Soy formula

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Soy formula is a substitute for human breast milk. It is a commercial product based on the proteins found in soybeans. Soy infant formula uses processed soybeans as its source of protein, and comes in powdered or liquid form.[1] Usually lactose-free, soy infant formula contains a different sugar. Infants who are intolerant of cows’ milk protein may also be intolerant of soy protein. It differs from human breast milk in a number of ways.[2] Soy protein inhibits the absorption of iron. The soy-based formulas discussed by the World Health Organization reports that soy formula is fortified with iron to compensate for this effect.[3] One naturally occurring plant-based compound found in soy-based infant formula is phytic acid. It is also a strong inhibitor of iron absorption, though it can be removed in processing. It is not known how many manufacturers of soy-based formula incorporate this practice. China and Vietnam have regulated soy-based infant formulas to include NaFeEDTA (sodium-feric ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) to fortify the formula and enhance the absorption of iron by the infant. When iron compounds are added to soy-based infant formula, the iron compound is encapsulated to prevent it from making the formula dark.[4]


Genetically modified ingredients may be present in soy-based infant formula. It may also be of lower nutritional value.[5] Soy-based infant formula can have aluminum, phytates, and phytoestrogens (isoflavones) that might cause unanticipated effects. Other constituents are amino acids: such as taurine, methionine, and carnitine. Added minerals are phosphore, calcium, iron, and zinc. SIF also contains soy-isolate that supplies 95% of protein.


Breastfeeding is still the best option for feeding infants.[6] There are instances when breastfeeding is not possible and the use of formula is appropriate.[5]

Indications for the use of soy-based infant formula are galactosaemia and lactase deficiency. When a child develops an allergy to cows' milk, soy-based formula is used. SBF is less costly than other breast milk formula substitutes.[7]


Past reports of the effects of soy formula have suggested that a constituent of soy formula may affect reproductive functions. However, studies have shown that no correlation exists between the consumption of soy formula and abnormality in reproductive anatomy or function.[8] Soy-based infant formula has been used for over the past 100 years. By late 1800s and the early 1900s, supplementation of breastfeeding with formula was acceptable.[5] Soy-based formula was used as early as 1909.[7]

Allergies and other concerns

Soy-based infant formula is associated with allergies in infants.[9] Chronic food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) has been observed in infants aged younger than three months who were fed with soy formula.[10] France has taken soy-based infant formula off the market. Soy-base formula accounts for about 20% of the infant formula purchased in the US. In New Zealand formula use is around 10%, and in Belgium and the UK and about 5%.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Information, National Center for Biotechnology; Pike, U. S. National Library of Medicine 8600 Rockville; MD, Bethesda; Usa, 20894 (7 August 2017). "PROMOTING BREASTFEEDING DURING PREGNANCY – STEP 3". World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link) This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ Walker, Marsha (2011). Breastfeeding management for the clinician : using the evidence. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 9780763766511.
  3. ^ "Preventing and Controlling Iron Defiency Anaemia Through Primary Health Care" (PDF). The World Health Organization. 1990. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2017-08-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b c Walker, Marsha (1 August 2015). "Formula Supplementation of Breastfed Infants: Helpful or Hazardous?". ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. 7 (4): 198–207. doi:10.1177/1941406415591208.
  6. ^ Vandenplas, Yvan; De Greef, Elisabeth; Devreker, Thierry; Hauser, Bruno (1 February 2011). "Soy infant formula: is it that bad?". Acta Paediatrica. 100 (2): 162–166. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.02021.x. PMID 20860705.
  7. ^ a b c Vandenplas, Yvan; De Greef, Elisabeth; Devreker, Thierry; Hauser, Bruno (1 February 2011). "Soy infant formula: is it that bad?". Acta Paediatrica. 100 (2): 162–166. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.02021.x. PMID 20860705.
  8. ^ Andres, Aline; Moore, Mary B.; Linam, Leann E.; Casey, Patrick H.; Cleves, Mario A.; Badger, Thomas M. (1 May 2015). "Compared with Feeding Infants Breast Milk or Cow-Milk Formula, Soy Formula Feeding Does Not Affect Subsequent Reproductive Organ Size at 5 Years of Age". The Journal of Nutrition. 145 (5): 871–875. doi:10.3945/jn.114.206201. PMID 25761499.
  9. ^ Nowak-Węgrzyn, Anna; Katz, Yitzhak; Mehr, Sam Soheil; Koletzko, Sibylle (1 May 2015). "Non–IgE-mediated gastrointestinal food allergy". Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 135 (5): 1114–1124. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2015.03.025. PMID 25956013.
  10. ^ Nowak-Węgrzyn, A; Jarocka-Cyrta, E; Moschione Castro, APB (2017). "Food Protein–Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome". Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology. 27 (1): 1–18. doi:10.18176/jiaci.0135. ISSN 1018-9068. PMID 28211341.

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