Doctor's Note

I’ve previously covered UC in Preventing Ulcerative Colitis with Diet and Bowel Wars: Hydrogen Sulfide vs. Butyrate. More on this epic fermentation battle in our gut in Stool pH and Colon Cancer.

More on inflammatory bowel in:                                                             

Is the concept of sulfur-rich proteins new to you? Check out Starving Cancer with Methionine Restriction and Methionine Restriction as a Life Extension Strategy.

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  • basehitz

    I’ve had UC for 20 years. It was always well managed until I provided in essence assisted living for my elderly mother, and it was completely out of control after 2 years. Other arrangements were made for my mother and I returned to my normal lifestyle, but the damage already done was so severe, it looked too late. I reviewed popular websites on UC, such as and, along with medical for-profit websites. Nothing worked that was suggested. It was always more drugs, different drugs, surgery, and they listed specific foods to avoid, mostly fruits and vegetables. So with that completely failed and unwilling to do the conventional route of more powerful drugs and/or surgery, by trial and error I found that the more vegetables I ate, the better my system responded. Then I began to actively search out websites on nutritional medicine and to put into practice what these people suggested. It worked. January 2015, I made the final major changes and am today almost entirely whole food plant based. UC has been in complete remission since April and I now take half the prescribed dosage of a generic anti-inflammatory drug, and continue to gradually phase it out. I hope to be at zero drugs by next year. Dr Greger is now my go to guy for nutritional science.

    • brydon10

      I’m so glad to hear of the positive change your diet had. Was it the stress of helping your mother that brought on your flare up? I have crohn’s disease, and I find stress can make this worse. I’ve been in remission for about 5-6 years now (I wasn’t on any special diet, just lucky I guess) and medication free for 2 years. However, I have changed my diet on my own while in remission to hopefully prevent any future attacks. My diet isn’t perfectly whole foods, but vegetarian with very little dairy and eggs, I hope to “clean it up” more as I get better at it. I hope your health stays up.

      • basehitz

        Thanks for encouraging comments. I’m certain stress was a contributing factor, but I think diet was the primary cause. Prior to this stay I ate little meat. Staying with her meat was the main portion of the meal. This is consistent with multiple instructional videos from Dr G. Now I am completely meat free and almost entirely dairy free (a little skim milk with cheerios is about all that’s left). So diet is the make or break factor for me. And I also continue to study to further “clean it up”. I am also focusing much more on quality of items on menu, not just that it’s vegetarian. For example, I used to eat beans out of a can regularly. Today it is almost entirely from dry made in a nutrition-packed soup including spices proven to have health benefit, like turmeric and piperine because of this:

  • gmarklin

    If sulfur containing amino acids are bad – what about the sulfur containing supplements that many people take for joint pain, like glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM?

    • Matthew Smith

      I thought MSM was very good for you. Hydrogen Sulfide in the wrong place in the body can be bad, but it might be a pseudo-hormone and might be responsible for lowering blood pressure. It is possible to develop a sulfur deficiency given that it is the third most abundant mineral in the body. Magnesium sulfate is or was the hospital-based drug of choice for lowering blood pressure. Is it the Magnesium or the Sulfur that lowers blood pressure so quickly? It might be both.

    • Allison

      My UC was pretty much half healed for ten yrs .still bleeds and flair ups then I started the eatright4yourtype and within 3days all bleeding stopped and has been under control for 16 yrs. Even with my vegan was giving up the bananas tomato potato capsicum chickpeas. These are no good for A blood type. I know the diet was poopooed but it saved me.

    • Fred

      Check this?

      “This time the hazard ratio for mortality reduction is .82: 18% fewer deaths per unit of time for those consuming the supplement.

      Both of these papers were done on the same group of 77,719 people. We note that this is as great an effect as combining vegan diet and fish consumption! We find this quite surprising. Glucosamine appears to have a comparable or greater effect on mortality reduction and lifespan extension than Meformin, Rapamycin, 2DG, Veganism, and Resveratrol in nematodes and rodents.”

  • Lucy

    2 questions I have; does this include fish? or just meat? Does this apply to Crohns or just UC?

    • Noeb49

      Lucy, I would bet this applies to both Crohns and UC because both are considered inflammatory bowel diseases. Personally my UC went in remission when I completely omitted fish and meat. I’m completely vegan now. Totally worth it to have my UC not bother me anymore!

    • LG King


      The way I look at it is, there are only two types of food on the planet…Plant, and Animal.

      Last time I checked, ‘fish’ was not considered a ‘plant’. ALL animal products pretty much have the same response in our bodies.

    • Christo Okulian

      Lucy kindly check other videos about fish to add more perspective about fish, coz it seems although fish doesnt give us bad effect for UC or even Crohns, avoiding both meat and fish provide the best interest in terms of health.

      u might want to check other vid in this web. it might help you understand my opinion.thx

      and u also can find the video about crohns… am sure the solution is pretty similar.

    • Jessica

      Clicking through to the abstract of the review article Dr. Greger shows in the video (link under Sources Cited) suggests that the low-meat diet recommendation may be specifically for UC, but that “[i]ndirect evidence supports recommendation of a low intake of animal fat, insoluble fibre and processed fatty foods containing emulsifiers” for both UC/Crohn’s (IBD).

  • Noeb49

    I’ve had UC since 1995 and once I went completely WFPB no SOS, my UC went into remission. I’d like to know the dose of oat bran used in the study mentioned in regards to butyrate.

  • do good

    What about sulfur-rich vegetables such as broccoli?

    • Christo Okulian

      good question

  • John

    This makes me wonder if cruciferous vegetables, with their sulfur compounds would aggravate the Ulcerative Colitis. John

  • Kamen

    Thanks! Not sure if I asked you to investigate the UC, but thanks!

  • john tiffany

    Ask the doctor
    I’ve been hearing a lot about fasting intermittently. Seems you are missing a bet by not talking about if. What are the benefits of skipping breakfast? Should we only eat dinner? While fasting should we drink coffee? Water? Should we not really fast but just under-eat? How is human growth hormone affected? What about autophagy? Is intermittent fasting a good way to lose weight and add muscle?

    • Guest

      I’d also be interested in this topic. I’ve been eating only within an eight hour time period each day for the last couple of year after reading that the practice promotes a healthy live including brain health and might even result in a longer and .

  • Slavica Mazak Beslic

    Meat ones per week , is that You call the best recomendation? But why You not recomend, like a best one: diet with no animal products ?To my position or mind it is the best diet : with no animal products . Animal products are harm to all our cells . Am I right ? We have the right to know the best of the best . Thanks .

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Legendado em Português:
    Subtitled in Portuguese

  • Leyos

    Good day Doctor Greger. I really admirer your work, congratulations for living your true passion and thank you so much, because it is very helpful for so many people and for me and my family! My question is: If I understood the video on Ulcerative Colitis correctly, Sulfur intakes are not something we should aim at. Though I do not have this condition (Ulcerative Colitis), I have been interested in MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). I Read a lot of information on this considered to be “Miraculous” substance ( What is your opinion on this supplement? Thank you!

  • Lara18

    I was ovo lacto vegetarian for about thirty five years until about two years ago when i stopped drinking milk and started reducing my dairy intake. I stopped eating eggs about six months ago, in the midst of a previous diagnosis of c-diff (clostridium dificile) which my doctors think I may have gotten during several bouts of illness requiring me to take antibiotics during the Fall of 2014. I think they’re wrong because ever since the 1970s I’ve taken probiotics each time I’m on an antibiotic. Anyway, the c-diff ended up causing a flareup of my ulcerative colitis with which I haven’t suffered since the 1980s. Doctors always want to put us on medication and some of it can cause symptoms almost as bad as the ailment. Most of the meds include an element of medication to which I’m allergic and I’ve refused. It bothers me that pharmaceutical companies provide incentives to medical professionals for them to purchase the medications. This is a personal prejudice I have difficulty dealing with. Anyway, back in 2012 following my colonoscopy my GI doctor told me there was no evidence of my ever having had colitis, that I was pretty much completely cured of it. I had no symptoms of it at all until the time I was suffering with c-dif at the beginning of 2015. My May 2015 colonoscopy diagnosed me with c-dif and ulcerative colitis. I attribute it all to the increased stress I suffered with during the last year. Since suffering with the c-diff I increased my probiotic intake to 500-750 billion mgs and started including a prebiotic called Boulardis Saccharides and after many months feel the c-dif is gone. Anyway, last year I significantly changed my diet so that I’m practically vegan….no eggs, no milk, mostly plant based although I can’t resist an occasional dish of eggplant parmesan (I ask the wait staff for very little cheese). I feel as if my c-diff is finally gone but I’ve had a bad flareup with ulcerative colitis this past week and a half so I’ve drastically reduced my food intake. I don’t fit the normal profile of some suffering with ulcerative colitis, except for the stress, which as we all know we literally and figuratively feel in our gut. I’m trying to deal with it by returning to some yoga and exercise….I’ll see how that goes. In the meantime I’m practically starving and not yet able to leave my house for any length of time beyond an hour or two (that’s a great improvement over last week!) I hope to meet with a nutritionist who can assist me in developing a menu plan. I need protein and without the nuts I love (so happy about smooth peanut butter) and raw fruits and veggies which I adore and apparently now have to cook (which I hate!), I need to understand what foods I can incorporate. I’m also type 2 diabetic but not on medication for it.

  • Sahara

    I’ve been vegan (whole foods, no soy wheat or gluten) for 6 months now. Although my overall health has improved and I’m not going back, my colitis is still terrible. What am I doing wrong? Am I eating too many fruits? can someone please help me? I’m at my wits end.

    • Howie Kaplan

      +Sahara June 7 2016 Can U please contact me via Email
      about the Chronic Colitis, I have the same, and I too, am a vegetarian.

  • Laura

    A plant based diet has defiantly helped my Ulcerative Colitis. I have been in remission for 10 years by not drinking alcohol and eating a strict non dairy plant based diet. In addition to this I have smoked cannabis daily and practiced yoga, all of which I believe have helped me to remain in remission. I just recently became pregnant and I am having my first flare up in 10 years. Dr. Greger do you know of any correlation between pregnancy and a ulcerative colitis flare up? I also have not been on any medication for my UC for 10 years, I was able to stop my meds after I made lifestyle changes.

  • veganhil

    I have had uc for the last seven years, been on an experimental drug called vedolezumab (entyvio) taken intravenously. It seemed to work quite well for me in the beginning, but has not for the past six months. My symptoms have been worse than ever. I have been a vegetarian most of my life. Up until three years ago I was eating fish and chicken occasionally and cheese (no milk). Three years ago I became vegan with a totally whole food plant based diet. I don’t know where to go next. Do you have any suggestions?
    BTW I have ‘How Not To Die’, just starting it. I’m hoping to be able to pass it around my family and share the knowledge. Thank you for writing the book.