Reversal of Pulmonary Hypertension, Diabetes, and Retinopathy after Adoption of a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
BACKGROUND: The whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet has been shown to be successful in reversing and preventing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers. Here we report a case study of a patient showing significant reversal of both pulmonary hypertension (PH) and retinopathy, and total reversal of type 2 diabetes. This occurred 15 months after switching from a flexitarian diet to a WFPB diet. Furthermore, these reversals have now been maintained for a period of over six years without the use of targeted pharmaceutical interventions nor daytime oxygen. In particular, the patient’s six-minute walk test (6MWT) mean distance, visual acuity, and A1c measurements changed from 220 m, 20/200 ft and 15% respectively within three months of PH diagnosis to 409 m, 20/46 ft and 5.6% at 15 months after commencement of the WFPB diet. A total of 6 right heart catheterization procedures were performed: her mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP) was 55 mmHg on the day of diagnosis and her last mPAP measurement was 40 mmHg, which was taken towards the beginning of the WFPB diet period. The reversals reported herein have been now maintained for a period of 6 years, without the use of targeted pharmaceuticals nor daytime oxygen. Although the patient was treated to several combinations PH drug interventions, spanning all three available biological pathways for promoting vasodilation, none of these combinations of drugs was as effective as the WFPB diet alone on her quality of life.
CASE HISTORY: A 51-year-old Caucasian female voluntarily admitted herself in February 2007 to a local acute care facility exhibiting symptoms of type 2 diabetes, significant edema in her lower extremities; dyspnea at rest with exertion and during sleep, recurrent syncope, and neuropathic pain in both feet. Immediately after admission, the patient was treated with metformin and replaglinide to control her diabetes. In December 2007, the patient was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and commenced a series of targeted therapeutic drug interventions to treat her IPAH while consuming a flexitarian diet. None of these drug combinations was successful in improving her 6MWT result beyond 369m. After commencing two of the
pharmaceutical interventions she experienced adverse side effects: loss of visual acuity to the point of legal blindness, 80 lb of fluid retention within 2 months. After five years post diagnosis of IPAH, the patient commenced consuming a WFPB diet that resulted in the disease reversals detailed above.
CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of a WFPB diet resulted in better treatment outcomes for IPAH, retinopathy, and type 2 diabetes for the patient in this study compared with targeted drug interventions. is observation adds credence to the hypothesis that a WFPB diet is a viable method of ameliorating symptoms for PH patients. It is also consistent with recent animal model studies on ameliorating PH with consumption of dietary nitrates and a short-term clinical trial. While these data are hypothesis generating, a prospective clinical trial, including both 6MWT and cardiopulmonary hemodynamic measurements, is needed to fully demonstrate the efficacy of a WFPB diet on PH patient health.