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Folate Levels in Vegans, Vegetarians, & Omnivores

Folate Levels in Vegans, Vegetarians, & Omnivores

"A vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don't eat it." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

***What are Folates?

Folates are water soluble B vitamins (not to be confused with folic acid supplements which to the notmilkman, are like Winnie The Pooh without the Winnie.)

***Why do we need folates?

Folates are necessary for the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

***What are the risks of low folate levels?

People with low folate levels do not manufacture as many red blood cells as people with high levels of folate, and often develop anemia. Cells, tissues, and organs can suffer damage do to a shortage of red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body. In addition, folates help to break down homocysteine, a protein composed of cysteine and methionine (two amino acids with sulphur as their center atom). Many research correlate high homocysteine levels with heart disease. Folates are also critically important for the health of pregnant mothers and brain development of their unborn children.

The September issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010 Sep;64(9):933-9) contains a study in which folate levels were tested in 226 omnivores, 231 vegetarians and 232 vegans.

Gilsing AM, Crowe FL, et. al. (University of Oxford) determined:

"Folate concentrations were highest among vegans, intermediate among vegetarians and lowest among omnivores..."

***Ten of the Notmilkman's favorite folate-rich foods:

Sunflower seeds

Robert Cohen

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