Phytoestrogen content of conventionally and organically grown soybeans

Soy-based foods have been the subject of recent research due to increasing evidence that soy phytoestrogens may modify the pathogenesis of some hormone-dependent and hormoneindependent diseases'. Studies have shown the isoflavones genistin and daidzin may have beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms', osteoporosis3 , and coronary heart disease 4-5. These findings have led to clinical recommendations of greater dietary intake of phytoestrogen-containing soy products.

Other reports suggest there may be adverse effects from over-ingestion of phytoestrogens, especially in infants6,' .s. This increase in phytoestrogen ingestion for medical purposes coupled with the inconsistency of how phytoestrogens may effect the human body make it important that consumers and clinicians know the amount and kind of phytoestrogens present in soy-based products. Studies show that the level of phytoestrogens in soybeans may vary significantly. Environmental factors such as temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, relative soil conditions, slope of terrain and irrigation may effect the concentration of phytoestrogens by as much as 300 percent". Farming methods may therefore be a critical factor in phytoestrogen content.

A recent study shows significant reductions in phytoestrogen content between genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans and conventional soybeans more heavily treated herbicides". However no study has examined how pesticide free organic and conventional farming methods affect the phytoestrogen content of genetically identical beans.