Serum vitamin B12, serum folate and red blood cell folate levels were examined among 36 strict vegans of 5-35 years' duration.
Vitamin B12 levels among the vegans were generally lower than in a control population. Most of the vegans had vitamin B12 values less than 200 pg/ml.
None of the vegans had any hematologic evidence of vitamin B12 deficiency, however four of them had neurologic complaints. Long-standing vegans should be monitored for vitamin B12 levels.
Red blood cell folate levels were normal but serum folate levels among the vegans were higher than among the controls.
A plant-based diet is a diet of any animal (including humans) based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.
"Plant-based diet" has been used to refer to the following diets:
- Vegan diet - no food from animal sources.
- Fruitarian - consists primarily of fruit.
- Raw vegan - food is uncooked and sometimes dehydrated.
- Vegetarian - plant foods, may include eggs and dairy, but no meat.
- Ovo-lacto vegetarian - includes dairy and eggs.
- Ovo vegetarian - includes eggs but no dairy.
- Lacto vegetarian - includes dairy but no eggs.
- Pescatarian - diet with eggs, dairy and seafood.
- Semi-vegetarian - with occasional inclusion of meat.