Newswise — Soy-based infant formula is a nutritious feeding choice for full-term infants born without the ability to digest lactose or with an allergy to milk protein. This statement is intended to outline key facts concerning soy infant formula.
FACT: Soy Infant Formula is Safe for Infants
Some 20 million infants have been raised on soy-based infant formula for more than 30 years with no reports of adverse health conditions. A robust body of science has continually demonstrated its safety.
In one of the more recent reviews, Munro et. al. found "no conclusive evidence from animal, adult human or infant populations that indicate dietary isoflavones may adversely affect human development or reproduction." (1) Researchers at the University of Iowa reached a similar conclusion, finding no statistically significant difference in growth and development between infants fed soy-based or cow's milk formula. (2)
FACT: The American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Soy Infant Formula
Both the AAP and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have concluded that soy-based infant formula is a safe, acceptable way to support the normal growth and development of healthy infants. (3)
FACT: Unorthodox Research on Rodents Cannot be Directly Applied to Humans
Genistein, an amino acid, is naturally present in soybeans. Some researchers have injected genistein into rodents and applied their findings to humans. Such an application is inappropriate for several reasons:
* Children raised on soy formula do not consume pure genistein.
* Rodents do not model human consumption of soy formula; how they metabolize soy's key components (such as isoflavones) is markedly different.
* Injecting genistein bypasses the digestive system and liver, resulting in a much different exposure (in type and intensity) compared to the effects of eating soyfoods or formula. 1. Munro, I. C., Harwood, M., Hlywka, J. J., Stephen, A. M., Doull, J., Flamm, W.G. & Adlercreutz, H. Soy isoflavones: a safety review. Nutr. Rev. 2003; 61: 1-33. 2. Strom, B. L., Schinnar, R., Ziegler, E. E., Barnhart, K. T., Sammel, M. D., Macones,G. A et al. Exposure to soy-based formula in infancy and endocrinological and reproductive outcomes in young adulthood. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 2001; 286: 807
3. Soy protein-based formulas: recommendations for use in infant feeding. Pediatrics. 1998 Jan;101(1 Pt 1):148-53.