Check out the upcoming vegan event: Chicago VeganMania (celebrating vegan culture). Meanwhile, are we vegans getting enough omega-3s and vitamin B12? See, the study or its abstract published online on June 19, 2013, “Biologically Active Vitamin B12 Compounds in Foods for Preventing Deficiency among Vegetarians and Elderly Subjects.” Vegans may be interested to know that controlled intervention studies with supplemental DHA have indicated benefit in hyperaggressive behavior as induced via mental stress in university students. Are you getting a balanced amount of DHA and EPA along with your vitamin B 12 sources?
To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in high-risk populations such as vegetarians and elderly subjects, it’s necessary to identify plant-source foods that contain high levels of bioactive vitamin B12 and, in conjunction, to prepare the use of crystalline vitamin B12-fortified foods, the study’s abstract notes. The question consumers usually want to know is whether their sources of vitamin B are bioactive and also are being absorbed.
Articles that give information on tests and strokes in vegans
If you check out the article on strokes in vegans, Vegans and Strokes | Compassionate Spirit, you’ll also come to the commentary section below the article that notes, according to a NutritionFacts.org video from Michael Greger, a 2010 study of British vegans found 52% were B-12 deficient. The article commentary also refers to a study that found 7% of lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and less than 1% of omnivores, were deficient.
A much older report from the USDA in the year 2000 suggested that nearly 9% of the U. S. population in a study group were deficient; since vegans were less than 1% of the U. S. population in 2000, that would verify that “most B-12 deficient individuals are not vegan” even if every single vegan were B-12 deficient. It’s still a good idea to “be afraid, be very afraid” of B-12 deficiency. Dr. Greger also has a video about B-12 testing. Whereas uMMA is better than the standard blood test, there’s evidently another test that’s even better than uMMA, says the commentary section of that article. You may wish to check it out.
Chemistry behind veganism
Also, you may wish to check out the American Chemical Society February 2, 2011 news release, “Vegans’ elevated heart risk requires omega-3s and B12,” which is based on the study about “Chemistry behind Vegetarianism.” People who follow a vegan lifestyle — strict vegetarians who try to eat no meat or animal products of any kind — may increase their risk of developing blood clots and atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries,” which are conditions that can lead to heart attacks and stroke. That’s the conclusion of a review of dozens of articles published on the biochemistry of vegetarianism during the past 30 years. The article appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (ACS Publications).
Duo Li notes in the review that meat eaters are known for having a significantly higher combination of cardiovascular risk factors than vegetarians. Lower-risk vegans, however, may not be immune. Their diets tend to be lacking several key nutrients — including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. While a balanced vegetarian diet can provide enough protein, this isn’t always the case when it comes to fat and fatty acids. As a result, vegans tend to have elevated blood levels of homocysteine and decreased levels of HDL, the “good” form of cholesterol. Both are risk factors for heart disease.
It concludes that there is a strong scientific basis for vegetarians and vegans to increase their dietary omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 to help contend with those risks. Good sources of omega-3s include salmon and other oily fish, walnuts and certain other nuts. Good sources of vitamin B12 include seafood, eggs, and fortified milk. Dietary supplements also can supply these nutrients.
Also see the abstract of a book, “Docosahexaenoic Acid in Human Health.” About DHA, the study’s abstract explains that vegan vegetarians are at particular risk with respect to having depressed physiological levels of DHA as well as sub-optimal concentrations of DHA in breast milk of lactating women. Depressed levels of DHA have become apparent from various measurements on patients with various neurological/behavioral disorders although controlled intervention trials with preformed DHA (lacking EPA) have been very limited in number to date. Check out, “Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”
Controlled intervention studies with supplemental DHA have indicated benefit in hyperaggressive behavior as induced via mental stress in university students
Controlled clinical trials using supplemental DHA (free of EPA) are required and many are now currently underway to directly assess the potential of DHA itself as distinguished from fish/fish oils containing DHA plus EPA in various studies related to human health indices and the attenuation of chronic disorders and associated risk factors.
The employment of nutraceutical preparations of DHA and their inclusion in a wide assortment of functional foods are expected to dramatically increase in numbers and availability in the marketplace within the coming decade in view of mounting evidence for the health benefits associated with increased consumption of dietary DHA in various forms.