Peas and infertility. Concerned about peas being protein source in Soylent


I noticed that since 0.8, Soylent’s protein comes from a blend of rice and pea isolates. I recall it being mentioned during one of my college courses that it was discovered Tibet had a very low birth rate due to a high consumption of peas. A quick google for “peas fertility” or “peas infertility” (both searches without quotes) will quickly turn up some results. Apparently, there’s a chemical in peas called m-xylohydroquinone which is responsible for the contraceptive effect. Now I have no idea whether m-xylohydroquinone is found in the protein of the pea or elsewhere, but I thought I would raise the issue so your science folks could do the research. It would be pretty bad for sales if Soylent drinkers were found to have lower fertility rates!

EDIT: People are asking for some scientific backup to this claim (which is a completely justified request). Please scroll down to my later post for a snippet from an article I found.


I believe that to be a huge mistake. Peas are not bad! Unless you start believing unfounded holistic crackpots

You have nothing to worry about


Depends on who you ask in re: lowered fertility rates as a sales factor :stuck_out_tongue:

Keep in mind google just returns what’s most popular, not what’s accurate (though you also noted actual science research could stand to be done, but I figured I’d clarify anyways.) Otherwise, not sure! An interesting point to look into, but I’m assuming in regards to the Tibet study there may have been a number of other factors in play as well.


Gonna need some peer reviewed science on this 9ne.


This seems very dodgy. Peas have been a part of everyone’s diet for a long time and people still have kids - although this could explain the decline in birth rates in the West*.

I think you’re fine.



I acknowledge there seems to be a lot of “fluff” when googling around for information regarding this topic. However, the top result when searching for “m-xylohydroquinone” in Google Scholar is an article entitled Fertility regulating agents from plants. Here’s a quote from it regarding m-xylohydroquinone and peas:

Perhaps the most intriguing example of an unmodified fertility regulating agent of known structure isolated from plants, and the only such agent that has been extensively studied in humans, is m-xylohydroquinone. This was first isolated from peas (Pisum sativum L.) by Sanyal in 1952.

According to Sanyal, the population of Tibet has remained essentially static for the past 200 years, and he speculates that this might be due, at least in part, to the use of peas as a major source of dietary protein in that country.

A large number of publications on the clinical effects of m-xylohydroquinone appeared in the literature up until 1960, and there is little evidence of side-effects from its use in females (oral dosage was usually 300-350 mg daily)." Sanyal (personal communication, 1977) feels that the major reason for diminished interest in m-xylohydroquinone as a fertility regulating agent is that a review of all data up to 1960 showed only 60% effectiveness.

I definitely agree with everyone here that such a claim deserves some solid science behind it. I do not recall what class I heard this topic mentioned in; while it could have been in a nutrition course, it could also very well have been in something completely unrelated. My only request here would be for the science team to look a little further into it, especially if they intend to base Soylent largely on pea isolates. Surely a little further investigation couldn’t hurt.


That is fascinating, and I completely second your request that the Science Team look into that. (Not necessarily that I think it’s a pro or a con, just that It Would Be Nice To Know.)