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. Mraz grows flats of microgreens 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 people to abstain from all animal products and still get the nutrients they need. That's the finding of a new study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Despite the fact that a plant-based diets lower high blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, and help 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 are deficient in vitamin 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 (implicated in immune system, digestive, and bone problems); 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 multivitamin and supplements for nutrients mentioned above; get regular blood tests to check nutrient levels.
Also make sure to avoid added sugar and syrups, and overprocessed foods that supply empty calories.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
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