HANGZHOU, China, April 7 (UPI) -- Vegans -- strict vegetarians who eat no meat or animal products -- may have an increased risk of developing blood clots, a researcher in China says.
Duo Li of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou says meat eaters are known for having a significantly higher combination of cardiovascular risk factors than vegetarians.
However, lower-risk vegans may not be immune and their diets tend to be lacking several key nutrients --including iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, Li says.
Vegans tend to have elevated blood levels of homocysteine and decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein, the "good" form of cholesterol, which are both risk factors for heart disease, Li adds.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, concluded there is a strong scientific basis for vegetarians and vegans to increase their dietary omega-3 fatty acids -- found in oily fish, walnuts and other nuts -- and vitamin B12 -- found in seafood, eggs and fortified milk.