Eat Soy: Prevent Baldness and Prostate Cancer?
A naturally occurring substance, DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a byproduct of the male hormone testosterone that helps control the development and functioning of the prostate gland; in most men, DHT is relatively harmless. However, some studies have shown that high levels of DHT can damage hair follicles, leading to male pattern baldness, or lead to an enlarged prostate or, in extreme cases, cancer of the prostate gland.
Researchers in the U.S. and China recently discovered that the answer to stopping DHT may be as easy as eating soy. The scientists conducted a pair of experiments in which two sets of rats were injected with “equol,” a molecule abundant in soybeans and other soy-based products. While the equol did not prevent DHT from being made, it “handcuffed” the hormone by binding to and deactivating it.
“Directly binding and inactivating DHT without influencing testosterone gives equol the ability to reduce many of the harmful effects of androgens [male hormones] without affecting the beneficial ones,” said the study’s lead researcher. Another one of the study authors added that the findings “are of immense clinical importance.”
Additional information about the benefits of sound nutrition can be found at http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/nutrition.
Reference: Lund TD, Munson DJ, Haldy ME, et al. Equol is a novel anti-androgen that inhibits prostate growth and hormone feedback. Biology of Reproduction 2004;70:1188-1195.