Doctor's Note

Foods can also cause undesirable hormone imbalances. See for example Dairy Hormonal Interference, Meat Hormones & Female Infertility, Acne-Promoting Effects of Milk, Anabolic Steroids in Meat, Dairy & Sexual Precocity, and Xenoestrogens & Early Puberty. Other videos on stress reduction include Antioxidant Level Dynamics and Improving Mood Through Diet. Plant-based diets are one of my most popular topics, spanning more than 100 videos, but I also cover another thousand nutrition subjects.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, Eating To Extend Our Lifespan, and Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Foods can also cause undesirable hormone imbalances. See for example Dairy Hormonal Interference, Meat Hormones & Female Infertility, Acne-Promoting Effects of Milk, Anabolic Steroids in Meat, Dairy & Sexual Precocity, and Xenoestrogens & Early Puberty. Other videos on stress reduction include Antioxidant Level Dynamics and Improving Mood Through Diet. Plant-based diets are one of my most popular topics, spanning more than 100 videos, but I also cover another thousand nutrition subjects.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Interesting!  Maybe DHEA stands for Don’t Help Egg Advocates.

      Did you think about sending a copy to Sophie who couldn’t believe what you posted about eggs a few days ago:  “Eating an egg a day the same risk as smocking 5 cigarettes??? Hello!!! The debate on cholesterol has been really challenged and debated a lot the last few years so you should know better.” 

      On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t ‘Egg’ her on.  ;-}

      • SJ M.D.

        I think Toxins closed the egg-debate several days ago !

        BTW: Very odd debate the other day. (Alleged) vegans getting very angry, because of a total legitimate comparison between two riskfactors, arguing that eggs/meat is not harmful (or something like that).

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Yeah it was interesting!  Nothing like “Stirrin’ the Beans!” Or should I say “Scrambling the Eggs.”
          ;-)

          Talking about nutrition is like talking about religion or politics–No matter what you say, it will make someone mad.

          • SJ M.D.

            Don`t mention the eggs! :-)

            You are probably right, one of my best friends is a paediatrician, and he got quite excited when I told him my view (the truth! ;-) ) of milk. 

          • JessDDS

            Haha HemoDynamic can I quote you on this???? I LOVE it!!!! We make people mad all of the time because we try to just eat well. :)

    • SJ M.D.

      Very interesting video again, dr G.

      To buy DHEA (with or without active ingredients) is not a good idea – lets face it – there are no shortcuts.

      It is established that CR extend lifespan in different species, no doubt about that, but a full biochemical explanation remains elusive. For sure it can not be reduced to one single factor. DHEA could be a indicator of slowing the rate of aging, or just one part of the puzzle. Very interesting that a vegan diet has this effect.

      Multiple mechanism of action has been proposed: Reduction in oxidative stress, alteration in hormone expression from the pituitary gland, reduction in body temperature, stimulation of repair systems, reduction of IGF-1, changes in mitochondrial function, reduced inflammation etc.

      Studies on lower animals have repeatly shown that CR can prolong life up to 50% Probably a lot less in humans.

      • Paulcohen3917

         Another mechanism of action is likely to be autophagy, the scavenging of proteins to make up for their deficit, starting with the defective proteins which may otherwise accumulate and result in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or various other conditions. I feel that those who practice CR look too emaciated and so, I started practicing  Alternate Day Dieting (500 calories or less 3-4 days a week and eating as much as desired the rest of the time- healthy plant based food in my case.). It is said to have nearly the same results as CR, and I did loses some weight; after dropping to my high school weight, it stabilized there. Dieting or fasting for such a short time seems to prevent the body from lowering the metabolism very much and the benefits, including the activation of the Sirtuin genes which promotes these mechanisms of action,seem to begin in as little as 16 hours.After the first week on this program and quite a bit of discomfort, I now find it rather easy to do with only minimal hunger pains.  

        • SJ M.D.

          Very interesting – do you have a link to further information on ADD?

          If I rember correct late dr Roy L. Walford also combined his regime with a one day fast pr. week

          • Paulcohen3917

             Hi  SJ:
            I  combine advice mainly from two sources:

            1) Ron Mignery PhD.’s Protein Cycling Diet found at http://proteincyclingdiet.wordpress.com/article/protein-cycling-diet-2s3nmvrwklbxs-1/
            along with his occasional updates at his blog linked to that site and

            2) James Johnson MD ‘s advice in both his book, The Alternate Day Diet- your local library probably has it- and his website at http://www.johnsonupdaydowndaydiet.com/

            Also, Naturalpathic doctor, Michael T. Murray, indicated in one of his books (which I can’t find at the moment)  that excluding virtually all protein each day until the evening meal is an effective way of managing Parkinson’s disease- in keeping with Dr. Mignery’s ideas.

            Some people also fast a few times a week for almost 24 hours, by not eating except for the evening meal.This may also have merit.

            By the way, in response to your advice against taking DHEA, let me share my own experience with it. About five years ago I realized that upon waking, I hadn’t been experiencing spontaneous morning erections for some time (I’m now 61). So in a successful self-study I started taking DHEA along with pregnenolone, stinging nettle root, which  is claimed to release free testosterone by binding to sex hormone-binding globulin more tightly than does testosterone, and DIM, an anti-amoratase. Not only did my morning erections return, along with improved libido, but my general mood and optimism also improved. I later dropped the pregenolone without any negative results. The result of the placebo effect? I doubt it, and in any case, the results are what I wanted.

          • SJ M.D.

            Thanks for info.

    • Lisaccox

      I have been on a vegan diet for 2 years. Why am I 50 pounds overweight?

      • Toxins

        What does your diet consist of? Do you consume whole plant foods or do you add oils? Do you consume refined products and added sweeterners? Vegan is not enough as one can be eating chips, oreos, olive oil and french fries but still be considered vegan.

      • GoingVeganUK

        I was overweight too. I recommend using the guidance in Dr.
        Joel Fuhrman’s book “Eat To Live”. It will help with losing body fat on a vegan diet.

  • http://poxacuatl.wordpress.com/ Strix

    Is this the stuff Suzanne Somers hawks? She seems to be successful with her supplements for now anyway. She makes me nervous about all the claims she makes;  I keep thinking something is going to happen to her. I wish  her the best, though.

     Did dairy affect the results in any way, I wonder.

  • Donna Lomp

    Michael, I LOVE your videos. I have posted many of them on my facebook page! As for this topic, what about a vegan diet? Is that better or worse for boosting DHEA levels? If it’s better, will you make a video about that?

    • Toxins

       Stay tuned! This is a short video series discussing DHEA levels between vegans, omnivores and those with caloric restriction!

  • Mike Quinoa

    Love your sense of humor, Dr. Greger. Is that graphic showing the various longevities online anywhere?

  • Aht117

    I’m in Thailand on a brand new MacBook Pro.  Why won’t your videos play?  

    • Mike Quinoa

      Hi Aht117,

      I’m using a MacMini with OS 10.6.8, and everything is good. Maybe check with your Apple store.

      • Aht117

        Thanks.  Are you in Thailand?  So called ‘high speed internet’ is decent here but below world average speeds.  I’m wondering if there’s a bottle neck in data coming across the Pacific.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

       I’m so sorry! Which browser and version of it are you using?  Is your browser version up to date? You can upgrade any browser version here: http://browsehappy.com/

      Have you tried clearing your browser cache and cookies?

      Have you tried using the browser with all extensions or add-ons disabled?

      Do you have third party cookies enabled?

      Do you have JavaScript enabled?

      Have you upgraded Flash recently or are you using the latest version?

      Do you have another browser you can try?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexandra-Lupin-Rajzman/605415726 Alexandra Lupin Rajzman

      Erase Adobe flash player from pour Mac, close your internet navigator and reinstall Adobe flash. It often happens to me and that’s what I do and it works.

  • Bgrune

    Thanks again for the great info. I generally agree that it is better to obtain (or preserve) nutrients or hormones through diet. I do however feel that it is overly conservative to rule out supplementation on the basis of quality control as there are manufacturers that have great quality control and even have their supplements tested by an independent lab after production. Life Extension is one such brand that I trust and I believe there are others. That being said, a vegan diet is definitely the best medicine as viewer of this site are undoubtedly aware. I understand the emphasis of Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Greger on dietary solutions. It is important that people understand that supplementation is almost never (vitamin d, b12) a good substitute for a healthy diet but I believe it can be beneficial  IN ADDITION to a healthy diet provided that the supplements are properly manufactured and tested.

    • Toxins

       Safety and side effects of DHEA supplementation is essentially unknown. Interactions with other body chemistry must be accounted for.

  • Dr.Farrow

    Does refraining from eggs increase DHEA further for vegetarians?  What about vegans who eat not eggs and no dairy?

    • R Ian Flett

      Why lactovegetarian and not just vegetarian?
      This study is 14 years old. Why was it dragged out of the old closet?
      There has been plenty of time to test whether egg exclusion is a necessary  part of this interesting and important DHEA link with longevity.
      At every chance eggs seem to get implicated in bad health without decent evidence. Certainly, sometimes they are bad.
      The egg debate is not closed as implicated by some vocal disciples here. 
      There are lots of papers extolling their virtues and most large medical institutions don’t warn people off them unless they have cholesterol problems. At the same time, the egg lobby cherry picks positive findings on them.
      Why can’t we just have some balanced science without ideological or profit motivated selectivity?

      • Toxins

        r Lan Flett, I have consistenly seen you post about the ‘benifits” and “health” of eggs while lacking any scientific evidence to make such claims. Wherei s your evidence? I have posted my response to you regarding eggs several times now but you eem to compeltely ignore the evidence.

        • http://www.philippeorlando.com Philippe Orlando

          Please repost your information about eggs! That’d be greatly appreciated

          • Toxins

            Eggs are considered good sources of lutein and omega 3 and an excellent source of protein. For these reasons, they are considered health foods. Firstly, chickens only have lutein due to the fact that they have a varietized feed, these nutrients are not inherent of eggs. A spoonful of spinach has as much lutein as 9 eggs. We cannot really consider eggs an appropriate source of this nutrient. As for protein, all whole foods are complete sources of protein so this statement to its benefits is insignificant. Energy needs satisfy energy expenditures which is equivalent to protein needs. As long as you eat whole plant foods when your hungry till your full, then your getting enough protein.

            Regarding Omega 3, current levels of omega 3 in eggs are highly inadequate and one must consume around 30 eggs to reach an acceptable level of omega 3 for the day. A male needs around 1.6 grams of omega 3 per day, a female needs around 1.1 grams a day. Omega 3 processes to EPA which is also processed to DHA, which is highly anti inflammatory. Omega 6 processes down to arachadonic acid which is highly inflammatory. The fact that eggs are the top source of arachadonic acid nulls and voids benefits received from the omega 3 in the egg itself. High intake of arachadonic acid is linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, as well as a clear link with cancer development.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=20950616uid
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774339
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139128

            The Harvard physicians study followed 20,000 doctors for 20 years and those that ate just one egg a day had significant increase in all cause mortality.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400720

            In fact, David Spence, director of stroke prevention/atherosclerosis research center and one of the worlds leading stroke experts, said that based on the latest research, you can eat all the eggs you want IF your dying of a terminal illness. Eggs are not considered health promoting nutritionally speaking.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400699

            Eggs have been linked with heart failure
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18954578

            As well as type 2 diabetes.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628696/?tool=pubmed

            Furthermore,in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, David Spence, David Jenkins (the inventor of the glycemic index) and Jean Davignon (director of atherosclerosis research group) posted a review on eggs claiming that the egg industry has been downplaying the health risks of eggs through misleading advertisements. As soon as you eat one egg, you expose your body to several hours worth of oxidative stress, inflammation of ones arteries, endothelieum impairment (what keeps you blood running smoothly) and increases the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidize (beginning stages of heart disease).
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21076725
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9001684

            Theegg industry has claimed that cholesterol from eggs is negligible and does not raise cholesterol levels. The major flaw in the study the egg industry has used to make this claim is that they measured FASTING lipid levels at night and not levels through out the day after egg consumption. “Diet is not all about fasting lipids; it is mainly about the three-quarters of the day that we are in the nonfasting state. Fasting lipids can be thought of as a baseline; they show what the endothelium was exposed to for the last few hours of the night.”
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989358/?tool=pubmed

            A single egg yolk contains approximately 215 to 275 mg of cholesterol. A safe upper limit can be capped at 200 mg if one is looking to prevent heart disease. One egg far exceeds this daily upper limit.

            In regards to egg whites, although true they are a good source of protein, this is possibly the only positive statement that can be made of it. Here is some evidence of a major component of egg whites, Methionine, possibly causing human harm.

            1. Egg whites are high in the amino Acid Methionine. Rice has 14 times less of this amino acid and beans 7 time less. When one consumes Methionine in a large quantity
            (like that found in egg whites), it is broken down into sulfuric compounds. these sulfuric compounds are buffered by the calcium of the bones. the result, over time, is osteoporosis and kidney stones.
            http://www.vivalis.si/literatura/6a00.pdf

            2.Cancer cell metabolism is dependent upon methionine being present in the diet; whereas normal cells can grow on a methionine-free
            diet feeding off other sulfur-containing amino acids.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14585259
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12416254

            3. Insulin like growth factor is raised significantly by high levels of Methionine. raised levels of IGF-1 = accelerated aging/tumor promotion.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12176673
            http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/92/18/1472.abstract

            4.Sulfur from Methionine is known to be toxic to the tissues of the intestine, and to have harmful effects on the human colon, even at low levels, possibly causing ulcerative colitis.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9448181
            http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/82/11/950.abstract

            The balance of evidence is clearly against even moderate consumption of eggs, and I fail to understand how one can consider this food “healthy” once it is understood what we expose our body to when we eat eggs.

          • http://www.philippeorlando.com Philippe Orlando

            Thank you very much, that is great info!

          • Toxins

            Although old, the above post I made needed some editing. Please view the revised version.

          • Dan Lundeen

            Nice post! Are the recent TMAO reports already addressed in these sources, or would they be an addition?

          • jazzfeed

            Fantastic! Still, I would like to see all these results broken down a bit further, parsed by: organically vs non-organically (but non-GMO) feed-raised chickens, organically vs GMO exclusive feed-raised chickens and CAFO vs free-ranged chickens. Also by method of preparation. For example, soft-boiled cooking in the shell oxidizes the egg less than other methods of broken-shell preparation.

          • Toxins

            The issues raised are unrelated with conventional vs organic or preparation method. The main issue is saturated fat, cholesterol, and arachidonic acid, which inherently exist in eggs. Not to mention raised IGF-1 from animal based foods.
            More info here.
            http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/eggs/

          • Toxins

            Also, the above post I made needs some editing, Please view the revised version.

          • Myrt Geoghegan

            Where is the revised version? Thanks for doing this! I need to show to many people.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Ooh exciting since I plan on being a centenarian :) plants rock! I hope it’s even more impressive for vegans.

  • AlexanderBerenyi

    Oh wow—now that’s interesting.

  • L Paitson

    An easy way to raise your DHEA is to skip breakfast or eat it late. DHEA levels follow your biological clock, being highest in the morning, and are suppressed by the first meal of the day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manon.begin.31 VeganNeuropsy Begin

    What do you think about DHEA as a supplement for aiding fertility in aging women (premature ovarian aging)?

  • Darryl

    Dr. Greger, I believe there’s a video, maybe a series of them, on the topic of methionine restriction, which also seems to parallel, and even account for many of the benefits of caloric restriction.

    It’s not a new avenue of research, the key early animal study (PMID: 8429371) is nearing its 20th anniversary. Its been used as an adjunct to chemotherapy for a decade now. And another article (PMID: 18789600) ties methionine restriction explicitly to vegan diets.

    Methionine reduction doesn’t appear to be on your radar (given your 2010 “prize CD” of research articles) yet, though you kind of touched on some of the mechanisms in your series on excess complete proteins, IGF-1, and cancer.

    • Allen

      See also
      “Dietary glycine supplementation mimics lifespan extension by dietary methionine restriction in Fisher 344 rats”

      http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/25/1_MeetingAbstracts/528.2

      Glycine also has many other health benefits including that it promotes good sleep. Glycine powder is not only inexpensive, but it tastes a lot like sugar. I find it very easy to add a tablespoon of it to my diet rather than trying to restrict methionine which is nearly impossible.

  • Tom Davis

    When I go on a vegan diet, my triglycerides go through the roof (>400) and my HDL drops like a rock (<30). I'd like to be a vegan, but for some reason it doesn't work for me.

    • Allen

      Some people react this way to excessive sugar. Fruit juice might be the problem and I suspect that pure fruit smoothies might contribute. Fat added to the same meal slows down sugar absorption- which is why I add flax seeds to my smoothie.

    • Toxins

      What comprises your diet? Eating white bread with candy fits the definition of vegan so the emphasis really needs to be on whole unprocessed plant foods.

  • Martha Helene Jones

    Dear Doc I am 60 and use DHEA for vaginal thinning (for me it helps prevent vaginal rips and tears). So in addition to its potential to extend lifespan I use it for the estrogen boost. What are the risks associated with taking it on a regular basis (25mg 2-3 times a week)? One of your stoplight ratings would be helpful. thanks for all you do!

  • Kris Nelson

    What do you think of: http://gettingstronger.org/2011/05/intermittent-fasting-for-health-and-longevity/

    Promoted for its apparent autophagic effects.

    Peace.

  • MorphingInterstices

    I was sick for twenty years eating lacto-vegetarian. If that was my path to longevity, then I am happy to trade a few years of total lifespan for the extra years of glowingly good health I have enjoyed since rediscovering organic eggs and meats.