View Full Version : Nutrient deficiencies more common in meat eaters than in vegans?

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Dec 28th, 2010, 03:51 PM
This list from http://www.energywave.com/about-vitamins-minerals-herbs/Common-Nutrient-Deficiencies.htm shows that a lot of people are deficient in a lot of nutrients (this is not a study on vegans)...:

Vitamin B6: 80% are deficient.
Magnesium: 75% are deficient
Calcium: 68%
Iron : 57%
Vitamin A: 50%
Thiamine (B1): 45%
Vitamin C: 41%
Vitamin B12: 34%
Riboflavin (B2): 34%
Niacin: 33%
Phosphorus: 27%

Various studies suggest the 30-40% of non-vegans either have low B12 levels or even are B12 deficient. Several studies also suggest that either only 1 or zero percent of the population do not have any nutrient deficiencies at all.

This is not surprising, but still - based on this (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21178089) study, it's alarming, since a lot of them take supplements:

Supplement use was measured through a questionnaire and was reported by 49% of the U.S. population (44% of males, 53% of females). Multivitamin-multimineral use was the most frequently reported dietary supplement (33%). The majority of people reported taking only 1 dietary supplement and did so on a daily basis. Dietary supplement use was lowest in obese adults and highest among non-Hispanic whites, older adults, and those with more than a high-school education. Between 28 and 30% reported using dietary supplements containing vitamins B-6, B-12, C, A, and E; 18-19% reported using iron, selenium, and chromium; and 26-27% reported using zinc- and magnesium-containing supplements. Botanical supplement use was more common in older than in younger age groups and was lowest in those aged 1-13 y but was reported by ~20% of adults. About one-half of the U.S. population and 70% of adults ≥ 71 y use dietary supplements; one-third use multivitamin-multimineral dietary supplements.

Mar 18th, 2011, 03:33 AM
Thanks for the in depth fact post. I like to read information like this every so often, to confirm that I am doing the right thing. Even without big studies like this, I see the results pretty much on a daily basis. Of the people that I hang around, some are vegan, but most are not. Most of us are all pretty healthy, but I've noticed that us that are vegans, really don't get sick and usually have more energy, because of the natural vitamins.

Thanks for the info.

Mar 18th, 2011, 02:18 PM
I pointed out this little fact when I was in hospital last check for a standard pregnancy check and chat. Normally I don't tell anyone I'm vegan unless someone explicitly asks. The midwive asked me to point out on a list of foods which ones I didn't eat. I explained I'm vegan, she never heard of such a thing which I found amazing for someone of her profession. So she wanted to send me to a nutritionist and I kindly refused. I was mentioning various cancers and illnesses pointing at the pictures of the different food products on the paper and she just looked at me like my hair was on fire probably concluding that I was nuts and said again I should see a nutritionist. I refused again. She then started explaining to me where to get vit C, iron, protein, etc etc and I was finishing all her sentences and adding information that she didn't even know 'oh so you do know about nutrition' she said and she left the topic alone. It doesn't happen that often anymore that I run into people who are completely ignorant when it comes to veganism.

Mar 25th, 2011, 12:09 PM
Vegetarian diets: what are the advantages? (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15702597) (2005)
Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany. claus.leitzmann@ernaehrung.uni-giessen.de

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that wholesome vegetarian diets offer distinct advantages compared to diets containing meat and other foods of animal origin. The benefits arise from lower intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher intakes of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C and E, carotenoids and other phytochemicals. Since vegetarians consume widely divergent diets, a differentiation between various types of vegetarian diets is necessary. Indeed, many contradictions and misunderstandings concerning vegetarianism are due to scientific data from studies without this differentiation. In the past, vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in several nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12 and A, n-3 fatty acids and iodine. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the observed deficiencies are usually due to poor meal planning. Well-balanced vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and competitive athletes. In most cases, vegetarian diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis. The reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet often go beyond health and well-being and include among others economical, ecological and social concerns. The influences of these aspects of vegetarian diets are the subject of the new field of nutritional ecology that is concerned with sustainable life styles and human development.

Nov 27th, 2011, 09:41 PM
lets not forget that lumping the entire population into 2 groups is a huge flaw in all those sorts of studies since generally when people switch to vegan (either for ethical or health reasons) they also start eating healthier (by which i mean eating a more balanced diet) quit drinking smoking and start exercising more

dividing it into 2 healthier groups and discounting unhealthy ones would be better have no smokers or drinkers in either group ensure that both get a balanced diet and plenty of exercise then see what the results are

Nov 28th, 2011, 05:00 PM
I must say none of the Vegan I know quit smoking and drinking and started exercising more. :) They are all vegans though not plant eating, healthy diet people.

Crusty Rat
Nov 29th, 2011, 08:52 PM
Same. I know a few sXe vegans but also plenty of wreckhead vegans. :lol2: When I was first vegan I did allsorts, now I'm closer to the other end of the spectrum. People who care for others don't necessarily care for themselves. Besides, these kinds of variables tend to be taken into account when doing such studies.

Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:19 PM
People who care for others don't necessarily care for themselves.

Which is precisely true. Some people are so busy caring for others, that caring for oneself takes a backseat. That reminds me of Dr. McDougall's book...the Fat Vegan. According to him, fat vegans frighten meat eaters into becoming vegan. He sort of really attacks overweight vegans (at least that was my take on it).

Back to the nutritional deficiency topic: I would be damned if I developed a b12 deficiency. I take supplements and nutritional yeast and other sources of b vitamins to avoid that situation. I do, however, have hypoglycemia. This is random, but important to mention. I've been keeping track of my blood pressure.

Is a blood pressure of 100/40 normal? My diastolic pressure fluctuates between 40-60. My systolic fluctuated between 100-110. My pulse is typically 40-55. Sometimes it reaches 60-62. Of course this changes when I am training or running (post or during).

Dec 2nd, 2011, 11:29 PM
they also start eating healthier (by which i mean eating a more balanced diet) quit drinking smoking and start exercising more

Some do. Lots of people don't exercise - neither before or after they have become vegans, and I don't think I know of anyone who stopped drinking when they became vegans. Many vegans/others don't smoke before they became vegans either. Plus, you may forget that many people start to eat vegan for health reasons, so many members of the vegan group in studies are people who may have had health problems - sometimes serious problems - before they started to eat vegan - problems which may not disappear just because they start avoiding animal products.

Feb 20th, 2012, 09:06 AM
Hi, i just read a thread about common deficiencies in vegan people and in general, and it says as below.


Dave Eastman Posted: Apr 1 2004, 06:21 PM

The latest data on the dietary intakes of vegans was just published last month.[1] The diets of about 100 vegans were recorded for a week and were found deficient in calcium, iodine and vitamin B12. Using the same standards, though, the standard American diet are deficient in 7 nutrients! The diet of your average American is not only also deficient in calcium and iodine, it's deficient in vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium as well.[2]

Not only does the American public have over twice as many nutritional deficiencies in their diets, vegans were shown to have higher intakes of 16 out of the 19 nutrients studied, includeing calcium. The vegans were getting more than enough protein on average and three times more vitamin C, three times more vitamin E, three times more fiber. Vegans got twice the folate, twice the magnesium, twice the copper, twice the manganese.

And of course the vegans had twice the fruit and vegetable intake and half the saturated fat intake, meeting the new 2003 World Health Organization guidelines for fat intake and weight control.[3] Almost 2/3 of Americans are overweight.[4] In contrast, only 11% of the vegans were overweight. Almost one in three Americans are obese.[4] Zero of the 98 vegans in this study were obese.

So when a meateater asks you "Where you get your B12?" You can counter with "Where do you get your vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium? And while you're at it, you can ask them how they keep their sodium, saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol intake under control (not to mention their weight).[5]


[1] Results from the German Vegan Study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 57(August 2003):947.
[2] USDA. Food and Nutrient Intakes by Individuals in the United States, by Region, 1994-96.
[3] World Health Organization Technical Report Series 916. Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. 2003.
[4] Centers for Disease Control.
[5] Then you can finally answer their question and proudly say B12 fortified foods or B12 supplements :-) Of course the fact that we're seriously deficient in B12 should not be taken lightly. Evidence suggests that our low B12 intakes make be shaving literally years off of the lives of vegetarians and vegans, so make sure you get your B12!--I recommend " Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It? "

And I've looked up the reference [2] in USDA site (http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12355000/pdf/Region.pdf) and i don't see these deficiencies. Maybe i don't know how to read the data, but is there anybody who could help me out on this? Now I'm writing a book about being a vegetarian in Korea, and i need this information about 'common deficiencies in general.' Thank you very much.

Feb 20th, 2012, 09:26 AM
Hi, I merged your thread with the thread your quote comes from - there are lots of references to common nutritional deficiencies here...

Feb 21st, 2012, 01:18 AM
Hi, Korn. thanks for the reply. i've already read the whole thing, but those are not the ones i need. i need to know the answer to my question, and that's why i posted a new thread(so people can see and answer). this way (my reply at the end of a thread) they may miss it. could you personally take a look at the data and tell me what u think?

Feb 21st, 2012, 01:54 AM
i need to know the answer to my question, and that's why i posted a new thread
If your question is "what are the common nutritional deficiencies in general?", and this thread is about that topic, it's a better idea to post your question here, for a number of reasons - and that would IMO also be the case if you have questions about one of the studies mentioned in this thread. If you are referring to one of the references in one of the mentioned studies (the USDA link): how did you search (in the pdf) for the info?

The original articles says that "The diet of your average American is not only also deficient in calcium and iodine, it's deficient in vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium as well".

When following your link, and searching that file for eg. magnesium, you'll see that on page 24, when looking at the row "All individuals", it is stated that 9,5% of all individuals in the study have below 50% of the magnesium RDA (recommended daily average), 35% has below 75% of the RDA, and 61,5% are below the full (100%) RDA value.

As you may know, I'm not a scientist... if you have questions re. the USDA table, why not just contact them (http://www.ars.usda.gov/contactus/contactus.htm?modecode=12-35-00-00)? Good luck! :-)

Feb 21st, 2012, 03:34 AM
well, when you look at table 2 at page 14, then most of the mean intake for all regions are more than 100% of RDA. but maybe i should look ate table 3, rather than table 2 to know the common deficiencies?

Feb 21st, 2012, 07:45 AM
I guess the link has to be changed to here.


Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:54 AM
mean intake for all regions are more than 100% of RDA

Hi, I haven't looked at your new link yet, but don't forget that even if the average level of eg. B12 in eg. USA is 100% of the RDA (or more), there may still be 100 million people there who have too low B12 levels.

Jun 11th, 2014, 03:45 PM
Here's (http://www.spatrade.com/articles/archive/ds799-3.html) another site referring to general (non-vegan) studies of nutrient deficiencies.

One study shows the difference between nutrient values in organic vs. non-organic food, the other shows percentages of essential nutrients that are lost when whole wheat grain is turned into white flour. The study most relevant to this thread are based on two government sponsored surveys measuring intake of 13 out of 45 essential nutrients in tens of thousands of people: The "Health and Nutrition Examination Survey" (1971-1974) and "The Nationwide Food Consumption Survey" (1977-1978).

The various studies are collected by Gabriella Juris, Ph.D.

Here's a link (http://www.chiroweb.com/archives/16/23/23.html) to another site discussing similar studies - again. an excerpt:
The first of the two links above seems dead - here's a new one which should work:

http://books.google.no/books?id=O9cdAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=Biotin:+10+Folacin:+10%2B+Chromium:+90+Iron+:+5 7+Copper:+85-90+Magnesium:+75+Manganese:+20-30+Phosphorus:+27+Pantothenic+acid:+25+Vitamin+A:+ 50+Selenium:+50-60+Vitamin+B1:+45+Silicon:+30+Vitamin+B2:+34+Vitam in+D:+10+Vitamin+B3:+33+Vitamin+E:+20-40+Vitamin+B6:+80+Vitamin+K:+15+Vitamin+B12+:+34+O mega+3+fatty+acids:+95+Vitamin+C:+41+Zinc:+35-60&source=bl&ots=TTVQfEndiY&sig=je_szbA-xoW1ttSxPEOiNyCYMRM&hl=no&sa=X&ei=eGiYU4aFMMrhywPi0oGgCA&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Biotin%3A%2010%20Folacin%3A%2010%2B%20Chromium%3 A%2090%20Iron%20%3A%2057%20Copper%3A%2085-90%20Magnesium%3A%2075%20Manganese%3A%2020-30%20Phosphorus%3A%2027%20Pantothenic%20acid%3A%20 25%20Vitamin%20A%3A%2050%20Selenium%3A%2050-60%20Vitamin%20B1%3A%2045%20Silicon%3A%2030%20Vita min%20B2%3A%2034%20Vitamin%20D%3A%2010%20Vitamin%2 0B3%3A%2033%20Vitamin%20E%3A%2020-40%20Vitamin%20B6%3A%2080%20Vitamin%20K%3A%2015%20 Vitamin%20B12%20%3A%2034%20Omega%203%20fatty%20aci ds%3A%2095%20Vitamin%20C%3A%2041%20Zinc%3A%2035-60&f=false

Sep 4th, 2014, 04:58 PM
Here's yet another report documenting that the average non-vegans often are short in a number of nutrients:

Europeans do not consume enough vitamins, minerals

October 31, 2013

Plataforma SINC

A study has analyzed intake of 17 basic micronutrients in people's diets across eight European countries. The results reveal that, although vitamin D is the most extreme case, European citizens - across all age and sex ranges - do not consume sufficient iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 and folic acid.

Oct 5th, 2015, 07:59 AM
Meat eaters often have low folate levels, vegans often have low B12 levels. Here's a study which suggests that the low folate levels is associated with increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24481406 [PMID: 24481406]

Oct 5th, 2015, 08:04 AM
...and while folate fortification is mandatory in eg USA; here's a study which suggest that synthetic folate from fortified foods is associate with an increased breast cancer risk:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23996837 [PMID: 23996837]

(In other words, it's a good idea to get your folate from food and not from supplements!)