Flashback Friday: The Best Foods for Fighting Autism and Brain Inflammation

Flashback Friday: The Best Foods for Fighting Autism and Brain Inflammation
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One food may be able to combat all four purported causal factors of autism: synaptic dysfunction, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neuroinflammation. The sulforaphane found in five cents’ worth of broccoli sprouts has been shown to benefit autism in a way no drug ever has in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Harvard neurologist Martha Herbert, in a keynote address at an autism conference, said “we need to conduct research as if we know this is an emergency.” Already, up to one and a half percent of American children have autism, and it appears to be on the rise. Well, what about fever’s dramatic effect? This “dramatic relief of autistic behavior [during a fever] continues to tantalize parents and practitioners.” From a research standpoint, “what could be more revealing than a common event that virtually ‘normalizes’ autistic behavior for a time?” “There’s so much going on during fever,” though; where do you even begin?

Well, once it became understood that one cause of autism may reside in the synapses—the so-called “soul of the brain,” the nerve-to-nerve junctions where information is transmitted—attention turned to HSPs, heat shock proteins, released by the brain when you have a fever, that can improve synaptic transmission, and thus, may be “capable of improving long-range [brain] connectivity which is depressed in [autism].” ASD stands for autism spectrum disorder. And, there’s this compound, sulforaphane, that “upregulates” those heat shock proteins. So, you could potentially get the benefits without the fever. What drug company makes it? What do I ask for at the pharmacy? Nope, wrong aisle.

Sulforaphane is not made in chemical plant; it’s made by a plant. Sulforaphane is made by broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, and cauliflower—in other words, cruciferous vegetables. So, maybe if we give some broccoli to those with autism, it will make things better by boosting the heat shock proteins.

But, synaptic dysfunction is not the only contributing cause of autism. There’s also oxidative stress. “The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress” because lots of free radicals are forged in the brain, which has few “antioxidant defense capacities.” And, indeed, “[t]here is a long history of studies showing that [autism] is associated with oxidative stress and diminished antioxidant capacity.” Nrf2 levels cut nearly in half, which is what triggers our body’s “antioxidant response.” If only there was a way we could boost Nrf2 with foods—boom, there it is! Sulforaphane just so happens to be perhaps “the most potent natural…inducer…of Nrf2” on the planet.

What’s this Nrf2 thing again? It’s “considered to be a master regulator of” our body’s response to environmental stressors. Under any kind of stress—oxidative stress, inflammatory stress—Nrf2 triggers our “antioxidant response elements,” activating all sorts of cell-protective genes that balance out and detoxify the free radicals, and facilitate protein and DNA repair.

So, maybe if we give some broccoli to those with autism, it will also make things better by triggering Nrf2, which activates those antioxidant response elements. And then, there’s the mitochondrial dysfunction. “[C]hildren with autism [are] more likely to” suffer from dysfunctional mitochondria, the little power plants within our cells where metabolism takes place. If only there was some food that could improve mitochondrial function. And, there is. “A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables effectively retunes our metabolism by…restoring metabolic [balance].” Power plants for our cellular power plants.

Not only can sulforaphane boost the gene expression of heat shock proteins as much as six-fold within six hours, it can double the mass of mitochondria in human cells growing in a petri dish. So, maybe if we give some broccoli to those with autism, it will also make things better by relieving some of that mitochondrial dysfunction that is creating even more free radicals. Okay. So, can we try giving some kids some broccoli already? First, one final factor: neuroinflammation—brain inflammation, another causal factor in autism. If, at autopsy, you look at brain tissue of those with autism, you can see inflammation throughout the white matter.  And, if you do a spinal tap, up to 200 times the levels of inflammatory mediators, like interferon, bathing their brains. 

What’s causing all that inflammation? Well, the master regulator of the inflammatory cascade is a protein called NF-kappa-beta, which induces inflammation and, if overexpressed, like in autism, can lead to “chronic or excessive inflammation.” If only there was a food. Wait—broccoli does that, too? In fact, it’s the major anti-inflammatory mechanism for sulforaphane, inhibiting NF-kappa-beta.

Well, then; that completes the picture. Give someone with autism broccoli, and heat shock proteins are released to boost synaptic transmission, Nrf2 is activated to wipe out the free radicals, mitochondrial function is restored, and we suppress the inflammation triggered by NF-kappa-beta. One food to counter all four purported causal factors. That’s one of the differences between foods and drugs. Drugs tend to have single effects. But, autism spectrum disorder, ASD, “is multi-factorial”—no wonder there’s no drugs that work. But, “strategies using multi-functional phytochemicals [like sulforaphane] or even [better] the [whole] plants [themselves],…are highly attractive”—in theory. But, you don’t know, until you put it to the test, which I promise we’ll cover, next.

You may remember my series of videos about the engine-of-aging enzyme, TOR. Well, kids with autism tend to have higher TOR activity in their bodies, and this “hyperactive…TOR…signaling” may actually play a role in causing autism, making TOR a potential target to treat autism—or even theoretically reverse it, if we could target downstream TOR signaling, like between TOR and S6K1. Well, that’s actually one of the ways broccoli compounds kill off prostate cancer cells—by inhibiting the “signal transduction between…TOR and S6K1.” Breast cancer too; sulforaphane is “a potent inhibitor” of breast cancer cells, because “it targets downstream elements of the [TOR] pathway.”

So, if we gave broccoli to those with autism, if it blocks TOR, maybe it would block some of the synaptic dysfunction that contributes to the features of autism. And, that’s in addition to blocking autism pathways four other ways: “oxidative stress and lower antioxidant capacity, [the] mitochondrial dysfunction,” the brain inflammation. And, not just in a petri dish: “sulforaphane can cross the blood-brain-barrier.” You eat broccoli, and sulforaphane “quickly reach[es your brain] to exert its protective effects”—in theory, but you don’t know, until you put it to the test.

But now, you can understand why such a study could attract researchers from leading institutions: Harvard, Hopkins, and get published in one of our most prestigious journals: PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). But what did they find? Well, first, what did they do? A “placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial, young men (aged 13–27) with moderate to severe [autism] received…sulforaphane…from broccoli sprout[s], or [an] indistinguishable [sugar pill].” They “were dosed according to body weight.” Those under 100 pounds got about a tablespoon of broccoli sprouts worth of sulforaphane a day, which is about a cup’s worth of broccoli. Between 100 and 200 pounds got about two cups of broccoli’s worth, or two tablespoons of fresh broccoli sprouts, and the big boys got three cups’ worth a day, or a little under a quarter-cup of broccoli sprouts. Why didn’t they just use actual broccoli, or actual sprouts? Because then you couldn’t have a blinded study; the patients, doctors, and parents would know who’s getting the special treatment and who’s not, and that could introduce bias just through the placebo effect. So, instead, no one knew, until the end, who got the sulforaphane, and who just got nothing in a pill.

They chose dietary sulforaphane because of its “capacity to reverse” oxidation, dysfunction, and inflammation. Yeah, but, when put to the test, did it actually work? Well, the placebo didn’t. Give people with autism nothing, and nothing much happens. But, effectively, secretly sneak them some broccoli, and “substantial…improvement…in [behavior], social interaction,…and verbal communication.” But, it all disappeared once the broccoli stopped.

Let me show you what it looks like. This is the ABC score, the “Aberrant Behaviour Checklist,” which includes things like repetitive behaviors. In the placebo group, no big change, which is what you’d expect. But the abnormal behaviors plunged in the sulforaphane group—the group that got the sulforaphane found in about five cents’ worth of broccoli sprouts a day. But, the study ended on week 18, and a month later, things were heading back to where they started.

Similar findings for a “Social Responsiveness Scale”—significant improvements until the treatment was stopped, and then caught right back up to how poorly those in the placebo group continued to function. And, these weren’t just scores on a page. “The substantial improvements…were conspicuous;” the doctors could see them; their parents and caregivers could see the improvements. No drug has ever been shown to have these kinds of effects. And, look, these were young men, starting at age 13. One could imagine it working as well, or even better, for younger children, because their brains are still developing.

And look, what’s the downside? “Broccoli sprouts are widely consumed…all over the world…without any reports of adverse effects.” Now, remember, we’re talking about whole foods, not broccoli or sulforaphane supplements. Remember, I did videos about them. Broccoli sprouts work; commercial broccoli sprout supplements hardly at all. Broccoli has sulforaphane—florets more than the stems. 

Broccoli sprouts have like ten times more, but broccoli pills, powders, and supplements have little or none. So, broccoli and cruciferous vegetables for all kids—autism or not—and hey, maybe pregnant women as well, for potential “prenatal prevention” of autism in the first place.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Kate Maldjian, Artem Kovyazin, Basti Steinhaur, Duda Araujo, and Basti Steinhauer from The Noun Project.

Image credit: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Harvard neurologist Martha Herbert, in a keynote address at an autism conference, said “we need to conduct research as if we know this is an emergency.” Already, up to one and a half percent of American children have autism, and it appears to be on the rise. Well, what about fever’s dramatic effect? This “dramatic relief of autistic behavior [during a fever] continues to tantalize parents and practitioners.” From a research standpoint, “what could be more revealing than a common event that virtually ‘normalizes’ autistic behavior for a time?” “There’s so much going on during fever,” though; where do you even begin?

Well, once it became understood that one cause of autism may reside in the synapses—the so-called “soul of the brain,” the nerve-to-nerve junctions where information is transmitted—attention turned to HSPs, heat shock proteins, released by the brain when you have a fever, that can improve synaptic transmission, and thus, may be “capable of improving long-range [brain] connectivity which is depressed in [autism].” ASD stands for autism spectrum disorder. And, there’s this compound, sulforaphane, that “upregulates” those heat shock proteins. So, you could potentially get the benefits without the fever. What drug company makes it? What do I ask for at the pharmacy? Nope, wrong aisle.

Sulforaphane is not made in chemical plant; it’s made by a plant. Sulforaphane is made by broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, and cauliflower—in other words, cruciferous vegetables. So, maybe if we give some broccoli to those with autism, it will make things better by boosting the heat shock proteins.

But, synaptic dysfunction is not the only contributing cause of autism. There’s also oxidative stress. “The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress” because lots of free radicals are forged in the brain, which has few “antioxidant defense capacities.” And, indeed, “[t]here is a long history of studies showing that [autism] is associated with oxidative stress and diminished antioxidant capacity.” Nrf2 levels cut nearly in half, which is what triggers our body’s “antioxidant response.” If only there was a way we could boost Nrf2 with foods—boom, there it is! Sulforaphane just so happens to be perhaps “the most potent natural…inducer…of Nrf2” on the planet.

What’s this Nrf2 thing again? It’s “considered to be a master regulator of” our body’s response to environmental stressors. Under any kind of stress—oxidative stress, inflammatory stress—Nrf2 triggers our “antioxidant response elements,” activating all sorts of cell-protective genes that balance out and detoxify the free radicals, and facilitate protein and DNA repair.

So, maybe if we give some broccoli to those with autism, it will also make things better by triggering Nrf2, which activates those antioxidant response elements. And then, there’s the mitochondrial dysfunction. “[C]hildren with autism [are] more likely to” suffer from dysfunctional mitochondria, the little power plants within our cells where metabolism takes place. If only there was some food that could improve mitochondrial function. And, there is. “A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables effectively retunes our metabolism by…restoring metabolic [balance].” Power plants for our cellular power plants.

Not only can sulforaphane boost the gene expression of heat shock proteins as much as six-fold within six hours, it can double the mass of mitochondria in human cells growing in a petri dish. So, maybe if we give some broccoli to those with autism, it will also make things better by relieving some of that mitochondrial dysfunction that is creating even more free radicals. Okay. So, can we try giving some kids some broccoli already? First, one final factor: neuroinflammation—brain inflammation, another causal factor in autism. If, at autopsy, you look at brain tissue of those with autism, you can see inflammation throughout the white matter.  And, if you do a spinal tap, up to 200 times the levels of inflammatory mediators, like interferon, bathing their brains. 

What’s causing all that inflammation? Well, the master regulator of the inflammatory cascade is a protein called NF-kappa-beta, which induces inflammation and, if overexpressed, like in autism, can lead to “chronic or excessive inflammation.” If only there was a food. Wait—broccoli does that, too? In fact, it’s the major anti-inflammatory mechanism for sulforaphane, inhibiting NF-kappa-beta.

Well, then; that completes the picture. Give someone with autism broccoli, and heat shock proteins are released to boost synaptic transmission, Nrf2 is activated to wipe out the free radicals, mitochondrial function is restored, and we suppress the inflammation triggered by NF-kappa-beta. One food to counter all four purported causal factors. That’s one of the differences between foods and drugs. Drugs tend to have single effects. But, autism spectrum disorder, ASD, “is multi-factorial”—no wonder there’s no drugs that work. But, “strategies using multi-functional phytochemicals [like sulforaphane] or even [better] the [whole] plants [themselves],…are highly attractive”—in theory. But, you don’t know, until you put it to the test, which I promise we’ll cover, next.

You may remember my series of videos about the engine-of-aging enzyme, TOR. Well, kids with autism tend to have higher TOR activity in their bodies, and this “hyperactive…TOR…signaling” may actually play a role in causing autism, making TOR a potential target to treat autism—or even theoretically reverse it, if we could target downstream TOR signaling, like between TOR and S6K1. Well, that’s actually one of the ways broccoli compounds kill off prostate cancer cells—by inhibiting the “signal transduction between…TOR and S6K1.” Breast cancer too; sulforaphane is “a potent inhibitor” of breast cancer cells, because “it targets downstream elements of the [TOR] pathway.”

So, if we gave broccoli to those with autism, if it blocks TOR, maybe it would block some of the synaptic dysfunction that contributes to the features of autism. And, that’s in addition to blocking autism pathways four other ways: “oxidative stress and lower antioxidant capacity, [the] mitochondrial dysfunction,” the brain inflammation. And, not just in a petri dish: “sulforaphane can cross the blood-brain-barrier.” You eat broccoli, and sulforaphane “quickly reach[es your brain] to exert its protective effects”—in theory, but you don’t know, until you put it to the test.

But now, you can understand why such a study could attract researchers from leading institutions: Harvard, Hopkins, and get published in one of our most prestigious journals: PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). But what did they find? Well, first, what did they do? A “placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial, young men (aged 13–27) with moderate to severe [autism] received…sulforaphane…from broccoli sprout[s], or [an] indistinguishable [sugar pill].” They “were dosed according to body weight.” Those under 100 pounds got about a tablespoon of broccoli sprouts worth of sulforaphane a day, which is about a cup’s worth of broccoli. Between 100 and 200 pounds got about two cups of broccoli’s worth, or two tablespoons of fresh broccoli sprouts, and the big boys got three cups’ worth a day, or a little under a quarter-cup of broccoli sprouts. Why didn’t they just use actual broccoli, or actual sprouts? Because then you couldn’t have a blinded study; the patients, doctors, and parents would know who’s getting the special treatment and who’s not, and that could introduce bias just through the placebo effect. So, instead, no one knew, until the end, who got the sulforaphane, and who just got nothing in a pill.

They chose dietary sulforaphane because of its “capacity to reverse” oxidation, dysfunction, and inflammation. Yeah, but, when put to the test, did it actually work? Well, the placebo didn’t. Give people with autism nothing, and nothing much happens. But, effectively, secretly sneak them some broccoli, and “substantial…improvement…in [behavior], social interaction,…and verbal communication.” But, it all disappeared once the broccoli stopped.

Let me show you what it looks like. This is the ABC score, the “Aberrant Behaviour Checklist,” which includes things like repetitive behaviors. In the placebo group, no big change, which is what you’d expect. But the abnormal behaviors plunged in the sulforaphane group—the group that got the sulforaphane found in about five cents’ worth of broccoli sprouts a day. But, the study ended on week 18, and a month later, things were heading back to where they started.

Similar findings for a “Social Responsiveness Scale”—significant improvements until the treatment was stopped, and then caught right back up to how poorly those in the placebo group continued to function. And, these weren’t just scores on a page. “The substantial improvements…were conspicuous;” the doctors could see them; their parents and caregivers could see the improvements. No drug has ever been shown to have these kinds of effects. And, look, these were young men, starting at age 13. One could imagine it working as well, or even better, for younger children, because their brains are still developing.

And look, what’s the downside? “Broccoli sprouts are widely consumed…all over the world…without any reports of adverse effects.” Now, remember, we’re talking about whole foods, not broccoli or sulforaphane supplements. Remember, I did videos about them. Broccoli sprouts work; commercial broccoli sprout supplements hardly at all. Broccoli has sulforaphane—florets more than the stems. 

Broccoli sprouts have like ten times more, but broccoli pills, powders, and supplements have little or none. So, broccoli and cruciferous vegetables for all kids—autism or not—and hey, maybe pregnant women as well, for potential “prenatal prevention” of autism in the first place.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Kate Maldjian, Artem Kovyazin, Basti Steinhaur, Duda Araujo, and Basti Steinhauer from The Noun Project.

Image credit: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

37 responses to “Flashback Friday: The Best Foods for Fighting Autism and Brain Inflammation

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  1. That’s such substantial improvement that I’m surprised it’s not more well known. Please tell me that this is being talked about in the medical community that deals with autism!

  2. I have been growing broccoli sprouts for some time now, and I think this is the best, easiest and most efficient method for do so.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6iSPQoOVvw. Fast forward through all the repetitious rinsing.

    Using a mason jar with a sprouting lid makes it harder to drain well and the sprouts tend to go moldy. Once you get a system set up based on your household consumption, it is simple to have sprouts every day with minimal effort of just rinsing twice a day.

    1. Thanks for sharing that. I have been watching videos where they grow them on paper towels and other methods.

      I haven’t started yet, I am just watching all the ways they do it.

      I have switched to broccoli microgreens, which feel more like a salad to me.

      I still don’t know the nutritional difference between broccoli microgreens and sprouts.

      The greens are more enjoyable to me.

      But it was the broccoli sprouts I used to get rid of social anxiety after watching Dr. Greger’s broccoli and autism videos.

    2. I watched this video but wasn’t too impressed with his method. In my opinion, he is not growing sprouts but microgreens instead. It looks a lot more time consuming than just growing in trays with coconut-coir. I get great results with very little time invested using coconut-coir and trays. Of course, anything one can do to increase their daily consumption of sulfolane is a good idea.

  3. This is a fabulous report! Thanks for sharing.

    With all the brain inflammation with broccoli, do you think it has any help with dementia?

    1. Kathy,

      I would definitely say that it is more than worth a shot.

      I came here with serious brain damage. I was having hallucinations and night terrors and psychotic breaks and vision problems and memory problems and information processing problems and severe executive function problems and very severe social anxiety.

      I didn’t just do broccoli sprouts.

      I went through the multitude of videos and lowered my saturated fats and increased my antioxidants and added in berries and turmeric and foods with lutein. I also bought saffron (which I never learned how to use) I did things to lower Homocysteine and to lower blood sugar. I have added things like Vitamin D which up until this pandemic had really improved my sleep. I still am getting sleep, but I have slipped to a later start time and I am waking up a few times per night. I have definitely improved with the Vitamin D. Melatonin hadn’t worked – though I still eat the 2 pistachios per day that Dr. Greger says is equivalent to a dose of Melatonin. (I do 4 pistachios because that is how I do things – I have a better make sure I am getting enough inner voice and also a better make sure I am not getting too much voice – but, no those aren’t the same as the auditory hallucinations I was having.) I drank Fiji water for 12 weeks to lower the aluminum in my brain and got rid of my pans and deodorant. There might be a bigger list than that, but it was the broccoli sprouts that I was emphasizing that lowered my social anxiety.

      It really did work and amazingly so.

      After that trial period, I went to a bridal shower, 2 baby showers, a wedding, plus other social events and they were all wonderful. Easy peasy.

  4. I know several kids with autism. I doubt they could be made to eat broccoli as they are extremely picky what they won’t eat and most are underweight because of this. Scientific studies found that children with autism are five times more likely to have mealtime challenges such as extremely narrow food selections, ritualistic eating behaviors (e.g. no foods can touch) and meal-related tantrums.

    1. @Reality bites if that is the case couldn’t there be a powdered sulforaphane option, like what was used in the experimental studies, that could be blended into whatever liquid of food the picky eaters will consume? You’d expect that to be easier than trying to get them to choke down a bunch of pharmaceuticals that have side effects right?

      1. Lynne,

        Yes, parents were frustrated with the concept to trying to get their children to eat 2 cups of broccoli per day.

        The broccoli sprouts though, I find you can chop them finely and blend them into sauces and salad dressings or in smoothies.

        Those didn’t require cups and that makes it easier. I think it was 2 ounces in the study. I did 2 or 3 ounces when I tried it.

        I was buying pre-grown sprouts from the stores, so I couldn’t afford a pack a day. I needed it to fit within my budget and to be something I was willing to do. I liked that I could chop them up. I used the herb scissors and then just added it on top of my microgreens.

        Then, Whole Foods got broccoli microgreens and I chose those instead.

        1. I just realized that I mixed it with hummus eventually and ended up loving hummus so much that it worked better for me.

          I also tried mixing it in guacamole.

    1. Daniel,

      There isn’t a study on kale and autism.

      There are videos on Lutein and the brain and I did find kale useful in my healing the brain process.

      Though some people here would point out that my brain still has a ways to go.

    2. Daniel,

      There is sulforaphane in Kale, but broccoli sprouts have the most.

      Two day old Broccoli sprouts have tested 100 times more than broccoli. They didn’t test broccoli microgreens.

      The list goes:

      Broccoli sprouts
      Broccoli
      Cauliflower
      and then Kale

      I did find something that said that cauliflower sprouts have a lot but I have never even heard of cauliflower sprouts.

      It might be something to look into if people hate broccoli sprouts.

  5. Hello fellow vegtablers. Never before posted a comment.

    So, I just need to vent for a sec.

    I know this comment has nothing to do with this flashback Friday vid, but after years of reading the comments on these videos and the dialogue between Richard and fumblefingers and many others– *Respect to all* –what comments ever are? (Lol … Hm.)

    Anyway, Liam Hemsworth. Kidney stones. OMG.

    Everytime I read a recent piece of news about Mr. Hemsworth, or a rediculous news forager blaming a vegan diet on kidney stones, I just fume. Smoke from my ears. I turn into a fire-breathing dragon.

    Too much spinach. Too much almond butter and almond milk.

    Oxalates.

    First of all, he is a major whiner. Running is too hard on the body? And the dude looks like that? Listen, I know we all know (some of us, maybe?) the stories and pics of vegan athletes that are muscle bound and ripped, but the six-pack guy that blends spinach in almond milk is not “that guy.”

    Almond milk doesn’t even have any nutrients.

    He mentioned mixing “some” vegetable protein in his morning shakes. Right. Sure. Dude is mixing umpteen grams of pea powder trying to get buff on his pseudo-healthy regiment of BS.

    Dr. G has vids on the heavy metals and crap inside the protein powders.

    Not to mention the movie star muscle thing. Fact: actors use drugs and surgery to get in appropriate body conditions for movies. Millions are on the line. By drugs, I mean steroids. (Vegan steroids.)

    I know, I know. How do I know? I don’t, of course.

    But I do know that spinach and almonds don’t give a man kidney stones. (Dr. G has a few vids on this topic as well.)

    Shoot. Maybe he just didn’t drink enough water. Speculating, but please, can we have any explanation that makes more sense than spinach and almonds?

    Please keep eating spinach and almonds.

    And shut it, Liam.

    Thank you. Mic drop.

    1. Paul,

      I understand how frustrating it is.

      I will say that Dr Greger does have videos on kidney stones and eating more than 2 cups of spinach per day does increase the likelihood of getting them.

      Watch his spinach and oxalate video.

      Spinach is good for people but people go plant-based and they suddenly are eating 6 cups per day in smoothies and that can be dangerous.

  6. Paul B, Just to add a bit to what Deb said, I found the link to Dr Greger’s greens vs kidney stone video. In prior videos he seemed to advocate huge amounts of greens (as does Dr Esselstyn) and for many people it causes no problems. Personally, I prefer spinach to any other greens. In fact, going wfpb was the ‘cure’ for many stone-forming sufferers as we have read so often in this forum.

    In looking at the food list at webmd, there are some foods though that people might not suspect as having potential to cause problems so I mention them here. Vitamin C, Salt, french fries, baked potatoes, cocoa powder (in smoothies?), stevia (in protein powders etc?), and many more. Check out the link, below.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/kidney-stones-and-spinach-chard-and-beet-greens-dont-eat-too-much/

    https://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/qa/which-foods-can-help-prevent-kidney-stones

  7. Although I haven’t been formally diagnosed, I am almost certainly on the autistic spectrum. I find the idea that one should “fight” autism. as stated in the heading, incredibly offensive. That’s like saying we should fight feminimity so that girls become more like boys. Of course there are some things caused by autism which are unpleasant (just like being a woman makes you more likely to die of breast cancer), but you should fight the negative consequences (sometimes by changing society to make it more accepting of autism, sometimes by helping autistic people to cope), not the condition itself. I have nothing against cruciferous vegetables, but I do not want to fight autism, because it is a fundamental part of what I am.

    1. Help me understand the logic. You want the world to change to accept your condition, when you know it’s a health related issue that is your responsibility.

      1. “Help me understand the logic. You want the world to change to accept your condition, when you know it’s a health related issue that is your responsibility.” What do you mean “health related”? I do not feel unhealthy. It is to me a “health issue” only in the sense that being a woman or a man is a “health issue”. Certain negative conditions correlate with autism. There are other negative things which correlate with not being autistic. The main problem with being autistic is that you are in a minority.

        I realise there are some parents of autistic children who find this very challenging. I don’t have a magic solution to help them. (Broccoli is probably good for you whoever you are.) But I would ask them, and society in general, not to assume autism is always negative, whoever you are. I recommend the graphic novel “The World beyond my Shadow” for a positive view of autism. And I would like Dr Greger, whom I respect a lot, to be more careful in his language.

  8. I am wondering if there is any comparable research regarding psychosis/schizophrenia. If anybody knows of that I would appreciate it. My son is on long term and likely permanent medications with only modest benefit and unknown damage.

  9. Carla,

    In addition to the PCRM group please have your son see a functional medicine practitioner who can also address other underlying issues that may be associated with his health condition. Don’t stop at the medications only approach.

    There are a number of organizations that have researched issues of mental health and it’s association with other disorders (think toxic exposures, etc.) and don’t forget nutrient issues ( spectracell.com and other labs). See: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626 for a starting point.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  10. Thank you. I’ll take your advice and check out these reports. But I have no idea where to find the type of practitioner you recommend. Each time I ask his doctors, all they can provide is the medical drugs approach.

  11. I read a book recently. It’s called ‘The Mindspan Diet’. The author is Preston W. Estep. The author argues that excess iron in the diet is responsible for increasing Alzheimer’s disease risk. He says that iron oxidises ldl cholesterol and effects cardiovascular disease that way. He talks about the blue zones and how they eat refined carbs. He talks about eating high amylose rice, barley and sourdough bread. The blue zones consume coffee, tea or wine with meals and those tannins reduce iron absorption. Apparently some people are good absorbers of iron and the body doesn’t have good ways of getting rid of it quickly. Bloodletting is another way too obviously.

    He talks about antagonistic pleiotropy and that diet requirements have to be different at different stages of life. In the case of iron, menstruating women and growing children and teens need iron but men and postmenopausal women have to be careful with it. He suggests that women live longer than men because men have elevated iron levels for a longer time. He recommends that lactose tolerant people should avoid milk but lactose intolerant people should consume it. This is because those who have lactase will liberate galactose into the bloodstream and do harm to themselves. Those who don’t make lactase will have the lactose reach their gut and it will be a fermentable fibre and it will be good for the gut.

    He recommends fermented foods, foods with probiotics (fibre) and low iron animal foods. He recommends to check these biomarkers: fasting glucose, fasting insulin, serum iron, serum ferritin, haemoglobin, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) or unsaturated iron-binding capacity (UIBC), telomere length. He recommends these genetic tests: lct gene to check for lactose tolerance and the hfe gene to test for iron overload.

    1. I forgot to mention something else. The author suggests that Iron fortification of grains and grain products confounds the results coming from US studies. His TED talks are good.

  12. There are no shortage of “talking heads” and self proclaimed authorities talking about issues like this. Its all hogwash unless supported by well founded peer reviewed clinical research. The research that he is citing is lab based which often/usually does not translate into any clinical benefit. I often read things like this but don’t take them seriously until high quality clinical research supports or refutes it. What you’d be looking for is a double blind placebo controlled trial that tests the intervention to see if any real reduction in death or disease occurs. No doubt there is another self proclaimed expert out there touting the exact opposite while citing plenty of anecdotal and lab research as well.

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