studies from a lot of people on the net. The results are contradictory because phytoestrogens (some of them) may be able to do both. Red Wine studies show an INCREASE of TESTOSTERONE because of the phytoestrogen. Also, the nitric oxide boost from any phytoestrogen is fantastic for a man. You also want some estrogen levels. You may have to go with the flow , use some trial and error, and measure your results. You'll know if your testosterone levels get low, and can remedy the situation, and they actually might get boosted. Personally, I not only don't avoid them but I take a resveratrol supplement to increase my phytoestrogen levels. I eat tofu whenever I can too. I'd drink soy milk if it weren't so expensive. the benefits outweigh the risks in my opinion, and the studies are crap, But that doesn't mean you don't monitor yourself and change if you notice a dip in manhood.
Where have all the boys gone? 0 Answers