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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Hematology Topics

Question: soy and marrow suppression

 Autumn - Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:17 pm

Hello. I have been diagnosed with mild bone marrow hypoplasia that has improved without treatment over the years. However, I recently experienced a dip in my counts from a normal level at a time when I was eating a lot of soy in the form of soy burgers and chicken patties. Since soy has estrogen-like properties and estrogen in large doses can suppress marrow production, is it possible, in your opinion, that the soy could have caused this present decline in my blood counts? I also experienced very heavy menstrual bleeding while eating the soy. Is it more likely the dip was caused by the bleeding? The drop was in the RBC and platelet counts. Thank you.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Jan 29, 2003 5:20 am

User avatar Dear Autumn,
A low platelet count could lead to heavy menstruation and hence lead to reduced RBC count. I don't think that there is any relationship between Soy and bone marrow suppression. Infact Soy has been used to counteract the toxicity in patients with bone marrow suppression due to chemotherapy.

Isoflavones (Soy) contain plant derived estrogenic compounds. However, the estrogenic potency has been estimated to be only 1/1000 to 1/100,000 that of the naturally occuring estrogen estradiol.

I have found only one study linking Soy to reduced platelet function. Although I must emphasize that this study is just a single study and doesnt seem to be supported by similar research. So it would be too early to draw any conclusions from it.

Either way i think you should refer to your hematologist especially if your platelet counts are below 50,000. If below a critical level of 20,000 you may need platelet transfusions. Please discuss with your doctor the advantages and disadvantages of stopping the menstruation altogether at times when your platelet counts are low.
Best regards.
 Anonymous - Fri Feb 07, 2003 1:16 pm

Dear Dr. Fouad,

Thank you for your reply. I haven't seen a hematologist since my initial marrow biopsy seven years ago. I was told it could be nutritional, to take a vitamin and put on a few pounds, which hasn't helped. My internist monitors my counts periodically but doesn't seem interested in finding out the cause, though thankfully my counts are only mildly decreased. I just hope they stay that way. I've been doing a lot of research to determine the possible cause myself. I think I've read everything there is to read on aplasic anemia on the net. It appears to be a very severe disease. Is it possible to have only mild aplastic anemia?

One more question, please. In your response, you stated that soy is used to counteract marrow toxicity. Can you explain briefly how this is possible?

Thanks again! :)

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