European Food Safety Authority Says 'No Evidence of Harm' for Isoflavones

Soy Isoflavones Found Not Related to Breast and Uterine Cancer or Thyroid Disorders in Post-Menopausal Women

Oct 26, 2015, 15:55 ET from Soyfoods Association of North America

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The European Food Safety Authority – which is the food regulatory arm of the European Union, much like the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. – conducted a comprehensive review of the available scientific evidence and released a report on October 21 that says there is "no indication that isoflavones at levels typically found in food supplements cause harm to post-menopausal women." The Soyfoods Association of North America welcomes this latest evidence that continues to show the safety of soy and soy isoflavones (commonly referred to as phytoestrogen).

Reviewing 43 human studies and 62 animal studies, the Panel on Food Additives concluded it is safe for post-menopausal women to consume soy isoflavones daily without concern of breast and uterine cancer and thyroid function. Specifically the panel concluded that:

  • Interventional human trials and population studies did not suggest an association between exposure to isoflavone and adverse effects in mammary glands in post-menopausal women.
  • No reported statistical changes in endometrial thickness and no cases of endometrial carcinoma/uterine cancer in post-menopausal women taking up to 150 mg of isoflavone supplement for up to 2.5 years compared to controls.
  • In controlled, randomized studies, there was no clinically relevant effect on thyroid function detected in post-menopausal women with normal thyroid function.

Dr. Alicja Mortensen, chair of the EFSA expert Panel on Food Additives, stated: "The evidence reviewed does not suggest there are harmful effects on the three organs considered for this assessment – mammary gland, uterus and thyroid gland," with the report stressing that thyroid hormones levels were not changed following intake of isoflavones.

Although the isoflavone doses in the reviewed human intervention studies ranged from 30–900 mg/day, the panel did not set recommended values; just indicated a typical supplement can range from 35–150 mg/day of isoflavones. The panel also suggested people can get isoflavones by eating soy-based foods and beverages. For example, firm tofu has about 29mg of isoflavones per half-cup serving, soymilk has 27mg per 1-cup serving, and 1 ounce of soy protein isolate has 27mg, according to the USDA database.

Isoflavones are naturally occurring substances which are found, among other sources, in soy, red clover and kudzu root. Their extracts are often used as ingredients in nutritional supplements.

For media inquiries please contact Andrea Albersheim at

For more information about soy-based foods and beverages, including cooking tips, nutrition information and endless possibilities for recipes, please visit, follow @socialSANA on Twitter, and like

About Soyfoods Association of North America
The Soyfoods Association of North America is a non-profit trade association that has been promoting consumption of soy-based foods and beverage since 1978. The Soyfoods Association is committed to encouraging sustainability, integrity and growth in the soyfoods industry by promoting the benefits and consumption of soy-based foods and ingredients in diets. More information is available at

Contact: Andrea Albersheim, (202) 659-3520,

Logo -


SOURCE Soyfoods Association of North America