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An Explanation of "Brain Aging and Midlife Tofu Consumption"

James Michael Howard jamesmichaelhoward at anthropogeny.com
Fri Aug 8 09:32:38 EST 2003

An Explanation of "Brain Aging and Midlife Tofu Consumption," (L.R. White, et
al., Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2000; 19: 242-255)

Copyright  2003, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.

The findings of White, et al., may be explained as premature decline of
production of the major adrenal steroid hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Tofu (soy, phytoestrogens) stimulates DHEA production.  This stimulation acts on
a finite capability of DHEA production during the human life span which peaks
around the age of twenty to twenty-five and then declines to very low levels in
old age.  This Stimulation of DHEA by tofu during "midlife" inappropriately
advances the natural decline of DHEA of old age and the consequences of loss of
DHEA of old age.  (Please see the third chart down, "Early, High Use / Early
Decline," on the left side of this web page: www.anthropogeny.com/research.html
.  I apologize, I do not know how to add this chart to my message to this
newsgroup.  If you prefer to read this with the chart included, you can use the
link to this article at the bottom of the foregoing web page.)  I am suggesting
the tofu is advancing the decline of DHEA of old age.

It is my hypothesis that DHEA was selected by evolution because DHEA optimizes
replication and transcription of DNA.  In fact, I suggest DHEA was fundamental
in the evolution of mammals and large brains ("Hormones in Mammalian Evolution,"
Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 2001; 94: 177-184
www.anthropogeny.com/evolution.html ).  I think DHEA is critical to growth and
development and maintenance of our brains.  Therefore, any substance or behavior
which affects the production of DHEA also affects our brains.  Of importance to
this explanation of the effects of tofu is the other major adrenal steroid
hormone, cortisol.  It is my hypothesis that cortisol evolved as the major
antagonist of DHEA function.

The phytoestrogens found in tofu are known to "markedly" increase DHEA
production while decreasing cortisol production; the hypothesis is that cortisol
synthesis is "shunted" toward DHEA synthesis (J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999; 84:
2443-8).  So, tofu increases DHEA and, at the same time, decreases the major
DHEA antagonist, cortisol.  If the production of DHEA over the life span is
finite, this should shorten the time of DHEA production.  If a person started
consuming tofu in "midlife," this should increase DHEA and hasten time of
reduced DHEA production and the consequences of low DHEA.  That is, this should
accelerate the onset of the effects of loss of DHEA; this should accelerate old
age.  I suggest the loss of DHEA results in declines we describe as "old age."

White, et al., point to increased "brain atrophy" and use hippocampal decline
and enlarged ventricles as examples of the negative effects of tofu consumption
at midlife.  The loss of DHEA of old age has been connected to hippocampal
reduction and ventricle enlargement:  "In elderly subjects, particularly if
demented, the mean serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAs) levels
throughout the 24-hour cycle were significantly lower than in young controls. A
significant reduction of the hippocampal and temporal volume and an enlargement
of the lateral ventricles were found in aged subjects, these changes being
significantly related to subjects' age." (Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2000; 11:
90-9).  Since tofu stimulates DHEA production, tofu accelerates the onset of the
end of production of DHEA.  In this case, tofu is accelerating the signs and
symptoms of old age, such as damage to the hippocampus and ventricle

The effect of consumption of tofu at midlife was increased in men, though the
effect was still present in women.  I suggest testosterone reduces overall
availability of DHEA when DHEA production is limited ("Androgens in Human
Evolution," Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 2001; 94: 345-362
www.anthropogeny.com/evolution.html .)  Therefore "male gender" should
exacerbate the characteristics of decline of old age:  "Results indicated that:
(1) after age 60, cerebral atrophy, polio- and leuko-araiosis doubled and
cerebral perfusion decreased, with marked individual variations; (2) risk
factors independently accelerating cerebral atrophy and cortico-subcortical
perfusional declines included [transient ischemic attacks] TIAs, hypertension,
smoking, hyperlipidemia, excessive alcohol consumption and male gender; (3)
progressive leuko-araiosis correlated directly with cortical atrophy and
cortical perfusional declines. We posit that: (1) cerebral atrophy and
degenerative changes result from neuronal shrinkage and/or loss, which are
accelerated by TIAs, hypertension, smoking, hyperlipidemia, excessive alcohol
consumption and male gender; (2) accelerated cerebral atrophic and degenerative
changes identified by neuroimaging should be considered as markers for depleted
neuronal synaptic reserves, which predispose to cognitive declines." (J Neurol
Sci. 1997; 152: 39-49).

It is my hypothesis that testosterone ultimately, adversely affected the
availability of DHEA.  This should shorten the time of useful DHEA production,
therefore, shorten the time to old age and its consequences.  Men die earlier
than women.  I also suggest that drugs are "attractive" and "addictive" because
they stimulate DHEA production.  All of these would have the same effect as I
have just suggested for tofu in men at midlife.  Again, I suggest the
explanation of the findings of White, et al., is tofu, by stimulating DHEA,
accelerates the decline of DHEA of old age and its consequences.

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