Does A Plant-based Diet cure Cancer?

I have been doing some research into this area. Firstly, my coeliac diagnosis in 2014 lead to a huge change in diet - no more beer, no more bread, and out went most processed foods due to gluten contents.

Then 2 members of my local community PCa support group reported good results from following an Aussie wellness 'guru' Kristine Mathieson. Both have been able to reduce PSA using her protocol. Her protocol is pretty intensive however, its a full-time job in itself so I didn't immediately jump onto the band wagon.

cancertowellness.com/?doing...

Due to continued rise in PSA after prostatectomy and IMRT I gave up all booze (mainly red wine as beer was already off the menu) and red meat in mid-2016. I went fully vegetarian in Dec 2016. Finally, at end of March in 2017, I decided to quite work and give the Kristine Mathieson diet a full-on go. With the added proviso that I am now fully vegan, even though KM says that its OK to have poached eggs, yoghurt and soft cheese.

The good news - after 6 weeks on the diet I felt good and i could see some very positive health benefits.

cholesterol reduced from 5.5 to 3.8

triglycerides reduced from 1.3 to 0.8

blood pressure now sitting at 110/70.

However the bad news - PSA went up from 2.5 to 7.5. In only 6 weeks.

At this point (May 2017) I started ADT, and decided to stick with the program because there was ample evidence of benefits to general health, notwithstanding the lack of impact on PSA. And after 5 months of ADT I can still see the benefits of this diet. I have lost 20kg since starting the diet (from 90kg to 70kg). I have plenty of energy and play competition tennis twice a week, lift weights every day and walk for 4 to 6km daily. The only side effect of ADT is no libido - but then again, I had pretty bad ED after surgery and IMRT, viagra wasn't working and injections were losing effectiveness so I can't really blame ADT.

I was hoping that the diet would assist the Zoladex in knocking off some PCa cells but in first 3 months of ADT my PSA had only a very slight drop from 7.5 to 2.0. This is way less than many men achieve from ADT alone, so its's very clear that the diet has not made any difference to PSA levels.

All the claims about diet (eg Chris beat Cancer) are anecdotal and are highly suspect. My story is anecdotal as well so it must also be considered suspect as well :-) . It's just one man's experience but in summary, my views on plant-based diets.

1. I would recommend this diet to anyone. Dealing with cancer is tough, and you need to be in the best shape possible to cope with side effects of the disease, and the treatment. I believe that the diet is certainly a positive benefit in this regard.

2. The diet has actually had zero impact on my PSA levels and by implication, has not killed any cancer cells. In fact it hasn't even slowed down the PSADT (1 month prior to ADT).

Please let me know if you have tried dietary approaches and what success you have had.

BTW - you never stop missing beer and meat. If the cancer doesn't kill me first, I may well die from lack of a good BBQ.

26 Replies

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  • H,

    what you are saying is what I have been saying on this board. There are a lot of studies that show fat actually inhibits cancer growth.

    Gus

  • Hi Gus,

    Fat inhibits cancer growth? I have not read these studies, but now I am a bit confused because I've just seen your other post about blocking fat burning.

    Regards, Hazard

  • their are healthy fats like omega3 and 7

  • I have also changed my diet, no pasta, bread or potatoes, I believe it can only help in the long haul. I reversed my type 2 diabetes by doing this. I am fighting Pcancer with Hormone therapy and canaby and (B-17) laetrile, I will start my radiation on monday for 2 months, I will be getting a ct scan before radiation treatments and hoping to see if all my efforts and positive feelings are working. I found out stress can really make a difference also, so I do things that make feel optimistic , play my guitar is the best therapy for my mind

    its great to read other Pcancer surviviors information because it does make each of us wiser in our fight.

    Thank you Hazard for post!

  • Thanks Robert. Can you pls give a bit more detail about how you use canaby (sic) and laetrile, and what results tou have seen?

    I am not working anymore so you would think that I would have plenty of time to play a guitar. But since my wife is now working full time and I am now Mr Mum cooking and cleaning for 5 ppl I am busier than ever. I have 3 boys at uni, its time they got jobs and left home. But I am rehearsing next week with my band (we play classic rock covers) and looking forwaed to it.

  • I understand that, I am doing housework to stop myself from sitting all the time, I also play in a band on the weekends.

  • Hazard, I started getting canaby oil from a dispenser because med. cannabis is legal in my state but the cost was too expensive for me so I started making my own with coconut oil,infused. on youtube shows how to make it, thats how I learned. I had my PSA last week .4 from last check in may was 9 the cancer doctor told me the Htherapy is working. I am doing casodex pill every night. I read in a study that casodex and cannaby oil worked better then by it self. I was concerned that canaby would interfere with the Htherapy but it hasn't. that was good news for me. I have changed my diet few yrs ago and my diabetes is basically normal but I will stay on metphormin because I also read that it can slow down the cancer. maybe the reason my biopsy was only 1 of 12 samples were positive. I don't really know but I won't change anything except taking in less sugar, I want to learn more about this, I probably will eat less fruit too because I read cancer will take in sugar from fruit too. I feel dealing with cancer in me at this time any kind of sugar will be the lowest intake for me. it seems to be causing more problems in the human body that we are aware of.

    keep jamming on the guitar Hazard , it keeps me staying positive.

    God Bless

    Robert

  • A quick look at Amazon & I find:

    - Prostate Cancer Prevention Diet Book: What to Eat to Prevent and Heal Prostate Cancer by Ronald M Bazar

    - The Prostate Health Diet: What to Eat to Prevent and Heal Prostate Problems Including Prostate Cancer, BPH Enlarged Prostate and Prostatitis by Ronald M Bazar and Coreen Boucher

    - Eat to Beat Prostate Cancer Cookbook: Everyday Food for Men Battling Prostate Cancer, and for Their Families and Friends by David Ricketts

    - Surviving Prostate Cancer: Surviving Prostate Cancer Cook Book by Dennis R Ling

    - The Prostate Cancer Protection Plan : The Foods, Supplements, and Drugs that Can Combat Prostate Cancer by Dr. Bob Arnot

    - Prostate Diet: BPH, Prostatitis, Prostate Cancer (Quick Nutrition Book by Dr Sarah Brewer

    - Healthy Eating: The Prostate Care Cookbook published in association with Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Margaret Rayman, Kay Gibbons, Kay Dilley

    - Role Of Diet In Prostate Cancer: Understand Exactly How Your Diet Is Affecting Your Prostate Cancer by Dr.Samrat Raj

    - Beating Prostate Cancer (Hormonal Therapy & Diet) by Dr. Charles Snuffy Myers

    These have Diet/Food/Cookbook in the title (I know there are others). & then there are the PCa books that mention "diet", e.g.

    - Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer by Patrick C. Walsh and Janet Farrar Worthington

    has 20 references.

    With so many experts on "combatting/beating/healing/preventing" PCa, it's a wonder that our doctors didn't hand us all a little booklet at diagnosis, with the dietary secrets for survival. LOL

    My bias regarding diet can be explained by 13 years of reading studies on PubMed. I know that some get impatient with my posts that touch on diet, but why would anyone expect that a generic diet would be good for all conditions - including cancer - & PCa in particular?

    One very interesting thing about PCa is that diabetics have less of it. For every other type of cancer, rates are higher in diabetics. This knowledge really is a gift to us, because we can act on it.

    There are two phases in becoming a diabetic:

    a) the pre-diabetic diet chronically induces glucose spikes, which in turn cause insulin spikes. Ultimately, the body becomes resistant to insulin, causing the pancreas secretes even higher levels.

    b) the beta cells burn out & the insulin response is now insufficient to deal with excess glucose. This is when the condition is diagnosed & treated.

    The American Diabetes Association estimates prediabetics at 86 million [1] and diabetics at 29.1 million.

    Acording to the American Heart Association, 34% of American adults have MetS (Metabolic Syndrome). [2]

    However, incidence increases with age, and 60% of those over 50 have MetS. [3]

    It is well-known that men with PCa have a greater risk of cardiovascular death. This has been a matter of great exasperation for Dr. Myers, who rightly believes that GPs should handle the problem. And the problem is MetS.

    If diabetics have less PCa, why do non-diabetics have more?

    The demographic (age-related & cardio-related MetS) is such that elevated glucose & insulin is more common than not.

    Is glucose the problem? No - radio-labeled glucose PET cannot be used for PCa imaging.

    The issue is insulin. Uniquely so in PCa, even though it is a general growth factor in cancer.

    In addition, excess glucose is stored as triglycerides in visceral fat & visceral fat secretes hormones that are known to affect PCa growth.

    Rather than directly list dietary recommendations & be accused of bias, the obvious thing for anyone interested, is to explore recommendations for diabetics, those with MetS & those with cardio risks.

    Incidentally, the ADA has a book: "The Complete Guide to Carb Counting", because carbs convert to glucose & carbs can cause glucose spikes. This is good advice for prediabetics too.

    Dr. Myers handled the problem differently. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet is heart-healthy for people at risk for cardio events. There are many national & regional variations around the Med, but a Med diet is decidedly not a low-fat diet. It is 40% fat.

    With 40% fat, insulin sensitivity might be recovered.

    -Patrick

    [1] tour.diabetes.org/site/Page...

    [2] heart.org/idc/groups/heart-...

    [3] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metab...

  • Thanks Patrick for a very detailed response. You have certainly done a lot more research than I have, and being new hear I will apologise if I have stirred up anything.

    But to answer your question - why would anyone expect a generic diet to cure cancer? Speaking for myself, I had no expectations, just a desperate desire to avoid ADT and an early termination to my sex life at age 54. Desperation and fear - its what all these quacks rely on to sell snake oil (with apologies to Snuffy Myers who you included in your list above).

    Anyway as already described, the diet did nothing for PSA and I am now on ADT. But with rapid reduction in weight, BP, LDL and TriG I feel that I am in pretty good shape regarding MetS. But I am happy to kisten if yiu have any other thoughts on this.

    Regards, Paul

  • Absolutely Not, as to an answer to the tile of your post. Missing certain Amino Acids, from proteins not found in plant based diets. Even nonessential Amino Acids made by the body, need an assist, from protein sources not found in hay, as we reach upper ages.

    Nalakrats

  • Thanks Nalakrats, do you have spefic examples of this?

    Regards, Hazard

  • Yes I will respond in a couple of hours.

    Nalakrats

  • I'll throw in what comes to mind.

    Those who favor a restrictive diet have to deal with the issue of nutrient adequacy. A diet is a hard sell if one has to also take a handful of pills. Consequently, some insist that a diet is complete, even when studies show otherwise.

    Studies cited below did not exclude supplement users.

    [1] Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products. However, it is made by bacteria in those animals. Vegans sometimes argue that humans have the same bacteria. True enough, but too low in the gut to affect uptake.

    Vitamin B12 is conserved in the body & it can take years for depletion to result in symptoms. Alas, when problems emerge, it is usually too late to reverse them.

    [1a] (1990) - Israel.

    "Serum vitamin B12 {was} examined among 36 strict vegans of 5-35 years' duration. Vitamin B12 levels among the vegans were generally lower than in a control population. Most of the vegans had vitamin B12 values less than 200 pg/ml. ... None of the vegans had any hematologic evidence of vitamin B12 deficiency, however four of them had neurologic complaints. Long-standing vegans should be monitored for vitamin B12 levels."

    [1b] (2014) - meta-analysis.

    "Individuals following vegetarian diets are at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency owing to suboptimal intake. As vitamin B12 is essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids, erythrocytes and in the maintenance of myelin, deficiency may result in a variety of symptoms. Some of these symptoms may be severe while others may be irreversible. The objective of this review was to assess vitamin B12 deficiency, based on reported serum vitamin B12, among individuals adhering to different types of vegetarian diets. A systematic literature search was carried out using multiple search engines including PubMed, Medline, CINAHL plus, ERIC, Nursing and Allied Health Collection and Nursing/Academic Edition. The inclusion criteria consisted of original studies that assessed serum vitamin B12, studies written in English, non-case studies and studies that reported actual percentages of vitamin B12 deficiency. Forty research studies were included. The deficiency prevalence among infants reached 45%. The deficiency among the children and adolescents ranged from 0 to 33.3%. Deficiency among pregnant women ranged from 17 to 39%, dependent on the trimester. Adults and elderly individuals had a deficiency range of 0-86.5%. Higher deficiency prevalence was reported in vegans than in other vegetarians. Thus, with few exceptions, the reviewed studies documented relatively high deficiency prevalence among vegetarians. Vegans who do not ingest vitamin B12 supplements were found to be at especially high risk. Vegetarians, especially vegans, should give strong consideration to the use of vitamin B12 supplements to ensure adequate vitamin B12 intake. Vegetarians, regardless of the type of vegetarian diet they adhere to, should be screened for vitamin B12 deficiency."

    [2] Iron. There should be no problem getting enough iron from a vegan diet, but non-heme iron is poorly absorbed. Eating food that contains vitamin C in the same meal can improve uptake.

    [2a] (2004) - Germany - 75 vegan women.

    "Although the mean iron intake was above the recommended level, 40% ... of the young women were considered iron-deficient."

    [3] Iodine.

    [3a] (2011) - U.S.

    "Median urinary iodine concentration of vegans (78.5 μg/liter ...) was lower than vegetarians (147.0 μg/liter ...)"

    "U.S. vegans may be at risk for low iodine intake, and vegan women of child-bearing age should supplement with 150 μg iodine daily."

    [3b] (2003) - Slovakia.

    "Iodine content in food of plant origin is lower in comparison with that of animal origin due to a low iodine concentration in soil. Urinary iodine excretion was assessed in 15 vegans, 31 lacto- and lacto-ovovegetarians and 35 adults on a mixed diet. Iodine excretion was significantly lower in alternative nutrition groups - 172 microg/l in vegetarians and 78 microg/l in vegans compared to 216 microg/l in subjects on a mixed diet. One fourth of the vegetarians and 80% of the vegans suffer from iodine deficiency (iodine excretion value below 100 microg/l) compared to 9% in the persons on a mixed nutrition."

    [4] EPA/DHA - marine long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids.

    Some vegans insist that ALA (alpha linolenic acid) is converted to EPA/DHA, but studies say otherwise.

    [5] Zinc.

    Big issue for prostate health. The prostate has a great need for zinc, & a lot is lost in the ejaculate.

    [5a] "Animal-sourced foods (meat, fish, shellfish, fowl, eggs, dairy) provide zinc. The concentration of zinc in plants varies with the level in the soil."

    [6] Other.

    [6a] Vitamin D.

    Not really an issue, since non-vegans would be in the same position if milk were not fortified.

    On the other hand, there is more deficiency in vegans.

    [6b] Calcium.

    In pre-dairy days people obtained calcium from greens. Dairy is not essential.

    On the other hand, there is more deficiency in vegans.

    ...

    None of the above are problems for the educated vegan who supplements. But the reality is that vegan populations test lower for the above.

    The above is not complete.

    -Patrick

    [1a] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/238...

    [1b] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/246...

    [2a] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/149...

    [3a] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/216...

    [3b] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/127...

    [5a] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc#...

  • Patrick,, That is very helpful, thank you very much.

    Regards, Hazard

  • One example of MANY is the Amino Acid Taurine. This is an essential amino acid, which means it is not produced by the body. It must be obtained from animal protein. Lack of this amino acid could in older people lead to A-Fib, and a weakened heart muscle. It has been proposed that the electrical current in the heart travels thru the Taurine amino acid, embedded on the surface of the heart. Now you can maintain your Hay diet, by adding Whey Protein Isolate products, that have natural Taurine, and other amino's to balance towards a proper daily intake.

    Look at your cat and dog food they all have Taurine added, to give more of the most important Amino for these animals--who do not get a chance to eat raw meat in the wild, that they catch.

    That is one example--also heed what Patrick says about the intake of fat. He suggests a Mediterranean diet, and I tend more towards Adkins--but fat intake is about the same, I would expect. Granted I eliminate most sweets, sugar added products, breads and pasta. But I will occasionally put ketchup on a naked burger. That Ketchup is by weight 37% sugar. i usually use Mustard, that brings Turmeric to the party. Cannot be perfect! For we do not know what perfect is. I put a bit of whipped cream on a cut up peach, tonight. Oh well just lost 2 hours of life!!!!

    Nalakrats

  • Hello Hazard and thank you very much for your post. I congratulate you and Robertleeb for making major dietary changes that have worked well for your circumstances and needs.

    As to Robertleeb’s point, such an exchange makes us wiser as long as we are able and willing to consider that ideas differing significantly from our frame of reference may have merit. Regarding nutrition, there is in my opinion quite a lot of closed mindedness in this forum. I have had one member who asserted as absolute fact his assessment as to the exact cause of results I stated that I achieved after converting to a plant-based diet. As you might guess, that assessment didn’t have anything to do with a plant-based diet. A significant number of statements about nutrition are made here as if absolute fact when they are anything but fact. While there are marvelous exceptions, you can expect a significant amount of rigidity in this forum when it comes to diet and nutrition. For what it is worth, there are other great PCa forums that seem to be much less so. As for me, I stay here because I refuse to let a bit of frustration and perhaps some cognitive dissonance run me away. Besides, there are many much more objective discussions here on an array of subjects. I greatly benefit from those, as I in fact also do from the ones on diet.

    Some members here (including a couple who are quite intelligent) are in my opinion severely jaded by confirmation bias and/or something known as the tomato effect. My guess is that their awareness of such bias is probably vastly suppressed. That of course serves to reinforce it. Please don’t get me wrong. For the most part, I believe these members are kind and caring people that possess no ill will whatsoever. Of course, it is possible that my assessment of bias from these members is wrong. If I didn’t accept that possibility and qualify my statements about their bias as opinion, I would justifiably be discredited. And I suppose it is always possible that I might be anyway.

    No, a plant-based diet cannot guarantee anyone that their cancer will be kept at bay. No diet can do that. However, there is indeed evidence that at least in some cases, it might be able to. There of course is much more compelling evidence of its overall health benefits. That evidence ties to what you have personally reported. Your results are quite similar to mine and like you, I have taken a multidisciplinary approach to improving my health since my PCa diagnosis. Our results would still be anecdotal evidence even if we were aware of making only a single lifestyle change. I realize they prove nothing.

    As much as some here would try to make us believe otherwise, there is absolutely no conclusive evidence that a plant-based diet is inherently harmful. It does however seem to require some care in execution as well as supplementation or fortification of Vitamin B12. There is actually a good amount of evidence that suggests a healthful whole foods plant-based diet may be a superior diet for many or even most adult humans.

    We can’t speak of very many absolutes when it comes to nutrition. That is in good part because it is particularly challenging to study it objectively. However, any statement that a plant-based diet cannot meet the protein (amino acid) needs of adults of any age is false. That includes the special protein needs of elite athletes.

    Like you, I have found that my lab results and other measures since adopting a plant-based diet have moved me even further from the thresholds of metabolic syndrome. Despite a plant-based diet tending toward being relatively low fat (though not necessarily), it is my impression that such improvements are common. My guess is that fat in itself is not a particularly healthful dietary component, especially in large amounts. The jury is still out on that, however. Still, I think it is premature for us to think about supplementing our diets with the likes of olive oil capsules. I also suspect that the explosion of fish oil use in the form of supplements is probably misguided. Time will tell. When fat in the diet is reduced, I believe it is important not to replace those calories with refined and other low quality carbohydrate. Uncontrolled, this does seem to readily happen and that may in part be because of the important role fats seem to play in satiety. Of course, just as all carbs are not created equal, neither are fats and that’s a subject unto itself.

    Sadly, Big Meat, Big Egg and Big Dairy are much bigger and much more powerful than the likes of Big Kale. They to a great extent exert undue political influence to sway American governmental regulatory agencies such as the USDA. They also to a substantial extent control the applicable nutrition science in the US, including the ways it is interpreted and how it is conveyed to the general public.

    Among the strongest and most intelligent voices here against vegetarianism and veganism, I believe the tomato effect (no pun) is the predominant bias. When it is a foregone conclusion that a plant-based diet is totally unnatural, nothing short of earth shattering (literally) is likely to open the mind to other possibilities. There is a very powerful meat and egg eating and milk drinking bias in Western culture and it is to be expected. After all, our parents and grandparents and even their grandparents probably centered their diets around animal products. If that’s the way we have eaten for many generations, how can there be anything wrong with it? I think most of us can see that there is fault in such logic.

    Thanks again. I wish you peace and success in your journey, just as I do for everyone here. Despite and even partly because of the disagreements that sometimes get a bit heated, I value every member of this forum.

  • Since I was originally diagnosed with PC, I have been reading and absorbing all I can about diet, supplements and medical treatments. When I got that original diagnosis, I was scared out of my wits, not sleeping at night and totally confused. One of the first websites that I saw was that guy who claimed he was completely healed of stage 4 advanced prostate cancer with baking soda! I tried to get many second opinions from doctors and make the best decision at the time. I ended up with surgery, then radiation two years later. My PSA was zero, but has been rising over the last 2 years.

    Over this whole time, I have taken many different supplements and tried many different diets. The ONLY time that my PSA went down, was when I was on the keto diet. I went off of it because I didn't feel all that energy that I the articles said I would when I became fat adapted, I read a fair amount of information that took the angle that the keto diet is not good for you and my LDL and triglycerides were rising. My doc wasn't happy.

    When I went off of the keto diet, I went back to a more generic semi-healthy diet and my PSA started to go up again. My current diet looks like a vegetarian with fish and occasional meat. My PSA has not risen in the last 5 months. Is it diet, supplements, exercise, a combination or something else? Who knows?

    I often visit and read Dr. Greger's website. I find some information interesting, but I am not 100 percent convinced (of anything anymore). I am turned off by that website with that guy Chris. I have heard his interviews, he makes fun of the keto and paleo folks. His comments are pretty snarky. On Greger's site, I have read the comments under his video / articles. It's like a war going on, vegans and the meat eaters. They throw articles and studies at each other. I hate conflict so I stay out of those kind of messes, and I doubt this debate will ever get settled.

    So if you find something that works for you, then terrific! Patrick's article about insulin answers a lot of questions in my mind. I have thought about going back to the keto diet, but have not. What my dieting has done for me is this, when I was diagnosed 6 years ago, I weighed over 240 pounds (I was probably entering metabolic syndrome). I asked my uro what I could do before to surgery to help myself. He said "lose 20 pounds." So I started walking and cut out junky food. I lost the 20 pounds. On the keto diet, got down to 190 pounds. On the vegetarian with fish and occasional meat diet, I am down to 180 pounds and maintaining that. My cholesterol numbers are great, I have more energy and exercise more.

    -Dave

  • You are lucky that your celiac (how we spell it here in the US) was properly diagnosed. I know someone with that disease, where the doctors' missed the diagnosis. He died at age 49 after years of horrible suffering. I know that because his son, my brother, has celiac disease. Damned VA doctors.

  • Hi Hazard

    I don't know why you looked so worried in your post. You should smile at your low grade PCa. My suggestion is try doing hand swinging exercise. Check on hand swinging exercise cure Stage 3 colon cancer. I am on high grade Advanced PCa and is happy with my current quality of living.

  • Thanks for responding Roland. If I sound worried, its because I have carstrate resistant PC. It doesn't make me smile. But I am fighting all the way.

  • Hi Hazard

    I just looked up dockhand. R. Khan is an ex PCa survivor who is also s marathon runner, He is going to be our motivation success.

  • Sorry our marathon runner is Randy Kam. My humble apology

  • Thanks Roland, just looked up Randall Kam on google. He is an amazing man, a true inspiration.

  • Hi Hazard

    I just looked up dockhand. R. Khan is an ex PCa survivor who is also s marathon runner, He is going to be our motivation success.

  • Congratulations on your weight loss. Well done.

  • Thanks Martin. 8 months after starting diet I am maintaining weight loss and still at 70kg. Just. It is a battle every day to limit what goes into my mouth.

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