Doctor's Note

This video can be considered a companion to Anti-Angiogenesis: Cutting Off Tumor Supply Lines, in which this same diet could starve these same tumors of their blood supply.

There are compounds in animal products that may actually stimulate tumor growth. See How Tumors Use Meat to Grow: Xeno-Autoantibodies. Animal protein may also boost levels of the cancer-promoting hormone IGF-1 (The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle). Combined, this could all help explain why plants and plant-based diets have been found effective in potentially reversing some cancer processes. See Cancer Reversal Through Diet?, Strawberries versus Esophageal Cancer, and Black Raspberries versus Oral Cancer.

Sorry if you were distracted by the pet puns—I couldn't help it! :) Another way companion animals may protect against cancer is explored here: Pets & Human Lymphoma.

Why might the medical profession be so resistant to therapies proven to be effective? The Tomato Effect may be partially to blame.

If you were looking closely at the title of the review I featured, noting that plant-based diets may prove to be a useful nutritional strategy in cancer growth control, you'll notice it also looked at the role of methionine restriction in life-span extension. That's the topic of the next video Methionine Restriction as a Life Extension Strategy.

For more context check out my blog: Top 10 Most Popular Videos from 2013, A Low Methionine Diet May Help Starve Cancer Cells, and How Plant-Based Diets May Extend Our Lives.

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • Annoyed by Paleofraud

    Add excessive methionine to the list of pasture-raised meat baddies.

    • Joe

      What else have you got on that list? I’m intrigued by your username!

      • Annoyed by Paleofraud

        live pathogens, endotoxins (dead pathogens), saturated fat, trans fats,
        cholesterol, TMAO (depends on your enterotype), harmane, Neu5Gc, heme iron, PAH’s (PhIP), added
        hormones, natural hormones, IGF-1, environmental toxins (PCB’s, dioxin, mercury,
        cadmium, etc.). Other than the added hormones, these are all present in the cows or caused by eating their meat before they are put in the feedlot.

        • Joe

          I remember TMAO and the Organochlorines (PCB etc) from Dr Gregors videos. IGF-1 is fairly well accepted now – what about harmane, Neu5Gc and PAHs ? What are they?

          Presumably organic meat would at least not have any added hormones? But I agree – some people swear by the Paleo diet – even some well known doctors – but I don’t buy it.

          • Annoyed by Paleofraud

            Dr. Greger has vids/articles on all of these you can find via the search function. Harmane associated with meat consumption leads to essential tremors, Neu5Gc is a sialic acid tumors use to cause inflammation/vascularization (and also causes arthritis), and PAH’s are cooked meat carcinogens.

    • William Gabbert

      If you really want to fight cancer by way of Methionine restriction …Fruit.You can live on fruit only! (Lots of Indian Gooseberries and Cranberries in frozen Mango,Banana smoothies.) However maybe 10 days fruit only diet then 10 days consuming the highly Anti-Angiogenic vegetables. Broccoli Sprouts, Garlic , White button Mushrooms , Leaks, Yellow Onions, Brussels sprouts, Turmeric, Parsley ,Beets, Pepper…. that’s soup. Anyway …If I had cancer, I would.
      [ and nothing else ]

      • Worked great for Steve Jobs.

        • William Gabbert

          He consumed Dairy products.

          • Jennifer Van Rood Loucks

            Jobs also had a very aggressive cancer that began in his early are wise to mention dairy, as I believe from my own illness and going off dairy 100% that it makes a body sick in so many ways.

        • Vegan4health

          Yep! Cancer kills no matter what. It’s worth having a healthy diet consistently over the decades but once you got it, it may be best to enjoy the rest of your life. But “button pushing” reduces stree weather or not the “buttons” actually control anything. So in that way it may help improve quality of life.

        • dale ruff

          Not all treatments are 100%, but that is a fake bar. Treatments which work part of the time are very valuable. MOcking treatments which do not work 100% of the time is a good way to make sure they are not used and therefore the cures they do cause will not happen.

      • newvessel

        How much per day should one take sodium selenite to fight cancer? Should one day it everyday for 10 days at a stretch.

      • Kenneth Graniero

        Hi William, I am a graduate student in Nutrition & Dietetics and I am very interested in your diet plan and would like further information on your food choices and how you are responding to this diet. Please feel free to email me at with further information on your low-methionine diet.

      • Sara Schmiel

        Just curious what is wrong with beans?

    • dale ruff

      Good point! My research has found that only .3% of meat in the US is organic. 99 7% is laced with carcinogenic glyphosate. What about the 2.3% which is labeled “pasture-fed”???

      USDA rules allow “pasture-fed” livestock to be given up to 20% harvested forage, usually alfalfa, which is a GMO crop. So “pasture fed” includes animals which have been fed up to 1/5 gmo feed. This product can also be marketed as “natural.” Thus do greed, corruption, and deceit operate to fool us.

      Of the alfalfa, 1/3 of wild alfalfa has now been infected by the transgenic GMO alfalfa… the lie to the biotech claim that migration and pollution of wild and ancient crops is not a problem.

      The greatest obscenity is that when MOnsanto’s GMO seeds invade wild and natural alfalfa, Monsanto indeed
      sues farmers whose crops are contaminated for illegal use of patented seeds. A NY Judge recently confirmed that Monsanto has the right to sue you if their products contaminate your crops. This is pure fascism, where the government totally is the tool of the ruling class.

      This is the odd case where the victim is made to pay. This is also a good demonstration of the criminal character of the biotech industry. Just the other day, a law was passed to label GMO foods with a bar code.
      This is the kind of shit we are up against.

    • dale ruff

      USDA rules allow for using the term “pasture fed” while allowing ranchers to use up to 20% GMO feed (usually GMO alfalfa) and still call it pasture fed and natural. It is in the economic interests of most ranchers to use the 20% allowance to fatten up the livestock for more profit. The only meat you can trust not to contain GMOs is organic, but in the US, 99.7% of beef (97% factory fed/2.7% pasture fed/.3% organic). Most people do not have easy access to organic meats nor can they afford them. Increasingly , only the affluent can afford healthy food.

  • b00mer

    I’ve been using cronometer to track my food intake. I tend to consume about 150% of the recommended amount of protein in general (using the “standard” recommendations), and all essential amino acids are well above the recommended values, up to 400%. Methionine however, is consistently the lowest value, averaging no higher than ~120%, and is the only one which, once or twice, has dipped down to only 98-99%.

    • holaprofe

      What are you using to measure your food intake exactly, b00mer? I’m really intrigued.

      • Toxins

        Cronometer is a valuable tool for measuring food intake and uses data from the USDA database.

        • Barry Honeycombe

          i will take a look – sounds great and very useful. Thx

      • b00mer

        What Toxins said! I’ve never used a food diary before since most of them are just calories and macronutrients, but using this one is FUN. I love seeing how everything adds up in the micronutrient categories. Highly recommend it, even if you just use it for a few days to get a snapshot of your diet. You can even use it for a week, look at the nutritional data for each day, plus look at your overall averages for the week. It’s pretty cool. :)

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    PET scan at the dog`s office….

  • Wegan

    So are you now saying the Gerson style diets work?

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    The problem with a plantbased diet with low methionine is that it is low-tech, not sexy and no money involved.

    • Brian R Gard

      Actually there is a lot of money involved – in the saving to the victim or potential victim who avoids the disease all together. It is my life goal to bankrupt the crooked medical, pharmacy and agribusiness
      corporations to the fullest extent of my capabilities, save the money for vacations longevity and enjoying life!

      • faangface

        wow. cool. how are you going about doing that, in addition to having a non ag-bus diet, etc.?

        • Brian R Gard

          As much as I can, eat whole foods – and natural foods as much as possible, grow some organic foods at home, even forage in national forest for some natural foods – yes largely dependent on industrial farming, but avoid dairy, sugar, ect.

    • Barry Honeycombe

      I agree – Food giants don’t want you to know this, afterall – they’d rather push their “food-like” products at you.

  • tobell2013

    Now I am wondering about Sam-e. Its name is S-adenosylmethionine. Does this have the same effect on cancer? I hope not since 400 mg daily makes joints feel better. My vegan protein powder also adds 225 mg of methionine amino acid to its mix. Is this just depleting the benefit of using vegan protein powder? This video has brought up some interesting questions for me. It is like eating chicken and fish for the lower cholesterol and the good omega 3 acids; but getting more methionine to cause cancer. Where does it all end?

    • b00mer

      Even assuming the Sam-e funtions in the same manner as methionine, perhaps I can share my perspective: yesterday, with my WFPB diet, I consumed 700 mg methionine total. In just one chicken breast however (280 cal), there are 1480 mg methionine. So even if I took my entire day’s worth of food, added your 400 mg Sam-e, and the 225 mg methionine from the shake, I would still be consuming less methionine than a non-vegan who consumed just one chicken breast and nothing else that day.

      I realize it’s not really an answer, just my perspective. Is there a reason you feel like you need the protein powder? A WFPB diet will provide more than enough protein without any supplementation.

      • I wonder if the phytic acid in many plant foods inhibits our absorption of methionine. That could be a good thing, right?

  • Catherine J Frompovich

    Dr. Greger,
    Thank you for pointing out this most important information, which WORKS. I’ve been on a vegan diet and have ungrown a tumor in my R breast, as proven by sonograms. No surgery, no radiation, no chemotherapy. However, the key in eating vegan is to eat ORGANICALLY-grown vegan! No GMOs! Plus eliminate vinegar and high-acid base foods, e.g., sodas, junk foods, etc.
    A plant-based diet impacts pH in the body, which is part of the equation for beating cancer.
    I’ve written a book about the ‘odyssey’ I am on; it’s A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, available on
    The book is written in 3 parts. Part II deals extensively with diet: the reasons for eating certain plant foods; types of foods to eat; meal plans and, of course, recipes.
    My expertise is a retired natural nutritionist who was in private practice and physicians’ offices. I’m 75 years young.
    I agree about oncology missing the boat on the importance of a plant-based diet in cancer management. Yes! The late Dr. Max Gerson, MD, plant-based and juicing diet is extremely efficacious in managing and curing many, if not all, cancers.
    Personally, I think a properly designed plant-based diet for oncology to embrace would be a God-send to cancer patients. I would be willing to offer my help and experience to any oncologist interested. However, be forewarned, I won’t recommend that GMO foods are the same in food/nutritional values as heirloom or organically-grown foods.
    My reasons are legion, but the primary one is all the glyphosate that is sprayed on crops in the fields, which leaves toxic residues in food. Toxins and poisons are one of the precipitants for DNA adducts leading to cancerous tumors/growth.
    Again, thank you for all the good work you do. I, for one, truly appreciate an MD who gets it regarding nutrition.

    • NancyNurse

      Actually, vinegar becomes alkaline in the body…

      • Catherine J Frompovich

        Actually, you are wrong, sorry to have to say. You may be thinking of apple cider vinegar, which some claim turns alkaline, but vinegar is vinegar, and turns into an acid ash in the body! Please refer to this website

        Vinegar is a clear and bitter liquid used for cooking. It is also often
        used for natural cleaning. The pH level of vinegar is 2.5, which means it is
        highly acidic.

        • Toxins

          I am unsure of vinegar, but acidic foods such as citrus metabolize to a net alkalinity. The actual PH of the food has little to do with the renal acid load.

          • Coacervate

            What are you talking about?

          • Veganrunner

            Coacervate maybe you need to more specific. What are you asking?

          • Toxins

            Almost all plant foods will produce a potential renal acid load (PRAL) that is negative (alkaline) because of the amino acid makeup. Grains are very slightly acidic but most animal products are several times times more acidic. The PRAL can be calculated with this formula PRAL = 0.49(Protein) + 0.037(Phosphorus) – 0.021(Potassium) – 0.026(Magnesium) – 0.013(Calcium).


            You can go to the USDA nutrition database and calculate the alkalinity or acidity of certain foods this way using a 100 gram serving sample.


            Here are a list of common plant foods. A negative number indicates alkalinity whereas positive means acidity.

            Cereals, oats, regular cooked with water, w/o salt/ 2.18

            Bananas, raw/ -6.93

            Blueberries, raw/ -1.04

            Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked/ 2.18

            Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, w/o salt/ -3.57

            Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained, w/o salt / -1.33

            Carrots, cooked, boiled, drained, w/o salt/ -4.10

            Peaches, raw/ -3.11

            Beans, kidney, cooked, boiled, w/o salt/ -0.69

            Kale, raw/ -8.34

            Animal Foods

            Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted/ 17.30

            Egg, whole, raw, fresh/ 9.43

            Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked, dry heat/ 7.57

            Beef, bottom sirloin, tri-tip, separable lean only, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, cooked, roasted/ 12.79

            Cheese, cheddar/ 19.00

            As you can see, all animal foods are acidic. This acidity is bad for our bones as explained by this study. “In response to chronic acid stress such as is imposed by an acid-ash diet, cellular responses mobilize bone and calcium as a buffer.”


            This acidic environment increases the production of cortisol which further diminishes bone density.


            This chronic acid load people put on their body causes bone loss leading to osteoporosis later on in life and possibly other diseases.

          • Toxins

            UPDATE: The PRAL does not contribute to bone loss as previously hypothesized, but to calcium loss from the food eaten. It is still not negligible though because an acidic diet does indeed contribute to muscle wasting, poor uric acid clearance and kidney stone formation. Dr. Greger will share this data in one of his upcoming videos in volume 15.

          • deborahconner

            Can you please do something on s adenosylmethionine (SAMe) supplements?

          • Could you cite the studies that indicate foods that contribute to an alkaline balance in the body are protective against cancer?

          • Toxins

            I am unsure of these specific studies you speak of, but Dr. Greger has a video covering this.

          • The video focuses on the effects of acid/alkaline diets on bone loss. I am unsure of those studies too. I am not even sure they exist. I’ve never seen any. What I’m wondering is: From where come the claims that we need to eat alkaline diets to combat cancer? Those claims are voiced all over the internet, and I’d like to see the science that backs them up. Can anybody help explain the connection?

        • crystal girl

          really… your reference is

        • dale ruff

          Apple cider vinegar turns alkaline in the body. Many “acidic” foods have an alkaline effect, including tangerines and pineapples. Some alkaline foods turn acidic in the body! People have long squeezed a little lemon into their water, because it has an alkalinizing effect!

          My cancer has returned, after 8 years (prostate surgery) and I tried a 60 day cannabis concentrate treatment, which did not help, and so I am about to return to a diet based on mostly fruit. I am already a vegan…so the only other foods would be vegetables and perhaps rice as a grain.. I am also interested in the methionine restriction treatment, which starves the cancer cells. I am also discussing with my urologist conventional treatments. I am most interested in the treatment which cured 90 yr old JImmy Carter of his brain tumor! It works by building up your immune system.

          My question now is whether a fruit diet should exlude processed fruit juice (including such as organic unfiltered apple juice) and rely only on whole juicing.

          There are so many claims…it is nearly impossible to know how to make an informed decision. Most doctors have a very narrow view of treatments…….so hormones or chemo?

  • Dr. Bill Misner PhD

    Dr. Greger’s brilliant message labels cause and effect dietary direction for those to prevent cancer growth.

  • ifyoucareenough

    I just passed this to my sister if she wants to pass it to my 69 yr old brother who has been diagnosed with metastatic duodenal cancer. Five years ago, when I went vegan, I tried to get my family to and if fell on deaf ears. My brother says he doesn’t believe an omnivorous diet caused his cancer, and his doctor’s are telling him that diet will have no effect on his prognosis. I really wish he would at least give it a try, but, I’m sure he will continue to rationalize his meat addiction, right to his own demise.

    Very upsetting to me. Plus, he once said that he didn’t care about animals, something that really shocked and disappointed me. I think it’s kharma: what we do to the animals, we do to ourselves.

    • Thea

      ifyoucareenough: It is always so hard when the people we love and want to help don’t listen to us. You can’t force people to change. All you can do is provide information when they are ready to take it in.

      In the mean time, congratulations on your own healthy diet. You are being a good role model, and some times that is all you can do.

      Best of luck to you.

  • deborahconner

    And what is your view of s adenosylmethionine (SAMe) suppliments?

  • Donald Pearline

    passing this on to my daughter, doing her fellowship in Heme/Onc at UCSF.

  • David Camerpong

    So I am reading (albeit old copy of) A-Z guide to supplements (Balch MD) & it says good sources of Methionine are beans, eggs, fish, garlic, lentils, meat, onions, soybeans, seeds, & yoghurt?

    Livestrong says ..Poultry eggs,Oats wheat germ, red peppers, onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
    That’s pretty much all the veggies I eat….
    So I’m pretty much dead man walking??

    • b00mer

      I eat a ton of of beans, lentils, onions, garlic, broccoli, and oats. My methionine intake is rather low, about 1% of my total protein intake. I wouldn’t go by qualitative lists and descriptions, I’d check out the actual numbers:

      Assuming 300 calories worth of each food:

      Chicken breast: 1590 mg methionine
      Salmon: 1370 mg
      Ground beef: 1250 mg
      Eggs: 760mg
      Broccoli: 370 mg
      Black beans: 310 mg
      Oats: 240 mg
      Lentils: 200 mg
      Garlic: 160 mg
      Onion: 10 mg

      Or in terms of the percentage of methionine out of total protein:
      Eggs: 3.2%
      Salmon: 2.8%
      Chicken: 2.8%
      Beef: 2.6%
      Broccoli: 1.6%
      Black beans: 1.5 %
      Garlic: 1.0%
      Lentils: 0.83%
      Onion: 0.12%

      So perhaps they were trying to include some plants with the highest methionine content (compared to other plants) to round out the list, but you’re still better off with plants vs animals.

      • Toxins

        Good display boomer!

        • b00mer


      • William Gabbert

        In perspective, It would take quite large bowl of Broccoli to equal an egg.

  • jimmy

    oviously you no fan of german new medicine,and prefer for patients to remain to be held hostage by rockefellers medical mafia

  • jimmy

    I find it offensive that some posing as humanitarians,still push grains on the uneducated masses,disregarding the proof of grains poisonous affects on the human body

    • Toxins

      Grains are perfectly healthy foods and no studies have shown deleterious effects from consuming grains.

    • David Camerpong

      “…disregarding the proof of grains poisonous affects on the human body”
      you could provide a link to some of this proof please

  • Coacervate

    Fabulous! The gas that the dogs smell, what is it specifically? Is it different for different tumor types? Could there be a link between Met requirement and sulfur compounds in cruciferous veg anti-cancer activity?

    One small dietary tip I have learned to the good folks here: If you don’t feed a troll, it will wander away.

  • guest

    I just read this in “Higher intake of folate is marginally associated with a lower risk for ER- breast cancer, and higher intakes of vitamin B-12 and methionine are marginally associated with a lower risk of ER+ breast cancer.” Now I’m confused.

    • Mariel

      If it’s from the government, I’m not going to probably believe it seeing as how the RDA’s and the Food Pyramid are government affiliated and so outdated and wrong!

  • David Camerpong

    Methionine is found in good quantities in meat, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds.
    It’s everywhere!!

    • b00mer

      Yes, it’s one of the essential amino acids so it will be found in all foods. However, there is a huge difference between the amount found in animal foods vs plant foods. By calorie, chicken has 159 times the methionine compared to onions. By percentage of total protein content, there’s a 23-fold difference. I eat in a whole day what other people eat in half a chicken breast. There’s no comparison.

    • dale ruff

      Onions (and others) are very low in methionine; beans and seeds have moderately low levels; lentils are low.
      It would take a bushel of onions to get the dose of methionine as in one egg. Please check your “facts” before misleading people seeking to improve or save their health.

  • cynthia

    Is whey protein powder alright to drink? Or is that cancer causing?

    • Toxins

      Check out the videos on the top of this page.

      Getting excess protein is unfounded and can contribute to cancer growth.

    • Darryl

      Whey, a cheese production byproduct, does have lower levels of methionine than cheese, which has the high methionine amino acid profile of whole milk casein.

      From a pure personal health perspective, whey isn’t quite the smoking gun that casein is. Personally, I recognize that dairy also involves environmental and animal welfare costs, and that was enough for me to choose to stop being part the problem, and stop buying dairy products like whey.

      There are plenty of vegan athletes, indeed the PlantBuilt team seems to have dominated this year’s 2013 Naturally Fit Supershow. In other words, pea protein works as well as whey for building muscle.

      Methionine itself isn’t cancer causing; its cancer promoting. We are all exposed to enough chemical mutagens, radiation, and endogenous copying mistakes to produce dozens of cancerous cells every day. In part, what high methionine does is send growth signalling messages that promote lone cells into tumors.

  • Darryl

    Another amino acid, lysine, is perhaps most important for vegan diets, as vegans who get enough lysine likely get enough of the other essential amino acids. For other vegans looking to get enough protein while limiting methionine, legumes offer much higher Lys/Met ratios than grains do, and lentils (9.0), adzuki & fava beans (8.0), split peas (7.5) and pigeon peas / toor dal (6.71) stand out as the legumes with the highest Lys/Met ratio.

    • tedster

      I downloaded the table from the USDA food composition data link that you provided but did not see methionine in the table. My concern is that I take a fenugreek seed supplement and now I’m wondering if that’s adding an appreciable amount of methionine to my methionine intake.

      • Darryl

        NDB# 2019, fenugreek seed, has 0.58 g methionine and 0.35g cysteine per 100 g, up there with sesame seeds and sunflower seeds as some of the plant foods with the highest methionine. A large 00 capsule can hold at 1g, so a normal sized adult would need to take on the order of 100 capsules daily just to meet the estimated average requirement for adults of 15 mg/kg/day of methionine + cysteine (each spares requirements for the other).

        I’m pretty fond of fenugreek (and methi is cheap at the local Indian grocery), in fact, I’m chewing on a handful of seeds right now.

        Fenugreek lowers fasting blood glucose, LDL and VLDL in Type I and Type 2 diabetes, and fenugreek extracts preferentially kill cancer cells in vitro. In rats, oral fenugreek prevented DMBA induced breast cancer, and of considerable interest to me, seems to have increased autophagy (the longevity-promoting cellular spring cleaning) in the process.

        • Veganrunner

          Darryl do you soak the seeds first?

          • Darryl

            I mostly use them in curries, most often as part of panch phoron Bengali dishes, but the spice cupboard was just 5 steps away from from my computer yesterday. I can see where they might work in the morning smoothie (which is already half flax and wheat germ).

          • Veganrunner

            I am liking the smoothy idea.

    • Harriet Sugar Miller

      Somewhere in this wealth of informative discussion you suggest that oats and peas are good choices because they’re high in glycine and low in methionine. What kinds of peas are you suggesting? Dried ones such as splits, pigeon peas? chickpeas? fresh green peas?

      • Darryl

        With respect to glycine/methionine ratio, legumes have the highest ratio among food groups, while legumes with particularly high G/M are fava, peanuts, lentils, split peas, azuki, soy, lima, mung beans, pigeon peas (in that order). Soy has relatively high methionine among plant proteins, which perhaps calls for moderation, but its not named Glycine max for nothing.

        As cysteine spares methionine requirements, and serine readily interconverts with glycine, I’ve also looked at the (G+S)/(M+C) ratio. Legumes (in aggregate) still look very good here: legumes (4.1), nuts (3.0), mollusks (2.8), grains (2.5), tubers, red meat, poultry (2.4), dairy, pork (2.3), fish (2.1), though collagen and its rendered product gelatin have the highest ratio among foods (36, with G/M=32). Legumes with higher (G+S)/(M+C) ratios would be: soy, pinto, kidney, black, navy, lima, azuki, peanuts, fava, and lentils. Buckwheat, with oats not far behind, are comparable among grains.

        • What do you mean by “cysteine spares methionine requirements”?

          • Darryl

            Cysteine is only conditionally essential, as the body can synthesize it from the pool of methionine/SAMe/SAH/homocysteine in the methionine cycle. The WHO offers methionine (10 mg/kg/d) and cysteine (4 mg/kg/d) requirements and also an amalgamated methionine + cysteine requirement (15 mg/kg/d) as dietary cysteine spares the requirement for methionine.


            I began looking at sum of methionine and cysteine when I play with nutrition spreadsheets as there are some animal studies indicating cysteine can exacerbate effects of excess methionine, and interfere with methionine restriction benefits. 1, 2, 3, 4

          • Thanks. Are those lentils you’re referring to red lentils or mungo beans (black lentils) or green French lentils–or does it matter?

            And what attracts you to wheat germ?

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Restricting Meth in your lifestyle has always been beneficial!! ;-)

  • Ronald Chavin

    Dr. Greger is misleading us that fish contain much higher levels of methionine than other animal-source protein foods such as meats, eggs, cheese, cream, and milk. The truth is that some fish contain 20% to 30% more methionine but other fish contain 10% to 20% less methionine than other animal-source protein foods:

    Note that in the above list of foods that are highest in methionine, 200-calorie portions were measured for each food. This makes high-calorie fatty meats such as beef, pork, and chicken look much lower in methionine than they would if equal WEIGHTS of each food were compared against each other.

    The big picture: Studies show that people who eat lots of fish have LOWER cancer death rates and LONGER life expectancies than vegans. This is despite the fact that most fish eaters use plenty of salt to make their fish taste better. Salt always contains cancer-causing nitrosamines.

    As for methionine, I agree with Dr. Greger that it is one of more than a dozen reasons why vegans have lower cancer death rates than meat eaters. Methionine increases blood levels of the cancer-causing growth hormone, IGF-1.

    However, keep in mind that methionine and lysine are the 2 essential amino acids that are most likely to be deficient in human nutrition. Several poor nations have fortified their soymilk with methionine or lysine. This despite the fact that soybeans (and fenugreek seeds) already contain more methionine than all other plant-source foods. Vegans who are worried about deficiencies of amino acids should just eat more plants. Well-fed vegans are never deficient in essential amino acids.

    When soy infant formula, which is already naturally high in methionine, was fortified with even more methionine, the health of newborn human babies improved:

    • Barton van Buskirk

      i would like to see a response to this

      • Toxins

        response above

    • Toxins

      Fish is not a health promoting food, and of the epidemiological studies I have seen where pescetarians and vegans are compared, it is never specified how healthy the vegans actually were. Even so, Dr. Greger covers fish here

    • Darryl

      There are 3062 single ingredient foods in the USDA database with at least 1 g protein / 100 g food and measured methionine content.

      Avg. g methionine per: 1000 kcal 100 g protein
      animal foods (1999) 3.88 2.59
      dairy & eggs (168) 1.87 2.67
      poultry (351) 3.53 2.65
      cured meats (120) 1.87 2.51
      pork (306) 3.05 2.48
      beef (474) 3.17 2.57
      fish & shellfish (245) 4.64 2.85
      lamb, veal & game (335) 3.02 2.43
      plant foods (1064) 0.69 1.36
      spices & herbs (20) 0.76 1.38
      breakfast cereal (57) 0.44 1.75
      fruit (44) 0.16 0.99
      vegetables (485) 0.70 1.12
      nuts & seeds (124) 0.64 1.95
      legumes (190) 0.97 1.25
      grains & pasta (144) 0.54 1.77

      While these spreadsheet averages don’t necessarily reflect these foods relative contribution to diets, I do think they tell us a few things. Animal products have more methionine than plant foods, both on a per calorie and per g protein basis, and among animal foods, fish & shellfish do indeed have the highest levels.

      • Thea

        Darryl: Very nice reply. I like how you put the hard numbers to it to explain the point.

        I’ll just put my own spin on it by saying that Dr. Greger’s videos are by necessity high-level summaries. There is nothing misleading about it. As anyone can see by the numbers that Darryl dug up, fish in general is indeed worth pointing out at he worst/highest category of methoionine.

        Thanks again Darryl for your high quality info.

    • Darryl

      I personally believe the slight advantage of pescetarians have over vegans in mortality studies should be seen in the light of nutrients taurine and long-chain fatty acids (DHA/EPA), absent in plant foods and for which fish are good sources. The long-chain fatty acids have been covered regularly on NutritionFacts and Dr. Greger recommends algal DHA supplements. Taurine has been perhaps neglected. Vegans often have low taurine levels, and taurine has consistently demonstrated cardioprotective effects in epidemiological, individual, and mechanistic studies. In the CARDIAC study, when taurine excretion is over 1200 µmol or 150 mg / day, IHD mortality was uniformly low, and as that much taurine powder would cost around $2.75 per year, and there’s no apparent risks, its seems a no-brainer for vegan health insurance. Perhaps Dr. Greger will come around on this in the future.
      Is the apparent heath benefit of pescetarian diets entirely accounted for by taurine and long-chain fatty acids? There isn’t enough data to say. I think the likelihood is high.

    • tedster

      I found two sources that indicate 0g of methionine in fenugreek seeds. I’m curious, where did you see that fenugreek seeds contain more methionine than all other plant-source foods?

      • b00mer

        Hi tedster, just a suggestion – do you know what “serving size” your sources are using? Sometimes when you look up a food it might be giving you the information for what’s in for example 1 g of the food, and many of the values end up reported as zero or close to zero. Methionine is essential, so it is present in all whole foods.

        • tedster

          One source said 0g/100g and the other 0g/11.1g, but I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with the sources. Up above, Darryl responded that there is 0.58g methionine / 100g fenugreek seed. He cited NDB# 2019, which I think is a USDA nutritional database, however I’m not positive. I see how the second source I found would round that to zero, but I’m not sure how the first source rounded to zero from 0.58. I will pay more attention to the serving sizes. I assumed they were standardized, but it looks like not every source reports that way.

          • Darryl

            The USDA gives all its values (in its nutrition data, its flavonoid content data, etc) per 100g.

            I’ve further streamlined William Harris’s spreadsheet conversion of the database to just vegan foods of interest to me (ie, those with significant nutritional value I’ve ever seen locally), and you’re welcome to use or copy it from here.

          • tedster

            Thanks for the reference table. Super cool!

          • Thea

            Darryl: I’m behind on my e-mails, but I didn’t want to forget to say, “Thank you!” for sharing this spreadsheet. Very cool.

          • DanielFaster

            Also keep in nind the nutritional data bases are an average of a range e.g. one crop might be 0.3 and another 0.9 (just making these up) for an average of 0.6. Then because of tens of thousands of enzymatic feedback and feedforward loops if your body “needs” a particular nutrient it will act to enhance bioavailability of that nutrient or reduce it if it is not in short supply. Its really quite pointless to try to micromanage individual nutrients All you need to know is to not eat so many foods with a lot of what you don’t want and seek out those you want, and eat a variety. Your body and your microbiota will usually figure it out.

  • Melissa

    Dear Dr. Gregor, I just received your latest email about the collected works on DVD. In that email you asked for donations and mentioned that you give away all proceeds from speaking engagements and publications to charity. I made a donation because I support this most excellent and essential work. But I would advocate as a business person that you squirrel away enough cash–or donate it to this particular non-profit–to keep the engines running. Perhaps that’s what you already do. But I can’t think of a better cause to support with your speaking and publishing than this, and there is no other source for this level of objective and timely information out there. In support and gratitude, Melissa

    • Thea

      Melissa: I can’t speak for Dr. Greger, but if memory serves, I believe I did read a comment from Dr. Greger on another page where he said something like: He used to change the charities that he donated the proceeds from his DVDs to. But now that this site is doing so well and costing so much, he does put the money into this site.

      So, I think you and Dr. Greger are on the same wave length. And I personally couldn’t agree with you more.

  • Park Firebaugh

    But doesn’t restricting sulfur containing amino acids (vegetarian diets) lead to subclinical malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and atherogenesis?

    • Darryl

      In human trials, severe methionine restriction appears to reduce reduce homocysteine somewhat, as two amino acids regularly cycle between another in a methylation cycle. To ensure body stores are preferentially partitioned towards methionine rather than homocysteine, its probably important to consume the methyl donors folic acid (highest in greens & legumes), betaine (beets, spinach, wheat) and vitamin cofactors B6 (garlic, nuts, legumes) and B12 (vegans must supplement).

      The point isn’t to eliminate methionine from the diet (impossible for those who eat food), but to reduce levels to adequate for metabolism while avoiding intercellular (insulin/IGF-I) and intracellular (PI3K/Akt/mTOR) growth signalling that arise from methionine excess.

      • Brown

        If the purpose is to avoid intercellular (insulin/IGF-I) and intracellular (PI3K/Akt/mTOR) growth, then why not use curcumin, egcg, and spices (all of which reduce the above), instead of risking clinical malnutrition by avoiding meat altogether? It’s not just tumor cells that need those amino acids.

        • Darryl

          While the polyphenols you mention can indeed effect nutrient signalling pathways when added to cell cultures at non-physiologically relevant concentrations, they’re not particularly potent. They’re comparable to other polyphenols like resveratrol and quercetin (which require extracellular concentrations in the 100s of μM to markedly inhibit ATP synthase, which activates AMPK, which inhibits mTOR, or more than 100 times whats possible from even high dietary intakes 1, 2). Curcumin, EGCG, and spice polyphenols are of much more interest as inducers of phase II enzyme response and inflammatory transcription factor NF-kB inhibitors, where their bioactivity is more plausible.

          I’m not particularly worried about methionine deficiency. The estimated average requirement of 15 mg/kg/day of methionine + cysteine (each spares requirements for the other) for adults isn’t particularly difficult to achieve, especially if nuts and soy products are daily fare. My guesstimate is my varied vegan diet brings Met+Cys to around 150% of the EAR, vs 3-400% when I was a heavy animal products consumer. There’s simply not an epidemic of kwashiorkor (methionine deficiency) among vegans or among most people in the developing world eating varied near-vegan diets.

        • Thea

          re: “…instead of risking clinical malnutrition by avoiding meat altogether…”

          If you watch enough videos on this site or take in other sources (which I can suggest if you are interested), you will see that eating a whole plant food based diet is the best way to avoid clinical malnutrition. See:

          Or put another way: adding meat, dairy and eggs is by no means a way to prevent clinical malnutrition and sometimes gets in the way of good nutrition. I think the underlying assumption behind your comment/question is not valid.

      • jms

        The MTHFR 677T genetic mutation interferes with the mythelation cycle, inhibiting eventual conversion of folate into 5-MTHF. Supplementation with 5-MTHF is said to circumvent this deficiency.

        Would taking a 5-MTHF supplement increase one’s methionine level, and cancer risk?

  • Tan

    Thanks for the information again Dr. Greger, and the jokes.

  • Ahmad

    A previous video on Bragg relative to MSG indicated it to be harmless.
    What about the high methionine content of it? Is it still safe to use?

    • Darryl

      Braggs’s is just hydrolysed soy protein, and a Tbsp will have 1.86 g protein, of which 26 mg will be methionine. For a 150 lb adult this would be only 2.5% of the estimated average requirement. The thing to worry about with Bragg’s or soy sauce is the sodium content: at 960 mg sodium that one Tbsp is 42% of the recommended maximum sodium intake of 2,300 mg for adults.

      • Toxins

        Sodium should ideally be kept below 1200-1500 mg.

  • TheBigPicture

    What about starving cancer by living in ketosis? Cancer cells need carbs right?

    • Toxins

      “While short-term carbohydrate restriction over a period of a week can result in a significant loss of weight (albeit mostly from water and glycogen stores), of serious concern is what potential exists for the following of this type of eating plan for longer periods of months to years. Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet. The need to further explore and communicate the untoward side-effects of low-carbohydrate diets should be an important public health message from nutrition professionals.”

      Ketogenic diets are strongly advised against.

  • Healthy

    Ironically, of all the meat I avoid, I always felt safe eating chicken and fish once in a great while. Maybe the high concentrations of methionine, that make chicken and fish the worst of the meats, are in the skin of the chicken and fish. However, on the other hand, chicken and fish do have higher amounts of protein so that may also explain the higher levels of this amino acid.

    • b00mer

      One boneless, skinless chicken breast, meat only, contains 1480 mg methionine.

      I only briefly checked but did not find an entry specifically stating skinless fish (since I think it’s assumed people don’t typically eat the skin?), but one can of tuna, which is definitely skinless, contains 1740 mg methionine.

      In terms of percentage of total protein, thus negating the point of them being “higher protein” foods (which they’re not really, they’re just more calorically dense), then methionine makes up 2.8% of the total protein for both. Compared to percentages in plant foods, even the plant foods confusingly labeled as “high methionine” by a source someone listed above, these values for chicken and fish are incredibly high. Reposted from my comment above, here are a few animal-based and plant-based percentages:

      Eggs: 3.2%
      Salmon: 2.8%
      Chicken: 2.8%
      Beef: 2.6%
      Broccoli: 1.6%
      Black beans: 1.5 %
      Garlic: 1.0%
      Lentils: 0.83%
      Onion: 0.12%

      So it stands that chicken and fish are indeed among the worst offenders, skin or no skin, and regardless of overall protein content.

    • Toxins

      Chicken and fish may be less healthy for other reasons including high levels arachidonic acid and pesticides.

  • Barry Honeycombe

    Another excellent article – keep up the good work. I have shared this on my blog. Anyone looking for plant-based recipes – please take a look – it’s called Plantalicious and can be found here –

    There are recipes and videos – I hope you find them a source of inspiration if you are looking to increase your plant-based nutrition intake. Barry

  • Here

    How can you tell if it is in a supplement, if it’s an amino acid. All amino acid supplements? Vegan amino acid supplements? Other things?

  • LelaRose

    What do you think of coffee enemas? I had peritonial cancer and had surgery for it at UCSF. When Lugols solution is added to supplements, electrolyte balance would be ok, no?

  • The deans mom

    Great Articles, say can you do one on Goat Milk. Some information I’ve seen say’s it’s a Blue Zone Food that is really good for you but if Animal products are bad then Goat Milk would fall under that category. I’d love to see how it stacks up against cows milk.

  • tbarrelier

    Is there a baseline total daily amount (mg) of methionine that one should aim for in cancer prevention? I keep myself to under 20g/day of carbs following a ketogenic diet. I am now aware that restricting methionine is also part of starving out cancer. It seems limiting both offers a reasonable and not onerous approach to cancer prevention. Any ideas?

  • lexmelinda

    Dr. Greger….Love your site and am a regular visitor. In addition to the videos and articles, I love reading the comments. However, when I click on the links, I’m taken off the current page and onto the linked page. I like to look at the linked pages without losing my place on your site. Could you possibly have your web manager make it so that clicking on a link opens a new window and doesn’t take your visitors away from your site? Thanks!

  • Marckel

    So what about the methionine in Braggs amino acids?
    Avoid or not?

  • Rose

    I’ve occasionally used L-methionine 500mg daily to treat allergies since it effectively reduces histamine levels. Is L-methionine the same as methionine and should I discontinue taking it?

  • DanielFaster

    Here’s an interesting article with a possible reason for low protein vegan diets being cancer protective

  • Unless one wanted to utilize L-Methionine in a mitohormetic manner, in which case it ,may help contribute to one’s longevity potential. :-)

    Here is a link that shows that L-Methionine is necessary only in the very young:

  • Han

    I accidentally ran into a site that claimed positive effect of ketosis on Cancer with the idea that cancer is fed by glucose. So I searched around a bit and:

    I wouldn’t call that much of an effect.

  • Guest

    I’m a vegetarian and don’t car etc. eat meat, but how do you reconcile the latest study published by the AMA showing that vegetarians who ate eggs, dairy and fish lived longer than any other diet in the U.S.?…

    • Toxins

      I can’t find the specific study in question on that article page, but its important to look at the numbers. A vegan diet does not equate to health. One must consume whole grains, very low fat, and whole unprocessed plant foods to really benefit from a plant based diet. A standard American diet can be just as unhealthful as a vegan diet. This really sums up the issue nicely

      • Thea

        Toxins: Really great set of posts. Thanks for this link.

  • Dt. Kirk McAnsh, D.C.

    I’ve been a vegetarian since 1980 and don’t care to eat meat, but how do we reconcile recent data that shows that at least in the U.S., that group of people who ate eggs, dairy and fish lived the longest of any other group?…

  • RichardL

    No mention of glycine? You can have your meat, you just need glycine to help get rid of the methionine. Glycine is in the skin, tendons, and cartlidge. So, you can eat meat, just don’t eat too much and take glycine or make homemade bone broths. Vegans actually live slightly shorter lives than the regular eater in North America. Partly because they have B12 deff. and low stomach acid, therefore less magnesium, zinc, etc.

    • Mike

      That’s correct. If your glycine / methionine ratios are good then it’s not an issue.
      There’s a recent study that shows that glycine intake is the same as methionine restriction.

  • dorange
  • Dragomir

    I recently saw a video on Harvard’s public health website about dietary restriction and longevity:



    They tried to narrow it down to what exactly is the mechanism that helps, and it seem that it was something about removing some sulfur based aminoacids from the food (methionine was one I think), for which the stomach reacted by making its own hidrogen sulfide gas. Now, I’m no specialist, but I do remember that animal products, especially proteins, contain a lot of sulphur, so could this be a topic of discussion about plant-based diets and longevity?

  • Wade Patton

    Shout it from the rooftops!

    oh wait, they’re all wearing earbuds and fixated on the gadget in their hands.

    Share it via your social media!

  • William Gabbert

    If you really want to fight cancer by way of Methionine restriction …Fruit.You can live on fruit only! (Lots of Indian Gooseberries and Cranberries in frozen Mango,Banana smoothies.) However maybe 10 days fruit only diet then 10 days consuming the highly Anti-Angiogenic vegetables. Broccoli Sprouts, Garlic , White button Mushrooms , Leaks, Yellow Onions, Brussels sprouts, Turmeric, Parsley ,Beets, Pepper…. that’s soup. Anyway …If I had cancer, I would.
    [ and nothing else ]

  • James Roache

    I read on wikipedia… while researching piperine as a bioenhancer that piperine enhances methionine as well as a whole host of vitamins, minerals and herb. So I guess one shouldn’t put pepper on chicken, fish or other products high in methionine. What do you make of this double edged enhancer?

  • Marci Tarre

    I’m wondering about the methionine levels in raw goat milk products. As I understand it, methionine is mostly held in casein, which is much lower in raw goat’s milk than in cow’s milk. Also, I recently read that animal tissue other than muscle and tendons (such as liver, heart, skin, bones) is relatively low in methionine. Any input about these foods would be much appreciated. I’m considering a vegan route to health, but would love to supplement with animal products as necessary to maintain iron, calcium, and B vitamins without too much supplementation. Thank you for any comments!

  • Virginia Mac Donald-Cloepfil

    There seems to be a mistake on the Methionine Project sites listing of low methionine levels. Could you clarify

    it for me? The wild rice is listed as having only .011gm of methionine but other sites say it has 119mg. Which is right? I run a support group for those of us with cancer and are fighting it with a very low methionine diet. We need to be sure if we can have wild rice or not. According to the site we can have some, but if the other sites are correct then we can’t have it anymore. This is an extremely important question for us. Could someone please answer it?

  • Vegan4health

    M’kay that’s a lovely theory and I’d be happy as a pet cat if it were true BUT cancer is absolutely dependent on glucose consumption also but limiting it in the diet does not stop it. It eats all the glucose and then our body makes more glucose out of our own fat and protein. We are red meat after all so we are our own supply of methionine, no way to eliminate it. I think an article based on pure hypothesis can put some cancer patients in undue stress with unfounded hope in their last days that they may as well just enjoy as much as possible.

  • Vegan4health

    so my post got deleted for saying that this whole methionine restriction idea is just an idea, a hypotheses. I would be so happy if it turns out to be useful in slowing cancer BUT it seems similar very similar to the fact that cancer is absolutely dependent on glucose consumption but limiting glucose in the diet has no effect on slowing tumor growth because when glucose levels drop our body converts its own tissues into glucose. Being that we are made of red meat I think it would be silly to think that tumors will run out of methionine while growing in the human body

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Legendado em Português / Subtitled into Portuguese:

  • Harry Veltman

    Does vegetarian free-form l-methionine supplement have the same effect as methionine from meat and eggs? I’ve been taking 1/4 tsp. three times daily thinking it might help fight my oral squamous cell cancer. It helps prevent skin from splitting on the ends of my fingers.

  • MG

    Does anyone have sound information about the Budwig Protocol for cancer which emphasizes taking a mixture of flax oil and cottage cheese? Read and comment please. I know some people who are using this along with intense nutrition therapy and some other protocols and had never heard of this before. In view of what I do know, I am highly suspicious of this theory and really need some sound analysis of this to share with a physician who is interested in using the cottage cheese/flax oil therapy in treating patients.

  • asharflo

    Hi Doctor Gregor,
    I’m listening to what you say about the adverse, cancer-promoting effects of the amino acids methionine and leucine. I regularly season my food with Bragg Amino Acids, the bottle of which brags–pun intended–about all the great amino acids I’m getting in every serving: Alanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tyrosine, and Valine.
    If Methionine and Leucine are causes for concern, should I be worried about putting these acids on my food? Is soy sauce a safer option where Methionine is concerned? Thanks for all you do.

  • John Layland

    I am trying a methionine restricted diet right now. 4 months ago I had a PSA check. It was .54 After 3 months of restricted methionine my PSA came in at .53… In two more months I will check it again.. If it goes down again, I think I will safely be able to say it is working for me …

  • Lisa Konsker

    My uncle has mesothelioma the Drs say this cancer doesn’t follow the normal rules of other cancers . He hasn’t been guided at all nutritionally . what is your advice . ?