The Plant Rx

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Archive for the ‘Research/Data’ Category

The Merits Of A Plant-Based Diet, Just The Facts Please

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010

Author: mark brohl

When it comes to a healthy diet many folks with whom I have spoken attempt to deny plain facts and plain statistics by citing one example that they hope will refute the obvious truth.

The vast majority of evidence clearly shows that a plant-based diet heals, while an animal- based diet leads to cancer and heart disease among other unfortunate health issues.

Therefore if you are having an intelligent discussion about health matters and you become overwhelmed by the facts please know that the facts do not change nor do they need adjusting just because you cite the case of your dear great grandmother as an example of one who ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, bologna for lunch, meat loaf for dinner, and smoked 2 packs of regular Camels every day and still lived to be ninety two.  This is the exception and certainly not the rule and should not be taken too seriously as a statistic since it would be difficult to find a significant amount of other individuals who could boast the same.  It should also be noted that just existing for ninety two years when in reality the last thirty of them were spent in pain racking illness does not really make a person a poster child for the merits of bacon and cigarettes.

Actually medical evidence is clear, consistent and astonishingly one sided.  Vegetarians are far less likely to suffer from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis.  They are also far less prone to obesity.

The largest study of its kind ever conducted was the China-Oxford-Cornell Study which revealed that a typical meat eater would be over fifteen times more likely to die from heart disease, and that women were five times more likely to suffer from breast cancer than folks who obtained no more than five percent of their protein requirements from eating animals and their by-products. This is just one study, and as previously stated the evidence is just ridiculously one sided in favor of refraining from animal foods and adhering to a plant-based diet.

These facts are not meant to infer that vegetarians cannot practice unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices, because they certainly can.  If one refrains from eating meat but instead opts for junk food and soda pop, never exercises, and does not drink enough water or get enough sleep such a person should not imagine that not eating meat is going to save his or her health.  Even if he or she were to enjoy excellent health and vitality throughout a long life this would not be a normal outcome to such a deficient lifestyle or health program.

The bottom line is that if you are a meat eater your chances of becoming a cancer, heart disease, or diabetes statistic raises exponentially, while also being far more likely to suffer osteoporosis and other diseases than those who refrain from eating animal foods.  And of course you have a far greater chance of becoming obese also.  Whether you stick your head in the sand, pull the covers over your head, or put your hands over your ears and close your eyes, it will not change the fact that your lifestyle and eating habits are killing you.

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About the Author

I am passionate about health issues, and the state of the health of our wonderful America. I believe the American diet is literally killing us and that a steady flow of money and perks from the meat, egg, and dairy industries to the U.S. government is the reason we have had a long sustained brainwashing campaign that has precipitated the shift from a predominantly plant-based diet to an animal-based diet. The result has been an unprecedented increase in heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancers of all varieties. I believe Americans are suffering from a lack of truthful information concerning our diets. I enjoy writing motivational articles that will help to correct the problem regarding this lack of information and also examine the prevailing misinformation in the light of truth.

Healthy Vegetarian Choices For Life
Dedicated to the advancement of informed choices that will benefit our health, our environment, and our animal friends.
Please visit my website at and look around awhile. I would very much appreciate comments concerning your reaction to what I have written as well as any input that might aid me in the task of making my site more helpful. I thank you in advance for your consideration.

Posted in Diabetes, Heart Disease, In the Media, Research/Data, Stroke | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival

Posted by Jenn on December 28, 2010


Submitted by Dross on Fri, 2007-06-15 21:24.

New Study Finds Plant-Based Diets Play Critical Role in Breast Cancer Survival

A new study in the “Journal of Clinical Oncology” reinforces existing evidence showing that women with breast cancer can greatly reduce their risk of recurrence by eating a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables and making other healthy lifestyle choices, according to nutrition experts with The Cancer Project.

“Women coping with breast cancer deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular exercise can spell the difference between life and death,” says Jennifer Reilly, R.D., senior nutritionist with The Cancer Project. “In the battle against breast cancer, fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat vegetarian foods may be our most powerful weapons. Doctors must let women know that diet changes and exercise can help them beat this terrible disease.”

The new study, conducted by researchers with the University of California, San Diego, tracked dietary patterns and exercise habits among about 1,500 women who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer between 1991 and 2000. It found that the death rate for women who consumed a high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables and practiced good exercise habits was 44 percent lower than the rate for women who exercised little and ate few plant-based foods.

There are more than 2 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, but many of these women eat fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, consume too much fat, and lead sedentary lifestyles. But science has repeatedly shown that a plant-based diet composed of legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help prevent cancer and cancer recurrence.

A 2005 National Cancer Institute study found that breast cancer patients in the study who reduced their fat consumption lowered their risk of tumor recurrence by as much as 42 percent. High-fat foods, including beef, vegetable oils, and chicken, can boost the hormones that promote cancer cell growth. But most plant-based foods are naturally low fat and offer people a healthy way to stay slim. Maintaining a healthy weight is another key to preventing cancer recurrence.

In 1982, the National Research Council linked eating habits-particularly high-fat, meat-heavy diets-to cancer of the breast and other organs. The “Journal of the National Cancer Institute” recently reported that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal (but not vegetable) fat was a third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat.

The Cancer Project is a collaborative effort of physicians, researchers, and nutritionists who have joined together to educate the public about the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. Based in Washington, D.C., The Cancer Project is an affiliate of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.


Posted in Cancer Prevention, Exercise, In the Media, Research/Data, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MEDICAL ADVICE: Becoming Ageless

Posted by Jenn on December 24, 2010

(Source: By DESMOND EBANKS M.D., Special to the West Hartford News; Friday, November 26, 2010)


Benjamin Franklin first stated that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. While that may be more true than not, there is another certainty we all experience during the time that we are alive; namely, aging. Technically, we begin aging from the time we are born. But those first couple of decades typically offers welcome improvements in our maturity, intellectual prowess and physical capabilities. Aging, as we commonly think about it, begins in earnest in our 30’s or 40’s. That is when hormones begin to decline and generally when we may first notice subtle changes in our appearance. At the same time diminution in our physical faculties, stamina and sexual potency signals the beginning of that relentless journey downhill.

Few of us want to just go quietly into the mist. Since the days of Cleopatra and Ponce de León, if not before, people have been seeking the elusive Fountain of Youth. The longer we can maintain our youth, the less functional decline we will encounter and the less likely we will develop a chronic disease and die. And, nearly all of us are dying of chronic diseases; not old age. Genetically, we are programmed to live for 110 or 120 years. To be sure, there is no shortage of dubious promises and untested remedies to increase longevity that are available for the naïve or ill-informed. But recent scientific discoveries are unraveling the secrets of aging on a cellular level and may identify ways to slow it down.

It has been abundantly clear for some time that a healthy lifestyle with regular, vigorous exercise and a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of chronic diseases and premature death. According to the World Health Organization, 80-90 percent of cardiovascular disease and nearly 40 percent of cancers, the two top killers of people worldwide, could be prevented with healthy lifestyle modifications. But is there an underlying biological process that can be exploited to improve, restore and prolong youthful vitality?

In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth Blackburn, a molecular scientist and two of her colleagues for their work in uncovering the role of telomeres and the enzyme telomerase in aging, cancer and chronic diseases. Telomeres are snippets of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that function, in part, like the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, providing stability and protection to the genetic material. Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for rebuilding and maintaining telomeres. Most normal human adult cells do not have enough active telomerase to maintain telomere length indefinitely, so each time a cell divides, the telomere shortens until a critical length is reached, signaling cell senescence or cell death. Telomere length is currently the best measure of your actual biological age compared to chronological age. It is also an important barometer of your overall health.

There is pretty clear scientific evidence pointing to an important role for telomerase activity and telomere length in the causes of human disease. Regularly, new studies are published demonstrating the correlation between telomere length and health. In a recent analysis of a subset of the National Long Term Care Survey, telomere length was associated with disability, functional status, heart disease and cancer. A recent study found a correlation between telomere length and years of healthy life. An intriguing connection has also been observed between telomere length and levels of psychological stress. This is particularly relevant since individuals subject to chronic psychological stress show a shortened lifespan and more rapid onset of diseases typically associated with aging. Researchers in Italy recently found a direct association with short telomeres and an increased risk of developing and dying from cancer. The risk of dying was eleven times higher in those with the shortest telomeres. It then stands to reason that therapies directed at preserving telomere length may slow aging and retard the onset of age-related diseases.

So what can you do to age more youthfully? Exercise has been found to increase telomerase activity. Combining the health benefits of regular exercise with a plant-based diet in a comprehensive lifestyle plan was shown to increase telomerase activity by 30 percent and improve telomere length maintenance. One of the best nutrients for activating your telomerase is trusty omega-3. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed about 600 people over a full five years. They found that daily supplements of omega-3 fish oil significantly increased telomerase activity. Vitamin supplements have also been found to increase telomere length. Two separate studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported longer telomeres in individuals taking vitamin D, E, C and B12. Managing stress and maintaining optimal hormone balance also plays a critical role. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Aging Prevention / Anti-Aging, Heart Disease, In the Media, Research/Data, Supplements (Vitamins & Minerals) | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Plant-based Diet as a Breast Cancer Treatment Option

Posted by Jenn on December 24, 2010

I read an article in Saturday’s Portland Press Herald about U.S. Rep. Tom Allen’s (D-Maine) wife Diana just being diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Marsha O’Rourke, medical director of the breast-health program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Lewiston, told the paper that knowing the stage of a cancer is key to choosing a treatment option. The article refers to the American Cancer Society Web site, which notes that “Most women with breast cancer undergo surgery” and that “surgery is often combined with other treatments such as radiation therapy, hormone therapy and/or biologic therapy.”

I hope to one day soon see dietary therapy alongside these treatment options … on the top of the list for prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Allow me to explain, with plenty of important scientific data (and personal experience) to back up this assertion:

Lower the fat and animal food content of your diet and live longer.
Women who eat a plant-based diet live longer than those who eat more animal foods. This is just one of the findings that have come out of the research of Dr. James Herbert and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Herbert showed that diet greatly influences whether a breast cancer will recur, or reappear, after it has been forced into remission after treatment.

The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Treatment (September 1998) found that consumption of foods high in fat, including dairy products, was associated with shorter survival among women with breast cancer. Butter, beef, liver and bacon are especially dangerous, Herbert found. Pre-menopausal women with breast cancer who ate butter, margarine and lard had a 67 percent greater chance of cancer recurrence than women who abstained from these foods.

On the other hand, women who ate more plant foods tended to live longer. Simply eating more vegetables each day was associated with lower rates of recurrence, Herbert found. The women who ate the most vegetables had the fewest occurrences and lived the longest, while those who ate the fewest had the shortest survival on average. Post-menopausal women who ate broccoli, collard greens, kale and citrus fruit lived longer than those who abstained from these foods. Each additional 100 milligrams of vitamin C over the amount eaten on the standard diet reduced the risk of recurrence by 43 percent.

Reduce excess calories to increase your chances of recovery.
Another UMass study in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (February 1999) found that women who ate an additional 1,000 calories above their optimal calorie levels experience an 84 percent increase in the risk of recurrence.  It’s easy to get 1,000 extra calories by eating a few processed foods each day. On the other hand, whole foods — such as whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans and fruit — are low in calories. A diet made up mostly of these foods is a low-calorie diet.

The reason that calories are important is that the higher the calories, the higher the insulin levels and the greater the weight gain. Insulin is the hormone produced by your pancreas to make blood sugar available to your cells. Cells use blood sugar as their primary fuel. The more processed foods you eat the higher your insulin levels. And the higher your insulin levels the greater your risk of recurrence. Many scientists now believe this combination — high-calorie diet, overweight, and high insulin, now referred to as syndrome X — is the underlying cause of much of the breast cancer we see today.

Estrogen and breast cancer
Estrogen can act like a growth hormone. The larger and more numerous the fat cells, the more estrogen a woman’s body produces. Estrogen can trigger the over-production of tissue and inflammation inside the breast and uterus. This combination can block the milk ducts and the blood and lymph vessels within the breast causing waste products to stagnate, creating conditions for fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer.

To keep your estrogen levels low, eat a high-fiber diet.  Fiber acts like a sponge. It soaks up excess estrogen and eliminates it through the feces. High-fiber diets speed intestinal transit and promote elimination, thus keeping the blood and lymph cleaner – which in turn keeps your breast tissue cleaner. Fiber is the reason that vegetarian women who eat lots of plant foods eliminate two to three times more estrogen than than non-vegetarians, according to a study published in The New England Journal Of Medicine (1982). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cancer Prevention, Research/Data, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Improvements in Nutrition and Lifestyle Increase Telomerase Activity

Posted by Jenn on December 21, 2010

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Image via Wikipedia

(Source: Longevity Medicine Review;; by Lara Pizzorno, MDiv, MA, LMT)

Telomeres, the protective DNA–protein complexes at the end of chromosomes, are required for DNA replication and to protect chromosomes from nuclease degradation, end-to-end fusion, and the initiation of cellular senescence. Since telomeres shorten with each cell division, telomere length is a key indicator of mitotic cell aging and viability.

Telomere length has emerged as a prognostic indicator of disease risk, progression, and premature mortality in humans. Shortened telomeres are a precursor to the initiation of many types of cancer and are predictive of increased risk of bladder, head and neck, lung and renal-cell cancers; poor clinical outcomes in breast and colorectal cancer; recurrence of prostate cancer in patients undergoing radical prostatectomy; and decreased survival in patients with coronary heart disease and infectious disease1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.

However, even cells with shortened telomeres can remain genetically stable if the enzyme telomerase, which adds telomeric repeat sequences to the chromosomal DNA ends preserving telomere length and healthy cell function, is fully operational.1 9 10

The converse is also true. Decreased telomerase activity alone has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of chronological age. In a study involving healthy women, telomerase activity, but not telomere length, in immune cells (specifically, peripheral blood mononuclear cells or PBMCs) was inversely associated with six major cardiovascular disease risk factors.11 Telomerase activity is also adversely affected by obesity and insulin resistance, another way in which both result in decreasing telomere length.12 Thus telomerase activity may offer an earlier prognosticator of genomic stability and long-term cellular viability than telomere length.

Can telomerase activity be increased by improvements in diet and lifestyle?

Published in the November 2008 issue of Lancet Oncology, Dr. Dean Ornish‘s latest research, a pilot study on the effects of dietary and lifestyle changes in 30 men with low risk prostate cancer, suggests the answer is a resounding “Yes!” PBMC telomerase activity in these men increased 29.84% within just 3 months of making significant, yet simple, changes in diet and lifestyle.1

Telomerase-Enhancing Diet, Supplement and Lifestyle Program

After a 3-day intensive residential retreat, the men were placed on a low-fat (10% of calories from fat), whole foods, plant-based diet, centered on vegetables, fruits, unrefined grains, and legumes. Intake of refined carbohydrates was minimized. The diet was supplemented with soy (one daily serving of tofu plus 58 grams of a fortified soy protein powdered beverage), fish oil (3 grams daily), vitamin E (100 IU daily), selenium (200 μg daily), and vitamin C (2 grams daily).

In addition, subjects participated in moderate aerobic exercise (walking 30 min/day, 6 days/week); stress management (gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation, imagery, and progressive relaxation techniques 60 min/day, 6 days/week), and a 1-hour group support session once per week. Participants also met with staff 4 hours per week and had one weekly telephone contact with a study nurse.

Compliance was excellent for both lifestyle and dietary recommendations. After 3 months, subjects reported consuming an average11.6% of calories from fat per day, exercising an average of 3.6 hours each week, and practicing stress management techniques an average of 4.5 hours each week. All medications remained unchanged throughout the 3-month trial, with the exception of participant whose statin drug dosage was decreased. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Aging Prevention / Anti-Aging, Cancer Prevention, Dementia, Diabetes, Exercise, Heart Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Research/Data, Telomerase | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Plant-based diet may help depression, dementia

Posted by Jenn on December 20, 2010

(Source:; By David Liu and editing by Rachel Stockton; 07/07/2010)

A new study in the July 6, 2010, issue of Neurology suggests that having depression boosts the  risk of developing dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The study merely showed an association; the results do not determine whether or not depression causes demention, or vice versa.

The study involved 949 people at an average age of 79 years, who were free of dementia; however, 125 of them were diagnosed with depression at the beginning of the study.

At the end of the 17-year follow-up, 164 participants developed dementia; of those participants, 136 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jane Saczynski, PhD, author of the study from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA and colleagues found that 22 percent of those who had depression at baseline ended up developing dementia at the end of the study, compared to 17 percent of those who were not depressed.

Dr. Saczyynski said that even though depression may not necessarily cause dementia, it is possible that something like inflammation of brain tissue contributes to depression and an increased risk of dementia.

Indeed, that is a possibility.  Diet is most assuredly one thing that may affect risk of both depression and dementia.

A study led by Nanri A and colleagues from the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, Japan shows that a plant-based diet protects against depression.

Nanri found a healthy Japanese diet, consisting of high amounts of vegetables, fruit, mushrooms and soy products was associated with fewer depressive symptoms.

Nanri’s findings were reported online in the May 19,2010 edition of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Another study led by Hughes T.F.(and colleagues) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine suggests that those who consume moderate or high amounts of fruit and vegetables in midlife may help cut their risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, in later life.

The association was particularly significant among women,especially those with angina pectoris in midlife, according to the study published in the May 2010 issue of the American Journal of Geriatry and Psychiatry. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dementia, Depression, Research/Data | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Effect of a Plant-Based Diet on Plasma Lipids

Posted by Jenn on December 20, 2010

For several decades recommendations for lowering blood cholesterol from national guidelines and agencies such as the American Heart Association (AHA) have focused on avoiding saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. However, this strategy has shown to be only modestly successful, leading several researchers and physicians to the conclusion that dietary modification alone is not an effective therapy. More recent studies have suggested that including foods or factors known to lower blood cholesterol may be a more successful approach than merely avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol. Soy protein, soluble fiber, plant sterols, and nuts are examples of foods and dietary factors that have shown potential benefits in improving lipids. In 2000, the AHA substantially revised its previous dietary guidelines to emphasize overall dietary patterns including more vegetables and whole grains (in general, a plant-based diet), while maintaining the recommendation to follow a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet.

We conducted a study designed to determine whether a plant-based diet consistent with the 2000 AHA dietary guidelines would be more effective in lowering blood cholesterol than the previously recommended low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. We randomly assigned 125 participants with moderately elevated cholesterol to eat either a plant-based diet, low in saturated fat and cholesterol but also rich in fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals, or a convenience foods-based diet with the same level of total and saturated fat and cholesterol.

After 4 weeks, the participants eating the plant-based diet, rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, reduced their total and LDL cholesterol significantly more than the participants consuming a standard low-fat diet. To learn more about the details of the study, read the Abstract published in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Posted in Research/Data | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »