Prostate vs. a Plant-Based Diet

Prostate vs. a Plant-Based Diet
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Eating a plant-based diet may protect against BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy, an enlarged prostate).

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If individual plant foods reduce the risk of prostate enlargement, what about an entire diet composed of plant foods? Here’s where the Pritikin researchers step in again. Remember how they dripped the before and after blood on prostate cancer cells? Well, they did the same thing for BPH. Took a bunch of men, put them on a plant-based diet for just two weeks, and then dripped their blood on normal prostate cells in a petri dish, and saw, as with the cancer, a significant drop in growth—and so quickly, too!

The flip side, of course, is yeah, it’s amazing you could see an effect after just two weeks on a healthy diet, but if they ended the study after just two weeks, how do you know the effect doesn’t just go away? Maybe your body accustoms itself to a healthy diet, and prostate cell growth rates start slowly creeping back up?

Well, they looked at that! They tested blood of people that had been eating plant-based diets for up to 28 years straight, and found the same thing, both against benign prostate cell growth, and as we saw, against cancerous prostate cell growth. As long as we continue to eat healthy, growth rates go down, and they stay down.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

If individual plant foods reduce the risk of prostate enlargement, what about an entire diet composed of plant foods? Here’s where the Pritikin researchers step in again. Remember how they dripped the before and after blood on prostate cancer cells? Well, they did the same thing for BPH. Took a bunch of men, put them on a plant-based diet for just two weeks, and then dripped their blood on normal prostate cells in a petri dish, and saw, as with the cancer, a significant drop in growth—and so quickly, too!

The flip side, of course, is yeah, it’s amazing you could see an effect after just two weeks on a healthy diet, but if they ended the study after just two weeks, how do you know the effect doesn’t just go away? Maybe your body accustoms itself to a healthy diet, and prostate cell growth rates start slowly creeping back up?

Well, they looked at that! They tested blood of people that had been eating plant-based diets for up to 28 years straight, and found the same thing, both against benign prostate cell growth, and as we saw, against cancerous prostate cell growth. As long as we continue to eat healthy, growth rates go down, and they stay down.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Wikipedia

Doctor's Note

Some Prostates Are Larger than Others introduced the problem of BPH, and Prostate vs Plants talked about which individual foods to pursue, and which to avoid. This is part of our prostate cancer series that began with Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay (which was preceded by Engineering a Cure, and followed by Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?). I featured this series in my full-length 2012 presentation, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. What’s the mechanism behind the extraordinary physiological shifts that occur within weeks of eating healthy? That’s the topic I’ll turn to next.

For further context, be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Treating an Enlarged Prostate With DietVegan Men: More Testosterone But Less CancerPollutants in Californian Breast Tissue; and Flax Seeds for Prostate Cancer.

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

14 responses to “Prostate vs. a Plant-Based Diet

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  1. Thursday’s video-of-the-day Some Prostates Are Larger Than Others introduced the problem of BPH and Friday’s Prostate Versus Plants talked about which individual foods to pursue and which to avoid. This is the fifth video of a 15 part series on the Developing Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay (prequel here and sequel here) that I featured in my full-length 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. What’s the mechanism behind the extraordinary physiological shifts that occur within weeks of eating healthy? That’s the topic I’m going to turn to next.

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




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    1. Growth rates of cells diminished about 13 percent on plant-based diet plus daily exercise 45-60 minutes. The cell death rates also went up but they said it wasn’t statistically significant rise. In the long-term group, however, it went up 37 percent, and I’m not sure why that wasn’t considered statistically significant (?). In the 2 week group, it also went up about 20 percent. The this is, you have to assume this all matters in determining if your enlarged prostate will shrink or just not keep growing so fast, or if it will help at all. The growth rate went from 70 down to 60, which is nice, and death rate went up 37 percent, so that could mean 97 percent reduction or almost zero net growth, if the same thing happens in the body versus in the petri dish. I tend to think it will help a lot to be on plant-based diet, and certainly to exercise daily, but not sure how much it affects prostate size. It would have been nice to get a list of foods from their study, also. I guess there’s nothing to lose by trying, and it would not be crazy to try, since this is good data.




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      1. sorry this math is wrong, it should have been: 13 percent growth reduction plus 37 increase in cell death from apotosis, to give 50 percent reduction in growth net, which is not nothing, but remember the cell death number was considered insignificant by the researchers, not sure why.




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      2. Statistical significance is an estimation, using mathematics about the mean and Standard Deviation, of how likely the results researchers saw in the study was real – meaning that it was a result of the treatment – versus chance. It’s not a measure of how “big” the result was. If you think about it, that’s a value judgment. Whenever you hear the word “significant” in a study – like “significant rise in cholesterol” – think statistically significant, not big.




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  2. Hi Dr. Greger, thanks for all this info you make easily available for us.

    My dad (64yo) has an enlarged prostate and about 3 months ago got to the point he has now to use a catheter. I have watched all vids related to Prostate and put him on a low fat, no animal products, no refined products, heavy on flax seeds diet. I would like to know if at the point he is now, is it feasible that prostate recesses? or he must do the surgery to “fix” that and keep this new diet just to avoid it from growing again? I ask as I would not like him to be using this catheter as I have read is of high risk of infection of the urinary tract. Thanks in advance.




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    1. Hi There! I didn’t know the answer but we have such a wonderful team of medial doctor volunteers who said they’re sure if it actually gets smaller, but it can definitely work better with the lignans on board. Some men stop their BPH meds altogether, as talked about in this video: Prostate vs. Plants.




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  3. I have BPH and have switched to a vegan diet (lots of salads and greens) also cutting way back on bread and starches. So far I have lost 25lbs in about 40 days, but my BPH symptoms (low urine flow) persist. Does the the study indicate that my bph should get better or just that it won’t get worse?




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    1. I’m 65 years old. I think I was able to hold off the operation (TURP) for maybe three or four years (and was able to stop the horrendous BPH drugs) with Saw Palmetto and lycopene. I started a strict plant based diet a little over a year ago. I presume it was too little too late – I opted to have the surgery (two days ago) and it was/is no fun. The bph urine flow restriction had led to a 1″ bladder stone (regular blood in urine after bike riding) which had to be blasted out at the same time. So I’m hoping my recently new regimen will keep the resected prostate from growing too much or too quickly and that the increased urine flow will prevent a new stone from forming.




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      1. Sorry to hear about your ordeal. I do think that the plant based diet really does some amazing stuff, but it takes time.
        I just got my blood test results a couple of days ago and my diabetes disappeared (195 to 90) and my PSA went from 5.6 to 3.2 in less than a year. I also have been doing a plant based diet (and maybe a slice of pizza or two every couple of weeks). Breakfast is oatmeal cooked with cranberries and hibiscus over walnuts, 2tbs flax ground seed blueberries and other fruit; spinach and watercress salads with apples and hummus for lunch, and some veg with pesto or tomato sauce w whole wheat pasta for dinner. My BPH is still there, but I am down to one nightime bathroom trip down from 3, so I am hopeful. I am thinking of adding nettle tea and green tea to the oatmeal as well to add even more prostate benefit. I’m doing a green smoothie fast to try to jumpstart my weight loss. I got down from 265 to 232, but I have been stuck there for months bouncing up and down a couple of pounds. I’m aiming for 200 by March to get me out of the obese category. Best of luck on your BPH. BTW I also have been taking 4gms Saw palmetto daily.




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