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.
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This project is sponsored by the non profit Vegetarians of Washington. It is entirely funded by your donations. We need support to apply for CMEs for our Medical Seminar, and 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.
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
This article was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Therapy in December 2018.
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
Printable version: Chronic Kidney Disease – full article
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.
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
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:
|6:50 – 7:00pm
||Amanda Strombom, President, Vegetarians of Washington
|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
|7:45 – 8:00pm
||Dr George Lee, Family Medicine
|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.
We are delighted to announce that our comprehensive review article on the prevention and treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus with a Plant-Based Diet was recently published in the peer-reviewed Endocrinology and Metabolism International Journal.
Here’s the published article as a pdf.
The Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus with a Plant-Based Diet
Open Letter To the Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American College of Cardiology
October 27, 2017
Dear Dr. Fuster,
In your recent update to the Expert Consensus Decision Pathway, (1) no specific mention was made of a safe and efficacious non-statin therapy, the plant-based diet.
Vegetarian and vegan diets can be very efficacious in reducing serum cholesterol and, importantly, LDL. Studies have shown that those following a plant-based diet have significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL levels. (2)