All animal products contain steroid hormones, and the presence of hormones in food has been connected with several human health problems. For example, steroid hormones in milk may contribute to the acne epidemic. The sex steroid hormones in meat may alter a man’s testicular development in utero as well as affect female fertility. Breast cancer is sensitive to growth promoting steroid hormones like estrogen. The dramatic increase of hormone dependent cancers, including breast, ovarian, endometrial, and prostate cancer in Japan, for example, has been speculatively linked to anabolic steroids in the beef supply. Due to the possibility of dietary hormones, including steroids, being a factor in hormone-related cancers, we should consider monitoring the levels of steroids and other hormones in dairy and meat-containing foods.   

There may be natural alternatives to anabolic steroids. For example, a lotion made out of cilantro seeds had some anti-inflammatory effects, though not as much as an over-the-counter steroid, hydrocortisone, or prescription strength steroid cream.  Providing rheumatoid arthritis patients with extra potassium could help boost their natural steroid levels and thus help reduce inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is often treated with steroids with potential side-effects, but plant-based diets have also been found to successfully treat rheumatoid arthritis as well. Instead of steroids, one with oral lichen planus might try the common plant, purslane. Most asthma patients using cortisone who began a plant-based diet were able to reduce or give up their use of a powerful steroid medication.  Instead of using steroids, a plant-based diet may help treat diabetic neuropathy and Crohn’s disease

Topic summary contributed by Randy.

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