This article is also available in printable pdf form: Colon Cancer Prevention with a Plant-Based Diet
I. Executive Summary
It has long been known that vegetarians have a substantially reduced risk of colon cancer. Several studies have shown that vegetarians have a reduced risk of colon cancer of 46%-88%, and, as might be expected, a 54% reduced risk of colon adenoma, plus a 200% reduced risk of advanced adenoma. Vegetarians also have a lower prevalence of risk factors for colon cancer. These include a much lower risk of hyperinsulinemia secondary to metabolic syndrome, lower risk of obesity, and a much lower risk of Crohn’s disease. Vegetarians also have lower levels of CRP (cardio reactive protein) indicating a lower inflammatory status. This has also been correlated with a better prognosis for colon cancer.
The physician will already know that Crohn’s disease is difficult to treat and can be frustrating for both the patient and their physician. Safer and more efficacious treatments are needed for this disease.
The current standard treatment for Crohn’s disease involves medication to manage symptoms and induce remission, and when necessary, bowel resection. Continue reading
The prevalence of cholelithiasis is about 10 percent to 15 percent of the population of the U.S., or well over 25 million people. Nearly 1 million new cases of gallstone disease are diagnosed every year and approximately one quarter of these require treatment. The burden of cholelithiasis and its complications, such as cholecystitis, pancreatitis, and cholangitis, are major public health problems. A 2006 study reported that more than 700,000 cholecystectomies were performed in the United States at a cost of $6.5 billion dollars annually.[i]
Most patients are asymptomatic, but approximately 20% become symptomatic after 10 years of follow up.[ii] A study of both symptomatic and asymptomatic sonographically-confirmed cholelithiasis cases, found that the prevalence of gallstones was 1.9 time higher in non-vegetarians than in vegetarians.[iii]
There has been increasing interest in the role played by the gastrointestinal flora in the etiology of a variety disease processes. It had been known that long term changes in diet influenced the human gut microbiome. Recent research has focused on how the flora of those following a vegetarian diet differ from those on other diets, and what advantages that may convey.
By age 60, two-thirds of all Americans will have developed diverticulosis.[i] Twenty-five percent of patients with diverticulosis will go on to develop acute diverticulitis. This imposes a significant burden on healthcare systems, resulting in greater than 300,000 admissions per year with an estimated annual cost of $3 billion.[ii]
Back in 1979, a research article in the British journal, the Lancet, reported that the prevalence of diverticular disease in vegetarians was almost one third that of meat eaters. It was noted in this study that vegetarians had a mean intake of fiber of 42gm/day vs. 21 gm/day for meat eaters.[iii]