Blood Clots and Stiff Arteries
The review, done at China’s Zhejiang University and published last month, found that vegans – people who eat no animal products at all – often have a lower than average level of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and a higher level of the amino acid homocysteine. Both conditions are linked to an increased risk of heart disease due to building up of blood clots and stiffening of arteries, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
The paper explains that this is likely due to vegans often getting insufficient amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, which play a role in cholesterol and homocysteine regulation.
These findings are backed by a metastudy from 1999, that found regular omnivores (meat eaters) and vegans shared the same mortality rate.
Supplements To Make It Healthy?
Professor Li, who conducted the review, advises vegans to either very carefully plan their diets or use supplements to make up for nutrients they lack – at which point we may question if a vegan diet is really worthwhile.
If your nutrition can only be healthy by using supplements, something is going wrong and it is rather debatable if you are leading a lifestyle that really is sustainable or recommendable.
Picture courtesy of M. Jeremy Goldman.