Miso soup: fermented soy and nuclear radiation. Is fermented soy helpful?
From Web Archive:
It is not any one particular component of miso that makes it such an effective healing foods, but rather a complex combination of ingredients and a unique double fermentation process that transforms soybeans and grains into a potent medicine. And although miso can now be found in most natural food stores and is an important ingredient in natural food cookbooks, it is still greatly underrated as a medicinal food.
Miso soup: fermented soy and nuclear radiation – Dr. Shinichiro Akizuki’s Theory
During the 60’s, students of macrobiotics and Zen began hearing about Dr. Shinichiro Akizuki, director of Saint Francis Hospital in Nagasaki during the second World War. Although Akizuki spent years treating atomic bomb victims just a few miles from ground zero, neither he nor his staff suffered from the usual effects of radiation. Akizuki hypothesized that he and his associates were protected from the deadly radiation because they drank miso soup every day.
In 1972, Akizuki’s theory was confirmed when researchers discovered that miso contains dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals, such as radioactive strontium, and discharges them from the body.
However, the most convincing evidence demonstrating the protection miso offers to those exposed to radiation was published in Japan in 1989. Professor Akihiro Ito, at Hiroshima University’s Atomic Radioactivity Medical Lab, read reports of European countries importing truckloads of miso after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Ito reasoned that if people were protected from radiation by miso, then rats that were fed miso and radiated should develop less cancer than radiated rats that were not fed miso. Professor Ito was not surprised to find that the liver cancer rate for rats that were not fed miso was 100 to 200 percent higher than that of rats that were fed miso.
Even more extraordinary is the fact that Ito used commercial miso powder, which is considered the lowest quality miso. Many natural healers and miso advocates consider long-aged misos, such as hatcho, brown rice, and barley misos, to be the most medicinally potent.
Potent Medicinal Food?
Although Ito’s radiation studies were very impressive, it was large population studies in Japan that were begun in the 60’s and published in the 70’s and 80’s that first alerted researchers to miso’s potential as a potent medicinal food.
One study of over a quarter of a million men and women showed that those who ate miso soup every day had fewer cases of certain types of cancer. At first researchers associated the lower cancer rates with the orange and yellow vegetables that are traditionally cooked into miso soup, and which were known to have their own health benefits.
However, in the late 80’s a team of medical researchers at Tohoku University, Japan, discovered a substance called ethyl ester, a fatty acid that is produced by the breakdown of complex fats during miso’s fermentation, which acted like an anti- mutagen. The results of this work, which were presented to the Japan Agricultural Society, were extraordinary, because they showed that ethyl ester was only made during fermentation. They also scientifically demonstrated that the small amounts of ethyl ester found in a bowl of miso soup could cancel the effects of large amounts of nicotine and burnt meat mutagens.
During the 90’s there has been an explosion of exciting research pointing to the extraordinary health benefits of soya foods in general and miso in particular. Promoted by population studies in Japan, China, and Singapore that linked lower rates of stomach, breast, prostrate, and kidney cancer and lower cholesterol levels with the consumption of traditional soya foods, scientists around the world began looking for a magic bullet in miso, tofu, soya milk, soya sauce, tempeh and even TVP. What they found in the urine of people who ate these foods, and in the foods themselves, was high concentrations of a potent anticancer agent called genistein, a plant isoflavone.
According to a review article from the National Cancer Institute, in the US, and research at Children’s University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany, genistein delivers a one- two punch to cancer cells by reducing their ability to form new blood vessels and by attacking the cells reproduction mechanism. Without a growing blood supply, and unable to make new cells, the cancer slowly shrinks and dies.
Genistein’s ability to destroy cancer cells has been demonstrated both in and out of the body in numerous studies. When added to tissue cultures of skin cancer cells, as reported recently in the British Journal of Cancer, genistein rapidly suppresses growth and, before long, cancer cells look very different and begin to die. Genistein and miso have both been shown in laboratory experiments to have similar effects on animals with cancer.
Genistein has been shown to be effective in both hormonal and non-hormonal types of cancer. Scientists believe that genistein, like several other plant compounds called phytoestrogens, may have an influence on cancer via their estrogen-like action in the body. In fact, studies have shown that soya foods can reduce menopausal symptoms and influence the menstrual cycle.
Although most soya products, even TVP, have some genistein, it was discovered recently that miso has about 25 times as much genistein as unfermented soya foods, such as soya milk and tofu. Researchers at Tokyo’s National Cancer Center Research Institute believe that during fermentation microbes cleave the bonds of genistein’s processor molecule, converting it to the active anticancer substance. Other fermented soya foods, such as natto (fermented soya beans), also have higher levels of genistein.
Even the ultra-conservative National Cancer Institute has become interested in isoflavones and has recommended the use of miso and other soya foods in protecting against breast and prostate cancer. There are also early indications that the market will soon be flooded with both natural and synthetic genistein supplements.
Disclaimer: we are not doctors or experts in implications of nuclear events, so here we provide what we think based on the information which are in the public domain. Before you consider to implement anything that is mentioned there, you need to speak with your doctor; our bodies may react differently to the same food, supplements, etc. so you need to know what is suitable for you, what is beneficial, and what is not.