Comentário ao tofu shrinks brain (Pedro Pereira em Terça Maio 6 12:03:46 WEST 2003)

“Tofu Shrinks Brain,” shouted the headlines of a tidal wave of articles emanating from the anti-soy camp in recent years. The basis for the excitement were discoveries made in the Honolulu Heart Program, an ongoing study of the health of Japanese-American men living in Hawaii. It seems that those who consumed the most tofu (two to four times a week) during middle age showed the most signs of mental deterioration in later years, including greater incidence of Alzheimer's disease. This was startling, because high cholesterol levels have long been intimately linked to increased risk for Alzheimer's, and soy has been shown repeatedly to lower cholesterol levels. The researchers who conducted the study, led by Lon White, believe the negative effect could stem from the hormonal effects of the isoflavones found in soy.

Other scientists were not so sure just what was going on here. If tofu consumption increased Alzheimer's incidence, then there would be more Alzheimer's in Japan than in Hawaii, because more tofu is eaten in Japan. But in fact the reverse is true.

What, then, could have been the cause of the findings? People with Alzheimer's disease characteristically have higher levels of aluminum in their brains. Many studies have shown a link between increased levels of aluminum consumption and risk of Alzheimer's disease. Higher levels of aluminum in drinking water, for example, typically produce higher rates of the disease. When a physician practicing in Hawaii, Bill Harris, subsequently had soy products made in Hawaii and those from the mainland tested for their aluminum levels, the levels of aluminum in the Hawaii products were found to be significantly higher. Could it be that it is aluminum - used in the refining of some soy products in Hawaii - that is the actual culprit? No other study to my knowledge has ever found a link between soy consumption and Alzheimer's, but dozens of studies have supported the link between aluminum and the disease.

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