Doctor's Note

For those unfamiliar with that landmark Ornish study, see Cancer Reversal Through Diet?, which the Pritikin Foundation followed up on with Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay.

What else might help men with prostate cancer? See Flaxseed vs. Prostate Cancer and Saturated Fat & Cancer Progression. What about preventing it in the first place? See:

 Poultry and eggs may be related to cancer risk in a variety of ways:

Crucifers may also help with other cancers. See:

I’m going to highlight it in the next video Breast Cancer Survival Vegetable.

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Cancer and the Animal-to-Plant Protein Ratio.

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  • VegAtHeart

    Vegan means no animal products and is not open to interpretation.
    Thus, I disagree with the narrator’s claim that the Ornish prostate cancer study used a vegan diet or a “strictly plant-based diet”. You can at best call it near vegan.

    The error can be found on page 2 where you see that fish oil was consumed in addition to several other lifestyle changes:

    “Experimental group patients were prescribed an intensive lifestyle program that included a vegan diet supplemented with soy (1 daily serving of tofu plus 58 gm of a fortified soy protein powdered beverage), fish oil (3 gm daily), vitamin E (400 IU daily), selenium (200 mcg daily) and vitamin C (2 gm daily), moderate aerobic exercise (walking 30 minutes 6 days weekly), stress management techniques (gentle yoga based stretching, breathing, meditation, imagery and progressive relaxation for a total of 60 minutes daily) and participation in a 1-hour support group once weekly to enhance adherence to the intervention.10 The diet was predominantly fruits, vegetables, whole grains (complex carbohydrates), legumes and soy products, low in simple carbohydrates and with approximately 10% of calories from fat.11 The diet is intensive but palatable and practical. In earlier studies most patients were able to adhere to this diet for at least 5 years.”

    • Brandon Klinedinst

      Has anyone found a vegan food option yet that has a source of DHA/EPA and astaxanthin in it? I still have a serving of salmon once a week and would like to cut it out of my diet if I could replace it with another wholefood that were plant based.

      • Cara

        Algael DHA suppliments are vegan,
        not sure about astaxanthin

      • Toxins

        There is no plant food that exists that has preformed DHA/EPA unless you get algae oil supplements which is not technically a plant.

        There is no need to consume preformed DHA and EPA. If you consume omega 3 in plant foods in the form of ALA your body will convert it to DHA and EPA if your omega 6:3 ratio is adequate, adequate being 4:1. The best way to do this is to eat plenty of fruits and veggies and minimize nuts and seeds. What nuts and seeds you could eat that have plenty of omega 3 are Flax, walnuts and chia seeds. Other nuts and seeds have very poor omega 6:3 ratios and should be eaten more in moderation.

        The National Academy of Sciences does not recognize EPA and DHA as essential. This means there is enough evidence for them to conclude that we can make enough of it without eating it in its preformed state.

        “Comparison of the PLLC n23 PUFAs:DALA ratio between dietary-habit groups showed that it was 209% higher in vegan men and 184% higher in vegan women than in fish-eaters, was 14% higher in vegetarian men and 6% higher in vegetarian women than in fish-eaters, and was 17% and 18% higher in male and female meat-eaters, respectively, than in fish-eaters This suggests that the statistically estimated conversion may be higher in non-fish-eaters than in fish-eaters.”

        In addition, another study showed that despise this “theoretical” low conversion rate, there is no evidence of any harm so, the problem may not be in the conversion rate, but in the assumption that it is low.

        “There is no evidence of adverse effects on health or cognitive function with lower DHA intake in vegetarians”

        “In the absence of convincing evidence for the deleterious effects resulting from the lack of DHA from the diet of vegetarians, it must be concluded that needs for omega-3 fatty acids can be met by dietary ALA. ”

        • Brandon Klinedinst

          This is informative thank you.

        • VegAtHeart

          Interesting arguments suggesting that taking algae oil supplements may be superfluous for vegetarians/vegans.

          They may even turn out to be worse than useless. In ‘Becoming Raw’ (2010), Davis and Melina argued on page 127-128:

          “DHA is the most highly unsaturated fat in the diet and also the most unstable (meaning it is easily oxidized by free radicals in the blood). Oxidized fats are bad news; they contribute to all sorts of disease processes, including cardiovascular disease. It’s possible that our bodies are smart enough not to bother making DHA when it’s not needed. In addition, it’s possible that when DHA is in our bloodstream, it’s rapidly transported to locations where it’s needed and incorporated into tissues, such as the brain and the retina of the eyes.”

          As you probably know, the supporting articles for algae DHA sources are often financially supported by algae oil manufacturers such as Martek Biosciences. I doubt authors of such articles would be objective. Until more thorough research on long-term effects is done, I would not favour consuming algae oil.

      • Toxins

        Sorry Brandon for my repetitive information regarding the ratio, I forget that I already discussed this with you. Either way, I am sure others who have not seen this information will appreciate it.

        • elsie blanche

          Yes, I do appreciate it. Thanks.

      • signmanbob

        This is a DHA/EPA supplement sold by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It is completely vegan and clean, if you feel that you need to supplement.

      • Darryl

        The red stains on the bottom of dried out birdbaths are the astaxanthin-rich cysts of the green algae
        Haematococcus pluvialis. They’re also the source of astaxanthin supplements. Astaxanthin also appears in trace amounts in krill oil, shrimp, flamingo feathers etc.

        • Joe

          Just a note on the Nutrex – they have two types of capsules. One is gelatin, and the other is vegan..the vegetarian one is called MD formulas Bio Astin

  • GreyHairedGeek

    Hello Doctor,

    Question if I may for I have searched all the videos “I think!”, spent hours at it anyway, what a fabulous resource by the way. Thank
    you! But I could not piece together a picture concerning my issue. So here I go and will try to keep it short.

    My wife and I had a face to face encounter with pure unassailable logic through Forks over Knives. That led me to your sight which I have been
    following since. We embraced a Vegan lifestyle out of need, and conviction I will add, around the first of July of this year. My weight has dropped over 40 lbs so far, my cholesterol numbers took a nose dive…to the good I will add. :) And my blood pressure has dropped considerably so I know I am on the correct path. I must say also that we are enjoying what we eat! Not easiest thing to turn one’s life upside down, but sure as heck beats six feet in the ground. Sorry I could not resist. =P

    Anyway the reason for this post. I seem to have this incredible dependence on normal testosterone levels. The Doctor worked with me on testosterone therapy, but the injections sent my PSA from 3.78 to 7.98 in just a month or so of therapy. And of course all the other problems men of my age face got worse. He took me off the therapy immediately. Now I know I am approaching a wall of text now, so let me just say life was just ugly after having felt like a person again. Energetic, alive, awake!, and happy about life during therapy, downright depressing after therapy.

    So my question is can you make any suggestions, direct me to any specific articles, books, advice? The doctor has added more medication to
    my current list, and will try me on the therapy in another two months. I am
    very happy we are going to try again because the quality of life was incredibly improved. But it feels wrong to mask things, such as PSA numbers, with another drug. I fear I will be taking the short path, instead of the longer and slower “correct” path of good nutrition. But once again I cannot tell you how good it felt to feel somewhat normal again while on therapy.

    Any input would you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Please understand I have an excellent and caring doctor. But I feel the need to
    branch out a bit on this decision. And if this is not the appropriate place for
    this post please forgive me. You seem to encourage questions at the end of other posts you have created. And this post just hit very close to home.

  • rick

    Anyone know if Dr. Ornish eliminated all dairy in his cancer/diet study?
    I am writing an article for my local newspaper and don’t want to state that unless I am 100% certain.

  • What are your thoughts on this recent review?…

    • DWS

      Sounds like the usual industry-funded bullshit to me. I thought we had got over the irrational fear of fat and cholesterol – oh well, while there are still idiots buying statins I suppose the lies will continue.

  • Loren

    Sorry that I’m not the doctor replying, but thought had something relevant to say: My testosterone level nearly doubled when I adopted a WFPB diet, going from low four hundreds to mid seven hundreds in a period of about two years.

    • Bob

      Thank you for sharing Loren…I appreciate it…take care o/

  • Mandy

    Vegans tend to have higher testosterone naturally and lower risk of prostate cancer. My husband reversed his prostate cancer with a vegan diet and at 60 he has the testosterone level of a 20 year old. Exercise also raised your t level. We are at the gym now.

    • MandyKTZ

      Raises* not raised.

  • harrydelano

    I have just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Some of the cells from the biopsy were graded as having a Gleason score of 8. The urologist who presented me with these results suggested that I needed either surgery or radiation treatments. I asked about a diet-based approach to dealing with this and he pretty much dismissed it out of hand. Any recommendations?

    • John

      I was diagnosed with stage zero bladder cancer by a urologist one year ago and have been treated with a series of BCG. Stage 0 is supposedly limited to the bladder surface and my doctor did surgery (entry through the urethra and “scraping” the bladder surface.) The BCG treatment followed and I am now in a maintenance program to prevent recurrence. I strongly recommend that you get a second opinion from an oncologist who specializes in bladder cancer. I changed from a urologist to an oncologist at UCI in California and am very glad that I did. Best to you!

    • Robert Haile

      I had a Gleason 8( The highest severity grade 8-10.) and had surgery where it was noted I was node positive and had local invasion, including nerves which had to be sacrificed with 2 months of total urine incontinence reversed with exercise. My prognosis was poor and I underwent several years of hormone suppression. However, I began what I could do in addition, transitioning to a vegan diet. 15 years later I have no evidence of recurrence and my PSA is normal, undetectable. What you do is your choice, but in my personal experience and experience as a MD, I have found that many answers are not ‘either-or’ but a combination of medical/surgical interventions and lifestyle changes. I had no family history but I think a western diet, BPA and other toxins contributed. Lifestyle interventions are not instantaneous and I do not think with a Gleason 8, lifestyle changes alone may be enough, particularly when some of those prostate cancer men studied in this report had a much less malignant prostate cancer to start i.e.. Gleason 4 compared to Gleason 8. I sought the institutions with the best reputation for surgery(Johns Hopkins) and medical intervention( Dana Farber) I chose surgery over radiation as the complications of surgery are immediate(my incontinence which was unavoidable though resolved with specific exercise) vs the potential of progressive delayed complications of radiation over years. Personally, I just wanted to get that cancer out of my body ASAP. Age is a very important factor as well. I was 50 at the time of my surgery and I am convinced that without all interventions, I would be dead by now. The older the patient and the more medical issues they have, the less likely the Prostate Cancer is to kill them. You are an individual and you need to have your own unique assessment and interventions specific to you. A second surgical opinion and seeing an Oncologist with specific expertise in Prostate cancer is vital. Good luck.

    • DrT

      Consider Focal Laser Ablation and the Dr Ornish and Dr Berger diet mentioned here. Gleason 8 is too high for active surveillance only . FLA is not the only focal surgery available but it is minimally invasive . For more info check Inspire site or contact me. My husband had a 7 and we chose this. He is fine. No ED or urinary dysfunction . He is following this diet also now and taking scorpion venom prescribed by Dr Raymond Chang in NYC.