Less Cancer in Vegan Men Despite More Testosterone

Just a few days of walking and eating healthy plant foods can lower the level of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1 enough to reverse cancer cell growth in a Petri dish. This is detailed in my Care2 posts Cancer-Proofing Your Body, Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet, and How do Plant-Based Diets Fight Cancer?

We know decreasing animal product consumption decreases our IGF-1 levels, but how low do we have to go? How plant-based does our diet need to get? In today’s NutritionFacts.org video pick above, the IGF-1 levels are compared between those eating conventional, vegetarian, and vegan diets.

Boosting cancer defenses within just days of eating healthy is a remarkable finding. For those interested in the whole story, I started out introducing Nathan Pritikin and the elegant series of experiments that became part of his legacy. They were able to demonstrate the mechanism by which a plant-based diet and exercise could suppress the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells and protect against prostate enlargement (more on prostate problems in Some Prostates are Larger Than Others and Prostate Versus Plants). I also asked and answered Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both? And finally, for those interested in whether lower levels of growth hormones in vegans might interfere with the accumulation of muscle mass, see my 3-min. video Plant-Based Bodybuilding.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: edwick / Flickr

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn4 months ago

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Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago

Go Vegans

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago


Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

. "But the numbers of vegans that get cancer are much much less than people who also eat meat. The fact that people who have been meat eaters their whole life and switch to being vegan when they get cancer, diabetes or another degenerative disease get cured of their disease says something as well".............Jennifer, you're missing the point that the entire vegan population is far less than those who eat meat, so if you're going to compare "fruits", do it by comparing apples to apples, speaking of which, the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was vegetarian and died of pancreatic cancer last year.

Hmmm, Jennifer, I'll venture a "wild guess" that you haven't read any of the 44 comments here, and just are running with the vegan propaganda in the article? You bring up ridiculous "stats" such as when the Germans occupied Norway and "took away all their meat". What on earth are you talking about? Cancer wasn't a huge thing back then and studies weren't very high up on anyone's list of priorities during WWII. Sorry, but it is laughable to consider that there was a study of Norwegians who had cancer during that period of time during WWII since tirst of all, WHO would be doing the study? 46% of a population had cancer? Well, when you get off whatever it is that you're on to suggest such a statistic, try re-posting and being a bit more logical..

Jennifer U.
Jennifer A.3 years ago

@ Dale - you're right there are vegans and vegetarians that get cancer too. Cancers that are caused by purely genetics is rare but accounts for approximately 5% of the population. But the numbers of vegans that get cancer are much much less than people who also eat meat. The fact that people who have been meat eaters their whole life and switch to being vegan when they get cancer, diabetes or another degenerative disease get cured of their disease says something as well.

Also the connection to eating meat and it causing cancer has been proved in over 84,000 case studies in "The China Study". This is also an effect that can be observed in children. Children in Thailand who get a higher amount of meat compared to other cultures have the highest rate of childhood cancer, especially liver cancer. Also when the Germans occupied Norway and took away the Norweigans meat, their cancer and heart disease rates dropped from 46% down to 9%. As soon as the Germans left and meat was reincorporated back into their diets, their rate of cancer and heart disease started going up again.

There is certainly a balance that's necessary to life but that balance isn't actually as balanced as one would think. In order to not see any increased chance of cancer or other degenerative diseases, your meat and dairy consumption has to stay at or below 5% which means eating a serving of meat or dairy only 2 times a week.

Jennifer U.
Jennifer A.3 years ago

I believe that eating meat was necessary back when we didn't have fresh produce around for the winter but I don't believe that we need to eat meat nor are our bodies equipped for it. In order for our bodies to digest meat, we need a much higher level of hydrochloric acid. A cat, which is much much smaller than humans has 20 times the amount of hydrochloric acid in their stomachs.

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

Phillipa, you're right in one regard.......one's opinion can be neither "right" nor "wrong" when it comes to a nutritional lifestyle, but at age 32, yours are hardly more valid based on your "worldly experiences" than anyone else's, and in no way can yours be considered as expertise on cancers relating to men, vegan or not.

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

"i have heard stories of some men living to their 90's. and not with cancer or anything. but some of them ate bacon almost every day.then again, they looked 90. unlike a vegan who looks 20 when 90"......Colleen, I've noticed just the opposite.....20-yr-old vegans who LOOKED 90. Yes, my Mom lived to be almost 90 and she smoked and ate bacon up until the day she couldn't hold a cigarette anymore and had an oxygen tube up her nose. Nobody would suggest "tempting fate" by that lifestyle, and I wish my Mom had lived to be 189, but she didn't and it wasn't cancer, either. I know my Mom's testoserne levels were not a factor one way or the other, just saying that she wasn't vegan, nor even vegetarian and lived a very long life. Unfortunately, she picked up some bad habits that DID contribute to her "premature" demise, or rather, didn't do what she could have done to delay it.