During a recent airing of the Dr Bill Your Radio MD radio show in the Tampa area, host, Dr William Handelman’s guest,  Dr David Forman gave his thoughts on vegans and the shortage of amino acids in that diet:

Image/silviarita via pixabay
Image/silviarita via pixabay

“I want to make a comment on amino acids. This is for people listening now that are vegan–if you’re a vegan, there’s a good possibility that you’re going to become amino acid deficient.

“Because their is only a few sources in the plant world that are what we call a complete, you know they have the complete profile, or basically they have all the essential amino acids and I’ve run into people that have, initially they go vegan so they’re not doing dairy, they’re not doing eggs, they’re not doing fish, I mean they’re hardcore and if you’re not eating an animal or fish source protein, it’s very easy over time for that person to become amino acid deficient in a certain area.

“And amino acids aren’t just for building muscle. They do so many other functions in the body- each one does so many different things.

“Years ago I wrote a little booklet on ‘knowing your protein’ and I covered this topic and people were blown away  not realizing that…vegans, especially a vegan…if you’re a vegan and you’re listening right now–there are certain nutrients that you need to focus on making sure your covering yourself.

“B12 is another one of those things you can become deficient on.”

In a 2009 study in the journal, The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionit states, “eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids.”

While the study says many good things about a vegan diet like vegans are thinner, have lower serum cholesterol and blood pressure, typically enjoy a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed.