Doctor's Note

For the other major inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, I’ve got Dietary Treatment of Crohn’s Disease and Preventing Crohn’s Disease With Diet.

There is so much new amazing science about our microbiome I’ve got another dozen or so videos queued up on the subject—stay tuned!

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  • veganchrisuk

    In an earlier post, an NF member enlightened me to the benefits of lacto fermentation of foods – I’m wondering if this method might prove useful for this topic……

    • Charzie

      Fermenting meat? I do all kinds of veggies, grains, legumes, even make cheeze out of nuts and stuff…but I don’t do meat. LOL

      • veganchrisuk

        I’ve just watched the video again – I see what you mean – I was trying to suggest that the eating of fermented foods might alleviate the symptons of those with Crohn’s or inflammatory bowel – I know what I meant, it’s just my grasp of the English language often lets me down…..

        On a different tangent, I’m about to experiment with fermentation this week – I will try soya beans and black beans. As is usual with the interweb, I’m reading conflicting information on almost every “experts” page, so can you stear me in the right direction as to what has worked for you.

        Here’s my cunning plan – I have to pre-soak, then cook the beans. Once cooked you place the beans into a saline solution (sea salt) of 2 tbsp of salt to 1 litre of purified water. Add the beans to the container, add the saline solution to the beans, cover with a cabbage leaf (or other suitable vegetable) to immerse the beans fully. Close the lid, burp the container regularly, after 7-10 days either place in the fridge or freeze.

        I intend to freeze my beans after fermentation – do you know if it is safe to eat them from the freezer without re-heating them, as by doing so will destroy the benefiical bacteria.

        Also, can you leave the beans fermenting at room temperature for say one month, or do they have to be put into the fridge after 7-10 days,,,,,,


        • Charzie

          Hey! I love your adventurous spirit! Be warned fermenting beans can be quite “fragrant”! LOL! You have the procedure down fine, definitely cooking them first, but I might be inclined to “burp” the beans more often, maybe even daily, unless you fit your jars with an airlock, similar to the ones used in wine making. Remembering to “burp” is also a good opportunity to taste your bean brew to see where it is at. Preferences vary. Remember, lacto-fermenting tend to “sour” food (think sauerkraut) and the longer it ferments the more pronounced it becomes…but also the higher the microbes! I find here where it is warm in FL, a week is usually more than enough, but results can vary widely depending on the temperatures. I hear that beyond a certain point the beneficial microbes decrease, but not sure what that point is for each food. Yes you can freeze and defrost them afterwards without heating, but know too that they will keep in their jars in your fridge for quite a while! This slows fermentation to a crawl, but doesn’t stop it. Oh, and good to keep in mind….If you are new to eating fermented foods, start slow and work up. Our bodies seem resistant to big changes, even when it is beneficial, so don’t over-do at first. The pay off is great and well worth it!!!
          I used to hate vinegars, kraut, anything sour flavored, but since starting this I have become addicted and have been fermenting everything in sight! Even the wild cactus in the yard became an ingredient in fermented salsa! LOL! Lots of fun, economical and healthy too! What more can I ask for! My next venture is using fungi to ferment beans, as in tempeh! I was excited to find out I could use any kinds of beans and even grains, I just have to find a good source for the innoculant! Then I discover I can make a totally convincing range of vegan cheeze from nuts, plant based yogurt, seeds, etc. using various culture media to create (like a little liquid from your lacto-fermented brews, miso, PB yogurt, etc.) You could not believe how awesome they are! Miyoko Schinner has a book out called “Artisan Vegan Cheese” that details it for you. She also has quite a few videos on Youtube and her own website and forum.
          For all the very best general fermenting info, I would definitely send you here:

          Sandor Katz has literally written the book(S) on reviving the art of fermentation from all over the world! The above link will give you a bit of info and also has links to his forum and other resources! Enjoy and best of luck to you!
          PS…you said English wasn’t your native language? Could have fooled me! I wish I had your fluency! Where are you from?

          • veganchrisuk

            Hi Charzie

            Thanks for the info – I came across some videos re making vegan cheese (how amazing!), and also one with Sandor Katz already – I’ve spent a few hours watching them last night and this morning.

            Apologies for throwing you a curve ball re my nationality – I’m a Londoner, I was just being self deprocating, sorry…….

          • Charzie

            C’mon down! LOL! Glad you are having fun with the microbes! Once you have a few good outcomes, it’s fun to just mess around and experiment a bit! As long as it’s vegetable matter, and isn’t growing too much hair, you’re safe! (Exaggerating a wee bit! LOL)

          • Karen

            Sprouting the beans will unlock the natural enzymes that will aid in digestion.

          • Charzie

            I sprout a LOT! But some beans (and I’d have to research the exact reason again) like kidney beans, soy, etc. are always recommended to be cooked before eating even when sprouted.

        • John

          I ferment my beans regularly. Many people claim that beans are hard to digest. I figure fermenting them will make them easier to digest and give me some pro-biotics. I always soak dry beans in non chlorinated or chloraminated water for 24 hours first and pour off the water. At first, I cooked beans, added kefir and left them out over night and for one day until I could smell it. Now I take out just a bit-like 2 golf balls worth of the last batch and backslop it onto the new batch. Yes that is a fermenting term. I spread it around but put it into the fridge. It is fermented enough the next morning. WHen Dr. Greger and others started saying, “YOu should eat beans every day” I started worrying, “How am I going to do this? ” I also eat a lot of Trader Joe’s hummus with sesame seeds, amla powder, and freshly chopped garlic in it.
          John S

          • veganchrisuk

            Hi John – thanks for the info – here’s my cunning plan.

            I intend to soak my soy beans overnight in filtered water. I will then sprout them for 3-5 days and then lacto ferment them for 7-10 days. I have read that the beans should be cooked at some stage, but I’ve also read that they don’t require cooking, so I’m not going to cook my first batch to see how they come out. I will then freeze them, and then eat them (de-frosted) without re-heating as suggested by Charzie above (thanks again Charzie)……

          • Charzie

            Oooo, let me know how THAT version goes! I also like to sprout, but not all legumes digest real well even afterwards for me, and certain ones if I recall, they tell you, you need to cook. Soybeans for sure… not too clear on the others off hand. I was curious to try on the ones I have eaten sprouted raw, but never have yet, so I’d love to know how it goes! I hear the raw fermented beans smell so bad, they are hard to tell from rotten…so be prepared! LOL!

          • ToBeAlive

            if you are absolutely eating them raw, just a few the first day to see what your tummy thinks: I went to a veggie conference in ’97 that poisoned dozens with raw sprouted beans, sadly.

          • veganchrisuk

            I bet that curtailed the sale of sprouting products for a few months……lol

          • Charzie

            Where’s your spirit of adventure? You can’t call it fermenting if you do it all in the fridge! LOL!

        • DanielFaster

          I also make kombucha, sour beer, miso and natto. The natto i get spores and steam the beans in the steam oven for 3 hours add the spores when cool and incubate fo r 24 hrs at 104F in a closed container with water in the incubator to keep from drying out. Then refrigerate and eat with mustard (made by fermenting mustard seeds in the kombucha) and some of my sauer kraut. The natto is truly an acqiired taste, used to buy it frozen at HMart (throw the sauce packet aeay – it is usually fish and chemicals). Will try some adzuki beans next.
          The Miyoko book mentioned earler is a good one I make the almond yogurt all the time it is like creme freishe. The miso takes forever. Today I am trying to make my first batch of sake!

          • veganchrisuk

            I’d never heard of Natto until yesterday, I’m such a vegan philistine……I would have to agree, it’s an acquired taste – the beans look like they are covered in spiders webbing – how someone first discovered this and thought it would be edible is beyond me – maybe it was in a dark cave long before electricity.

            In saying that, I’m tempted to try making it, but I will probably buy an off the shelf version first – and throw away the fish chemicals as per your advise….

          • Charzie

            Good advice, toss the chemicals! LOL! My first natto experience… I bought a package of 3 little servings to try because I was leery, liked it enough to use the last one to culture my own beans! It worked too, though they weren’t soybeans, and they weren’t as stringy, I enjoyed them and will try again!

          • Charzie

            Fermenting is so cool! I LOVE natto, I don’t see why everyone thinks it’s so gross, even the stringy part is doable! I guess we all have different tastes for sure! We should all get on a fermenting board and trade tales and spare these poor folks! LOL!

  • Arjan den Hollander.

    What happens to the sulfur in allium and cruciferous vegetables?

    • That was my question! Did a whole video about it–stay tuned! If you haven’t already you can subscribe here (for free like everything on the site).

      • My question too! I look forward to the findings.

        Dr. Greger, while you’re at it, it would be of great value if you could comment to your NutritionFacts followers regarding the announcement today that the U.S. dietary recommendations no longer suggest limiting dietary cholesterol intake. What are we to think? What does the science say? You are the go-to man for guidance.

        • Filipe Coimbra

          Hello Steve! If you look and search at nutritionfacts for “cholesterol”, you will find the answer about your question on Dr. Greger thoughts about cholesterol. I think he can’t say much more about that, since he already show us almost everything that science have to say about cholesterol and health.

          • Filipe. Thanks for your thoughts. Here are more of mine. I did review past NutritionFacts videos and found very little on dietary cholesterol. The only explicit statement I found on the connection between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol was the 35 year followup of the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, and that type of study can only show an association, which is confounded by the alignment of total fat, saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and eating patterns. [The whole new dietary cholesterol guideline may be moot since the guidelines continue to limit saturated fats and most sources of dietary cholesterol are also rich in saturated fats (with the exception of fish and eggs).]

            But still, I believe a targeted, through response to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee would be valuable, both for me as a nutritionist, and for the lay public. I’m not as jaded as Dommy’s post, below. I assume there are bright minds and committed scientists who sit on that committee. This is a puzzlement and I’d like to know what’s going on. As Dr. Greger has stated, confusion is the tool of choice of the industries that produce unhealthy products, from tobacco to eggs. Those with standing, like Dr. Greger, can help clear up the confusion.

          • Filipe Coimbra

            Here, the latest one:

            And here (all the videos (and they are so many) where this topic is also approached):

          • Filipe,

            The video you indicated, The Optimum Cholesterol Level, is exclusively about SERUM cholesterol and does not mention dietary cholesterol, which is the issue with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s new recommendation.

            And Dr. Greger’s essay on cholesterol you provided a link to, updated just two days ago, also does not provide any science on the contribution of dietary cholesterol to serum cholesterol, particularly LDL.

            So, I’m still hoping for a science-backed statement, as Dr. Greger does so well, that clarifies the confusion.

          • Dominic

            These recent articles from Dr. Neal Barnard are some of the
            best responses I’ve seen to The Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee’s latest



          • Dominic, Thank you so much. This is exactly what I was hoping for, an authoritative, respected spokesperson addressing the issue head on and clarifying it. Dr. Bernard does an excellent job. I hope is it distributed far and wide.

        • Dommy

          Not to answer for the doctor, but who really trusts what ‘the government’ says about anything anymore?

      • My question too! I look forward to the findings.

        Dr. Greger, while you’re at it, it would be of great value if you could comment to your NutritionFacts followers regarding the announcement today that the U.S. dietary recommendations no longer suggest limiting dietary cholesterol intake. What are we to think? What does the science say? You are the go-to man for guidance.

      • Charzie

        Hmm, reminds me of that joke, how to you keep an @$$#Ø£€ in suspense? LOL! Can’t wait!!!

      • fred

        Yet sulphur seems to be important…

        “In your body, MSM provides the mineral sulfur. You need sulfur to build skin, hair, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. The sulfur in MSM also helps heal and repair injured, overused or damaged joint tissues. And it relieves joint and muscle pain.

        In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 118 people with knee pain tried four different treatments. After 12 weeks, MSM decreased pain 52% compared with a placebo. And when it was combined with the amino sugar, glucosamine, it decreased pain by 79%.

        In another study, doctors gave patients with sports injuries either MSM or a placebo. MSM reduced symptoms by 58.3% compared with just 33.3% for the placebo. MSM also reduced the need for doctor visits by 40% and reduced disability time.

        You can get MSM naturally from foods, such as milk, eggs, meat and seafood. The best sources are sulfur-rich vegetables, like onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. But you probably won’t get enough from food. ” Al Sears, MD

        I already get 300 mg MSM from an arthritis supplement…and am considering taking more. Plus onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli…

    • Dr Scott

      Excellent question Arjari! It is a shame when only one side of a story is reported just to support one’s position. ALL sources of COMPLETE protein have the the sulfur-containing aminos, not just animal. Found this while researching some of the “sources” used here. BTW-the last source from the journal GUT in 1997 had only 5 subjects. Accurate conclusions CANNOT be drawn from such a small sample size. Furthermore it appears that is certain members of the population have a genetic alteration makes them susceptible to this. Easy to Google. Please look at these lists of foods and recommendations:

    • Zuppkko

      As far as i know they help to clean the body. But i just read that somewhere and can’t remember where.

      There is also another interesting factor in our diet which isn’t regularly eaten but contains sulfur – antibiotics. This kind of sulfur (i am not sure for the sulfur in meat and dairy) acts like a cement inside our “cell sewer” – lymph veins. This creates more blockages all over our bodies, leading to tissue degradation and all kinds of symptomes – dis-eases. High fruit diet and therapeutic fasting seem to deal with this problem very well.

      I hope the doctor will have more time to reasearch fasting.

  • I so look forward to these videos every day… I learn so much here! Being a colitis sufferer myself, this was of particular interest to me. When my symptoms flair the drill is… boiled vegetables, fresh cabbage juice and a starch till it goes away. You da man Dr. G!

    • Charzie

      Hilarious, you took the words right out of my mouth with the first sentence! I was just about to write a separate post and saw yours! LOL! Cool find on the cabbage juice!

  • George

    1.Just as omnivores consume too much methionine, do vegans consume too little? In that case, what if a vegan take a methionine supplement? (Methionine is an essential amino acid; we need to get it from external sources.) Would gut bacteria generate H2S from supplemental methionine in vegans? Or, is it like the case of choline? Do only the meat eaters harbor in their guts bacteria that can convert methionine into H2S?

    2. Bacteria lives in the colon. In a healthy gut, the material reaching the colon should not contain any proteins or free amino acids because the digestion and absorption should be complete by the time it reaches the colon. If this is true (This is just an argument; I don’t know if it’s true), then isn’t impaired digestion the root of the problem?

    • b00mer

      Regarding methionine, it’s very easy to track your food intake and see if you are consuming enough. is a useful tool to do such. I don’t track every day, but do spot checks from time to time to see micronutrient levels. Provided I have consumed enough calories that day, I have never consumed <100% of my rda for methionine or any other essential amino acid. In anyone consuming a typical well balanced wfpb diet and consuming enough calories, I don't think it would be mathematically possible to do so.

  • Eric Woods

    But how does the body generate H2S in managing blood pressure and in immune signaling? How is that molecule controlled and disposed of in the vasculature?

    • guest

      excellent question! Sadly, its my wrong area of science, so hopefully someone here can share some insight on that for us. :)

  • Noeb49

    When I switched from SAD to WFPB, it totally put my ulcerative colitis in remission. I’ve had no problems in 6 years. :-)

    • Charzie

      Ditto for me and my IBS! You are right! It happened over time and I attributed it to a big weight loss, but DUH!!! No more locating the bathroom as a priority everywhere I go!

  • Julie

    My father-in-law (a big meat eater) has severe Crohn’s disease. My husband often intuitively attributes his own healthy digestion to being vegetarian (for the last 30 years since we met). I always thought he was giving his diet too much credit, but after watching this video, realize that he may be right. And to think all those years my in-laws have criticized me for being vegetarian!

    • Thea

      Julie: Over time, I went through a similar change in my thoughts. I started out believing phrases such as “everything in moderation”. I used to believe that people could eat any food category except for junk food and still have very healthy diets. By that reasoning, eating vegetarian or vegan would be strictly an ethical decision, not one about health.

      But over the last few years of nutrition study, including what I have learned here on NutritionFacts, I have come to see that there really is a huge health advantage to eating a whole plant food based diet – and that animal products are really not healthy. (Or put another way: that moderation when it comes to animal products means eating a very, very small amount. Way smaller than most people realize.) It is amazing how much credit we can give to healthy eating and being healthy. Yes, your in-laws have a lot to take back. ;-)

  • Julie

    It sounds like animal products harm our gut via the microbiome in a number of ways. From this video I learned that animal protein is broken down into toxic sulpher compounds by gut bacteria, and from The Digestion Summit I learned that saturated fat from animal products feeds and promotes unhealthy gut bacteria.

  • Sara Brown

    As a mom with a daughter who was diagnosed at the age of 6 months with Crohn’s Disease who never even had anything other than breastmilk I struggle with the fact that you can “prevent” IBD. I would also add that I am a vegetarian and fully support a plant based diet. Also I am Registered Dietitian so my knowledge and personal interest in nutrition has always been important to me and based on science. I think you have to look a little further then eating animal protein to explain IBD. With the identification of more than 160 genes associated with IBD and specifically NOD2, science is showing more and more that there is a strong genetic component. I think you oversimplify this disease when you suggest that the only thing a person needs to do is not eat animal protein. I say this with all due respect to Dr. Greger, this is very distressing to read articles like this when you have children suffering from IBD and living with only half of their intestines or an ostomy and a very poor quality of life. It just is not that simple.

    • Loren
      • Thea

        Loren: What a fascinating read! I just skimmed that article, but it sure does stir the imagination. Thanks for sharing it.

      • Sara Brown

        Great article. Thank you. CCFA is also doing some great research on their Microbiome Initiative. I believe they are entering into their last phase. Hopefully they will be able to shed more light on the altered interactions between gut microbes and the intestinal immune system.

    • Julie

      Sara, I completely agree with you, it’s not that simple. It’s painful as a parent with a child suffering from a chronic disease to hear all the supposed ways it can be prevented; I understand your feelings of resentment (my child is type 1 diabetic). Since there are so many factors that can cause a chronic disease, and those factors are usually unique for each individual and often unknown, we have to be careful taking an association in a study and pointing a finger telling someone “That’s what caused your condition”. I think the point Dr. Greger is trying to make is that ONE of the many factors that can be related to UC is meat consumption.

      • Sara Brown

        Thank you. I’m sure you face many of the same situations I face as a parent. I don’t want to come off as negative or bitter but it is a very complicated disease. IBD is a debilitating disease, leaving you with a very poor quality of life.

      • Charzie

        I agree, see my reply to Sara, above. (Below? Whichever!) Why are we, as parents always made to feel such a burden of guilt? Even if it did turn out there was a way to prevent X, how could we possibly have done it if NOBODY knew how! As a mom and now gramma myself, I know I would sooner take on their burdens than see them suffer, so the idea of letting harm come to them is insane. As a parent, you do your best…don’t take it to heart when doubt is cast in your direction! It’s always easy for others to stand in judgment and point fingers…it makes people feel like it’s your fault so it couldn’t possibly happen to them, ya know?

        • Julie

          Amen. Well said, Charzie.

    • Charzie

      I totally understand your pain, there are so many issues here. I’m certainly no scientist, though I always had a yen to get into research, but I can definitely see how this disease can have a dietary component AND/OR a genetic one. The end result and maybe even some of the mechanisms in play are the same, but a different cause. If say, one was born with an inherited inability to process certain “compounds” …say in this case, methionine… they would develop symptoms similar to average folks taking in too many of these…or something along those lines. I hope you get my train of thought here. In essence, I think then that though the symptoms can be identical, work needs to be done to isolate and identify the genetic component for diagnostic purposes. Though in a case like your daughter, it seems obvious. I wonder though…you said you were vegetarian and your daughter had nothing but breast-milk? If you DO eat animal products, is there a possibility that with her inborn exquisite sensitivity to “whatever”, there was enough crossing over into your milk to set off a reaction in her tiny body? Sorry, I am not trying to pry, but after living with IBS most of my life, and being a mom and gramma, I empathize with both of you!

      • Sara Brown

        I had not eaten animal products for probably close to 10 years. I’m not saying that there is not a nutritional component there I just don’t believe it is the cause of the disease . If what you are saying is that it is genetic but by eating animal protein it develops into IBD? That could possibly be one route to develop IBD. I do believe there is some connection between genetics and the micrbiome and nutrition does play a part in our gut.

        • Charzie

          I think it can work both ways, either entirely genetic, or with the dietary factor. My point is, like you, I don’t think the cause is only dietary, and it would be important to make that distinction in cases like your daughter’s. I hope they get to the root of it so that she, and others like her, can have an improved quality of life. Best of luck!

      • ToBeAlive

        MAP. That’s now the number one suspect.
        The microbe can be picked even in the air in some rural areas

    • Steve Bozic

      Hey Sara. Just out of curiosity you mentioned you are a vegetarian. Does that mean that you likely consume dairy products?

      • Sara Brown

        No dairy, including cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt

        • Steve Bozic

          So you are Vegan then not Vegetarian right?

    • Debbie H.

      Hi Sara, I was wondering the same thing about this disease being
      preventable as I was just diagnosed with Crohn’s and Mild Colitis via a
      recent colonoscopy and endoscopy procedure. When I asked my G.I. doctor
      (who was rated BEST in my town) he said it was GENETIC. I asked him if I
      should strictly be on a plant based diet and he replied NO. His only
      dietary restrictions were to stay away from RAW vegetables and spicy or
      greasy foods. He said we want to blame ourselves for this condition but
      “most likely” it is all Genetics. My Grandmother and her 3 sisters have
      all had bowel issues and all of them have had intestines and parts of
      their stomachs removed. My last living Great Aunt has almost no large
      intestine left and her insides are held together with mesh- how she is
      still alive is beyond me. I am definitely going to do a Plant based diet
      from now on for many reasons, but hoping this helps with the
      inflammation issues especially. I have had stomach issues since I was a
      child and now I am 43. I am terrified of having a flair up because if
      it’s anything like the pain I experienced in the emergency room- no
      thanks! Sending healing thoughts for your daughter…and you!

      • Alex the Netherlands

        19 years ago I lost my colon. If I knew then what I know now, I would still have my colon. Stop eating animal products. I feel great now. I live partly raw and partly cooked, because of the climate here. Every day I getting stronger. It is important that you eat enough, you have to eat a lot to have enough energy. It may take some time for your body to accept to life from plants. Animal proteins and fats cause UC and Crohn’s.

        It’s not Genetics!!!!

      • Sara Brown

        Thank you. The pain that people with IBD experience is excruciating , I wish you and your family healing thoughts as well. So often you see several people in a family with IBD. You have a 20 percent higher risk of developing the disease if you have a first degree relative with IBD. And it goes up from there based on how many people have it. This supports a genetic component. My daughter’s pediatrician is one of the leading GI doctors in the country and he too believes there is a genetic link. And in talking to others with IBD I have never come across anyone who doesn’t believe there is a genetic link ( and people are saying this is what their GI has told them). I think eliminating animal products can only help with the inflammation and also trying to include the anti-inflammatory spices in your diet could help. I truly wish you the best of luck, this is a painful and frightening disease.

        • Debbie H.

          Since I have been diagnosed, I have told everyone in my family and it’s surprising to me how many of my family members also have it but never speak about it! When I was first having really bad pain, everyone wanted to diagnose me as Gall Bladder- the Dr. would push so hard in that area like they were trying to convince me it was that so they could do surgery. It was extremely frustrating. Thankfully an Emergency room Dr. sent me for a CT scan. I’m looking at anti-inflammatory everything right now!!

    • largelytrue

      I think you need to look a little further than genes to explain why IBD rates go up and down in populations over time. For the most part, we still aren’t in the position to prevent sensitive genes. Really it’s only the title that I think you may have an issue with, the video seems clear enough that this is only a partial explanation. In context, we know that Greger is specifically exploring nutritional causes, nutritional problems, and nutritional cures, and that there are therefore some topic areas which he won’t cover in detail.

  • Arjan den Hollander.

    I’d be interested to hear feedback of macro nutrient ratio’s among nutritionfacts disqus readers.
    After shortly considering the rice diet for a while I settled on 15% fat 15% protein, staying below 15% fat is hard if you want to consume 20 gr walnuts and 20 gr flax. I haven’t noticed any negative effects of 15% protein in my bulk so I’m going to try 10 protein 15 fat (around 5-6 gr sat.) and 75 % carbs.
    What ratio did you settle on?

  • vg

    Could it just be the antibiotics in the meat and not the protein?

  • Han

    As the devils advocate, isn’t it possible to swallow a pill that binds to the sulfur and does away with all that negative effect?

  • I wonder how hydrogen sulfide relates to indoles and skatoles?….

  • Charzie

    Speaking of animal proteins…I can and should probably go study my biology, but I have a question for one of the resident geniuses that I’m sure is going to sound tremendously ignorant, but inquiring minds want to know. If allergic-type reactions are caused by our immune systems reacting to foreign proteins, and animals are especially foreign and yet confusingly similar, and it is known that the body secretes all kinds of protective factors to protect a potential fetus from being rejected, could all these things tie together to explain some of the issues that are involved with ingesting animals?

    • Matthew Smith

      Dr. Greger has suggested IGF-1, Insulin Growth Factor, a human growth factor that is made by the digestive system and precursor to insulin, as just such a particle. IGF-1 can leak out of your digestive system after any meal containing meat causing damage to not just the meat but also to you. It digests animal tissue. It can also clog receptors in the body making you less sensitive to insulin. The body makes more IGF-1 in response to diets rich in meat, and IGF-1 damage can build up as premature aging. It is not perfectly held by the digestive system and can leak out. IGF-1 spikes can also make people hungry, sometimes for more meat causing more damage. People who do not eat meat, for instance, the Lora Dunning Adventist Vegetarians, have been known to live 4-10 years longer than the general California population, perhaps because they have less IGF-1 damage in part. Stress can also create IGF-1. People who handle stress better can limit damage caused by IGF-1. Drinking ten daily cups of green tea can also add ten years to your life, as can swimming, going to Church, or being happily married. Eating nuts, whole grains, and exercise also can add years to life. What would the benefit of all these things be, including being a vegetarian? Could it be Fibonachi years based on your adherence? 1,1,2,3,5,8,13, or even 21 extra years? Some of the doctors whose research is presented here lived very long lives. I am hoping to read Dr. Greger’s forthcoming book on the subject.

      • Charzie

        Well thank-you Matthew, you are a virtual encyclopedia of information! I’ve read that but didn’t make the connection!

    • Search sialic acid and i think you’ll find his video on the tagging of epithelial proteins with a particular type of animal glcnac or some such that leads to a chronic low-grade inflammatory response. very interesting.

      I looked it up:

      • Charzie

        Wow, I had never seen THAT video, that is fascinating! Going to look into it further, thanks so much. Heh heh, animals revenge.

  • Darryl

    It may not be just the animal protein. In mice, high fat diets virtually eliminate gut barrier-protecting Bifidobacterium, while markedly increasing hydrogen sulfide and endotoxin producing Desulfovibrionaceae family 1. In another study, butter fat in amounts comparable to the Western diet provoked hepatic taurocholic acid synthesis, and this bile salt provided the substrate for hydrogen sulfide producing Bilophila wadsworthia 2. Ie, consume enough shorter chain C4-14 chain saturated fats found in dairy, and our own fat emulsifying compounds may provide the sulfur.

    Fellow flatologists will also note that hydrogen sulfide is one of the major malodorous compounds, so while a high fermentable oligosaccharide & fiber diet may increase volume, by beneficially modulating the microbiota it also dramatically reduces pungency.

    • Thea

      re: “Fellow flatologists will also note that hydrogen sulfide is one of the
      major malodorous compounds, so while a high fermentable oligosaccharide
      & fiber diet may increase volume, by beneficially modulating the
      microbiota it also dramatically reduces pungency.”
      OK, that was just fun to read. :-)

      • guest

        there’s a geek band I’ve heard before, and some of their lyrics read like that. Wish I could remember the name of them.

    • ReluctantVegan

      I’m sure you haven’t read the following locked article which reported a 55 yr old white male living with the principal investigator for 15 yrs demonstrated a marked reduction of H2S in flatulence, as measured by the PI’s own nose, after switching from a diet high in animal protein, to a diet high in plant protein (and no animal protein). Vegan R. Thank god his farts stopped asphyxiating me. Dear Diary. 2014:40:10-12.

  • Great info Doc! Please keep reporting on these links to IBD! I lost my colon to Crohn’s Disease and if knowledge can prevent future generations from getting this horrible illness, I’ll spread the news far and wide!

  • Rain

    Hi all,
    I’ve just heard about the benefits of sulfur in crystallized form, (I use plenty of garlic but my friend swears by taking this product), can anyone help with any more info on this.
    Thank you in advance.

  • martin

    another amazing video of course! interesting the connection between meat>sulfur>hydrogen sulfide>gut damage>and UC/chrons. but heck, i thought sulfur, especially the organic form, was great for us…you know those natural hot springs that have all kinds of magical healing properties..those reek of sulfur! i even take MSM and chondroitin suflate for joint health and immunity. theres got to be all kinds of organic sulfur tied up in the veggies bc good soil should have sulfur in is the sulfur in meat somehow converted to Hydrogen sulfide but in veggies its not??? anyway, am interested in dr. g.’s perspective on dr. stephanie senuf, MIT researcher, who attributes most of modern diseases to sulfur deficiency…she has a very interesting take on cholesterol as well….thanks so much!

  • K Kale

    Vegans often add Nama Kalak or Black Sulfur Salt, (naturally found near hot springs), to tofu scrambles, vegan chickpea flour omelets, or any recipe that replaces eggs. Is adding sulfur to our vegan foods unhealthy?

  • Fiat Lux

    Dr. Greger, I have been studying the link between diet and inflammatory bowel disease for years, especially the link between diet and Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). To add to the evidence that high consumption of animal protein causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), check out these recent studies on how animal protein produces a bacteria that promotes inflammation in the bowels, potentially increasing the risk of IBD:

    Scholary source:

    I’m sure these studies will help you produce another video on inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Sean

    As someone with Ulcerative Colitis, this theory of animal protein causing UC is not very substantiated in my own dietary experiences. At the beginning of 2013, I went on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The first few days was nothing but meat (I remember I did that for at least five days). After the die off phase (of bad fungus and bad bacteria), I had no issues. Once I started adding other foods back into my diet, then I started having issues again. Experimenting with my diet for over two years now, I have found plenty of non-meat foods that irritate my colon. Can eating too much meat cause issues? Yes, ass is eating or drinking too much of anything will.

    This short video did leave out questions about diet and the performed studies that are vital to understanding UC. First, and foremost, where can we obtain these studies? I am not out to discredit this perspective because of some bias against scientific studies. I have a bias in favor of scientific studies and am genuinely curious about their content. But, the video only skimmed the study and maybe only chose certain studies to fit the conclusions presented. What made up the rest of the diets of people eating meat? Did they include a variety of fruits and vegetables? What was the fat makeup of their diets? How was the meat prepared that the subjects ate (cooked all the way, with sauce, soaked in preservatives, breaded, lunchmeat)? Were any of the subjects tested for food allergies? Or the makeup of the organisms living in the subjects’ colon? Or genetic testing for breakdowns in the correct processes of the digestive system? What kind of stress were the different subjects exposed to?

    I can say that there are certain non-meat foods that aggravate my colitis. Foods that are considered some of the best foods to eat, such as carrots, tree nuts, sweet potato, apples (just a partial list I of what I cannot eat). The composition of my gut bacteria is not that of what you may find in an average sufferer of UC. I also have a couple of bad genes that cause issues with my body’s digestive processes. And during college and grad school, I used to go out binge drinking, and usually not on a full stomach. Could alcohol have played a role in my developing UC? (In my case, I’d say yes.)

    There is also a large community that believes large amounts of carbohydrates cause UC and (plain) meat is perfectly fine to eat. Did the studies being alluded to try to disprove the theory of carbohydrates causes UC? Did the video’s author compare the two theories? Do some people develop UC from meat and others from carbohydrates? Given the large number of people who eat meat and/or carbohydrates regularly, why is UC not more common than it is? I would conclude that genetics plays a large role in the development of UC (as numerous people in my family have digestive issues – mine is the worst, though).

    I am not a doctor. I am just a UC sufferer. And the questions I pose above are from my personal experiences and amateur level of research on the subject. However, I do believe the above questions (and of course countless other questions) are needed to be answered by anyone claiming they know the cause of US and how to decrease its intensity, or cure it (if you believe that is possible).

    • b00mer

      Regarding sources: see “Sources” tab next to/below the video.

    • Fiat Lux

      A plant-based (vegan) diet will not “cure” inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rather it will help those with the disease achieve and maintain remission longer than those consuming an omnivorous diet; a few yet remarkable studies corroborate this (see Dr. Greger’s videos on Crohn’s disease, for example). IBD is a disease of severe inflammation (hence the name); therefore, because studies have conclusively proven that those on a plant-based diets have the lowest inflammation markers compared to those on omnivorous diets, it’s wise to stay away from animal products.

      You will always be genetically susceptible to relapse, especially if those with IBD continue consuming animal products. In addition to the studies that Dr. Greger provided for this video, numerous old and new studies have conclusively shown that a diet high in animal products (e.g. meat, dairy, and eggs) puts its consumers at a heightened risk of inflammatory bowel disease. Hence why Japan has seen an increase in inflammatory bowel disease since its adoption of the western diet – a diet high in animal fats and proteins. IBD in Japan was almost – if not completely – rare prior to the adoption of a western diet (again, see Dr. Greger’s sources for this video).

      Humans on an omnivorous diet have a bacterial flora vastly different from those on a plant-based diet. Unfortunately, the bacterial flora of those on an omnivorous diet have been proven to invoke inflammation throughout the body, including the bowels:

      The bacteria flora of those on a plant-based diet, on the other hand, reduces inflammation. Hence more and more studies are proving that nasty bacteria that is produced from liver bile – which only occurs when you eat animal fats – causes inflammatory bowel disease, and this may be the reason why fecal matter transplants (FMTs) have been beneficial for those with IBD.

      If your colon is inflamed, it’s best to stay away from animal products and insoluble fiber. Consume soluble fiber (e.g bananas) and juice. In a last ditch effort to save your colon if diet and medication fails, consider smoking 4 cigarettes (an old medicine doctors use to prescribe for IBD) a day, because it will put you into remission:

      I’ve been researching IBD for years. Based on new findings, I believe researchers are very, very close to solving the underlying cause of IBD, potentially coming up with a cure and/or better treatments. Do whatever you can, therefore, to save your colon.

  • T Simonds

    My son has autism and and a fair amount of fowl smelling stools which we typically associate with a change in gut flora. In fact we sometimes do an extra probiotic when it occurs. The smell is typically acrid and ammonia in nature. Completely different animal than the rotten egg smell?

  • Stephen

    Is this the same mechanism that contributes to carcinogenesis in colon cancer?

  • Rosie

    Dear Dr. Gregor:

    I have just been diagnosed with IBD even though for the past 3-4 years, I eat 80% plant food – no eggs, or dairy. I do sometimes have fish or once in a while chicken. If fiber irritates my colon and I have been advised by my Kaiser doctor to avoid wheat and fiber, how does eating fiber then cure my condition.? Or maybe it is better to wait until I am better and then add fiber.


  • fidel castrati

    vegans who opt to reduce ingestion of garlic, onions and cruciferous veggies might want to consider not taking their b12 in the form of cyanocobalamin since the body might require sulfur compounds to remove cyanide.
    the vegetarian hare krishnas don’t eat garlic or onion, believing they increase lustful desires.

  • I noticed that you don’t have any videos discussing Candida Albicans overgrowth. Can you talk about that a bit? I’m doing my best to treat it with diet; avoiding sugars (alcohol, sweets, processed foods, easy starches and breads), and eating a lot of ginger, turmeric, coconut oil, yoghurt and fermented foods to try to get the good bacteria to fight of the bad yeast. Anything you can add? There is so much contradictory information out there.

  • Cristina Sebastian

    I don’t know if it’s my computer, but I cannot watch your videos without clicking on the “play” button every 2 seconds. The video keeps stopping. It happens every single time I watch a video here, and it doesn’t happen with any other video of any type anywhere else. It’s pretty annoying. Anyone has the same experience? I love Dr Greger’s videos, but cannot watch them properly.

  • joe

    Dr. Greger –

    Do you use nutrition as a first line in your practice? Ive been having PVCs and 3 doctors have said they are harmless, but could start me on a beta blocker. None want to entertain a nutritional angle I wish it could be solved with food … One “doctor” (a chiropractor) said I should stop eating all grains & beans because they are anti-nutrient foods and I should be drinking bone broth daily.

    • Charzie

      Joe, I’ve had the same problem for over 35 years, and though they are disturbing it is apparently a fairly common problem that may even have a genetic component, as both parents and my son also suffer from it. It’s maddening when it gets bad, and every third beat skips, and then “magically” can go away for short or long periods of time! I only wish I could help with the nutritional angle, nothing I’ve found specifically helps with any apparent regularity, but hopefully someone will figure it out! Sometimes foods high in magnesium seem to help, and it seems strongly associated with digestive issues in relation to the vagus nerve. A WFPB diet has been helpful for sure, but I still don’t have a solid idea of what triggers it! I would LOVE to hear some professional opinions because all I have ever gotten medically as you said was beta-blockers, which apparently are NOT all that effective for most people. I can’t even be clear on that, though I did cut way back on them, if I go below a certain dose, or skip one, the PVCs will always increase. They also keep migraines at bay, so getting off them has mixed blessings. I kind of wish I never started because I hate feeling like I rely on them, I’ve never been a fan of pharmaceuticals in general, but….tough call!

      • joe

        Thanks Charzie –
        Which one are you one? I hear sometimes it takes a couple tries to find the one that has the least amount of side effects and Im starting to think this is my only path forward :( I think traditional medicine has tunnel vision to only stick with their ingrained tools they learn in med school, beta blockers, etc. Going with something else perhaps they feel vulnerable to lawsuits from negligence. I suppose that is what what a naturopathic doctor is for (have not seen one yet), but did see a nutritionist.

        • Charzie

          Propanalol, generic Inderal. One of the few drugs that didn’t give me obvious side effects, though I hear some people say it makes them feel almost sedated, it never affected me that way. I am in total agreement with you on traditional medicine, and my being here is a “side effect” of being a former diabetic and relearning what I was mis-taught by the above! Good luck, I’d like to hear how it goes for you.

    • Thea

      joe: I think NutritionFacts does a pretty darn good job of proving just how grains and beans are incredibly healthy and full of good nutrients. I personally have a hard time taking advice from someone who clearly doesn’t know the science about something as basic as food.

      I can’t comment on your main question. But I do think you might see if you can find a good lifestyle medicine doctor in your area? One who understand what nutrition can and can not do for your problem?

      Good luck.

  • Darryl

    A provocative paper just published in Nature:
    Chassaing et al. Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome

    Relatively low concentrations of two commonly used emulsifiers, namely carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80, induced low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome in wild-type hosts and promoted robust colitis

    Carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 are commonly used in ice cream, processed cheese, gluten free baked goods, and reduced fat processed foods,

    • Thea

      Darryl: This is interesting to me. But I don’t know what Carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 are. You mentioned gluten free baked goods, which made me think of xantham gum, which I used in other types of recipes. Is xantham gum the common name for Carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80? Or are these completely different things?

      – JJ

      • Darryl

        Emulsifiers are detergent-like compounds that coat fat globules and allow them to coexist with water in processed foods, without separating out. Dozens are approved additives.

        Xanthan gum is a thickening agent like corn starch – it provides a network of long molecules that increases the viscosity of liquids. There’s some evidence that its a prebiotic selectively feeding friendly bacteria, but I learned to my dismay that nearly all is produced by fermentation on whey – its generally not vegan.

        • Thea

          Darryl: Thanks for this explanation!

          That news about xanthan gum is very disheartening. Much dismay happening here too.

        • So would xanthan gum that’s fermented on whey pick up any of the biological properties of the whey?

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Darrly, I am not certain Xanthan gum is not vegan. It seems to be produced from corn/fermented sugar.

  • Violeta Gomez

    Need the fruits & vegetables lists to reverse someone’s liver cancer (stage 4) I want to help a sibling..thank you!

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hello. Not sure what fruits and vegetables list you are referring to, but here is all of Dr. Greger’s videos aboutliver cancer. I am so sorry to hear about your sibling.

      Warm thoughts,

  • Jessica

    Dr Greger: what do you think of recent research out of Georgia State University showing that polysorbate 80 (P80) and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) eroded mucus membranes in the gut? I realize the study was done in mice, but do you think it advisable for people with UC, Crohn’s, or a family history of IBD to avoid these emulsifiers?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Sure. You can always avoid additives and it’s probably a really good idea! The only thing is research conducted on animal models cannot translate into humans. I suggest avoiding the stuff and see if flares are reduced. Again, avoiding any type of food additive is advisable, if possible.

  • catlady5

    This question isn’t really related to the article but I don’t know where else to post it. Does Dr Gregor have any opinion on black salt? It is an Indian spice available in Indian stores which actually has a pinkish color and tastes like eggs. Some vegans use it to give an egg-like taste to tofu scrambles or tofu “egg” salad. I have heard its egg-like taste is because of its high sulfur content and I think Dr Gregor has made negative comments about foods high in sulfur.

    • Thea

      catlady5: Great question. I’m a big fan of black salt myself. I don’t find myself using it all that often, but I imagine that people who love tofu scrambles with black salt may find themselves eating it quite a bit. I did a search on this site for “sulfur” and came up with several videos:

      My question would be how much does the sulfur in something like salt relate to the “sulfur-containing amino acids” discussed in the video.

      Hope you get your answer.