The Purjes Foundation

Clinical Trials & Other Research Studies

The Purjes Foundation has funded several clinical trials at leading medical centers and research hospitals demonstrating the benefits of a whole plant food diet, and its ability to prevent and reverse disease. The Purjes Foundation intends to continue funding such research and to fund new studies that have the potential to make a significant impact on the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of humanity.

Plant-Based Cardiovascular Clinical Trial – NYU Langone Medical Center

The Purjes Foundation funded a clinical trial at NYU Medical Center comparing a plant-based diet with the diet recommended by the American Heart Association (“AHA”) for people with cardiovascular disease. The AHA diet contains animal-based foods. The trial involved 100 participants with severe cardiovascular disease randomly divided into two groups, one eating plant-based foods and the other eating the diet recommended by the AHA, for a period of 8 weeks. All the food was paid for by the Purjes Foundation, as were many other costs and fees.

The primary blood marker tested was C-Reactive Protein, referred to as “hsCRP” or just “CRP”. This is an important marker of inflammation that is involved in virtually every inflammatory chronic disease. The lower the CRP, the better. The Purjes Foundation trial demonstrated conclusively that the patients on the plant-based diet saw their CRP levels fall %, or more than four times the 7% drop registered by the AHA group, in just 8 weeks.

These results were so significant that the Wall Street Journal published a feature article on the trial. Visit the Articles section of the Purjes Foundation website to read the article.

In December 2018, the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Heart Association, a highly regarded medical journal, published the research article submitted by the NYU principal investigators describing the details and results of the trial. Visit the Articles section of the Purjes Foundation website to read the article. 


Erectile Dysfunction Trial – Montefiore Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

The Purjes Foundation is funding an erectile function study at Montefiore Hospital, a unit of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.

The study will be a scientifically controlled clinical trial in which men will be randomly assigned to either a plant-based diet group, or a control group on an animal-based diet (meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, etc.), similar to the standard American diet (SAD).

The study has been approved by Montefiore Hospital’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and recruitment of study participants is anticipated to commence in the last half of 2021. The participants will be young men in their twenties and thirties who are not vegan or vegetarian and who have no erectile function issues.

The plant-based group will be on a whole food, plant-based diet for several days, while the control group will be on a diet of animal food products for several days. A device that measures penile erections and rigidity will record nocturnal erections for each group. The trial will be a crossover study in which the plant-based group will switch to an animal-based diet while the former animal-based diet group will switch to a plant-based diet after a “washout” period in between. Penile erections and rigidity will be recorded and analyzed, as well as several blood markers. The study should be completed in 2022.

The results of this study will guide the Purjes Foundation and Montefiore Hospital in assessing how best to conduct future clinical trials for erectile dysfunction.

An article on this proposed study was published in Insider online magazine. Visit the Articles section of the Purjes Foundation website to read the article.


Type 1 Diabetes Pilot Study – University of Louisville Medical Center

The Purjes Foundation has funded a pilot study to assess the feasibility of teaching young adults with type 1 diabetes how to incorporate plant-based nutrition into their lifestyles. This study is being conducted by the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center at the University of Louisville Medical School.

The pilot study is intended to determine the information modules needed to best educate young patients -- children, teenagers and young adults -- about healthy, plant-based eating, and improving their overall health as they transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.

The hope with this clinical study is to provide two things: the acceptability of plant-based nutrition in a younger population, and the relationship between plant-based eating and better health outcomes.

Once the acceptability of plant-based education and nutrition in children and young adults has been established, and the evidence of health benefits is demonstrated for the younger diabetes population, the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center would like to propose utilizing the education modules developed in the study for the inpatient center of its children's hospital. They also want to develop an inpatient, plant-based nutrition menu. The vision is to eventually expand the education program into the school system, and the ultimate plan is to provide the education modules through social media.


The Republic of the Marshall Islands Diabetes Study – University of Alabama

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a small country in the Pacific Ocean with a population of about 60,000 people. In the 1950s, only a handful of people in the entire country had diabetes. Today, almost one third of the country’s population suffers from type 2 diabetes.

A few years ago, a study was conducted in which large numbers of Marshall Islanders were taught and encouraged to adopt a whole plant food lifestyle. Marshall Islanders were randomly assigned to either the plant-based group or to a control group that remained on their usual diet. The results were remarkable, with a great many Marshall Island residents reversing their diabetes and controlling it more effectively than with medications. Voluminous amounts of data was collected and analyzed.

The Purjes Foundation is providing funding to the Department of Nutrition at the University of Alabama to enable its researchers to analyze the data and publish it, and to provide conclusions for this study. The research analysis should be completed by the end of 2021 and hopefully published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in 2022.


Olive Oil Study – University of Florida, UF Health

Is olive oil healthy or unhealthy?

This is a question that many have asked, especially those who are more conscious of healthy lifestyles. Most scientists, dieticians, and ordinary people hold the view that olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, is the best kind of oil. But is it healthy?

There are studies that have shown that extra virgin olive oil can be anti-inflammatory and improve cardiovascular health; studies of the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of olive oil, have shown it to be one of the healthiest diets around.

On the other hand, there have been studies demonstrating harmful aspects to olive oil, such as constriction of arterial blood flow after consumption of olive oil. Some small studies have discussed potential damage to the endothelial lining of the interior of artery walls from olive oil. Such damage can be a precursor to atherosclerosis and arterial plaque.

People who follow a whole food plant-based lifestyle, with little or no oils and fats, claim that is the healthiest diet by far, and known to reverse and prevent chronic disease.

The Purjes Foundation is funding a study at the University of Florida’s Cardiology Department to assess olive oil and help clarify the confusion surrounding it.

The University of Florida’s IRB has authorized the study to begin. It should be concluded in 2022 and hopefully the results will be published that year.