3 common nutrients missing from vegan/vegetarian diets
Whether your choice to be vegan or vegetarian is influenced by health, politics or personal preferences, these diets often need vitamin supplements to be complete. Without the presence of meat or animal byproducts, the vegan/vegetarian nutrition profiles can sometimes lack critical vitamins and minerals. Here are three of them, as well as the health complications they're linked to:
Iron deficiencies are common, whether someone is vegan/vegetarian or not. The theory that vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk of iron deficiencies has been debunked, but that doesn't mean that they sidestep the risk entirely. While the risk of iron deficiency doesn't change based on vegetarian or veganism, those following these meat-free diets do have smaller iron stores compared to those of meat eaters. Sometimes, this can be beneficial in preventing too much iron in the diet, but it also means that vegans and vegetarians need to be wary of the iron they consume. Iron deficiencies are linked to the development of anemia, and are usually signaled by fatigue and faster heart rate.
According to recent research by Eastern Carolina University, vitamin B12 deficiency in vegetarians is linked to the development of cardiovascular disease. While vegetarians and vegans with balanced diets typically have reduced risk of heart-related diseases, such as high blood pressure and hypertension, a vitamin B12 deficiency can negate that benefit.
A recent study by the University of Otago in New Zealand found that adult vegetarians have lower zinc levels than omnivores. Zinc is an important nutrient for digestion and in other organ systems, and a deficiency can lead to diarrhea, hair loss, as well as eye and skin conditions.
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