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Vegan Diet Deficiencies

Vegan Diet Deficiencies

When two-time Grammy winner Jason Mraz sings I Won’t Give Up, he might be crooning about his steadfast commitment to a vegan lifestyle. He grows flats of micro greens on a shelf under a window on his tour bus and lives on an avocado farm that yields 30,000 of the nutrient-packed fruit annually.

But it isn’t easy for most folks to abstain from all animal products and still get the nutrients they need. That’s the finding of a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Despite the fact that a plant-based diet lowers high blood pressure, reduces LDL cholesterol, helps reverse or avoid obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, and some cancers, it’s easy for some vegans to develop significant nutritional deficiencies.

As many as a half of all vegans may lack B12 (associated with fatigue, nerve and memory problems, digestive woes and trouble metabolizing hormone/neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin); iron (leading to anemia); calcium (causing cardio and bone issues); vitamin D (immune system, digestive and bone problems, etc.); omega-3 fatty acid (triggering inflammation and fatty liver); omega-7 fatty acid (triggering inflammation and clogged arteries); and protein (causing brain, bone, heart, muscle, and metabolic challenges).  

But that’s no reason to abandon a vegan diet! Just make sure to take a multi-vite and supplements for nutrients mentioned above; get regular blood tests to check nutrient levels. Also make sure to avoid added sugar and syrups, and over-processed foods that supply empty calories. Many chips, sorbets, and frozen cheese pizzas are vegan!

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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