Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there a risk to my health if there isn?t enough iron in my diet?"
I eat mostly vegetarian but do eat some meat every once in a while. Am i getting all the vitamins I need? is there any health risk in not eating enough meat?
There is very little health risk in terms of being deficient in vitamins in minerals if you are a vegetarian. For the most part, vegetarians have a greater supply of vitamins and other nutrients than those on other diets. I do occasionally check iron and vitamin B12 levels in my strict vegetarians or people that adhere to a vegan diet. This is because iron is found in abundance in animal products, but not to a great extent in vegetables. But most of the time when someone develops iron deficiency it is because of blood loss or gastrointestinal disease rather than purely for diet. Vitamin B12 is also only found in meat and animal products, but it can be found in a vegetarian diet in amounts that are sufficient. The body keeps vitamin B12 stores for up to 3 years and so you probably are not deficient in this vitamin if you just became a vegetarian. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will take a look at your diet and decide if you are at risk for any vitamin deficiencies. If there is any concern, then your doctor may draw blood to look for vitamin levels and/or place you on a daily multivitamin.
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