Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that excludes using animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.

Dr. Winston Craig from Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan reviews both, and makes recommendations.

First, the benefits.

  • Higher content of fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, and magnesium, and many phytochemicals (plant-derived chemical compounds important for health)
  • More unsaturated fat and cholesterol content
  • More dietary fiber vs other vegetarian diets
  • Thinner stature
  • Lower cholesterol blood levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of heart disease

Now, the risks.

  • Eliminating animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.
  • Micronutrients of special concern are vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

The bottom line?
Dr. Craig concludes, “Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed.”

“In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals.”

3/14/09 22:34 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.