Welcome

Welcome to Plant-Based Diets in Medicine. While there are many individual research reports relevant to the application of plant-based diets to treat and prevent disease, scattered throughout published journals, here we will be collecting them all together in one place. In addition, we point out what we think is most relevant for your patients and practice. You’ll also find some clinical pearls and postings of interviews of your fellow practitioners on this site.

Receive email each time there’s a new post on this blog.

We respect your privacy.  We only send you the emails you request, and never share your email address with anyone else.

This project is sponsored by the non profit Vegetarians of Washington. It is entirely funded by your donations.  We need support to cover Author Publishing Charges when submitting articles to peer reviewed medical journals.  If you support this project, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Vegetarians of Washington is a 501(c)3 organization, registered in the state of Washington.
Donate Button

Crohn’s Disease – a case report

Stomach painThis article has been published in Advanced Research in Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Abstract

Crohn’s disease is notoriously difficult to treat and this patient was no exception. Patients are typically treated with a wide range of drugs, most of which have significant side effects, and surgery.

This is a case study of a 63-yr old male, who was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1988. Over the past thirty years, he experienced persistent pain, chronic diarrhea and chronic fatigue. Extraintestinal manifestations included aphthous stomatitis, arthralgia especially in the knees and hips, eczema and uveitis. His comorbidities included shingles, exacerbated by immunosuppression, severe post herpetic neuralgia, and noise-induced hearing loss of both ears. The patient also has benign prostatic hypertrophy and diverticulosis.

Despite the full range of treatment, the patient remained with very significant symptoms, medication side effects and poor quality of life.

In May 2017, the patient chose to go on a plant-based diet. Within two months, significant improvements in symptoms resulted. After three months, the patient was able to discontinue all immunosuppressant drugs. After one year, the patient reports no symptoms requiring medications other than ranitidine 150mg 2x/day and loperamide 10mg/day needed for post op management of resections. Fatigue, pain, diarrhea and all extraintestinal manifestations have virtually been eliminated. The patient reports a very large improvement in quality of life. Continue reading

4th Annual Vegfest Medical Seminar

Treating Heart Disease, Diabetes &

Chronic Pain with a Plant-Based Diet

was held on Saturday, March 30th, 2019, Time: 6:30pm – 9pm

at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall  on Mercer Street, Seattle.

Given by medical doctors, for the benefit of medical doctors and medical students. Included both didactic and case studies.

2019 speakers included:

  • Dr Uma Krishnan – Cardiologist, Pulse Heart Institute, Tacoma
  • Dr Rachael Wyman – Cardiologist, Kaiser Permanente, Seattle
  • Dr F. Patricia McEachrane-Gross – Preventative & Family Medicine, Port Angeles
  • Dr Chan Hwang – Physiatrist, Multicare Health System, Tacoma

See Speaker Bios

See List of Supporting Physicians

Schedule of events:

Click on the Title link in the schedule below to see video of each presentation.

We had some technical difficulties this year, so the quality of the videos is not as good as we would wish, but we think they’re still helpful for those who couldn’t attend.  The video for Dr Rachael Wyman’s presentation is delayed due to technical issues, but we hope to be able to post it soon.

Time Speaker Title
6:50 – 7:00pm Amanda Strombom, President, Vegetarians of Washington Introduction
7:00 – 7:30pm Dr Uma Krishnan, Cardiologist Treating Heart Patients with a Plant-Based diet – (Didactic)
7:30 – 8:00pm Dr Rachael Wyman, Cardiologist Clinical application of a plant-based diet in CAD patients – (Case studies)
8:00 – 8:30pm Dr F. Patricia McEachrane-Gross,  Preventive and Family Medicine Treating Type II Diabetes patients with a plant-based diet – (Didactic and Case Studies)
8:30 – 9:00pm  Dr Chan Hwang, Physiatrist Treating Painful Pathologies with a plant-based diet – (Didactic and Case Studies)

A light plant-based buffet was provided from 6:30- 6:50pm, generously catered by The Upper Crust Catering Co.

To receive emails about Plant-Based Diets in Medicine and our published articles on medical topics, register here.

See speakers and videos from 2018 Medical Seminar

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Washington State Medical Association and Vegetarians of Washington. The WSMA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The WSMA designates this live activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for up to 2 hour(s) of Category I CME credit to satisfy the relicensure requirements of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

 

 

Ensuring adequate iron status in vegetarians and vegans

Drawing bloodAbstract

Many people, including some physicians, are concerned about iron deficiency anemia in patients consuming a plant-based diet. However, studies show that the risk of anemia in vegetarian and vegan patients is no greater than in omnivorous patients.

Plant foods contain only non-heme iron, whereas meat contains both the heme and non-heme iron. There used to be a concern that non-heme iron would be poorly absorbed resulting in iron deficiency anemia. However, non-heme is well absorbed in most vegetarian patients and vegan because other plant foods, containing substances such as vitamin C and citric acid, can greatly enhance its absorption. Furthermore, non-heme iron absorption increases whenever iron stores are low.

Adequate iron levels can easily be maintained in the vegan patient with a little planning. Consuming foods high in iron along with foods that enhance non-heme iron absorption, will prevent iron deficiency anemia in vegan and vegetarian patients. Because both groups of foods are widely available, this should not be difficult to accomplish.

Patients that are already anemic can be treated by increasing their consumption of iron rich and iron enhancing foods. Supplements are sometimes required. In these cases, iron supplements can be prescribed in the same manner as with omnivorous patients. Continue reading

Heart Disease – Prevention and Treatment with a Plant-Based Diet

heart attack patientThis article was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Therapy in December 2018.

Abstract

Epidemiological studies show that vegetarians have a much lower risk of myocardial infarction. Reductions of risk factors and comorbidities such as angina, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity have also been shown.

A low-fat plant-based diet can reverse or prevent further progression of coronary atheroma, improve endothelial dysfunction and is effective even in cases of severe stenosis. Studies show that in addition to regression, there is a remolding of the geometry of the stenosis with consequent improvement in coronary flow reserve.

Those following a plant-based diet have much lower total cholesterol and LDL. They also have lower levels of cardio-reactive protein, apolipoprotein (a) and apolipoprotein (b), plus levels of MPO, MMP-9, MMP-2 and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratios. In addition, studies have determined that vegans produce less TMAO than their omnivorous counterparts after dietary challenge.

Long term exposure to persistent organic pollutants can drastically affect the circulatory system. The consumption of animal products is the greatest source of exposure of these toxins, due to bioaccumulation of these lipophilic toxins in animal tissues.

Interventional studies confirm that a plant-based diet is as effective in lowering cholesterol as statin drugs. Interventional studies show that a plant-based diet can help treat heart failure and is very efficacious in treating angina pectoris. Vegetarians also show better improvements in cardiac rehab.  Follow-up studies at one and four years confirm continued benefit to the patient, and patient compliance has been demonstrated over several years. Treatment with a plant-based diet is devoid of side effects and contraindications. Continue reading

Chronic Kidney Disease – A plant-based diet prevents and treats CKD

KidneysThis article has been published in JOJ Urology and Nephrology

Abstract

Interest in the dietary treatment of chronic kidney disease has been growing as its incidence has been increasing. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is now the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and its treatment consumes substantial amounts of medical resources and money.

Several lines of epidemiological research have shown a lower risk of chronic kidney disease among vegetarians. It also shows a substantially increased risk among omnivores, especially those who eat red and processed meats.

Although the practice started long ago, research on the use of a low-protein plant-based diet to treat chronic kidney disease diet has intensified in recent years. This research has shown that a low-protein vegetarian diet is safe and efficacious at both treating and slowing the progression of chronic kidney disease.

Treatment with a low-protein vegetarian diet, often supplemented with keto analogues, has been shown to reduce acidosis, phosphotemia, uremia, proteinuria and to slow progression. Research shows that this treatment does not result in malnutrition. Research has also shown that larger amounts of plant protein than animal protein can be consumed, without deleterious effects.

Treatment with a low protein vegetarian diet also has the advantage of preventing and treating common comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Continue reading

Ensuring adequate vitamin B12 status for patients on a plant-based diet

This article has recently been published in a medical journal.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in animal-derived foods. It is added to others and is available as a dietary supplement and a prescription medication. Vitamin B12 exists in several forms and contains the mineral cobalt, (1, 2, 3, 4) so compounds with vitamin B12 activity are collectively called “cobalamins”. Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are the forms of vitamin B12 that are active in human metabolism. (5) Continue reading

3rd Annual Vegfest Medical Seminar

Prevention and Treatment of Disease with a Plant-Based Diet

was held on Saturday, April 7, 2018, Time: 6:30pm – 9pm

at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall  on Mercer Street, Seattle.

Given by medical doctors, for the benefit of medical doctors and medical students.

Videos of the talks given at this seminar are now available.  Click on each title in the Schedule below to see an individual talk, or click on the video link below the Schedule to see the whole seminar.

This year’s speakers included:

  • Dr Helmuth Fritz – Internal Medicine
  • Dr Chan Hwang  – Physiatrist
  • Dr George Lee – Family Medicine
  • Dr Uma Krishnan – Cardiologist
  • Dr Uma Malhotra – Infectious Disease
  • Dr F Patricia McEachrane-Gross – Preventative & Family Medicine
  • Dr Mythili Ramachandran – Internal Medicine
  • Dr Andrea Veatch – Oncologist

See Speaker Bios

See List of Supporting Physicians

Schedule of events:

Time Speaker Title
6:50 – 7:00pm Amanda Strombom, President, Vegetarians of Washington Introduction
7:00 – 7:15pm Dr Uma Krishnan, Cardiologist Coronary Artery Disease and Hypercholesterolemia
7:15 – 7:30pm Dr Mythili Ramachandran, Internal Medicine Type II Diabetes
7:30 – 7:45pm Dr Andrea Veatch, Oncologist Prostate Cancer
7:45 – 8:00pm Dr George Lee, Family Medicine Colon Cancer
8:00 – 8:15pm Dr Chan Hwang, Physiatrist Crohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis
8:15 – 8:30pm Dr Helmuth Fritz, Internal Medicine Chronic Kidney Disease
8:30 – 8:45pm Dr Uma Malhotra, Infectious Disease Antibiotic Resistance and Zoonoses
8:45 – 9:00pm Dr F Patricia McEachrane-Gross, Preventive and Family Medicine Plant-Based Diets in Clinical Practice

 

Video of complete seminar:

 

 

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Washington State Medical Association and Vegetarians of Washington. The WSMA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The WSMA designates this live activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for up to 2 hours of Category I CME credit to satisfy the relicensure requirements of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.