Why Some Do Well as Vegans While Others Fail
The vegan diet is far from being a one-size-fits-all kind of lifestyle. As it appears, not everyone who goes on the vegan lifestyle comes out victorious in the long run. Angelina Jolie once tried to go vegan, but it seems that the diet didn’t agree with her. How did it not work for her?
A vegan diet is purely plant-based. This means no meat, dairy or eggs. Most are led to believe that a strictly plant-based diet is the solution to living a longer, fuller, and healthier life. However, it is interesting to note why some do well as vegan, while there are others whose bodies seem to disagree with this diet.
Vitamin K2 and Gut Microbiome
Gut microbiomes — the population of microbes residing in the colon — are known to help in producing certain nutrients. It also functions to neutralize toxins and ferment fiber. One of the vitamins it synthesizes is vitamin K2, which is beneficial for the strength and health of our bones. It also aids in preventing certain diseases, such as liver and prostate cancer.
Vitamin K2 is mostly abundant in animal-based foods. A study trial found that when a person undergoes a low-meat, high-plant diet, the levels of vitamin K2 fall and the result can be dental problems, bone fragility, and chronic diseases such as cancer.
Conversion of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is vital to maintaining clear and healthy vision, and promoting healthy skin, improving the immune system and assisting in the overall growth and development.
Even if we’ve grown to think that carrots are rich in vitamin A, studies suggest otherwise. Plants do not contain pure vitamin A. What’s present are the precursors. One of them is beta-carotene. On the other hand, vitamin A comes in the form of retinoids from animal-based foods, which does not require conversion.
In other words, the rate of vitamin A conversion in people is one of the reasons why some do well as vegan.
Choline and PEMT Activity
An often overlooked nutrient that’s essential to metabolism is choline. Choline deficiency increases the risk for heart disease, neurological conditions, and developmental problems. Choline comes from some plant foods but is also produced internally through an enzyme called phosphatidylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase (PEMT).
Often, the amount of choline from the plant foods combined with choline produced internally are adequate for a vegan’s body, but not for everyone. Low-choline diets are harmful to most people, especially to pregnant and lactating mothers. Worse, it may cause organ dysfunction.
In a nutshell, the variation of choline production and PEMT activity in individuals determines whether or not the vegan diet suits them.
Starch Tolerance and Amylase
As icky as it sounds, there is an essential enzyme in human saliva, which helps in digesting starch molecules (carbohydrates) — alpha-amylase. The production of amylase in the body is a factor in starch metabolism. Low levels of amylase can lead to long-lasting blood sugar spikes.
Vegans eat plant-based dishes, and this spells starch all the way. People with low levels of amylase may experience poor regulation of blood sugar, weight gain and low satiation due to starch overload. However, those whose bodies produce adequate amounts of amylase won’t have any problems.
Learning all of these, there is one conclusion everyone can have when it comes to going vegan. It’s that the right combination of genetic elements is the reason why some do well as vegans and others not. Simply said, some are just better equipped with the ability to survive on a 100 percent plant-based diet.
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