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Dr. Esselstyn's Story

It all started with a small group of patients at the Cleveland Clinic.

The year was 1985. After he and his wife Ann adopted a plant-based diet, cutting out oil, meat, fish, fowl and dairy products, Dr. Esselstyn launched a study to examine cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Essy's Landmark Study

The Chief of Cardiology at the clinic graciously granted Essy’s request to refer patients with advanced coronary artery disease to participate in a study. The goal: to use whole food, plant-based nutrition to reduce patients’ cholesterol levels to below 150mg/dL, the level seen in cultures where the disease is virtually nonexistent, and to see what effect it would have on their health. Dr. Esselstyn soon had eighteen patients in the study, a number of whom had been instructed by their doctors that nothing more could be done to address their severe disease states. In the eight years prior to the study, participants had collectively experienced forty-nine cardiovascular events. Simply put, many of these patients were on death’s door. 

The Ground Breaking Results

After five years, the results were astounding: cholesterol levels, on average, reduced by 50%; a halting of disease progression in all participants; actual reversal of the disease in eight individuals; and overall widespread improvement in health. In short, these patients were able to return to living active and engaged lives. This groundbreaking study was published in 1995 in the American Journal of Cardiology: “Updating a 12 -Year Experience With Arrest and Reversal Therapy for Coronary Heart Disease (An Overdue Requiem for Palliative Cardiology).”

The Plant Based Movement is Born

Soon, in collaboration with other like-minded researchers and clinicians such as Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. John McDougall, and Dr. Michael Klaper, among many others, the revolution had begun. Ann and Essy soon found themselves traveling the country, and later the world, to spread the message, share the research, and actively demonstrate the healing power of whole food, plant-based nutrition. Essy went on to publish 150 scientific articles about his work. This includes the most recent “Is Oil Healthy?”, published in 2019 in the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention

What began over thirty years ago has now become a full-fledged movement, a seismic revolution in global health. As Essy states, “The time is now. The weight of scientific evidence and public opinion, now that the truth is known, will prevail. With this approach, the war against our most devastating diseases can be won.”

Essy's Resume

Cleveland Clinic

Other Notable Accomplishments