Studies examine impact of plant-based diets on men’s health problems



Three new studies by urologists at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami address the impact of a healthy plant-based diet on a range of health problems in men -; from diabetes to sexual health.

Plant-based diets are a hot topic for men’s health, but one that many men reject for fear that eating less meat could negatively impact testosterone levels and sexual health.

Patients often ask what they can do to keep prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels low or prevent prostate cancer. “

Mark L. Gonzalgo, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice President, Urology, Miller School

Eating healthy plant-based foods is one of the lifestyle changes men hear and learn for overall health. According to Dr. Gonzalgo, eating a healthy plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating meat, but rather eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, and less animal protein.

Still, misconceptions remain among men about plant-based diets, according to Ranjith Ramasamy, MD, associate professor and director of the Miller School’s Reproductive Urology program.

“Traditionally, men believed that a lot of protein, especially animal protein, was needed to maintain testosterone levels and indirectly related to the maintenance of erectile function,” said Dr Ramasamy.

Researchers at the Miller School conducted three studies, including two abstracts presented at the American Urology Association’s annual meeting in September 2021, suggesting that plant-based diets may improve serum testosterone and erectile function.

Plant food and PSA

Urology resident Ali Mouzannar, MD, presented and was among the authors of “Impact of Plant-Based Diet on PSA Level: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)”, a study of the eating habits of nearly 1,400 men. with PSA levels documented in the NHANES database.

“PSA is a sensitive marker for prostate cancer. Patients with elevated PSA require further evaluation with a prostate biopsy to rule out cancer,” said Dr Mouzannar.

Studying the impact of a plant-based diet on PSA levels is reasonable given what is already known about diets high in animal protein.

“Studies have shown that more aggressive prostate cancer may be associated with high meat consumption. said Mouzannar. “Several other publications suggest that fruits and vegetables may have a protective effect against prostate cancer.”

Dr Mouzannar and colleagues looked at men’s diet and PSA levels and found that men consuming more fruits, vegetables and other healthy plant-based foods and less meat had lower PSA levels. lower than those of men who ate more meat or less healthy diets, including fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugars, artificially sweetened drinks and desserts.

More studies need to be done to see if the diet lowers PSA levels, but in the meantime, urologists and others may refer to the results to answer patient questions.

“The important take-home message from this study is that it appears that adopting a plant-based diet may be associated with lower PSA levels and can certainly be incorporated into ways that patients can experience healthy living conditions. healthier lifestyles, ”said Dr. Gonzalgo, who also is the study’s author.

Other Miller School authors on the study are Manish Kuchakulla, MD, resident in urology; urology resident Ruben Blachman Braun, MD, M.Sc .; medical student Sirpi Nackeeran; urology resident Maria Becerra, MD; assistant professor Bruno Nahar, MD; associate professor of urology and oncology Sanoj Punnen, MD; associate professor of urology and oncology Chad Ritch, MD, MBA; and professor and chair of urology Dipen Parekh, MD

No ED link, testosterone

Contrary to the belief that eating more animal protein improves erectile function and testosterone levels in men, Miller School investigators found no impact on testosterone levels from a healthy plant-based diet. and a positive impact of eating more plant-based foods and animal protein on erection. function, according to Ruben Blachman-Braun, resident in urology at Miller School, MD, M.Sc., who presented and wrote “Plant-based diets are associated with decreased risk of erectile dysfunction.”

Dr Blachman-Braun and his colleagues studied nearly 2,550 men in the NHANES database.

“Of these, 1,085 had some degree of erectile dysfunction and after performing an analysis, we showed that increased consumption of plant-based foods is associated with a decreased risk of erectile dysfunction,” said said Dr Blachman-Braun. “This does not mean that eating a plant-based diet improves erections. However, it does show that eating a plant-based diet does not negatively affect erections and having a healthier lifestyle with increased food consumption at herbal can potentially lead to better erections. “

The other authors of this study are medical student Eliyahu Kresch; medical student Sirpi Nackeeran; Manish Kuchakulla and Dr Ramasamy.

In another study published earlier this year in the World Journal of Urology, Dr Ramasamy and his coauthors analyzed the health and diet information of 191 participants in the NHANES database. The plant-based diet index, or the amount of plant-based foods in men’s diets, did not predict and had no impact on serum testosterone levels.

The co-authors of this study were Manish Kuchakulla, Sirpi Nackeeran and Ruben Blachman-Braun.

The two studies presented to AAU were featured in its press release, highlighting the relevance of the topic, according to Dr Ramasamy.

“We are on the verge of understanding how living a healthy life with less animal protein and more of a plant-based diet with more vegetables and fruit is not only better for your heart, but also good for your health. men, including sex life and testosterone levels, ”said Dr. Ramasamy.


Journal reference:

Mouzannar, A., et al. (2021) PD65-08 Impact of Plant-Based Diet on Psa Level: National Health and Nutrition Survey Data. Urology Journal.



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