Let us clarify both concepts right away: veganism is the most drastic form of vegetarianism which prohibits any animal products including milk, eggs, cheese, fish, seafood and even honey. Every year on November 1, vegans celebrate World Vegan Day established by the English Vegan Society in 1944 in London.
Surprisingly, this holiday has retained its relevance to the present day even despite the fact that today store shelves are jammed with all kinds of animal products. We do not intend to undermine the right of every person to eat what they want. In this article, we will talk only about the medical issues of nutrition and tell you about the secrets of your genetics which may indicate that veganism might be not a good option for you.
His majesty protein and why human body needs it so much
Protein is the most important element of nutrition! It plays an important role in metabolism and synthesis of hormones, assists with immunity and acts as a “building material” for all body cells. What can happen when a body faces protein deficiency? Cells will continue to divide, forming new generations of cells, but with the loss of primary identity signs. These will be atypical (that is, defective) kinds of cells. Such cells do not require large amounts of protein, they divide much faster than normal ones, and this, as you know, is a typical feature of tumor tissues.
In addition to its building function, protein also deals with transporting nutrients (for example hemoglobin which delivers oxygen to tissues and picks up wastes like carbon dioxide). Our body needs iron to synthesize hemoglobin, and iron, in turn, requires special transport protein called transferrin to get to the hemoglobin synthesis spot. If this type of protein is low, then it does not matter how much iron-containing drugs and products you consume – hemoglobin level will remain the same. Thus, the deficiency of protein negatively affects the absorption of many elements, including vitamins.
There are also special transport proteins called lipoproteins. They are the carriers of the legendary “dangerous cholesterol”, which, in fact, performs many useful functions. For example, it is part of the nerve cell membrane. There are three types of lipoproteins – very low density (VLDL), low density (LDL) and high density (HDL). VLDL and LDL are considered the most dangerous types –their high levels in the blood causes atherosclerosis. Thus, the shortage of food protein disturbs the albumin transport structure of the blood: the higher the protein deficiency, the more VLDL and LDL there is in the blood.
Protein is mainly found in various meats, cottage cheese, cheese, eggs, milk, and seafood.
Now we see that the importance of protein in the body cannot be overestimated. Once a person completely abandons animal products, their body is put under the risk of not getting enough vitamins and nutrients.
But if animal protein can still be partially compensated by other products (mushrooms, cereals, legumes), then the situation with vitamin B12 is more complicated as it can be found exclusively in meat, fish, milk, and sour cream. Vitamin B12 affects the immune and nervous systems, determines skin condition and plays a large role in the formation of red blood cells. Its shortage may lead to the development of anemia! This can affect not only the appearance but the whole health status as well resulting in quick fatigue, insomnia, apathy, decreased mental activity. Concentration of vitamin B12 in the body is determined by the FUT2 gene. Thus, if a person has a high risk of low vitamin B12 levels in the blood and this person is also a vegan – they puts their body at serious risk. Serious deficiency of this vitamin may result in a critical decrease in hemoglobin levels which is fraught with dangerous consequences up to a lethal outcome.
Reduced intake of vitamin D, which is mainly found in fatty fish, meat, egg yolk, milk and cheese. It is also found in mushrooms and nuts. However, if we decide to replace the animal food with these products we will have to eat tons of nuts which is absolutely wrong as it can harm the liver and stomach. GC, VDR, DHCR7, DHCR7 are the genes responsible for the concentration of vitamin D in the body. This vitamin provides the density of bones and teeth and also protects the body from heart and skin diseases.
Vitamin E which also occurs primarily in meat, fish, butter and eggs. It is an antioxidant and an irreplaceable assistant of our reproductive system responsible for the metabolism and slowing down the aging of cells. APOA5 and Intergenic genes are responsible for its absorption. It can be partially replaced by sunflower oil, nuts and legumes. Nuts and legumes will help vegan in the intake of omega-3 and omega-6. We suppose that many of us know since the early childhood that the best source of these substances is fish oil and the fish itself which vegans do not eat. Omega can be obtained from artificial dietary supplements. The FADS1 gene is responsible for the distribution of these substances in the body. Omega greatly influences our health and appearance and also plays an important role in weight control.
Cereals such as rye, wheat, bulgur, bakery products, and pasta constitute a large percentage of a vegan diet. All of these products contain gluten. The assimilation of gluten in the body is controlled by the genes HLA-DQ2.5, HLA-DQ8. According to the results of some genetic tests, a number of people have gluten intolerance. This means that even a small intake of gluten causes inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. Such person may not even notice these processes until they get serious problems with the gastrointestinal tract. If a vegan adds gluten intolerance to their eating habits, this will make their diet even less balanced.
GENETICS and veganism
As you can see, veganism is not just a way of self-expression – it is a serious decision that can have tremendous consequences for the body. We strongly advise you: that before becoming a vegan (or even vegetarian), you should necessary make sure that genetics has nothing against taking that step. Because if a person, for example, has a high risk of reducing the levels of certain vitamins in the blood and if they additionally deprive themselves of its main source, it can dramatically affect their health.
We advise to recommend patients not to opt for veganism. It is much better to rather give preference to classical vegetarianism. Having fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, cheeses and honey in the diet will already make food much more balanced and useful!