More and more of you are excluding animal products from your diet. The "light" version is vegetarianism: you no longer eat meat, but you continue to eat eggs, cheese and even fish.
The "harder" version is veganism: we no longer eat animal flesh of any kind, or even products derived from animals, such as honey (nor, therefore, eggs).
Some do so out of taste - or rather, lack of interest in meat - while others do so out of conviction (ecology, the fight against animal exploitation, etc.).
Vegetarians or vegans: what are theWhat are the consequences for your health?
While "light" vegetarianism is statistically well known for its gains in years of good health, the same cannot be said for the "harder" version: the radical exclusion of animal products leads to problematic deficiencies.
If this is your case, it doesn't mean you absolutely have to change your diet: it does mean you have to be extra vigilant in terms of supplementation.
Make no mistake about it, the "media vegans", who are willing apostles of their cause, are very, very careful not to run out of nutrients and not to make certain mistakes that could prove fatal.
Vegetarians or vegans: why you have a 99% chance of lacking B12
La vitamin B12 (or cobalamin) is a nutrient of bacterial origin, found almost exclusively in animal products, mainly meat, fish and shellfish.
Milk contains only a small amount, and some of it is destroyed during the cheese-making process. In eggs, it is present in the yolk, but only between 4% and 9% can be assimilated by the body. B12 deficiency is therefore common among vegans, but does not spare vegetarians either.
According to American nutritionists, 62% of pregnant women, 25 to 86% of children, 21 to 41% of adolescents and 11 to 90% of the elderly are affected by B12 deficiency. The health consequences are very serious.
At the end of B12 deficiency: neurological and psychiatric disorders
La vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells: its deficiency initially leads to anemia, manifested in particular by extreme fatigue, followed by the onset of various symptoms, notably of the oral and intestinal mucosa.
But B12 deficiency also alters the myelin sheath that protects neurons, and can thus lead to neurological disorders, manifesting as tingling, numbness, paralysis, mental confusion and psychiatric problems.
This may be the explanation for studies showing that vegetarians are more often affected by depression than omnivores.
Ironically, plant-based diets in vitamin B9 can mask the typical symptoms of B12 anemia, which can delay its identification.
This delay can have dramatic consequences, because neurological damage, when it occurs, is usually irreversible.
It is therefore essential to supplement with vitamin B12 as soon as you adopt a diet that excludes meat and fish.
Vegetarians or vegans: the astonishing "map" of B12 deficiency
Only 6.7% of vegetarians and 22% of vegans take supplements. vitamin B12.
So, contrary to all expectations, while vegetarians are less exposed to this deficiency... far fewer of them are aware of it!
There's a real reason for this: as veganism is a more radical choice than vegetarianism, those who choose it are generally better informed.
Vegans are therefore more often aware of the need for vitamin B12 supplementation, compared to vegetarians who adopt this diet for comfort, without investigating the health implications of their choice.
Végétariens ou végétaliens, quelle supplémentation choisir ?
In practice: cyanocobalamin is an inexpensive form of B12 that has been extensively studied and may be preferred.
Informed" vegans recommend 1 µg three times a day, 10 µg as a single daily dose, or 2,000 µg once a week.
Please note spirulinewhich does contain vitamin B12, but in an inactive form. According to Japanese researcher Fumio Watanabe, the best plant source of vitamin B12 is the red seaweed Porphyra umbilicalis, also known as nori or purple porphyry : it contains 77.6 μg of vitamin B12 per 100 g of dry product, and a daily intake of 4 g covers the estimated requirement of 2.4 μg.
Tempeh contains between 0.7 and 8 μg/100 g (the presence of the vitamin in this product is explained by bacterial contamination during the soy fermentation process), while shiitake contains between 1.3 and 12.7 μg/100 g.
However, the lack of vitamin B12 is only the tip of the iceberg for uninformed vegetarians and vegans. While some of these problems are linked to the very nature of these diets, others are due to the "marketing target" they have become for the food industry.