Background: Vegan and vegetarian diets could overcome many diseases of civilization. This study examines whether a whole food vegan diet with Nori algae and wild mushrooms can provide a sufficient quantity of critical nutrients.
Methods: Five blood samples (Baseline to Time 5) were taken over eight months from 75 subjects (10 vegans without B12 supplementation who consumed Nori algae and wild mushrooms, 20 vegans with supplementation, 40 vegetarians, 5 meat-eaters). Blood was analyzed for blood cell counts, total vitamin B12, holotranscobalamin, homocysteine, methylmalonic acid, vitamin B6, folic acid, ferritin, TSH, zinc, creatinine, vitamin D2 and D3.
Results: In the vegan group without supplementation, all means were within the tolerance (holotranscobalamin, homocystein) or normal, except for elevated methylmalonic acid and diminished vitamin D. This group developed significantly higher vitamin D2 levels. The vegan group with B12 supplementation and the vegetarian group showed normal values for all parameters.
Conclusions: Vegans following a whole food diet had a borderline supply of vitamin B12. Folic acid, vitamin B6, TSH, iron metabolism, and the blood count were in the normal range. Vegans taking dietary supplements demonstrated satisfactory overall results. An ingestion of sundried mushrooms can contribute to the supply of vitamin D.