veggie diet - what can it cause?

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by yash, May 6, 2004.

  1. yash

    yash New Member

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    Hello everyone.
    First of all, I have to mention that the following problem doesn't concern my person. It does concern my friend.

    He is a veggie and does train running and cycling. He doesn't train using certain volume: somtimes he puts on 10000km/year on his bike, somtimes he gives up cycling and train running, about 5hr/week. He is 53y old and he has been following veggie diet for very long - 37y. He is 176cm tall and weighs about 75kg.

    Firstly, he was diagnosed with anemia, IMO caused with iron defficency, i'm not sure. Now he's better with red cells. But there's another, more serious problem. When he had his bllod examined by hematoligist later, it turned out that he has tyo much white blood cells. Doctors don't know what it is, suspecting lot of things including some cancer realted activity.

    Veggies when they not plan their diet carefuly are in risk of iron, zinc, or B-group vitamis defficency. Poropably also other macro/microelements can get low. But Joe Friel did mention that veggies may have protein deficency, both in total protein intake, and certain amino acid deficency. When body is lacking in any essential amino acid it may cause same symptoms as too low total protein intake. Even when the intake itself is OK. And as far as i know it is difficult to provide all esential aas when on veggie diet.

    I also know that lacks of protein may cause problems concerning immune system. What do you think? Is it possible that this is the cause of hi WBC count? This is the first question.

    The second one does concern supplements for a veggie. What aids are required to stay healthy when exercising a lot? Which are helpful? Iron? Zinc? B-type vitamins? Protein or amino-acid supplements?

    The last one's about diet. Maybe there are good tips in existing threads. If so, I'd be grateful for a link.

    If there are not, I'd like to ask for daily diet examples (if possible), tips how to make one, or general rules which have to be taken into consideration while doing so.

    Maybe there are any web pages concerning these things?

    Searching takes me long and does hardly ever give expected results.

    I'm not a veggie myself, so i have hardly any experience on the subject.

    Thank you for any help.
    Cheers
    yash
     
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  2. Ted B

    Ted B New Member

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    I am neither a proper dietician or a vegetarian, but being a scientist, I can offer some insight...

    While there are definite benefits to vegetarian diets, there are also potential pitfalls if such a diet is not planned carefully. Humans did not evolve as strict herbivores, and thus adhering to a strict herbivore diet may not 'optimum' where human health is concerned. While sedentary people may not realize the deficiencies inherent to such a diet, an athlete surely will in due time.

    Vegans will usually lack in B vitamins (especially B12) and iron, which creates a ripe condition for anemia. Furthermore, the increased protein needs of an athlete will not be served well by strict plant proteins. Even the most efficient plant protein (soy) is inferior to animal proteins such as egg and whey.

    Your friend would be wise to supplement his diet with high efficiency B12 (5000mcg/day) and other B vitamins, and a good whey protein supplement. If he is a total vegan (no animal products - no whey), he would need to adequately supplement his diet (hopefully high in soy) with a synthetically produced amino acid supplement. As you mentioned, a deficiency in any one of the essential amino acids will result in a deficiency in any protein that contains that amino acid. Of course, there are potential deficiencies with zinc, iodine, and other minerals, and you should look into this.

    Years of dietetic deficiencies associated with vegetarianism can result in various long term problems (including cancer), and the elevated white count may or may not be related. The diagnosis of the source for that condition is best left up to a qualified physician.

    I did find found something that may or may not indicate a link between the elevated WBC and B12 deficiency:

    http://www.pediatriconcall.com/fordoctor/casereports/megaloblastic.asp


    A few other links for you...

    http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Vegetarian_eating?OpenDocument

    http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/vegetarian.html
     
  3. yash

    yash New Member

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    Thanks very much, Ted. Very intresting data.

    My friend isn't a strict vegetarian and fortunately does eat milk-based products so whey protein suplementation won't be a problem.

    yash
     
  4. ejglows

    ejglows New Member

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    Yash,

    Veggie here...I find it necessary (when I am training) to track everything I eat to make sure I am getting enough of what I need... I found one online program (that is FREE) where you can track your foods and use thier database to figure out how much of WHAT (calories, vitamins, protein) you are really eating. It is better than the *look at your plate and try to guess* method most use.

    http://www.fitday.com

    Good luck to you and your friend...ride hard...
    erin
     
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