Document Detail

Vitamin B-12 and homocysteine status among vegetarians: a global perspective.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19357223     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Evidence exists that well-planned vegetarian diets provide numerous health benefits and are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle. It is also known that animal foods provide micronutrients that are nonexistent or available only in limited amounts in plant foods. Restriction or exclusion of all animal foods may therefore result in low intake of certain micronutrients such as vitamin B-12, thereby affecting vitamin B-12 status and elevating plasma homocysteine concentrations. Overall, the studies we reviewed showed reduced mean vitamin B-12 status and elevated mean homocysteine concentrations in vegetarians, particularly among vegans. Low vitamin B-12 intake may lead to decreased bioavailability and functional deficiency of cobalamin. Although early noticeable symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency are nonspecific (unusual fatigue, digestion problems, frequent upper respiratory infections), the best-known clinical manifestations of cobalamin malabsorption are hematologic (pernicious anemia) and neurologic symptoms. Hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Given these health concerns, vegetarians, particularly vegans, must be advised to carefully plan their diets, to monitor their plasma vitamin B-12 on a regular basis to facilitate early detection of low cobalamin status, and to use vitamin B-12-fortified foods or take vitamin B-12 supplements if necessary.
Ibrahim Elmadfa; Ingrid Singer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2009-04-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of clinical nutrition     Volume:  89     ISSN:  1938-3207     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Clin. Nutr.     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-21     Completed Date:  2009-05-14     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376027     Medline TA:  Am J Clin Nutr     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1693S-1698S     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
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MeSH Terms
Anemia, Pernicious / epidemiology,  etiology
Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
Diet, Vegetarian / statistics & numerical data*
Homocysteine / blood*
Hyperhomocysteinemia / epidemiology
Risk Factors
Vitamin B 12 / blood*
Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / epidemiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
454-28-4/Homocysteine; 68-19-9/Vitamin B 12

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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