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Vegans may lack essential nutrient intake

Friday, Mar 18, 2016,17:21 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | Vegan diet may be deficient in some essential nutrients which can have implications in neurologic disorders, anaemia, bone strength and other health concerns, a new study has claimed.

Vegan diet is a strict plant-based diet that excludes all animal-derived foods. Increasingly, people are choosing to follow this diet for ethical, environmental, religious and health concerns. With the growing popularity of plant-based diets, the researchers at the Mayo Clinic in US compiled a review of recent literature to monitor and advise vegans to ensure proper nutritional intake.

Nutrients of concern are vitamin B-12, iron, calcium, vitamin D, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, researchers said. We found that some of these nutrients, which can have implications in neurologic disorders, anaemia, bone strength and other health concerns, can be deficient in poorly planned vegan diets, said Heather Fields, Community and Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Contrary to popular belief, vegans have not been shown to be deficient in protein intake or in any specific amino acids, researchers said.

The study points out that some vegans rely heavily on processed foods and may not eat a sufficient variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A whole food, plant-based diet is commendable, and a well-planned vegan diet can be adequate to achieve proper nutrition, but requires some education.

The researchers recommends that health care providers monitor vegan patients for adequate blood levels of vitamin B-12, iron, ferritin, calcium and vitamin D. The study was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.