November is Vegan Awareness Month, so we are taking some in-depth perspectives on what it means to live the vegan lifestyle, how heart healthy is living vegan, and how heart disease and veganism is related. There is a common assumption that vegans life the healthiest lifestyle of any American; they eat right, exercise, avoid environmental toxins, and attempt to do everything in a ‘green’ way. While that might be true, there are some scary studies out there pointing to the connection between veganism and heart disease.
Vegans and Heart Health
At Erase Disease, we love the vegan lifestyle and those who are able to commit to it successfully and maintain a healthy diet. With that said, some new findings have put into question how heart healthy a vegan lifestyle truly is. According to EmaxHealth, a recent review of dozens of articles published over the last 30 years suggest a vegan diet supplies adequate protein but may be lacking in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids that are important for vascular health.
Researchers say vegans tend to have lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and higher levels of homocysteine that put them at risk for heart disease.
The study notes “vegetarians, especially vegans, could benefit from increased dietary intake of n-3 PUFA and vitamin B12 and thus improve the balance ratio of n-3 to n-6 PUFA and vitamin B12 status” that would in turn reduce the chances of developing blood clots and cardiovascular disease.
While vegans have been classically known to have an overall lower risk for heart disease, these new findings show that the lower B12 levels and lower polyunsaturated fatty acid levels can increase arterial plaque build-up in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, something that we walk about quite often at Erase Disease. Arthrosclerosis is well known for being a precursor to heart attack and stroke.
Carnitine and B12
Simply put, we need the protein and the saturated fats. We also need vital nutrients like CLA, l- carnitine, iron, zinc, B12, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids. – HealthierTalk.com
The authors of the research mentioned above point to the need to vegans to ingest more B12, a key ingredient in our heart health shake Cardio Juvenate. And, though not mentioned in the above research, it has been shown that vegans are more likely to be deficient in L-Carnitine, since the best source for this nutrient is in red meat. A carnitine deficiency has been associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer and muscular dystrophy.