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Tofu soy product may increase risk of dementia in elderly

Eating high levels of soy products such as tofu may increase the risk of loss of memory especially among the elderly. This conclusion was based on a Loughborough University-led study led by Professor Eef Hogervorst on 700 plus elderly Indonesians in Java. The deterioration in memory may have something to do with high levels of phytoestrogens (estrogens-like hormone from plants). It may also have something to do with formaldehyde which may be present as a preservative in tofu in Indonesia.

However, eating tempe, a fermented soy product have the opposite effect. This, says Professor Hogervorst, may be due to high levels of the vitamin folate present in tempe, a fermented soy. The vitamin folate has been shown to reduce dementia risk.

The study was funded by Alzheimer's Research Trust.

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