5 reasons why SOY is an important food to improve Alopecia and promote hair growth
Wholesome soy is a complete food and has long been recognised for its wide range of health and nutritional benefits, including generally improving the immune system, reducing blood cholesterol levels, and lowering risks of heart disease.
In this post, I explore a number of studies that looked into how wholesome soy contributes to promoting hair growth and slowing down the rate of hair loss in Alopecia. I also share several ways to incorporate wholesome soy into your daily diets, including the most convenient way I use so that my daughter can enjoy the benefits of wholesome soy every day.
Wholesome soy is an amazing complete food
The impact of soy on human health has gained a lot of attention and been the subject of many scientific studies, especially since 1999 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted food products containing high amount of soy protein to be labeled with the indication of ability to reduce risks of heart disease.
Soybeans contain a complete protein profile. This means that soybeans contain all the essential amino acids that cannot be made by the human body and therefore need to be acquired through food.
The compete protein profile in wholesome soy makes it a much better alternative to meat or animal-based protein. It’s also an excellent option for people desiring plant-based diet due to health, personal, or environmental reasons.
In addition to protein, when you eat soy in its wholesome form — along with the skin and pulp — you also get the benefits of its high amount of fibre. One cup of wholesome soybeans provide 37% of your daily fibre requirement as an adult. As meat and animal products don’t contain fibre, you don’t get this benefit from eating your protein sources from animal products.
Wholesome soybeans also contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, antioxidants, a range of vitamins and minerals such as copper, phosphorus, iron, manganese, vitamins B2 and K, magnesium, and even omega-3 fatty acids!
It is, however, the phytochemicals and powerful antioxidants in wholesome soy, such as isoflavones genistein and daidzein among many others, that make it such a distinctly beneficial food.
Remember, all the health benefits that soy can provide must come from soy in its wholesome form. Isolated soy protein, soy beverages, soy protein powder, and almost all soy products in the market do not provide the same benefits.
5 ways that soy helps to promote hair growth
Studies have looked into how compounds in wholesome soy can help with cases of hair loss, such as in Alopecia.
It is acknowledged that genetics play a role in a majority of hair loss cases (about 95% of all other causes), which means that these cases are due to DNAs that predispose the individuals to hair loss.
Here I explore how exactly wholesome soy can be beneficial in promoting hair growth and reducing hair loss.
Soy contains isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen or plant compounds known as flavonoids. Genistein and daidzein are among the isoflavones contained in soy that carry the most estrogenic properties and functions (Blanchelo, 2007 – link).
1. Soy isoflavone genistein stimulates Hyaluronic Acid production on your skin and scalp
Studies have shown that isoflavone genistein in soy can stimulate the production of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) on the epidermis and dermis of the skin (Blanchelo, 2007 – link).
HA is present abundantly in the scalp, and it acts as a natural moisturiser by holding water to form gel-like viscosity on the skin.
This ‘natural moisturiser’ is beneficial to hair health as it provides a protective layer and hydration to deep layers of the scalp.
It’s also been shown that HA can help the regeneration of hair follicle keratinocytes (the epidermal cells that produce keratin or hair protein).
Applying collagen products isn’t effective
If you apply products that claim to contain Hyaluronic Acid, which is derived from animal sources, you’re substituting your own collagen with those from other animals.
Studies have proven that applying collagen isn’t effective at all, and you’re much better off eating real foods that help your skin produce this collagen on its own, because you also reap all the other nutritional benefits in those foods.
2. Soy isoflavone genistein inhibits autoimmune response and inflammation that causes Alopecia Areata
In Alopecia Areata, isoflavone genistein is shown to suppress inflammatory cells.
Isoflavone genistein is a tyrosine protein kinase inhibitor and it can inhibit autoimmune response and inflammation, which are two factors associated with Alopecia Areata.
3. Soy isoflavones help increase of Insulin-like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I) for hair growth
A study in 2007 has shown that administration of isoflavones along with capsaicin (compounds found in chilli peppers) increases the production of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which in turn increases insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) production in hair follicles in the skin, and therefore promoting hair growth.
4. Soy isoflavone daidzein act as DHT blockers in Androgenic Alopecia
After being converted, isoflavone daidzein is metabolised in the intestine into equol, which acts as anti-androgen by binding with DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that restricts the follicles ability to produce hair growth in people that have a genetic tendency to hair loss, usually androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
5. Wholesome soy benefits your overall health which in turn helps promote healthier hair growth
Wholesome soy is a much better alternative than protein sources from animal products, due to the fact that its protein is more easily absorbed by our body.
Being plant based protein source, wholesome soy doesn’t contain saturated fats and animal hormones, unlike meat and other animal products. Wholesome soy also contains a high amount of fibre, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and a range of vitamins and minerals. These are all the nutrients that your immune system needs as fuel in order to function properly.
Most common ways to include wholesome soy in your daily diet
You only get all the health benefits that soy provides if you eat soy in its wholesome form. Soy also needs to be heated to specific temperature in order to remove trypsin inhibitors, a substance that interferes with proper digestion of the soybean protein.
1. Cooking soybeans in dishes
Cooking soybeans in your soups or stews is a nice way to enjoy soy, because you get to eat the soy in its complete, wholesome form.
Soybeans often come in dried form and you’ll need to soak the beans to soften them before cooking them.
When soybeans boil, the cooking liquid tends to bubble up and you’ll need to skim off the grey residue. You usually also need to cook soybeans with enough pressure or time.
Limitations of consuming soybeans in cooked dishes:
- Takes time and effort to prepare
- Impractical to cook and eat enough of every single day
Tempeh (or tempe) is made from fermenting wholesome soybeans into a cake-like texture. You’ll then cook the resulting product and add it to your dishes or enjoy it on its own.
My daughter loves tempeh and it makes an excellent option of iron and protein food source for us. Tempeh also gives you the added benefits of good bacteria due to the fermentation process that it goes through.
You can make your own tempeh, or buy it from a trusted supplier. When buying tempeh, look for ones that use good quality, non-GMO, and preferably organic, soybeans. Also look for those with the least amount of ingredients. For example, the tempeh I buy is from a local supplier and only contains 3 ingredient — organic and non-GMO Canadian soybeans, water, and starter culture.
Benefits of consuming soybeans through tempeh:
- The soybeans are still in their wholesome form
- Good quality tempeh is minimally processed and is only made by fermenting whole soybeans with starter culture
- Tempeh is versatile and makes a great alternative to meats due to its texture
- Tempeh is a great source of iron in addition to soy protein
Tofu: Better alternative to meat but more processed and less wholesome than tempeh
Tofu is another option of enjoying soy as part of your diet. However, I prefer tempeh to tofu due to the fact that tofu is just that little bit more processed than tempeh.
Unlike tempeh, tofu has been strained off of its pulp, so it is no longer in its wholesome form. My daughter is also not a huge fan of tofu although she absolutely loves tempeh.
Benefits of consuming soybeans through tofu:
- Tofu is easy to prepare and cook
- Tofu is a better alternative to meats and animal products
Limitations of consuming soybeans through tofu:
- The soybeans are no longer in their wholesome form as the pulp of the beans has been removed
Soy beverage: Often highly processed, sweetened, and no longer in wholesome form
Nowadays, there are rising varieties of dairy milk alternatives sold commercially. Soy beverage or soy milk is widely available as dairy milk alternative.
Traditionally, you’d make soy milk or soy beverage by cooking the beans, grinding them, and then straining them to separate the liquid from the pulp. The resulting liquid is what would become soy milk, or soy beverage. Soy milk made using this traditional method tastes rich of soybeans natural fragrance, however isn’t at all sweet. It doesn’t keep long — no more than a few days — even when refrigerated. Soy milk also lacks the fibre as it its pulp has been removed.
Major limitations of store bought soy milk or soy beverage
Commercially made soy beverages or soy milk sold in stores, however, are far different.
The quality of the soybeans used in commercially sold soy milk or soy beverages is not always clear. Their processing method to ensure that the beans and resulting product are safe and uncontaminated is also unclear.
Most commercially sold soy milk or soy beverages contain many ingredients other than soybeans and water, which are what soy milk should really be made of. In order to lengthen its shelf life and make its taste more palatable, a lot of additives, flavourings, sweeteners, and even colouring are added to these soy beverages. The actual soybeans content is often quite minimal.
Like all soy milk and soy beverage, it definitely doesn’t contain the pulp of the beans and is therefore no longer in its wholesome form.
Consuming commercially sold soy milk or soy beverages doesn’t actually provide you with most the benefits of wholesome soy, due to the fact that it’s gone through so much processing that strips off most of the beneficial compounds in soy, yet added with a lot of unnecessary additives and sweeteners.
The best and easiest way to enjoy all the benefits of wholesome soy
Remember that to get all the possible health and nutritional benefits from soy:
- The soy must be wholesome, or processed from wholesome soy beans
- The soy must not be genetically modified, and free of molds or other contaminants like pesticides, harmful chemicals or heavy metals
- The soy must be heated to specific temperature to remove its trypsin inhibitors
- You need to consume it in sufficient amount every single day
SOYGREEN: My favourite way for my daughter to get all the benefits of soy every single day
SOYGREEN is a Nutritional Immunology food product with wholesome soy as its main ingredient.
The ingredients in SOYGREEN include wholesome soybeans, banana, psyllium husk (world’s highest food source of fibre), and 10 different green vegetables also in their wholesome form.
Banana, psyllium husk, and 10 varieties of green vegetables have been formulated with the wholesome soy in order to create food combining synergy and amplify the benefits of all these foods.
SOYGREEN and all Nutritional Immunology food products are scientifically formulated and made in GMP certified facilities. All ingredients and the end product go through 398 tests to ensure that they are free of pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and even DNA damage. All ingredients are cleaned with water only, and never any chemicals. This ensures an end product that’s safe for all ages.
Each ingredient in SOYGREEN is also individually processed according to the optimal processing method to retain the most nutrients. For example, soy is heated to certain temperature, while banana and other vegetables are not heated. The wholesome ingredients are then freeze dried or spray dried into powdered beverage form, making it extremely convenient to enjoy every single day.
What sets SOYGREEN apart from most soy powder and soy beverage products
Unlike most soy powder and soy beverage products in the market, SOYGREEN contains only wholesome plant food ingredients. It is not an isolated soy protein product, but instead provides the full benefits of soybeans and green vegetables — health food on the go.
SOYGREEN contains only foods. They are safe for all ages.
SOYGREEN: Complete nutrition in a cup
SOYGREEN is perfect for getting extra servings of protein, vegetables and fibre in my daughter’s daily diet, especially during those days when we are busy or travelling and simply can’t eat all the varieties of vegetables and plant based proteins that we need.
It helps me ensure that my daughter never skips a day of good and complete nutrition to support her through recovering from autoimmune Alopecia Areata, and give her body the boost it needs in order to stimulate hair growth every single day.
A serving of SOYGREEN fills you up with all the right nutrients with minimal calories, and it costs less than most fast-food calorie-empty foods.
To prepare SOYGREEN, you only need to mix it with cool water and drink it.
Regardless of what causes your Alopecia, whether it be genetics, environmental or nutritional, soybeans contain all the right nutrients that you need for strong hair growth. By including whole soybeans in your daily diet, you do yourself a favour by giving your body the best chance of regrowing your hair and potentially reducing hair loss as a result of improved overall health.
By getting some of your protein from plant sources like soybeans, you get both protein as well as a variety of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and even omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are crucial for healthy hair growth.
As soybeans are essentially food, they provide a safer and healthier hair growth treatment potential for Alopecia compared to drugs. It is worth noting that you get the most benefits by eating soybeans in their wholesome instead of isolated or processed forms.
Eating wholesome soybeans daily and in adequate amount can be tricky with today’s busy lifestyle. Soy also needs to be heated to specific temperature to remove its trypsin inhibitors but not too high of a temperature to remove the beneficial nutrient compounds.
SOYGREEN is a convenient way to consume wholesome soybeans along with a variety of whole green vegetables. This product is of the highest quality I’ve been able to find. It enables me to provide adequate amount of wholesome, good quality soy and a variety of vegetables for my daughter, especially during busy days or when we’re travelling. It also helps me ensure she gets to enjoy all the amazing benefits of soy and has all the chance she needs in order to grow healthy hair and fight Alopecia.
- Everything you need to know about DHT
- Soybean and Baldness Preventation: Apparently, there is a link
- Androgenic alopecia is associated with less dietary soy, lower [corrected] blood vanadium and rs1160312 1 polymorphism in Taiwanese communities
- Administration of capsaicin and isoflavone promotes hair growth by increasing insulin-like growth factor-I production in mice and in humans with alopecia
- Use of isoflavones to prevent hair loss and preserve the integrity of existing hair
- Soybeans – The World’s Healthiest Foods
Suz at Natural Alopecia Wellness
All information on this website is meant for informational purposes only. It contains my own personal opinions and interpretation of acquired information. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and information on this website are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.