Mental Health

Maternal vegan diet causing a serious infantile neurological disorder due to vitamin B12 deficiency.

We present a 9-month-old exclusively breast-fed baby of a strict vegetarian mother who had excluded all animal proteins from her diet. The patient's symptoms included dystrophy, weakness, muscular atrophy, loss of tendon reflexes, psychomotor regression and haematological abnormalities. Biochemical investigations revealed severe methylmalonic aciduria and homocystinuria in the patient, slight methylmalonic aciduria in the mother and low concentrations of serum vitamin B12 in both patient and mother

[Vitamin B 12 deficiency in strict vegetarian diet. Why do some people choose such a diet, and what will they do in case of vitamin B 12 deficiency].

Nine persons in the county of Troms, Norway, were interviewed on their strict vegetarian diet. Improved health was indicated as the main reason for their choice of diet, but religion was a contributing reason for some. Most of the study persons would increase the intake of vitamin B12 if a deficiency state were to occur. One person reported, however, that she would not regard vitamin B12 deficiency as a health problem. The interviews disclosed beliefs regarding human physiology that are very far removed from standard scientific knowledge.

Does a vegetarian diet control Wilson's disease?

The literature indicates that copper (Cu) is less bioavailable from a vegetarian as compared to mixed diet. Further, several groups, including ours, find rather marginal average Cu intake in the typical American diet. For example, our data indicate that Wilson's disease patients on a typical American diet ingest only about 25% more Cu than is required. This suggests that a vegetarian diet, if it reduced bioavailability by about 25% or more, would be an adequate maintenance therapy for Wilson's disease.

Vegetarian and other complex diets, fats, fiber, and hypertension.

Although much of the attention on diet and hypertension has centered around the rule of specific nutrients such as sodium, potassium, and alcohol, it has become evident that certain complex dietary patterns have a blood pressure-lowering effect and may help protect against the development of hypertension. It remains to be seen whether these effects on blood pressure require complex but specific combinations of nutrients or, alternatively, are due to hitherto unrecognized single nutrients with antihypertensive properties.

Vegetarian diets and children.

The diets and growth of children reared on vegetarian diets are reviewed. Excessive bulk combined with low energy density can be a problem for children aged < or = 5 y and can lead to imparied growth. Diets that have a high content of phytate and other modifiers of mineral absorption are associated with an increased prevalence of rickets and iron-deficiency anemia. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a real hazard in unsupplemented or unfortified vegan and vegetarian diets.

Nutritional concerns of lactating women consuming vegetarian diets.

Nutritional inadequacies during lactation may affect the well-being of the mother, infant, or both. Vitamin D and calcium status in vegetarian women may be low, resulting in maternal bone demineralization. Vitamin B-12 deficiency resulting in neurologic damage has been reported in infants of vegetarian women. A review of several studies completed on women in the northeastern United States who were consuming a macrobiotic diet is presented. Supplemental vitamin D does not appear to be necessary given sufficient sun exposure.

How does the health and well-being of young Australian vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women compare with non-vegetarians?

OBJECTIVE: To compare the sociodemographic characteristics, health status and health service use of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians. DESIGN: In cross-sectional data analyses of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health in 2000, 9113 women (aged 22-27 years) were defined as non-vegetarians if they reported including red meat in their diet, as semi-vegetarians if they excluded red meat and as vegetarians if they excluded meat, poultry and fish from their diet. RESULTS: The estimated prevalence was 3% and 10% for vegetarian and semi-vegetarian young women.

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