Health / Environment

Nitaisundara Das - April 3, 2009 3:22 am

Post news and discussions on health and environment.

Gaura-Vijaya Das - April 3, 2009 4:54 pm

Vegetarians may have a healthier diet, but they are at an increased risk of having eating disorders,

say researchers. A weak case against vegetarianism, not really!!

The findings appear in Journal of the American Dietetic Association.


Researchers from at University of Minnesota, University of Texas and St. John’s University have revealed that while vegetarians tend to eat healthier diets and are less likely than non-vegetarians to be overweight or obese, they may be at increased risk for binge eating with loss of control


In addition, former vegetarians may be at increased risk for extreme unhealthful weight-control behaviours. Examples of extreme unhealthful weight-control behaviours included “took diet pills,” “made myself vomit,” “used laxatives” and “used diuretics.”


While analysing more than 2,500 males and females aged 15-23, the research team found that vegetarian adolescents and young adult were more likely to report binge eating with loss of control compared to non-vegetarians.


“Adolescent and young adult vegetarians may experience the health benefits associated with increased fruit and vegetable intake and young adults attain the added benefit of decreased risk for overweight and obesity,” said researchers.


“However, vegetarians may be at increased risk for disordered eating behaviors, such as binge eating and unhealthful weight-control behaviors. Study results indicate that it would be beneficial for clinicians to ask adolescents and young adults about their current and former vegetarian status when assessing risk for disordered eating behaviors. Furthermore, when guiding adolescent and young adult vegetarians in proper nutrition and meal planning it may also be important to investigate an individual’s motives for choosing a vegetarian diet,” they added.



This one offers another case against vegetarianism from Indian Medical Association article

Strokes are the second most common cause of deaths and the commonest cause of severe disability.

Now a study has shown that

deficiency of Vitamin B12, usually seen in vegetarians, can predispose a person to strokes much more than the usual risk factors — diabetes and hypertension.


"While 20% of Indians suffer from diabetes and high BP," says Dr Arun Garg, consultant neurologist, Max Hospitals, "incidence of homocysteinemia (increased levels of homocysteine, an amino acid) caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, is 70%. This is seen more among vegetarians as this vitamin is mainly found in meat and milk, if it's neither boiled nor pasteurised." In fact, deficiency of vitamins B12, B6 and folate causes two-thirds of strokes.


This risk is four times higher in vegetarians. As folate is found in vegetables and fruits, its deficiency is rare among Indians, but that of vitamin B12 is common.


Normal levels of homocysteine are 5-15 micromol per litre. Increased levels heighten the chances of blood clotting, which can lead to decrease in blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Studies have found high levels of homocysteine in over 80% of stroke patients. Even a rise of five micromol increases the risk of stroke by two times.


The link between strokes and vegetarianism was confirmed in a five-year study by Garg and Dr A K Jain, neurologist, Jain Neuro Centre, in two Max hospitals and this Centre. From 2003, 4,680 OPD patients were screened for vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels. Those with a history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic renal, liver problems, alcoholics and those on vitamin supplements were excluded. Most had vague complaints — tingling, numbness, chronic headaches and depressive symptoms like sleeplessness and fatigue.


It was found that 60% patients had vitamin B12 levels below 400 pg/ml and 38.9% had less than 200 pg/ml. Homocysteine levels were high (over 15 micromol/l) in 36%. And out of these, over 80% were either strict vegetarians or took non-vegetarian food less than once a week. This showed the co-relation between vegetarians and strokes.


To confirm the study, 418 ischemic stroke patients between 30-85 years admitted during the same period were analysed. It was found that homocysteine levels were high (over 15 micromol/l) in 77.5% of the patients showing vitamin deficiency can result in strokes. The effects of a stroke are serious and sometimes fatal — paralysis, loss of speech and vision, unsteadiness, double vision or even unconsciousness.


Dr Vinay Goyal, associate professor, neurology, AIIMS, says, "It's true that vegetarians have less vitamin B12 as compared to non-vegetarians. This has been proven in Indian Americans, Germans, and Chinese/Singaporeans."


Prevention would cost less than Rs 10 per day, says Garg. All one has to do is take prescribed doses of vitamin B12 and B6 and folic acid. These are shown to reduce homocysteine level by 38% and the risk of stroke by 20-30%. Goyal says, "Vitamin B12 is also there in soyabean, legumes, dairy products, cottage cheese, etc." Garg and Jain gave vegetarian patients in their study daily vitamin supplements.


Their symptoms disappeared completely after 3-6 months of therapy. Vegetarians with vitamin B12 deficiency need life-long treatment. A dose of 1-1.5 mg/day is required, says Garg. The government too should fortify food with it, much like iodized salt. Also, as India has a high proportion of vegetarians, screening should be done. So get going to quell that stroke of bad luck.

Bijaya Kumara Das - April 4, 2009 1:52 am

the majority seem to be non lacto vegetarians and i would assume all Krsnaites are less likely to have that problem

Prahlad Das - April 4, 2009 1:54 am
the majority seem to be non lacto vegetarians and i would assume all Krsnaites are less likely to have that problem

Being that it was the Indian Medical Association which did one of the studies, there are likely many lacto-vegetarians involved.

Bijaya Kumara Das - April 4, 2009 1:54 am

There is a new wind tech that can produce 5 kw in an area of 4ft x 4ft. I will give you an update soon.

Vamsidhari Dasa - April 4, 2009 7:06 pm

Re: Vitamin deficiency in vegetarians: although vitamin deficiency is common in different studies I would be interested to know how was the study designed, for example, were subjects controlled for SES. My first thought is that many indians are POOR and extremely disadvantaged in their access to healthcare and balanced diets. As poor people they are also more likely to lead lives that are more stressful and in worst physical conditions. So if the Ss were not controlled for SES it would be very hard to say that vegetarianism leads to higher incidents of stroke. Also if I were to look at reputable research I would be more inclined to find universities that have names less similar to the name of my shampoo, but we have to start from somewhere. UCSF for example (which is just the 8th University in the world) recommends vegetarian and vegan diet to all of their cancer patients base on sharp increases in over all health, better tolerance of drug side effects and speedier recovery. Thanks.

Gaura-Vijaya Das - April 4, 2009 7:10 pm

Dr Vinay Goyal, associate professor, neurology, AIIMS, says, "It's true that vegetarians have less vitamin B12 as compared to non-vegetarians. This has been proven in Indian Americans, Germans, and Chinese/Singaporeans."

AIIMS is the best medical school in India. All India institute of Medical Sciences. It is reputed to be fairly good.

Obviously you may argue that you can't take data and findings from a third world country medical school. I guess they will be the only people who can get the data from a large number of vegetarians.

But I think UCSF study is very useful to us to balance things out. Thanks

Gaura-Vijaya Das - April 7, 2010 9:55 pm

Climate Catastrophe: The Fate of Global Warming Research



Gaura-Vijaya Das - October 22, 2010 8:51 pm