Exposure of infants to phyto-oestrogens from soy-based
Setchell, K. D. R. et al. Lancet
Concerned that bioactive phyto-oestrogens, the isoflavones
genistein, daidzein, and their glycosides present in high concentrations
in soy based formulas can cause adverse effects in infants fed
soya based formulas, the researchers wished to determine the
extent to which infants are exposed. The plasma concentrations
of genistein and daidzein were measured in 4-month-old infants;
7 infants fed the soy-based formulas, 7 infants fed cows
milk formula and 7 fed human milk; and soy-based formulas were
analysed according to type and amounts of isoflavones present.
The mean concentration of isoflavones present was 32-47 µg/ml.
Infants fed soy based formulas had mean concentrations of genistein
and daidzein of 684 ng/ml and 295 ng/ml respectively; infants
fed cows based formulas 3.2 and 2.1 ng/ml; and infants
fed human milk 2.8 and 1.4 ng/ml.
Exposure from phyto-oestrogens in the soy products was found
to be 6 to 11 times higher on a per body weight basis than the
dose that has hormonal effects in adults consuming soy foods.
Also the circulating levels of isoflavones in the soy-fed infants
were 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than normally found in young
infants. These levels they conclude may be sufficient to exert
biological effects. Although the authors conclude that
there is no evidence to suggest that levels of phyto-oestrogens
present in infant diets has adverse effects (this study received
funding from Wyeth), however, potential effects of the steroid-hormone
imbalance, include competition with enzymes that
metabolize steroids, drugs and xenobiotics, or by affecting gonadal
The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk
Substitutes: A Model for Assuring Childrens Nutrition Rights
Under the Law.
Margulies, L. The International
Journal of Childrens Rights, 1997
Ms Margulies, a lawyer and longtime proponent of breastfeeding
womens rights, outlines the relationship between the International
Code and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The human rights that the Code attempts to protect are the rights
to health and life, the rights to food and nutrition, and the
rights of women to full and accurate information on which to
base decisions affecting their childrens health. By emphasizing
the vital importance of breastfeeding to the majority of the
worlds children and their mothers, the author frames the
International Code as emanating from the human rights instruments
of the United Nations. From the historical context of the right
to life, dignity and freedom, as expressed in political and civil
rights along with economic, cultural and social rights, the International
Code translates these rights into a specific document that can
be transcribed into national law.
The health and nutrition rights protected by the International
Code have since 1989 also been incorporated into the Convention
of the Rights of the Childthe right to the highest
attainable standard of health. The author gives a number
of national examples where these instruments have been adopted
as lawsuch as India, Zimbabwe, China, Guatemala and Costa
Pacifier Use and Short Breastfeeding Duration: Causes,
Consequences or Coincidence?
Victora, C. G. et al. Pediatrics
99: 445-453, 1997
Victora et al, who have previously related pacifier
use to shorter duration of breastfeeding, interviewed a cohort
of 650 mothers and infants at one, three and six months, to determine
if this association is causal or if self-selection of mothers
may play a role.
Pacifier use was common with 85 per cent of the infants at
1 month. Intense, frequent use at 1 month was more than 4 times
likely to stop breastfeeding by 6 months of age than non-users.
Pacifier users also had fewer breastfeedings per day than non-users.
After adjustment for confounding variables, pacifier use was
still associated (odds ratio 2.1) with the stoppage of breastfeeding.
Included in the study was an ethnographic analysis which showed
the use of pacifiers was considered a positive behaviour and
mothers actively encouraged their use. A large number of mothers
used pacifiers to end breastfeeding or to lengthen the time between
In conclusion, pacifiers were found to be an effective weaning
mechanism for mothers, who had breastfeeding difficulties, but
for mothers who were confident about breastfeeding, pacifiers
had much less impact. Programs to reduce pacifier use need to
be in concert with helping women deal with difficulties in breastfeeding.
Of interest: Hypoglycemia and the Newborn A Review of
Literature, World Health Organization Division of Child Health
and Development and Maternal and Newborn Health/Safe Motherhood.
Copies available from INFACT Canada Breastfeeding Information
Resource Centre Tel: (416) 595-9819