to Robert Cohen's Slanderous Statements
I have been sent an e-mail that you have circulated
concerning my objections to soy-based foods.
I must say your slanderous rantings are that
of a three-year old having a temper tantrum,
not a reasoned discussion of the issues involved.
You portray yourself as a "scientist",
but I fail to see your credentials posted.
I am a board-certified neurosurgeon, retired
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgey,
Visiting Professor of Biology at Belhaven
College and have written over 30 papers published
in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I serve
on the editorial board of the Journal of American
Physicians and Surgeons and the Journal of
the American Nutraceutical Association.
My recent papers on the connection between
excitotoxicity and fluoride neurotoxicity,
and autism and the Gulf War Syndrome have
received praise from leading authorities in
each of these areas of research. I am the
co-developer of one of the most commonly used
methods for removal of intraventricular meningiomas,
for which I am given credit in all major neurosurgical
texts, along with my mentor Ludwig G. Kempe,
one of the most famous names in neurosurgery.
I have written three chapters in three medical
textbooks as well as three nutrition books
for the lay public, one of which you quoted,
citing me as an expert in the field. I do
extensive study in the field of excitotoxicity.
Since you are now in the business of selling
soy products and a soy-milk making machine,
I can understand your concern for your financial
future. That has nothing to do with science.
If your reading public wants an excellent
review of the dangers of soy, I suggest they
read Dr. Kaayla Daniel's newly released book,
The Whole Soy Story.
You rambling defense of soy safety falls far
short of science for a number of reasons.
Aspartic acid, which is a naturally occurring
amino acid, that, despite your statement that
it is an essential amino acid, is not. It
can be synthesized from oxaloacetate and glutamate
via transamination. What you and many of the
defenders of excitatory amino acid safety
cannot seem to understand, or refuse to understand,
is that free amino acids act differently than
those occurring in whole foods.
Digestion breaks most proteins into amino
acids only at a very slow rate. I quote Guyton's
Textbook of Medical Physiology, page
794- " As a result the normal rate of
absorption... (amino acid absorption is determined)
by the rate at which they can be released
from the proteins during digestion. For these
reasons, essentially no free amino acids can
be found in the intestine during digestion."
When soybeans are processed, the excitotoxic
amino acids (glutamate and aspartate) are
not only released, they are concentrated.
This is especially so in soy protein isolates
and soy protein concentrates-which are used
in soy milk. This means that your figures
on the glutamic and aspartic acid contents
is much lower than in fact exist in your product.
Olney and others have shown that human blood
levels of glutamate increase as much as 20X
on glutamate loading with concentrations found
in such hydrolyzed proteins. These high blood
levels are transferred into the human brain,
especially under certain circumstances. Even
in the completely normal brain, glutamate,
aspartate and other excitotoxins can enter
the brain via the circumventricular organs,
which includes the hypothalamus. As you certainly
know, or should know, one of the most sensitive
structures in the brain is the arcuate nucleus.
It is easily destroyed by levels of glutamate
found in hydrolyzed proteins and this has
been proven in laboratory studies.
It is also known that the blood-brain barrier
contains glutamate receptors and that free
glutamate at these concentrations, can open
the barrier, allowing these high levels of
glutamate to freely enter the brain.
It is also known that a multitude of conditions
open the barrier, including strokes (both
gross and silent), brain injury, brain tumors,
certain pesticides, mercury, lead, autoimmune
disorders (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc),
radiofrequency radiation (cell phones), seizures,
multiple sclerosis and infections. Anyone
with these conditions should avoid products
that contain high levels of excitotoxins,
such as hydrolyzed soy products. This constitutes
a large percentage of the population.
In addition, pregnant women should avoid such
excitotoxin-containing products, since the
placenta concentrates the glutamate, exposing
the baby to much higher levels of glutamate
than the mother. This has been proven. It
has also been proven, that the baby's brain
is 5X more sensitive to excitotoxin exposure
than is the adult brain and that humans are
4X more sensitive than the next most sensitive
animal species. And this is under the best
It has been shown that inflammation dramatically
increases the toxicity of excitotoxins on
the brain, especially in small children. This
means that any inflammatory condition, virus,
bacterial infection or immune disorder, will
increase a person's and especially a baby's
risk of injury. Since the human baby's brain
undergoes its most rapid growth and development
from the last trimester of pregnancy through
the first 2 years of life, it is most at risk
from food-based excitotoxins, such as hydrolyzed
A number of recent studies have shown that
excess glutamate exposure during this period
of "brain growth spurt" can alter
the development of the child's brain, especially
neuroendocrine, cognitive, behavioral and
I am sure many of your readers are not aware
that one of the earliest finding during glutamate
research was that newborn animals fed glutamate
developed gross obesity. This has been repeated
numerous times and is used in obesity studies.
An international panels of neuroscientist
cited this as a possible reason for the obesity
epidemic in the developed world. With the
dramatic increase in glutamate food additives
and consumption of soy products, especially
soy based formula and soy milk by babies and
small children, is is no wonder we are seeing
this epidemic of childhood gross obesity and
diabetes. Experimentally, glutamate exposure
in these same doses can induce diabetes in
Experiments have also shown that early exposure
to glutamate can alter-permanently-the baby's
vascular reactivity. This would have major
implications in cardiovascular disease. Likewise,
early exposure to higher levels of glutamate,
equal to that of food-based excitotoxins,
results in behavioral problems, endocrine
disruption, increased susceptibility to seizures
early in life and alterations in lipid profiles
that increase the likelihood of cardiovascular
disease later in life. In fact, newer studies
have shown that elevated blood glutamate significantly
increases free radical generation in the endothelial
lining of blood vessels-the very mechanism
that causes atherosclerosis.
Recent research has also shown that many tissues
and organs in the body contain glutamate receptors
and that overstimulation of these receptors
can cause a number of clinical problems. For
example, glutamate receptor stimulation of
pulmonary tissues can result in bronchiospasm
(as in asthma) and worsening of pulmonary
function in those with lung diseases. The
heart muscle and heart conduction system (AV
and SA nodes) also contain numerous glutamate
receptors. As I pointed out, the pancreas
(ilets of Langerhans) also contain abundant
glutamate receptors, and explains the resulting
Even more frightening is the recent discovery
that glutamate greatly enhances the growth
of a number of cancers-especially brain cancers,
such as the glioblastoma and malignant astrocytoma.
Breast, lung and ovarian cancers have also
been shown to spread and metastasize faster
when glutamate levels are elevated. This has
been proven, and is beyond dispute.
We know that under certain conditions, glutamate
toxicity is greatly increased, which includes
low magnesium levels, deficient mitochondrial
energy production [such as hypoglycemia, mitochondrial
disease, during aging, with all of the neurodegenerative
disease (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS]
and most chronic diseases), during inflammation
and when associated with other toxins-including
mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, pesticides,
fluoride and industrial chemicals. This would
include tens of millions of Americans, who
should be avoiding soy products.
While there is a lot more concerning excitotoxins,
which can be found in my two books-Excitotoxins:
The Taste That Kills and Health and Nutrition
Secrets That Can Save Your Life., unfortunately,
there is a lot more involved than just excitotoxins.
Soybeans and especially their hydrolyzed and
processed products, contain high levels of
manganese, aluminum and fluoride-all of which
are powerful cell toxins, especially for brain
Recent studies have shown that when aluminum
is combined with fluoride, which occurs very
easily, brain levels of aluminum are doubled.
Extensive research connects aluminum in the
brain with most of the neurodegenerative diseases.
When hydrolyzed as in soy milk, the fluoride
and aluminum easily bind, forming neurotoxic
fluoroaluminum compounds. The concentration
at which this occurs in 0.5 ppm, a very small
concentration. Fluoroaluminum compounds interact
with G-proteins, which are common cell communication
systems, especially in the brain and operate
most of the glutamanergic receptors in the
brain (glutamate receptors).
I would call attention to a most important
study reported in the Journal of the American
College of Nutrition in the year 2000. It
describes a 25 year study of middle-aged individuals
consuming a diet containing tofu, which found
a strong association with brain atrophy and
cognitive impairment and the consumption of
this soy product. Brain atrophy was determined
by MRI scans. In fact, low brain weight was
seen in 12% of men consuming the lowest amount
of tofu and 40% consuming the highest amount.
This indicates a dose-response effect, making
a stronger case of neurotoxicity.
I can go on forever with research and studies
showing a significant danger of consuming
large amounts of soy products, especially
soy milk, but I have other things to do-like
research processed food toxicology.
I would hope that Mr. Cohen would in the future
refrain from his temper tantrums and childish,
slanderous name-calling. Neither I nor Dr.
Mercola are idiots, morons or suffering from
delusions. What we are not doing is making
money selling soy products. I expect this
response to appear on your website.
Russell L. Blaylock, MD