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Sep 21, 2008 03:53 AM

New study on benefits of vegan diet

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  1. "Possible" benefit to "persons with rheumatoid arthritis."

    3 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Yes, it seems like the headilne was wrong. I don't think it reduces arthritis...I think it reduces chance of heart attack to those with arthritis. Or am I misunderstanding?

      1. re: Chew on That

        i'm not even a vegetarian, but, i do have to admit that when i changed to a more plant-based diet (no meat nor poultry, limited dairy and limited fish), my severe arthritis did subside.
        i was able to join and gym and walk every day instead of staggering around the house and taking anti-inflammatory pills almost around the clock.
        whether or not the scientists have figured out "why" this helped me, is something that concerns me very little. all i know is that i am grateful to the powers that be that it DID help me.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Had an episode or two of arthritis many years ago. When I became aware that dairy was a causative agent and reduced my intake of dairy AND SUGAR significantly.
          Fortunately I haven't had an episode since then.

    2. Why would you run a 1 year study with only 2 groups - one vegan specifically without gluten and one non-vegan with gluten - without running vegan with gluten and non-vegan without gluten groups as well? It says only 58% of the 33 people following the vegan, gluten-free diet. So... 13 people experienced an unspecified drop in BMI and LDL cholesterol over the course of a year.

      Apparently I'm not the only one skeptical, as the article cites that ..."The United Kingdom's National Health Service cautioned that the study had a small sample size and did not follow patients long enough to see if there was actually a reduction in the rate of heart attacks and strokes."

      The article finishes with a quote from Muir Gray, the agency's chief knowledge officer. "The evidence is mounting; if you want to stay healthy and save the planet, eat less, eat more plants and eat only food that your great grandmother would recognize if she were alive today." This sounds like a pro-vegan chief officer grasping at straws to me. Still, it's good advice, and I'll continue to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and stick to grain-fed chicken and stay away from tofu, which would have my great grandmother horrified.

      2 Replies
      1. re: afoodyear

        I agree. This was a poorly designed study. I know that I get inflammation in my body when I ingest gluten. They needed to isolate just one variable. I wouldn't put much stock in this study.

        1. re: afoodyear

          A study on 22 patients means diddley-squat.
          Only 58% of the 38 patients in the vegan, non-gluten group stayed in the study.

          Agree with others that the study should have measured gluten (or its precursor, gliadin) against a control group only. Or vegan vs. healthful. Gliadin has been shown to cause inflammation in some patients.

        2. Did this study say anything about the 'benefits' of not supplying any vitamin B-12? Or is the health of the brain not important to a vegan?

          9 Replies
          1. re: chipman

            Plenty of B-12 is available in sea vegetables and/or cultured soy products - both categories within a vegan diet.

            That said, while I haven't read the actual study what is posted seems woefully inadequate to the point of being useless.

            1. re: Richard 16

              no studies have verified that ANY vegan b-12 source is useable by the human body. we have scientifically verified the PRESENCE of b-12 in things like kombucha, algae, etc, but we have NOT shown that humans are capable of utilizing that b-12 if they ingest it. just a personal pet peeve. just because a food contains something, doesn't mean a human being is capable of accessing that thing from that food.

              1. re: chartreauxx

                the b-12 found in meat is not syntesized by the animal being killed,
                Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis, although many foods are a natural source of B12 because of bacterial symbiosis.

                therefore, the stuff i get over the counter which is made by the same microorganisms found in a cow's gut, would operate the same way even though the microorganisims were living in a vat instead.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  can you cite some studies showing that? i've looked high and low and found nothing, other than on pro-vegan sites (whose impartiality is, shall we say, suspect). i believe the exact issue is what you say; microbes synthesize it, but it appears bio-unavailable to humans if ingested in a form other than through meat containing it. that's my understanding anyway. no attacks here; just a scientific mind inquiring.

                  1. re: chartreauxx

                    this was published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

                    <<In dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is usually present as cyanocobalamin [5], a form that the body readily converts to the active forms methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Dietary supplements can also contain methylcobalamin and other forms of vitamin B12.
                    Existing evidence does not suggest any differences among forms with respect to absorption or bioavailability. However the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from dietary supplements is largely limited by the capacity of intrinsic factor. For example, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people [8].
                    In addition to oral dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is available in sublingual preparations as tablets or lozenges. These preparations are frequently marketed as having superior bioavailability, although evidence suggests no difference in efficacy between oral and sublingual forms [16,17].>>

                    chaartreauxx: note that the intrinsic factor would limit the uptake of b-12 from meat the same way and to the same extent as b-12 from a supplement. there is nothing magical about meat that will enhance b-12 uptake.

                      1. re: chartreauxx

                        here are the cites:
                        Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998.

                        Carmel R. How I treat cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency. Blood.2008;112:2214-21. [PubMed abstract]

                        Yazaki Y, Chow G, Mattie M. A single-center, double-blinded, randomized controlled study to evaluate the relative efficacy of sublingual and oral vitamin B-complex administration in reducing total serum homocysteine levels. J Altern Complement Med 2006;12:881-5. [PubMed abstract]

                        Sharabi A, Cohen E, Sulkes J, Garty M. Replacement therapy for vitamin B12 deficiency: comparison between the sublingual and oral route. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2003;56:635-8. [PubMed abstract]

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          thanks for the citations, though unfortunately, i can't seem to view the actual studies without paying exorbitant fees. i appreciate the info, but to be honest i'm not persuaded without being able to view the study in full. thanks anyway, happy new year/whatever other holidays you observe around now!

                        2. re: chartreauxx

                          chartreauxx: also, the Framingham Offspring study

                          This study found that the percentage of participants in three age groups (26–49 years, 50–64 years, and 65 years and older) with deficient blood levels of vitamin B12 was similar. The study also found that individuals who took a supplement containing vitamin B12 or consumed fortified cereal more than four times per week were much less likely to have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
                          Individuals who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from foods, as well as vegetarians who consume no animal foods, might benefit from vitamin B12-fortified foods, oral vitamin B12 supplements, or vitamin B12 injections

                          Tucker KL, Rich S, Rosenberg I, Jacques P, Dallal G, Wilson WF, et al. Plasma vitamin B12 concentrations relate to intake source in the Framingham Offspring Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71:514-22. [PubMed abstract]
                          Markle HV. Cobalamin. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 1996;33:247-356. [PubMed abstract]

            2. I'll now be waiting for the next study that comes along and totally refutes this study..

              Either way, I will stay as far away from a vegan diet as humanly possible no matter what some study says or not. :-)

              1 Reply
              1. re: swsidejim

                I'm with you. Life's too short—but it would seem way, way too long without cheese.