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Vegetarians protected against prostate cancer?

by Dr. Jamesh Meschino on

December 12, 2023 in

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January, 2016)
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update (February , 2016)

A large study published in the January 2016 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that men who are vegans had a 35% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. The study followed over 26,000 men, who are part of the Adventists Health Study-2. 

During the study, 1079 men developed prostate cancer. Researchers showed that vegan men had a 35% lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to non-vegan men. This was especially true for white males, with a similar trend for black male vegans, although the association was not quite as strong.

It’s not surprising that vegan men would have a lower risk of prostate cancer considering the various phytonutrients present in plant-based foods shown to inhibit prostate cancer development.

What are the nutrients that inhibit prostate cancer ?

Here are some examples:

Some nutrients shown to inhibit prostate cancer in plant foods:

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, turnips) – indole-3              carbinol, sulforaphane
  • Tomatoes – lycopene 
  • Soybeans and soy products – isoflavones and protease inhibitors
  • Peas and Beans – lignins, protease inhibitors
  • Green Tea – catechins (polyphenols) 
  • Pomegranate Juice –ellagic acid
  • Ground Flaxseed – giving rise to enterolactone and enterdiol

How are vegans protected against prostate cancer?

Many studies show that regular consumption of these plant foods is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. 

As well as, various ingredients from these foods have converted into supplements, which have shown promising results in improving outcomes in patients with prostate cancer as an adjunctive intervention or in the prevention of prostate cancer.

Also,many studies revealed that some of these nutrients prevented precancerous prostate cells from progressing to full-blown prostate cancer.

I know that most people are not going to become strict vegans, and swear off all animal foods, but including more plant foods or a plant based diet containing proven anti-cancer properties is a very smart approach to help defend against prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer accounts for 27% of all male cancers, and is the 2nd most common cancer in men (if you don’t include various skin cancers).

For women, keep in mind that many of the same plant foods shown to reduce prostate cancer are the same foods and phytonutrients shown to reduce risk of breast cancer in various studies. So, I think everyone should be on board with this advice.

I have provided a link to the study in the text below.


Tantamango-Bartley Y, Knutsen SF et al. Are strict vegetarians protected against prostate cancer? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol 103, issue 1. 2016

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

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