Vegans need to guard against neurologic disorders, anemia, reduced bone strength and other health concerns as their diet may lack vital nutrient intake, a new study has warned.
The US study points out that some vegans rely heavily on processed foods and may not eat a sufficient variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
The findings showed that 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.
Researchers recommend that healthcare providers monitor vegan patients for adequate blood levels of vitamin B-12, iron, ferritin, calcium and vitamin D.
“We found that some of these nutrients, which can have implications in neurologic disorders, anemia, bone strength and other health concerns, can be deficient in poorly planned vegan diets,” said Heather Fields from Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
Vegans consume strict plant-based diet that excludes all animal-derived foods.
Contrary to popular belief, “Vegans have not been shown to be deficient in protein intake or in any specific amino acids,” Fields said in a paper published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
A retrospective review by Mayo Clinic physicians indicated that vegans should ensure adequate intake of a few nutrients.
With the growing popularity of plant-based diets, the researchers compiled a review 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.