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Switched to vegan diet - feeling worse - should I switch back?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Sasha, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Thanks, everybody, for contributing to this thread. I think it's very hard to argue one way or another about diet since it's so complex and the epidemiological research is very difficult to interpret. I think, especially those of us who are sick and so to whom broad-scale research may not apply, that we have to test things for ourselves. Unfortunately, changing diet, even if it's for the best in the long-term, can cause ill effects in the short term while the body adjusts so judging a diet by its early-stage effects isn't necessarily the best way, hence my confusion.

    As it's turned out, I'm feeling much better this morning having switched back to my old diet a couple of days ago. Disappointing, because I'd hoped there was a chance for improvement with a different diet, but still, we have to try things out sometimes.

    Good luck to everybody with their diet choices! Just another of those challenges for PWME. :)
    amyinasheville and justy like this.
  2. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    When i was advised to begin eating meat again by Dr Myhill, i did seriously consider it - even though i have been a vegetarian for many many years - as have my whole family, including extended family. Even though for me it feels morally wrong to eat animals i considered wether it would be better for my health. However,for me i felt it would impact to heavily on my moral and mental health to do so - even if my physical body needed it - i felt that it would weigh so heavily upon me that it could not be of any benefit. So instead i eat what makesd me happy and my stomach can tolerate. For some reason, since developing gastritis my body seems to reject fruit and most vegetables, but will allow me to eat grains and carbs - i have no idea why this is, but it is the only way to avoid severe digestive distress for me. I can even eat sugar now without any ill effects - so weird!

    All the best Justy

    ps - Sasha, so glad you are feeling a bit better on your previous diet, but i understand you frustration at wanting to find some solutions through diet - i tried this for a couple of years with no help at all.
    November Girl likes this.
  3. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I've been nothing but polite, ahimsa. Just b/c someone might not agree with you doesn't mean they're not being polite. In fact, I was making extra efforts to be polite after your implication that I was somehow "telling people what to do," which is of course a ludicrous idea.

    As for your call for evidence, I think the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and no pun intended. Mediterranean diets have been studied in the scientific literature for decades now, and they have been well-established as close to the ideal diet. Here's a study (pdf) that gives a good overview, as well as providing numerous references:

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/61/6/1313S.full.pdf

    Otoh, vegeterianism and veganism are commonly associated with well-known health problems related to vitamin B and protein deficiencies, gut flora alterations, and also perhaps insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome ("Syndrome X"). It's now known that children fed vegetarian diets tend to have lower IQs. A study I just saw recently also correlated greater mental health problems with vegetarianism:

    Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Jun 7;9(1):67. [Epub ahead of print]
    Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey.

    Michalak J, Zhang XC, Jacobi F.
    Abstract

    ABSTRACT:
    BACKGROUND:

    The present study investigated associations between vegetarian diet and mental disorders.
    METHODS:

    Participants were drawn from the representative sample of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey and its Mental Health Supplement (GHS-MHS). Completely vegetarian (N = 54) and predominantly vegetarian (N = 190) participants were compared with nonvegetarian participants (N = 3872) and with a non-vegetarian socio-demographically matched subsample (N = 242).
    RESULTS:

    Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. Due to the matching procedure, the findings cannot be explained by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians (e.g. higher rates of females, predominant residency in urban areas, high proportion of singles). The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the onset of mental disorders tends to follow the adoption of the vegetarian diet.
    CONCLUSIONS:

    Vegetarian diet is associated with an elevated risk of mental disorders. However, there was no evidence for a causal role of vegetarian diet in the etiology of mental disorders.

    # # #

    Here's a study that shows increased incidence of Crohn's disease among vegetarians in India, while eating fish was protective against the disease - probably not surprising given the anti-inflammatory effects of n-3 fats:

    Indian J Gastroenterol. 2011 Dec;30(6):264-9. Epub 2011 Dec 13.
    Environmental factors associated with Crohn's disease in India.

    Pugazhendhi S, Sahu MK, Subramanian V, Pulimood A, Ramakrishna BS.
    Source

    Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.
    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:

    The frequency of diagnosis of Crohn's disease (CD) in India is increasing. This case-control study was designed to detect associations of environmental and dietary factors with the diagnosis of CD.
    METHODS:

    In 200 consecutive patients with CD and 200 control subjects without gastrointestinal disease, environmental hygiene exposures in childhood and in the past one year, and dietary preferences were recorded using a questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done.
    RESULTS:

    In univariate analysis, CD showed positive association with urban residence (at birth and current), availability of protected drinking water (childhood and current), availability of piped water in the house (childhood and current), and strict vegetarian dietary habit, and negative association with regular fish consumption and presence of cattle in the house compound. Multivariate analysis showed that regular fish consumption (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.33-0.80, p = 0.003), and presence of cattle in the house compound currently (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.35-0.92, p = 0.023) were significant protective associations, whereas use of safe drinking water was positively associated (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.02-2.47, p = 0.042) with the disease.
    CONCLUSION:
    Occurrence of CD was associated with dietary and environmental exposures, which indicate that diet and hygiene may influence the development of this disease.

    # # #

    Omnivores tend to have better gut flora, obviously of importance in ME/CFS:

    Br J Nutr. 2011 Dec 20:1-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Faecal microbiota composition in vegetarians: comparison with omnivores in a cohort of young women in southern India.

    Kabeerdoss J, Shobana Devi R, Regina Mary R, Ramakrishna BS.
    Source

    Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore 632 004, Tamil Nadu, India.
    Abstract
    The effect of vegetarian diets on faecal microbiota has been explored largely through culture-based techniques. The present study compared the faecal microbiota of vegetarian and omnivorous young women in southern India. Faecal samples were obtained from thirty-two lacto-vegetarian and twenty-four omnivorous young adult women from a similar social and economic background. Macronutrient intake and anthropometric data were collected. Faecal microbiota of interest was quantified by real-time PCR with SYBR Green using primers targeting 16S rRNA genes of groups, including: Clostridium coccoides group (Clostridium cluster XIVa), Roseburia spp.-Eubacterium rectale, Bacteroides-Prevotella group, Bifidobacterium genus, Lactobacillus group, Clostridium leptum group (Clostridium cluster IV), Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Ruminococcus productus-C. coccoides, Butyrivibrio, Enterococcus species and Enterobacteriaceae. The groups were matched for age, socio-economic score and anthropometric indices. Intake of energy, complex carbohydrates and Ca were significantly higher in the omnivorous group. The faecal microbiota of the omnivorous group was enriched with Clostridium cluster XIVa bacteria, specifically Roseburia-E. rectale. The relative proportions of other microbial communities were similar in both groups. The butyryl-CoA CoA-transferase gene, associated with microbial butyrate production, was present in greater amounts in the faeces of omnivores, and the levels were highly correlated with Clostridium cluster XIVa and Roseburia-E. rectale abundance and to a lesser extent with Clostridium leptum and F. prausnitzii abundance and with crude fibre intake. Omnivores had an increased relative abundance of Clostridium cluster XIVa bacteria and butyryl-CoA CoA-transferase gene compared with vegetarians, but we were unable to identify the components of the diet responsible for this difference.

    Nutrition. 2012 Feb;28(2):148-53. Epub 2011 Aug 27.

    Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jan;66(1):53-60. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.141. Epub 2011 Aug 3.
    A vegan or vegetarian diet substantially alters the human colonic faecal microbiota.

    Zimmer J, Lange B, Frick JS, Sauer H, Zimmermann K, Schwiertz A, Rusch K, Klosterhalfen S,Enck P.
    Source

    Department of Internal Medicine VI, University Hospital, Tübingen, Germany.
    Abstract

    BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:

    Consisting of ≈10(14) microbial cells, the intestinal microbiota represents the largest and the most complex microbial community inhabiting the human body. However, the influence of regular diets on the microbiota is widely unknown.
    SUBJECTS/METHODS:

    We examined faecal samples of vegetarians (n=144), vegans (n=105) and an equal number of control subjects consuming ordinary omnivorous diet who were matched for age and gender. We used classical bacteriological isolation, identification and enumeration of the main anaerobic and aerobic bacterial genera and computed absolute and relative numbers that were compared between groups.
    RESULTS:

    Total counts of Bacteroides spp., Bifidobacterium spp., Escherichia coli and Enterobacteriaceae spp. were significantly lower (P=0.001, P=0.002, P=0.006 and P=0.008, respectively) in vegan samples than in controls, whereas others (E. coli biovars, Klebsiella spp., Enterobacter spp., other Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococcus spp., Lactobacillus spp., Citrobacter spp. and Clostridium spp.) were not. Subjects on a vegetarian diet ranked between vegans and controls. The total microbial count did not differ between the groups. In addition, subjects on a vegan or vegetarian diet showed significantly (P=0.0001) lower stool pH than did controls, and stool pH and counts of E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae were significantly correlated across all subgroups.
    CONCLUSIONS:

    Maintaining a strict vegan or vegetarian diet results in a significant shift in the microbiota while total cell numbers remain unaltered.
    # # #


    Here's a study showing a possible correlation between vegetarianism, B12 deficiency (which we already know is a huge risk for vegetarians/vegans), and insulin resistance:

    Nutrition. 2012 Jan;28(1):20-4. Epub 2011 Aug 11.
    Vegetarianism, vitamin B12 status, and insulin resistance in a group of predominantly overweight/obese South Asian women.

    Gammon CS, von Hurst PR, Coad J, Kruger R, Stonehouse W.
    Source

    Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand. C.Gammon@massey.ac.nz
    Abstract

    OBJECTIVES:

    Asian Indians are an at-risk group for vitamin B12 deficiency (because of vegetarianism) and insulin resistance (IR). Vegetarianism and consequent vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with IR. This study aimed to describe the vitamin B12 status of predominantly overweight/obese women of South Asian origin living in Auckland and to correlate serum vitamin B12 and vegetarian status with IR as part of the larger Surya Study looking at health and lifestyle in this population.
    METHODS:

    This was a cross-sectional study of 135 women at least 20 y of age who were not taking vitamin B supplements or medications that could affect vitamin B12 concentrations (serum vitamin B12 < 800 pmol/L). Data collection included serum vitamin B12, serum folate, measurements of IR (HOMA2-IR), and anthropometry. Vegetarian status was established for 124 subjects (90 non-vegetarians, 34 vegetarians).
    RESULTS:

    Mean serum vitamin B12 was 227 pmol/L (95% confidence interval 210-245), serum folate was 19.1 nmol/L (18.0-20.2), and HOMA2-IR was 1.24 (1.13-1.36). Non-vegetarians had higher serum vitamin B12 levels (257 pmol/L, 235-281) than vegetarians (181 pmol/L, 159-207), P < 0.001. Vitamin B12 deficiency (<150 pmol/L) in vegetarians was 24% versus 9% in non-vegetarians. Non-vegetarians had increased body mass index (25.9 kg/m², 25.0-26.9, versus 23.9 kg/m², 22.6-25.3), waist circumference (81 ± 10.1 versus 75.8 ± 9.88 cm), and HOMA2-IR levels (1.30, 1.17-1.46, versus 1.00, 0.83-1.22). No correlation was found between serum vitamin B12 and HOMA2-IR. A significant positive correlation between non-vegetarian status and IR disappeared after controlling for body mass index.
    CONCLUSIONS:

    This study population has a low serum vitamin B12 status, especially if vegetarian. The high rates of observed obesity may have overshadowed any other contributing factor to IR.


    # # #

    Current studies show that vegetarianism is associated with clinical malnutrition and other problems related to poor protein (sulfur amino acid) status, including heart attacks and related coronary disease:

    Vegetarianism produces subclinical malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and atherogenesis.

    Ingenbleek Y, McCully KS.
    Source

    Laboratory of Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmacy, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.
    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE:

    To explain why vegetarian subjects develop morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases unrelated to vitamin B status and Framingham criteria.
    METHODS:

    A study of 24 rural male subjects 18 to 30 y old and 15 urban male controls was conducted in the Sahel region of Chad. Food consumption was determined from a dietary questionnaire, and overall health status was assessed by body weight, body mass index, serum albumin, plasma transthyretin, urinary nitrogen, and creatinine. Plasma lipids, vitamins B6, B9 and B12, homocysteine, and related sulfur amino acids were measured as selected cardiovascular disease risk factors.
    RESULTS:

    Body weight, body mass index, blood, and urinary markers of protein status were significantly lower, with an estimated 10% decrease of lean body mass in the study group compared with urban controls. Neither lipid fractions nor plasma levels of vitamins B6, B9, and B12 were significantly different between the two groups. Although the mean consumption of sulfur amino acids (10.4 mg·kg(-1)·d(-1)) by rural subjects was significantly below the recommended dietary allowances (13 mg·kg(-1)·d(-1)), plasma methionine values were similar in the two groups. In contrast, homocysteine concentration was significantly increased (18.6 μmol/L, P < 0.001), and the levels of cysteine and glutathione were significantly decreased in the study group, demonstrating inhibition of the trans-sulfuration pathway. The strong negative correlation (r = -0.71) between transthyretin and homocysteine implicated lean body mass as a critical determinant of hyperhomocysteinemia.
    CONCLUSION:

    The low dietary intake of protein and sulfur amino acids by a plant-eating population leads to subclinical protein malnutrition, explaining the origin of hyperhomocysteinemia and the increased vulnerability of these vegetarian subjects to cardiovascular diseases.

    # # #

    And the evidence goes on and on, most all of it in favor of Mediterranean/Asian diets that include small to moderate amounts of animal proteins, and wary of vegan/vegetarian diets which carry clear risks of malnutrition and nutrient deficiency and typical problems associated with those statuses. Give the track record and the scientific backing of the Med diet, I'll stick with that until something better comes along (and not calorie restriction : P).
    heapsreal and Tito like this.
  4. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    I never understood people who, despite being ill, continue a diet purely on philosophical grounds. If to get cure I had to eat insects, I would start straight away...
  5. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member

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    jeffrez, I'm sorry that I'm having such a hard time explaining myself. I'm starting to feel that I can't write a single sentence that anyone can understand.

    I do think one confusion might be that I'm focusing on feelings (e.g., words like superstition can be seen by some people as negative and impolite). I'm not talking at all about the data part of the conversation, just the feelings.

    At any rate, I will bow out of the discussion now. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I'm sorry if I hurt yours in any way. I'm sorry that I could not explain myself. I hope we're good!

    :hug: And more HUGS for all! :hug:

    Hugs make everything better....

    (Edited - Maybe a small example will help? What if the phrase "millennia-old superstitions" had been used to describe Jewish Kosher laws? Or to describe Muslims who fast for Ramadan? When speaking about ancient religious beliefs perhaps the word "traditions" might be a better choice? My friends and family are a mix of atheist, agnostic, Christian, Hindu, etc. I'm trying to respect the full range of belief systems. Did not want to hurt anyone's feelings.)
    Sasha likes this.
  6. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Hi ahimsa - like I said in reply to your PM, I didn't feel hurt at all, was only presenting my opinions on the matter, in the same way I would if a pregnant woman said she wanted to eat tuna 3x a day. Only thing I would say otherwise is that it might not always be the best idea to ask someone w/OCD to present the research. ;- ) So I appreciate the concern, but my feelings are quite intact, thanks. Hope you have a good weekend & eat lots of organic vegees. :=)
  7. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    I get what you're saying totally. Some people's holy beliefs have been reduced to being referred to as "millennia-old superstitions." In my opinion, while people have every right to think and share this opinion of theirs, I certainly don't think there should be surprise if it offends either. Most don't like their sacred religious/cultural beliefs made light of.

    To me it's not the same as saying for example that tuna can harm a pregnant woman's soon-to-be child, which is a fact that can be proved or disproved. While, in my view, topics like the above are not a matter of disputing facts, since things like whether cows are sacred/holy or Jesus is the song of God are matters of faith and opinion and cannot be proved or disproved with studies and such. Some may disagree and think these things can be proved, and I respect their right to that view also, I'm just saying that these topics aren't as simple as saying mercury in fish can harm a child or alcohol white pregnant can potentially cause problems. In my view, saying one doesn't share someone's belief is not the same thing as declaring those beliefs to be "superstition". One is much more respectful, in my opinion, than the other.
  8. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Actually some of the things you mentioned can be disproved. ;-) e.g.: http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

    It's just that, once again, "believers" tend to want to maintain their irrationally-grounded beliefs regardless of the facts. Not that irrationality is always a bad thing - much if not all art, for example, could be said to be grounded fundamentally in irrationality. But when it gets in the way of practical facts, I think there often tends to be a problem.

    The point in making the distinction btwn supersition and science was to highlight the fact that the millennia-old traditions surrounding vegetarianism in India were largely religious based, not scientifically based. We know a lot more about the physical world and the body now than we did that. Again, not to say some of the insights from back then might not have had validity. Only that the reasons for people being vegetarians today are usually, in the West at least, a lot different than the religious beliefs from where they probably in whole or in part originated. There's a difference, iow, between saying that the thousands of year old Mediterranean diet is tried and true b/c of real world observation and facts, and saying that the vegetarian diet is equally legitimate b/c it's thousands of years old, too, when the reasons for it are quite different than the Med/Japanese diets.
  9. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    Yes I understand the difference between faith/religion and science. My point was there is a more tactful way of expressing that concept, that's all.
  10. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    In your opinion maybe there was, but in my opinion it was accurate. So why should we always have to defer to the religious people's sensibilities in these matters? Think I have as much a right to state that I believe it's a superstition as you have to say that it isn't. Trying to censor or intimidate people against saying it's a superstition is perhaps from one point of view what helps keep the superstitions going - and not sure that helps anyone in the long run. So if you don't like the way I express it, very sorry, but that's just the way it sometimes is with this rich language of ours, right? ;-)
  11. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    I already stated you have every right to state your viewpoint in my original comment. I was stating mine.
  12. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Right, but you were saying it's "disrespectful" to express things in a way you don't agree with. It never seems to dawn on the religious people - not saying that's you, just something we see all the time in the US, at least - that the religious POV is disrespectful to those of us who believe in science, evolution, and so on. It's ironically a kind of arrogance on the part the religious to demand (again, perhaps not you, but as we often see) that we treat their beliefs with "respect," while they continually disrespect everyone else's. So maybe it's best just to say why something is factual or true or not, and leave the value judgments about being "disrespectful" aside. B/c it works both ways.
  13. Marlène

    Marlène Senior Member

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  14. November Girl

    November Girl Senior Member

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    One vegan meal that works wonderfully for me is trail mix. we mix our own, with one half being nuts & seeds, and the other half dried fruits. This is my normal breakfast, though sometimes with greek yogurt. Occasionally, that's what I eat throughout the day. My normal diet is omnivorous.
  15. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member

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    Ah, I have to eat snails for my ulcer but I'd never do that.

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