Vexen Crabtree 2015

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Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
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Vitamin D deficiency and vegetarianism

Added 5.2. Vitamin D Deficiency and Vegetarianism:

We evolved to produce vitamin D when we lived on the equator, so there was no shortage of production. Nowadays most Human Beings cannot obtain enough exposure to produce their own vitamin D, so it has become an essential part of our diet.5

Rickets is a childhood deficiency of vitamin D, which is called osteomalacia in adults. It causes bone weakness (causing fractures), bone pains and can cause muscle weakness and joint inflamation.

It is widely thought that sunlight on our skin provides us with a mechanism to produce vitamin D but this is largely untrue; you have to be outdoors every day at the right time, in order to achieve this, and in northern climates the required wavelengths of light are simply absent for four months at winter. Most vitamin D is, and always will be, sourced from our diets. In particular, vitamin D comes from animal fat and fish. Some plants contain a form of vitamin D denoted D2 (ergocalciferol) but this is not utilized very well in animals.

Rickets and/or low vitamin D levels has been well-documented in many vegetarians and vegans (26), since animal fats are either lacking or deficient in vegetarian diets (as well as those of the general Western public who routinely try to cut their animal fat intake), since sunlight is only a source of vitamin D at certain times and at certain latitudes, and since current dietary recommendations for vitamin D are too low, this emphasizes the need to have reliable and abundant sources of this nutrient in our daily diets. Good sources include cod liver oil, lard from pigs that were exposed to sunlight, shrimp, wild salmon, sardines, butter, full-fat dairy products, and eggs from properly fed chickens.

Dr Stephen Byrnes, 2000
Reference 26 is duplicated at the end of this page.



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Indeed I needed to suplement Vitamin D after I moved from Brasil.. and it is not quite the same as the proper sunlight, as much as I hate it thought...

FWIW, my mother is not and has never been a vegetarian, but did suffer seriously from rickets as a child.

It could be perhaps an enzyme problem - lacking a specific enzyme (or possessing a faulty one) to actually process vitamin D. My own diet is certainly not lacking in vitamin D - doctors have theorised that my problem is that my body does not seem to process calcium properly (a mild form of osteogenesis imperfecta), but this leads to very similar symptoms to those of osteomalacia. Given my mother's problem with rickets as a child, I now wonder if perhaps I have inherited an enzyme disorder from her?

My bone density issues are going to be fully investigated once I have had this baby; it will be interesting to see the initial endocrinology results.

Yeah, D does help fix calcium, so a seeming-deficiency in one can really be a malfunction with the other.

Anyway, introducing Vit D fortification into milk (in the USA, or the UK, can't remember; one of us fortifies, the other doesn't) almost-completely removed the symptoms of vit-d deficiency from the entire population. Good stuff.

Most people, however, are still lacking in Vit D, although not as seriously as in previous decades/centuries.

The US fortifies (in bread, breakfast cereals and milk), the UK doesn't.

Interestingly, excess of fluoride can also cause rickets....


I've been a vegetarian from birth and never had a vitamin D problem. However, my grandma has osteoperosis and she's always eaten meat.

Even when I had an eating disorder the only big problem (aside from the BMI of about 15) was aenemia, which did affect the bone density somewhat, but then I wasn't really eating anything... I've never been a vegan, so milk and eggs have alwaus been in my diet, although I have an intollerance to eggs I still eat them.

It may well be to do with enzymes. Genetically I'm Irish so have the ability to drink men under the table - which is down to enzymes (funnily enough my brother has more of my mum's English genes so is right irritated I can drink more than him ;) and possibly the Irish, with lots of darkness are able to produce vitamin D better?

When grandad has arthritis he became vege and it improved so much, and many people with arthritis are encouraged to be vegetarian, and with it in the family I've noted that those of us who are vegetarian don't show the symptoms of it - or do to a far lessar degree - and the meat eaters do.

I'm no nutritional expert but I do think there's a lot more too it than simply what we eat. I don't take any vitamin supplaments either.

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