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Study Finds Vegans Aren’t Getting Enough Nutrients

While many people decide to become vegans for health reasons, a recent study suggests that people following a vegan diet may not be getting enough of the right vitamins and nutrients.

Participants in the study included 19 controls (eight men and 11 women) and 22 vegans (six men and 16 women) who followed a vegan diet for an average eight years. The researchers used three-day food records as well as blood and urine samples to assess dietary habits and intake and concentrations of vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, iodine, and essential fatty-acids.

The researchers found that both groups had vitamin B12 levels within the recommended amount, which makes sense considering the fact that the 91% of the vegan group took vitamin B12 supplements. However, 24% of the vegan group had serum vitamin D concentrations below the recommended amount, compared with 6% of the control group. The vegan group also had lower concentrations of beta-carotene, selenium, iodine, and both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty-acids compared to the control group. Finally, the vegans had high concentrations of soy polyphenols.

The researchers recommended that people following a vegan diet make sure to eat a balanced diet of whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, berries, and unsaturated fats as well as take supplements to boost their dietary intake.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency conducted the study. It was published on February 3, 2016, in PLOS One.

While this study suggests that vegans should itake supplements regularly in order to keep a healthy nutrition profile, previous research has linked vegan diets with combating cancer and better overall health. If you’re interested in converting to a vegan diet, consult a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting all of the proper nutrients. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with high quality supplements.

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