By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Dairy - Soy and Infertility

Like millions of Americans, have you or somebody you know been
unsuccessful in attempting to have children?

Your intake of dairy products and/or some soy products may be the reason
that infertility rates in modern-day America are so high.

Blame it on galactose.

Cow's milk contains lactose, a sugar consisting of two other sugars,
glucose and galactose.

Soymilk does not naturally contain galactose, unless the soymilk has
been artificially produced and the galactose has been added in the form
of that thickening agent, carrageenan. Read labels carefully!

Carrageenan is used to thicken many soymilks. The "molecular tree"
(chemical structure) of carrageenan is galactose.

For more on galactose:

For more on carrageenan:


Scientific Support

"Milk Products and Ovarian Function Adult Hypolactasia, Milk
Consumption, and Age-specific Fertility"

American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 139, No.3 1994 Daniel W. Cramer,
Huijuan Xu, and Timo Sahi

Summary & Review

Much has been said about the pro's and con's of milk consumption and
diary products. Some nutritionists claim there is nothing intrinsically
wrong with dairy as long as it is organic(hormone-free), others claim a
strong link between dairy and various disorders of the female
reproductive system. The observations noted in the following study
support the existing evidence that galactose, a sugar found only in
milk, could have a powerful effect on human ovarian function.

This 1994 study published in the "American Journal of Epidemiology"
(AJE) provides data on a significant correlation between decreased
women's fertility and both the ability to digest milk (lactose) and milk
consumption rates. People who lose the ability to digest lactose are
referred to as having adult hypolactasia. Specifically, the study found
that female fertility at older ages is lower and the decline in
fertility with aging is steeper in populations with high milk

Independent studies have shown that galactose may be toxic to ovarian
germ cells which are necessary for reproduction. Therefore, diminished
milk digestion would lead to less galactose production, healthier
ovarian germ cells and enhanced fertility for women. The correlation
between milk consumption and digestion with a higher rate of loss of
fertility is greatest at 35-39 years of age, the decade after the peak
child bearing years of 25-29. Some experts propose that this delayed
impact may be caused by the cumulative effects of long term milk

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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