All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

vitamins minerals phytonutrients

  • Vitamin D Supplement and Calcium Long Term

    Supplementation of vitamin D is effective in preventing overall mortality in a long-term. It is not significantly effective in a treatment duration shorter than 3 years. 

    Vitamin D therapy significantly decreased all-cause mortality with a duration of follow-up longer than 3 years. No benefit was seen in a shorter follow-up periods. 

    The following subgroups of long-term follow-up had significantly fewer deaths:

    • female only,
    • participants with a mean age younger than 80,
    • daily dose of 800 IU or less,
    • participants with vitamin D insufficiency and cholecalciferol therapy.

    The combination of vitamin D and calcium significantly reduced mortality and vitamin D alone also had a trend to decrease mortality in a longer time follow up.

  • Carotenoids

    Carotenoids are a class of more than 750 pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These richly colored molecules are the sources of the yellow, orange, and red colors of many plants. Fruit and vegetables provide most of the 40 to 50 carotenoid phytonutrients found in the human diet.

    The most common carotenoids in North American diets are α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. 

    Provitamin A carotenoids - α-carotene, β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin - can be converted by the body to retinol (vitamin A), but not lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. 

    Dietary lutein and zeaxanthin help maintain optimal visual function - they absorb damaging blue light that enters the eye.

    The results of observational studies suggest that diets high in carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables are associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. But high-dose β-carotene supplements did not

  • Phytonutrients

    Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals, which are called phytonutrients or phytochemicals ("phyto" means "plant"). These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. Phytonutrients are not essential, but they may help prevent disease.

    More than 25,000 phytochemicals are found in plant foods, and six important phytonutrients are: 

    • Carotenoids
    • Ellagic acid
    • Flavonoids
    • Resveratrol
    • Glucosinolates
    • Phytoestrogens

  • Cobalamin Deficiency in Asian Indians

    In India, most people adhere to a vegetarian diet, which may lead to cobalamin deficiency. About 75% of the subjects had metabolic signs of cobalamin deficiency, which was only partly explained by the vegetarian diet.

    The study population included 204 men and women aged 27–55 y from Pune, Maharashtra, India, categorized into 4 groups:

    • patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes,
    • patients with CVD but no diabetes,
    • patients with diabetes but no CVD,
    • healthy subjects.

    Data on medical history, lifestyle, and diet were obtained by interviews and questionnaires. Blood samples were collected for measurement of serum or plasma total cobalamin, holotranscobalamin (holoTC), methylmalonic acid (MMA), and total homocysteine (tHcy) and hemetologic indexes.

    1. Methylmalonic acid, total homocysteine, total cobalamin, and holotranscobalamin did not differ significantly among the 4 groups.
    2. Total cobalamin showed a strong inverse correlation with total homocysteine (r = −0.59) and methylmalonic acid (r = −0.54). 
    3. 47% of the subjects had cobalamin deficiency (total cobalamin <150 pmol/L),
    4. 73% had low holotranscobalamin (<35 pmol/L),
    5. 77% had hyperhomocysteinemia (total homocysteine >15 μmol/L),
    6. 73% had elevated serum methylmalonic acid (>0.26 μmol/L).

    These indicators of impaired cobalamin status were observed in both vegetarians and nonvegetarians.

  • Serum Vitamin B12 in Children

    Dietary vitamin B12 intake was inadequate in 43% in an extremely impoverished indigenous population of Panamanian children aged 12 to 60 months.

    These children were poorer, had less frequent diarrhea, and obtained a higher percentage of their energy from carbohydrate than children with adequate intake. Energy intake positively predicted dietary vitamin B12 intake. In contrast, serum vitamin B12 concentrations were normal in all but 3% of the children. Serum vitamin B12 was positively associated with weekly servings of fruit, corn-based food, and name (a traditional starchy food), but not with animal-source foods. Finally, serum vitamin B12 was not associated with Ascaris intensity but was lowered with increasing frequency of diarrhea.

    Although inadequate dietary intake of vitamin B12 was common, most serum values were normal. Nevertheless, diarrheal disease emerged as a negative predictor of serum vitamin B12 concentration.

  • Vitamin B12 Levels in Long-Term Vegans

    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. 

  • B12 Oral Supplements and Cognitive Function

    Vitamin B-12 status did not change significantly after treatment in the placebo group with daily supplementation with high doses of oral vitamin B-12 alone or in combination with folic acid.

    Oral vitamin B-12 supplementation corrected mild vitamin B-12 deficiency.

    Vitamin B-12 + folic acid supplementation increased red blood cell folate concentrations and decreased total homocysteine concentrations by 36%.

    Improvement in memory function was greater in the placebo group than in the group who received vitamin B-12 alone. Neither supplementation with vitamin B-12 alone nor that in combination with folic acid was accompanied by any improvement in other cognitive domains.

  • Research Needed for B12 and Neurodegenerative Disease

    Having established the association of vitamin B12 insufficiency with neurodegenerative disease, the challenge is to discern the direction, if any, of causation.

    Most neurological impairments present a slow, progressive course (Josephs et al., 2009) and vitamin B12 levels may take a number of years to deplete (Herbert, 1988). Studies investigating causation would need to continue over an extended period of time.

    Low serum vitamin B12 levels may play a role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease; however, it is equally plausible that neurological impairment may lead to poor nutrition and hence to inadequate dietary intake. Also, any association may simply be coincident or the factors predisposing patients for neurodegenerative disease may simply also expose the patient to a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, for example, poor nutrition. Further intervention studies in large samples followed over an extended period of time are required. This will allow for further investigation of the role, if any, of vitamin B12 in the onset or progression of neurodegenerative disease, as well as the latent period of effect of vitamin B12 insufficiency before cognitive deficits are evident.

  • Risk Factors for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Those experiencing pernicious anemia (an auto-immune reaction to either the parietal cells or intrinsic factor) go on to develop vitamin B12 deficiency through malabsorption if untreated. Deficiency could develop within 1–3 years in those experiencing malabsorption. 

    Patients having surgical alteration of the distal ileum, Crohn’s disease, and using metformin are also at an increased riskfor malabsorption.

    Herbert (1994) estimates that deficiency could take as long as 20–30 years to develop in persons having normal absorption/reabsorption and suddenly ceasing to include substantial amounts of vitamin B12 in their diet during adulthood. This is due to the large amount of vitamin B12 that can be stored in the body and recycled through enterohepatic reabsorption. 

    The prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency increases with age and is associated with a number of conditions and treatments.

    The main causes of vitamin B12 deficiency are

    • poor dietary intake (as in vegetarianism),
    • poor absorption (occurring in achlorhydria, pernicious anemia, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, Crohn’s disease, and metformin use),
    • poor distribution (genetic predisposition for aberrant proteins that are inefficient in transport or cellular uptake of vitamin B12).
  • USDA Tips for Vegetarians

    Tips for Vegetarians

    Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Follow the food group recommendations for your age, sex, and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegetarians may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12

Percy Bysshe Shelley

They are called into existence by human artifice that they may drag out a short and miserable existence of slavery and disease, that their bodies may be mutilated, their social feelings outraged. It were much better that a sentient being should never have existed, than that it should have existed only to endure unmitigated misery.

Body Weight, Obesity, and BMI

Body weight - person's mass or weight. Body weight is measured in kilograms, pounds, or stones and pounds. Body weight is the measurement of weight without items located on the person

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health.

People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI) is over 30 kg/m2, with the range 25–30 kg/m2 - overweight. 

BMI, body mass index - a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height. 

Obesity increases the likelihood of diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food intake, low levels of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility. A few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications, or mental illness. Evidence to support the view that obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is not generally supported.

On average, obese people have a greater energy expenditure than their thin counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass.

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