A recently conducted study found changes in metabolism of vegan children and lower vitamin A and D levels compared to children with no special diet.
The study found serum biomarkers' levels for vitamins A and D, cholesterol forms, and essential amino acids to be significantly lower in children on a vegan diet compared to age-adjusted omnivores. Additionally, docosahexaenoic acid is not present in a vegan diet. The results were published in a high-profile international scientific journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.
It is recommended to supplement a full vegan diet with vitamin B12, iodine, and vitamin D. Further supplementation with calcium, vitamin B2, iron, and zinc may be required based on individual needs. Barring vitamin D, the differences in other nutrients' levels could not be established in young children.
However, in the absence of previous studies on metabolic effects of vegan diets in children, studies conducted on adult vegans form the basis of current nutritional recommendations.
The study involved a comprehensive evaluation of the nutrition and metabolism of 40 healthy children following a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore diet. Extensive evaluation of their nutritional intake, metabolic biomarkers, and micronutrient statuses was done.
The children on an entirely vegan surprisingly showed lower vitamin A status levels along with LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, essential amino acid, and docosahexaenoic acid, while folate levels were remarkably high.
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