Being Vegan With PSC

So my husband was diagnosed with PSC last year, he’s only 28. He has bouts of being unwell but generally feels tired all the time but still has to work a physical job. We’ve recently decided to go vegan because his close friend says how much more energy he has and feels so well. So we thought why not try it. I just wanted to check a vegan diet would be ok for someone with PSC? No meat no dairy no eggs… I thought it would probably be ok aslong as we make sure we intake enough important vitamins - B12, calcium, iron, protein, omega etc.

Could someone advise please?
Thank you


Hi JBird

How are you? Sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis.

In my and many doctors’ opinion, vegan diet is too restrictive. You depriving yourself of lean meat (a source of protein) and fish (a source of omega-3), just to name a couple. PSC may involve muscle wasting and an increased demand for calories - at least that was my case. There were months when I could eat over 4000 calories a day a not put on any weight.

Personally, I would choose a modified Paleo (include more sources of complex carbohydrates) or the Mediterranean diet if your husband is gluten-and-dairy tolerant. There is the leaky gut theory that links autoimmune diseases to the flawed intestinal permeability. There is also strong association between PSC and coeliac disease so I would advise your husband to be tested for the latter.

A healthy individual is able to get enough vitamins, macro and micro elements from a balanced diet and sun exposure. It may not be the case in a PSC patient, hence supplementation may be necessary. A blood test can reveal vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I would also see a dietician about it.

My GI actually recommended plant base proteins for me. I do more of a paleo diet, but she feels that the plant base proteins digest easier because of my compromised liver. She told me just to make sure to get adequate protein each day. To be honest, I sometimes feel like my liver hurts more with certain fruits and veggies, so I’ve had to be pretty picky and beans make me gassy. so that adds to discomfort. I’ve heard several PSCers say they are vegetarian or vegan and they seem to do just fine. I’d probably consult my GI or hepatologist first and for any suggestions. :blush:

Have you tried eating your legumes as an individual protein with just some veggies?
I find if I mix beans with carbs or other proteins they cause me a lot more issue.
I also find if I eat fruit with proteins it can make me bloated and gassy.

Great feedback - thank you!

Hi Jbird,

I’ve been a vegan for some time and have had psc for about 13 years and have had no problem with protein. Eat a variety of foods, legumes, soy, etc and it shouldn’t be a problem. You could always take a b12 supplement.


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I don’t eat other carbs. I don’t have much of an appetite and my Hep wants me to take weight off, so I’m focusing on only eating healthy. No potatoes or corn, only fruits and veggies and lean meats. I hadn’t thought about legumes with fruit being an issue. I will try that and see. I blame my IBS, but maybe it’s what I’m combining them with. Thanks!

Hi! I totally agree with your friend, although I wouldn’t call it a vegan diet. Vegan diets can include a lot of processed junk, and you don’t want the liver to have to work harder. I eat 100% plant based and stay away from foods with added oils. I don’t cook with oils of any kind. I get plenty if protein and tons if fiber which is great for the entire GI tract. There are so many great resources, tons of recipes on how to eat plant based without oil, that I get tons of variety in my diet. I’m still tired at the end of the day, but I haven’t gotten really sick in a year. My last MRAC showed no significant change over the last year, so if my new way of eating will keep the damage at bay, I’m all for it. Good luck to both of you. :hugs:


Let me know if it helps. I cook my own beans too and soak and rinse really well. I find if I eat them in afternoon or evening is best. I also take a digestive enzyme to support when needed. There is also a really good GasStop option out there that I really like too.

Love this conversation. I tried vegetarianism for 11 years but my body was not happy so not sure no meat is for me. However, currently I’m not dealing with IBS now but when I was it seemed everything I did aggravated it.

I’ve heard soaking beans in vinegar prior to cooking can help reduce flatulence, but I tried it once and I didn’t notice a difference, so I gave up on it. I’m not happy about meal prep these days because I have a family if picky eaters, but generally what they eat, I won’t or can’t. I don’t want to cook 2 meals, not enough energy and lack of appetite. My go to meal for once or twice a day is a vegan protein shake with a handful of frozen mixed berries and a half an avocado ( for fiber and healthy fat), prepared with almond milk or water. It fills me up until the next meal or longer and at least I’m getting all of the food groups in there. I like it more than I like legumes too. :joy:

Ahhhh -
I don’t blame you. I have no kids so I don’t have to worry about another’s pickiness… and having been raised that it doesn’t count on a farm, not sure I would! I’d be all, make yer own if you don’t like what I’m making. No fast or processed foods. Not sure when we all got off the train of good eating versus, quick and easy junk made by our leaders. I mean, corn syrup is the first ingredient along with artificial flavors and colorings in prescription Boost recommended to keep calories going and weight on prior to transplant… that and they charge an arm and a leg for it… pure racket.
It’s no wonder so many are sick and when sick, fed sick foods. But, so goes the $$ train!

Never heard of vinegar. Some of us are just not made to process legumes, sorta like asparagus. Soy I know sometimes is not an option after transplant - not sure on the front end. Nuts are so hard to process but great for protein, fats and vitamins and minerals. Can you do MCT oil?

I have done the food sensitivity test two years in a row and I found that if I changed up too much to foods my body was ok with I’d develop a sensitivity. Avocados were one of them this last round… as I ate them every week. Now I have to temper my consumption. Thus I am beginning to believe quite strongly, based on my experience and blood results, that Variety is Truly, the Gift of Life. And I like cooking food for a week but guess my body prefers me not to. I need to learn to cook for 1 versus 6 :wink:

Always a challenge, and I’m impressed that you are finding a way to eat healthfully and keep your weight where you want it, up or down.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as telling them to fix it themselves. My daughter will do that, my husband knows better than to say anything about what I’m serving, but I have a son with high functioning autism and his pickiness stems from sensory issues (texture and taste) with foods. I cater to him most of the time, but I make him eat the veggies that don’t disgust him. :blush: I do prepare lean roasted meats that I eat with them, but when it’s beef or I’m just not really feeling good, I do my shake thing.

I have never fried things in our home, so I’d say I’m mostly a healthy cook, but we do occasionally have a Chick-fil-A or a burger when we (or mostly they) are on the go. My kids do like potato chips and some junk food, but my daughter loves fruit, veggies, and often eats a salad for a meal. I know what you mean about fast foods and processed food though. It can be a really hard habit to break. I can’t say that gives by up some of those things was easy for me either and sometimes I still crave bbq potato chips or a nutty bar, but I know it will worsen my pain, so I just don’t.

I’m so sorry you can’t eat avocados! I can’t imagine life without them…I love them! I hope that I don’t reach the point where I can’t eat them. I don’t do MCT oil well, it messes my stomach up, so that’s why I lean on the avocados.

It’s been nice chatting with you!

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You too - I learn so much from other’s experiences. And yes, I can see how picky eating is just not a simple fix, kudos to you for working through it with your kids and man. :slight_smile:
Here is a link to the best gas stop I’ve found besides GasX.
You continue to take care!

We follow something called autoimmune paleo - it does include meat but no legumes or whole seeds. Their thought being that anything that could be tough on digestive system best be avoided on the hunch it would cause inflammation. One thing I’ve been researching more on - some proteins in beans may not get as digested/be as bioavailable to humans as we think. If beans are a major protein source for you, there’s data on either side but we found a bit of meat seems to increase energy in my husband’s case. A nutritionist recommended he add in a bone broth a few times a day from grass fed organic beef bones that’s low in fat, it’s already broken down so even a compromised system that may not absorb nutrients as well benefits. We use it when we make rice (adds flavor too), sometimes drink it with ginger, garlic, & herbs added in, or use it as a soup base. We did get rid of gluten which our nutritionist was worried about - as like veganism cutting too much out can lead to malnutrition for folks with GI issues. We’ve added in gluten free morning oats which is another way to throw something together on the go. My husband can easily clear 3k calories a day and maintain weight/muscle mass since diagnosis, he’s rebuilt around 25 lbs of muscle this year after being down to barely nothing by listening how his body reacts to food & making a big focus plant based as well as animal sourced protein from organic/natural origin. Some items we cut out like dairy then added back in only to find it didn’t bother his system, where as processed sugars do. Use your stomach as the guide. Our background is chef/food manufacturing as profession, hope this helps.