3 Reasons Vegans & Vegetarians Can AGE Faster (controversial, but true)

by Cat Ebeling 
co-author of the best-sellers:  The Fat Burning KitchenThe Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging & The Diabetes Fix

vegetarians age faster?

I am a big proponent of eating a large variety of plants (roots, herbs, spices, veggies, fruits, nuts, etc) for their amazing health benefits from phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

However, I am also very well aware that missing out on beneficial saturated fats, collagen proteins, vitamin K2, vitamin B12, DHA/EPA, and other vital nutrients that vegans and vegetarians are often low or deficient in can accelerate aging in people that choose to eat this way.  You’ll also see in this article how the types of foods that vegetarians and vegans often replace meats with (more grains and beans) can also accelerate aging in their bodies by contributing additional digestive irritants, as well as spiking blood sugar too often, and causing excessive “glycation” of cells due to the excess constant blood sugar.

As Nutritionists, we try to educate people that eating strict vegan has serious health consequences over time…and that including high quality fish, and at least some other animal-based foods is very important to achieve optimal health and slow aging.  There are many bioavailable and usable proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats that you can only get from animal-based foods—as well as avoiding the blood sugar highs and lows of the starchy, grain and carbohydrate-heavy diet that’s typical of vegetarians.

A look at a typical vegetarian diet would show a diet high in plant-based vegetable oils which are primarily omega 6 fats. Omega 6 fats have been known to increase inflammation in the body, including in the joints—contributing to arthritis, and in the blood vessel linings—exacerbating and increasing the chances for heart attacks and strokes as well as contributing to weight gain (belly fat), and even cancer.

I know a lot of vegans and vegetarians, and these days with all the issues surrounding climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental mess that large-scale industrial meat and dairy farms (factory farms) create—in addition to the poor quality nutrition that commercialized factory farmed meat and dairy provides—it can certainly sound like a good idea to try a vegetarian diet on the surface, but that ignores the FACT that there are good options for meats raised in a healthy manner, that eat the correct foods for their species, and are also raised in environmentally-friendly ways.  This is a very important distinction that most vegans and vegetarians ignore.

For every diet, there are a hundred different variations. There are healthy versions, and there are unhealthy versions. Vegans and vegetarians need to be especially vigilant in their dietary choices, or there can be unpleasant health consequences that can actually contribute to disease and aging, in spite of all the healthy advantages of eating a diet high in plant foods, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

I can actually say this from experience, because I was a vegan for almost 15 years, and although I thought I was making educated and healthy choices in my diet, I ended up with quite a few health issues as a result. While I still eat a diet that is high in healthy plant foods, I avoid grains and get the essential protein, nutrients and fats that can only be found in animal foods like grass fed butter, raw cheese, and pasture raised meat and eggs.  There is just no better substitute, period.

It is true that many vegetarians actually age FASTER than their meat-eating counterparts, in part because of very vital missing nutrients or because the body cannot efficiently utilize or transform the plant-based version of these nutrients into usable nutrients. I actually noticed this in a good friend of mine who had decided to become vegan.

In just 4 short years, she not only had gained weight and said she was “famished all the time”, but her skin looked dry, wrinkly, and saggy. Her hair was dull and dry and grew very slowly. She said she had very little energy and actually quit her triathlon training that she had been doing as a meat-eater. She recently switched back about a year ago to a more Paleo-style diet and her skin now looks smooth, clear and glowing—and she lost weight and has tons of energy again! (Did I mention this lady is 62 years old?  And she’s THRIVING on a more balanced Paleo diet that includes healthy plants, but also plenty of healthy animal-based options, whereas eating vegan was making her look and feel terrible)

Let’s take a look at why some vegans and vegetarians actually age faster than their omnivorous counterparts:

1. Missing essential dietary fats necessary for healthy joints, proper heart and brain function, anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, and smooth glowing skin 

Standard nutritional recommendations call for at least 500, with upwards of a 1,000-5,000 mg of omega 3 containing the vital components of EPA and DHA as being optimal for good health. EPA or Eicosapentaenoic Acid, and DHA or Docosahexaenoic Acid, work together as a team playing a structural and integral role in the composition of our cell membranes, our immune system, brain function, nerve function, fetal development, and cardiovascular and lung function. These two also work to reduce inflammation in joints, blood vessels, and skin.

The big issue with omega 3 fats is that the most bioavailable omega 3’s come from oily, cold water fish, or egg yolks.  Of course, vegetarians and vegans do not eat fish or seafood and must get their omega-3 fats from a plant-based source such as flax seed or chia seed. This type of omega 3 fat comes in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is the plant-based version of omega 3 that must be converted in the body to the usable forms of DHA and EPA.

While it is possible for the body to convert the plant-based ALA into some amounts of EPA and DHA, research studies show that only a very small amount of ALA can actually be converted. One study shows only 2-10% of ALA can be converted, and many studies show even less at around 1%, or even less than 1%.

Since many vegetarians rely on grains, soy and vegetable oils in their diet, this actually increases their need for omega 3, because omega 6 fats (in grains, soy and vegetable oils) compete in the body with omega 3 fats. The more omega 6 fats in the diet, the more omega 3 fats are needed. On top of that, deficiencies of B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc—common deficiencies in vegetarians—inhibit this conversion even more. Add in other factors such as age, genetics, poor digestion, protein deficiencies, and other health conditions, and it makes the conversion even more difficult!

Diets deficient in omega 3’s, DHA and EPA have noticeable effects on aging. The skin looks drier, it lacks its normal elasticity, and is missing the natural oils that keep it soft and supple. Surface wrinkles appear and the skin will look rough, blotchy, bumpy and dry, and hair may end up looking dull, lifeless and brittle, along with a sprinkling of dandruff. Not a real pretty picture!

Lack of properly metabolized omega 3’s may also exacerbate acne, eczema and psoriasis as well. Low levels of DHA and EPA also contribute to arthritis, asthma, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, depression/anxiety, and ADD, too.

One of the other vital fats often missing from vegetarians’ diets is saturated fat, found in butter, egg yolks, red meat, and also in coconut oil. Saturated fats play similarly significant roles in the body’s chemistry. These fats strengthen the immune system and are involved in inter-cellular communication which involves our immunity and ability to fight cancer, among other things. Saturated fats also play a vital role in helping cell membranes work properly, including the cell receptors for insulin, which protects against diabetes. Our lungs actually cannot function very well without saturated fats. Children raised on a diet that includes real butter and full-fat milk have been shown to have less incidents of asthma, ADD/ADHD and other behavioral problems, than children on a low fat diet.  Saturated fats are also necessary for testosterone production as well as estrogen and progesterone, so avoiding these fats will also deplete your essential sex hormones, which affect energy, fertility, mood and sex drive.

Saturated fats are most definitely required for nerves and the nervous system to function properly, and did you know that the majority of the brain is made up of saturated fats? That is why avoiding fatty acids can actually cause serious issues in your moods. It is theorized that many mental health issues such as bipolar, depression, OCD and schizophrenia have strong connections to a lack of essential fats.

One other important thing about saturated fats–saturated animal fats are an absolute necessity for utilization of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D , E, and K2. A great example of this is my good friend who was a strict vegan. She refused to eat fat, thinking it would make her fat. As a result, she developed a serious vitamin A deficiency and even though she was eating tons of fruit and veggies packed with the beta-carotene version of vitamin A, her body couldn’t use it!  Her skin actually turned a bright orange as all that beta carotene built up in her body, but without the necessary saturated fats, it was totally unusable!

If you have any of these ‘old age’ symptoms you most likely have a fatty acid deficiency instead:

  • achy joints
  • symptoms of ADD
  • brittle, peeling nails
  • dry, dull, hair
  • cold intolerance symptoms
  • constipation
  • cracked skin on heels
  • eczema, dry scaly skin
  • excessive thirst
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • hypertension
  • irregular bowel movements
  • irritability
  • low concentration/brain fog
  • depression or anxiety
  • learning disability
  • lowered immunity
  • low body weight
  • poor memory
  • poor wound healing
  • weakness and lack of energy

One more comment on essential fatty acids, primarily omega 3’s—when you look at DNA strands of people who are aging more quickly than their younger counterparts, you will find that the telomeres, or the ends of the DNA strands on people who are aging faster are shorter and fraying. Guess what main dietary substance dramatically slows this fraying? You guessed it—omega 3 fatty acids!

2. AGE’s and aging from a diet high in carbohydrates consisting of grains (often highly refined), starchy carbohydrates and refined, ‘fake’ foods like artificial meat.

AGE’s are Advanced Glycation Endproducts. AGE’s can be either in the food you eat or formed within your body. AGE’s occur when sugar molecules attach to protein or fat molecules without an enzyme. AGE’s are a serious promoter of aging in the body, as well as initiating many chronic diseases. In fact AGE’s can be one of the biggest factors in the development of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimers’.

AGE’s form a sticky plaque-like substance in the brain, nerve tissue, and the rest of the body. It is reported that when AGE’s are consumed, about 10-30% are absorbed into the body. The body’s ability to eliminate these once they are absorbed is very limited, meaning that once these gunky, gooey, nasty things get in human cells, it’s damage that cannot be undone.

AGE’s are responsible for wrinkly, sagging skin, damage to virtually every known organ system in the body. Simple, processed carbs break down into sugar in the body, which in turn breaks down collagen and elastin, creating wrinkly, sagging skin.

Advanced Glycation End products can come from two primary sources:

• From our diet (Exogenous AGE’s)
• Internally produced in the body (Endogenous AGE’s)

AGE’s have a direct tie to our blood sugar levels. A measurement of blood sugar over a period of time using the Hemoglobin A1c test will show that a diet high in carbohydrates (even ‘unrefined’ carbs) increases the HbA1c measure. Unfortunately, this is what vegans and vegetarians tend to concentrate on in their diets, or eat more of in order to fulfill their calorie needs since they’re avoiding animal-based foods.  Avoiding animal-based proteins means that you have to eat a diet high in grain, beans, and starchy carbohydrates to get adequate protein.

And what about those vegetarian ‘meat’ products and veggie burgers?  Well, here’s an ingredient list of one popular ‘fake’ meat—full of junk and refined carbs:

Water, wheat gluten, tofu, canola oil, natural flavors [including MSG], corn starch, white bean flour, garbanzo bean flour, lemon juice and seasonings.

Endogenous (or internally formed) AGE’s occur in the body from the sugar and carbohydrates from food. Since vegetarians typically eat a diet that is primarily carbohydrate-based, these carbs quickly turn into glucose (sugar) in the body and create glycation in the cells. People on diets with chronically elevated blood sugar are subject to the most damage from AGE’s—and unfortunately vegetarians are definitely in that group.  Certain types of sugars such as fructose, are much more likely (as much as 10x more likely) to glycate. Vegetarians eat more fruit than most people, often in excessive quantities.  Small amounts of fruit are healthy, but you CAN eat too much!

For optimal aging, your A1C levels (whether diabetic or not) should be less than 5%, which would mean keeping an average blood sugar level of about 90 mg/dl. While that seems fairly low by some conventional medical standards, this percentage is easily attainable if you eat a low-glycemic diet that contains healthy fats and protein to keep blood sugar stable.

3. Depleted collagen—One of the more obvious places you will see collagen deficiency is in the skin. Collagen helps give the skin resilience, so if eggs, dairy, fish, and meat are eliminated from the diet, you will see this deficiency every time you look in the mirror!

“A lot of people who eliminate meat and animal products are attempting to be healthier, but you really have to know how to eat right to make being a vegetarian work for you,” says Susan Blum, MD, MPH.

Aside from your actual age, the condition of your skin reflects your overall health and nutrition. “Being a vegan can be aging,” says Vargas, a famous New York dermatologist. “I see 27-year-old vegans who don’t have good skin elasticity. There’s no snap-back to their skin because they’re not getting enough protein and collagen.

Collagen is the new popular supplement—for very good reason.  Collagen is a very specific type of protein that is naturally produced in the body and used in connective tissues. It provides a scaffolding framework for skin, keeping it plump-looking and young. It is the primary ingredient in hair and nails, it keeps them strong and smooth, and a vital factor in joint health, being the necessary ingredient for bone cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Collagen is vital to cell structure and has to be in the body in sufficient quantities to rebuild: hair, skin, nails, eyes, teeth, cartilage, bones, tendons, organs, arteries, blood vessels, hemoglobin, immune cells and the immune system. Collagen is responsible for 80% of all connective tissue and 75% percent of the skin!

However, internal collagen production slows down as we age, and it begins to accelerate somewhere in our mid to late 20’s. By age 40 or so, your body has already lost approximately 15% of its natural collagen stores. If you aren’t putting collagen back into your body, you will quickly use up any stores you have and become collagen-deficient, as is the case for vegans and vegetarians. Vegetarians often try to include pro-collagen (plant-based) sources for collagen, but without the correct synergistic nutrients, it goes unused in the body. The results include wrinkles, thinning, saggy skin, brittle hair and nails, insomnia, increased anxiety, joint aches and inflammation (arthritis), increased injuries due to tight and inflamed tendons and ligaments, and slow recovery from exercise, among others.

Other anti-aging benefits of collagen include improving gut integrity by enhancing digestive enzyme secretion, and restoring a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. Gelatin also absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract, preventing constipation and helping regularity.  Consuming collagen helps to heal a “leaky gut”, and unfortunately, vegans and vegetarians are prone to leaky gut by consuming excessive amounts of gut irritants from beans and grains.  This is another reason that eating a Paleo style Diet (avoiding grains and beans), can help to heal leaky gut, and improve overall digestive system health.

The traditional way to get gelatin and collagen is by eating bone broth, chicken feet, chicken skin (yes, pasture raised chicken skin IS actually good for you!), and gelatinous meats.  Unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, it is pretty much impossible to get usable gelatin and collagen from a plant-based diet (sorry vegans…there’s just no other way around this one) — Gelatin and collagen is only found in animal foods that come from the body of an animal itself.

[Mike’s note:  By the way, if you’re looking to try some amazing tasting bars that are made with grass-fed collagen, try these!  They taste like cake batter or cookie dough in a way, and I love them!

Another way to easily add some beneficial anti-aging collagen protein to your daily plan is to add some grass-fed collagen protein to your coffee or tea every day… it’s a tasteless protein, so doesn’t change the flavor of your coffee at all…this is the grass-fed collagen that I personally use in my daily coffee.]

To close out this discussion—I realize that many people who are vegans or vegetarians have important philosophical or spiritual reasons for being vegetarian, and I respect that. But if you want to remain truly healthy and young-looking on this type of diet, it is absolutely vital that you supplement your diet with at least some essential nutrients either by taking supplements or allowing yourself to eat a few select animal products… These could include omega 3 fats & saturated fats from cold water fish, pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed butter and other dairy, animal-sourced supplemental gelatin, and avoiding grains, ‘fake’ meat, and refined processed starchy foods.

Vitamins K2, D3, and B12 are also extremely important for vegans and vegetarians to attempt to consume more of, either through supplements or at least eating “some” animal products on a regular basis.  Remember that organ meats are the MOST nutrient dense of all animal foods, so for a vegetarian that doesn’t want to consume a lot of animal products, the best bet is to eat a little bit of organ meats to obtain all the nutrients they need.  I recently found a duck liver sausage that was amazing, and is absolutely loaded with vitally important vitamins and minerals!

Our favorite website that my wife and I have found delicious organ meat sausages and other grass-fed meats is here.  We absolutely LOVE so many of their products and order often!

If you want to take your anti-aging nutrition to the next level, in order to look AND feel 10 years younger than your real age, make sure you have a copy of our best-selling book, The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging

To your health and longevity!

PS — As a nutritionist, I will also say that vegetarianism CAN be done right…If a vegetarian chooses to eat at least some eggs, grass-fed dairy, and/or fish (eating fish and plants is called a pescatarian diet), they can prevent any deficiencies at all, and if they also keep refined grains, gluten, and inflammatory vegetable oils to a minimum (instead of being a substitute to replace the lack of calories from meat), then they CAN certainly have incredible health on a vegetarian diet.  [Note that vegans are always going to have deficiencies if they don’t at least have some eggs, dairy, or fish.]  Vegetarians may still end up low in dietary collagen if they only eat eggs, dairy and/or fish, but overall, they can prevent deficiencies and still have great health and longevity.

Michael Eades, MD, “Vegetarians AGE faster”,
Sally Fallon Morell, “Know your Fats Introduction”, Weston A Price Foundation, Feb 2009. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/know-your-fats-introduction/#sthash.ZbsmGLIs.dpuf
Swanson, Block and Mousa, “Advances in Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life”. Adv Nutr January 2012 Adv Nutr vol. 3: 1-7, 2012
Šebeková, Krajčovičová-Kudláčková, Schinzel, Faist, Klvanová and Heidland, “Plasma levels of advanced glycation end products in healthy, long-term vegetarians and subjects on a western mixed diet. European Journal of Nutrition, Dec 2001, vol. 40:6, 275-281.

About The Watchdog

Mike Geary has been a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for over 15 years now. He has been studying nutrition and exercise for almost 25 years, ever since being a young teenager. Mike is originally from Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with mountain life and now resides in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Mike is an avid adventurist and when he’s not spending his time skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or paddleboarding on the lake, he has enjoyed skydiving, whitewater rafting, piloting an Italian fighter plane (seriously), scuba diving, heli-skiing, and traveling all around the world, enjoying learning about different cultures. At the age of 40, Mike now feels healthier, stronger, and more energetic than when he was 20... All because of a healthy lifestyle and great nutrition!

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  1. There is considerable good sense here but maybe it is extreme. There are completed or ongoing, interesting studies of members of the Seventh-Day Adventists. Evaluations point to reduced rates for many types of cancers as well as benefits for heart disease. This church has members who are vegetarians, vegans and consumers of meat and those not eating meat show the health advantages over those who do consume meat. On account of more uniformity (compared to the huge spectrum of Americans in general) of life style results for this group of people is easies to interpret making the differences in diet, etc. easier to sort out. If this reference survives the rules for posting here I recommend reading this (and other references on the subject.)


    One important conclusion is strong evidence that vegetarians who do it right live LONGER and do not suffer the negative effects described by Cat Ebeling and Mike Geary. One criterion is being careful to do it right. Meat certainly makes it easier with certain absolutely vital nutrients and learning what must be done is very strongly recommended.

    • Hi Robert. We appreciate your comment, and you bring up a few good points. However, it’s important to realize that the good health and longevity displayed by Adventists may have nothing to do their vegetarian diet…many experts believe it’s the overall healthy lifestyle, exercise, stress management, and strong social bonds of the Adventists that are bigger factors in their health and longevity, and not necessarily what % of animal vs plant matter that they eat. There are examples of tribes in Africa that eat mostly animal-based foods and very little plants at all, and they display extremely good health with no degenerative disease at all. The % of plants vs animals doesn’t matter as much as the quality of food overall (factory farm raised animals are simply not healthy, but wild game or pasture-raised meat is healthy), overall nutrient density, and overall lifestyle (exercise, stress, and social bonds)…

      As a nutritionist, I will also say that vegetarianism CAN be done right…If a vegetarian chooses to eat some eggs, grass-fed dairy, and/or fish, they can prevent any deficiencies at all (unlike a vegan, which almost always has deficiencies), and if a vegetarian also keeps refined grains and gluten to a minimum (instead of being a substitute for animal products), then they can certainly have incredible health on a vegetarian diet. They may still end up low in dietary collagen if they only eat eggs, dairy and/or fish (pescatarian diet), but overall, they can prevent deficiencies and have amazing health and longevity.

      Another good point to make is that usually what happens when an average person eating a modern western fast food diet switches to a vegetarian diet, they see improved health and weight loss. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because you’re comparing a nutrient-poor fast food diet vs a diet that basically eliminates fast food, trans fats, and excess calories. However, they could have had equally good results, if not better, if they just ate a healthy omnivorous diet with a good blend of healthy plants and animal foods, controlled their calories, and maxed out their micro-nutrients. It wasn’t the vegetarian diet that was the main reason for their improved health…it was that they were no longer on a “junk food diet”.

      My good friend Mark Sisson has an awesome article that I’ll copy below with 17 really important tips for vegetarians and vegans to maintain best health:

      • Hi,Robert.Thanks for the article.I kind of considered that myself,re the deficiencies and vegans especially eating grains.

        I have gone vegetarian for 3 weeks and unfortunately slipped up today and has some chicken.

        I agree with what you are saying that someone on a fast food diet is going to look better on a vegetarian diet,but all things being equal someone on a healthy diet with meat could do as well than someone on a healthy diet with no meat.

        Stats are pointed out about meat causing cancer but I think that is due to people eating too much or processed meat.

        I don’t eat fish,but I do take algae oil – which fish get omega 3 from – as well as organic eggs, coconut oil and am also going to take grass fed ghee,so do you think that should be okay? I have been told before I look younger anyway.

    • Sorry, but Adventists suffer from a myriad of health problems they won’t admit. One of our sons became an Adventist for awhile. He was well muscled and healthy. As an Adventist, his body ate his muscle mass, and he looked emaciated. His wife (Adventist) suffered from menstrual irregularities and became suicidal. Her father developed dementia, and he also looked like a scarecrow. Her mother cheated, and she looked much more healthy. Her father was an Adventist pastor. Dementia is common in older Adventists, but they’ll never admit it. I have seen so many ways in which the Adventist diet is deficient. They know nothing of food combining because Ellen G. White knew nothing. They knew nothing about the need for certain nutrients because Ellen G. White knew nothing. She didn’t know about MSG, which is a deadly neurotoxin. It was heavily used by Worthington Foods (Adventist company) in its fake meat. I don’t know if that company still exists, hence, the past tense. Ellen G. White taught that food should be well cooked, so most Adventists cook their vegetables until there is no nutrition left. Imagine my disappointment I couldn’t get good Chinese food from the inlaws! (Daughter-in-law was Chinese, from Singapore, as were her parents.) Even if you think the vegetarian diet is healthy, do not follow Adventist advice!

      Once our son left Adventism (it really IS a cult, and he won’t hesitate to tell you so), he worked hard and regained his muscle mass. His ex-wife (the parents bribed her to divorce him because he left SDA) began eating animal products again, and was able to have a child. I repeat: NEVER follow Adventist dietary advice!

      • I am an Adventist since birth. but our practice is different from any of your comment. in fact none of them is true to us Adventist. I have read all Ellen White’s book about nutrition and it never says there “well cooked is good” never. that’s why my parents never cooked vegetables because it loses it’s nutrients when it is cooked. so, we always eat raw vegetables and we are very healthy. we eat meat too in a moderate way.

  2. Surely if you are saying a veggie/vegan diet can be done right if your willing to eat a certain amount of animal products then you are contradicting yourself… Especially for a vegan diet… Veggies yes could choose grass fed butters & raw milk, but a vegan diet is not going to do this… & if they chose to then they would no longer be following a veggie/vegan diet.
    There are also many dr’s & other scientific studies that would say you are wrong.
    It’s so hard to decide how to live your life when you constantly have people contradicting what each other are saying!

    • Hayley I agree that it’s very difficult. There are so many ways to look at it, so many studies that contradict each other. But there are some things that are certain: how we live our lives, e.g. stress management, exercise and social bonds are also absolutely vital area’s to look at. For example take all the calcium you want, but if you aren’t load bearing your body won’t absorb it. Then there’s individuality. I personally have a gene mutation, which reduces, among many other things, my ability to make creatine. It’s not a supplement to take long term, so basically I have to eat animal products. I know How To do vegetarian right, but it doesn’t matter my health and well-being declines rapidly without red meat, especially. So I say listen to your body, run a control group of one. If you’re not getting sick, you have energy, you feel good and are not cold intolerant etc then you’re doing the right thing. But if you’re getting sick, having hormonal issues, fatigue, brain fog – things need to change.

  3. I read this article to my husband we both were vegetarian, while i find the article helpful he on the other hand finds it contradictory, because it’s entitled “3 Reasons Vegetarians Can Age Faster” which is counter productive and miss leading, that is because vegetarians already eat dairy products, eggs and fish. we’d like to know why was it untitled that way instead of pointing the right problem which is veganism according to you.

  4. With your ‘healthy animal product’ diet you are smuggling saturated fats and cholesterol which will lead to blood vessel diseases.

    Dr Gregor has shown through solid research that plant based diets can reverse this.

    Omega 3 can be attained with Algae supplements.

    • Frank, it’s become common knowledge in the last 10 years or so that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol have no influence on heart disease. That is a belief from 50 years ago that was later proven wrong. Here’s some more info on that:


    • The body cannot readily utilize nutrients such as B12 and Omega 3 from algae supplements. And by the way, most supplements made to correct vegetarian dietary deficiencies are either derived from animals, or they’re artificial chemicals (not readily utilized, either).

      • If vegan supplements were made from animals, they would cease to be vegan. And algae oil is made from algae, not a lab.

      • Cute, I take a multivitamin made for vegans daily. It is vegan, so I think to assume a ‘vegan supplement’ is not vegan would be A) False Advertising and B)Not vegan, duh.

        Please explain to me why I had a blood test on my B12 levels done (Physician recommended it), and to the physician’s surprise my B12 levels were OVER average, not under average. Yeah, higher than a meat eater’s.

        By the way, I am vegetarian, not vegan. Yes, that does mean I get more natural B12 than a vegan, no, I do not eat enough animal products to have over average B12 levels.

        • High B12 is more likely a sign of lack of other nutrients for the methylation process – hence inadequate methylation which will be a long term health risk. The B12 is high because your body isn’t able to use it – so it is building up as it is useless without other required nutrients you are lily lacking.

      • And by the way, I was surprised myself. Having read that the B12 in non-animal products doesn’t absorb as much, I didn’t expect the B12 levels to be so high.

        Now, the reality after doing some RESEARCH (rather than pulling made up ‘facts’ out of my bum) is that B12 created in labs is not a ‘synthetic chemical’ as you said it. It is not usually created by combining chemicals like they do for pharmaceuticals. Assuming that in nature, animals produce the B12 is incorrect. Only bacteria create B12, not animals. So the lab produced B12 is created by bacteria, just like it is in meat.

    • For Omega 3 i eat seeds such as flax and chia. Boom problem solved.

  5. Then why do vegans often look so young? I’m 36 and vegan and still getting asked for ID. I think anyone’s skin can look old if they are not eating enough of the right nutrition, but that would mainly be for people who eat meat. If a vegan has deficiencies it’s because they are not eating enough of the right stuff. I had a check recently and I have no deficiencies. Apart from anything else studies have show vegans live longer.

    • I agree

      I have recently gone vegan and eat a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and also legumes. My skin has cleared up and is so soft after only 3 weeks.

  6. B12 is not produced by animal but by bacteria. Vitamin K is in plants such as kale

    • The vitamin K in plants is different than the vitamin K2 from animal foods. K2 has been proven to help reverse calcification of arteries and joints, and make your body use calcium in the right places in your body. You can’t get vitamin K2 from plants. Only from animal foods such as grass-fed butter, organ meats, and some types of bacterial fermentation. There’s more info about K2 in this article…

      • If you follow a Whole Food Plantbased diet you will not have calcification to begin with. Also, a Whole Food Plantbased diet is the only diet scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse heart disease.

      • Hello Mike: I want to compliment you on a great article. I basically agree with everything you have been advocating.

        Expounding on your 6-12-17 reply, there is a fantastic source of Vitamin K2 found in the Japanese health food, “Natto,” which is made from formented soybeans (a plant based food?) with the help of a special bacterium, bacillus subtilis. Natto contains a powerful form of Vitamin K2 in the form of MK7 (that reportedly works in the body for 72 hours), which is regarded as preferable to the MK4 variety of Vitamin K2 found in grass-fed cheeses and butter (that purportedly lasts in the body only for 1.5 hours)? I have previously read an article that said MK4 lasted in the body for 4 hours? I personally consume 90 Mcgs. of MK7 and I get my share of MK4 from grass-fed butter every day. Also, several times a week, I consume grass-fed beef or lamb. Occasionally, I will eat buffalo as well.

        I was wondering if a couple of questions could be answered. It has been a scientific fact the DHA and EPA bound to Phospholipids makes them more absorbable than Omega-3’s attached to TG. The DHA and EPA bound to Phospholipids are found in Krill Oil and oil derived from the heads of “Atlantic” Salmon. Are you aware of any differences any between Salmon from the North Pacific and the Atlantic Salmon? The question remains whether the heads and tails of Alaskan Salmon contain any DHA and EPA bound to Phospholipids, just like their Atlantic cousins? Furthermore, the Atlantic Salmon contain beneficial Fish Peptides, so it is possible the Alaskan Salmon does also?

  7. finally an answer!People will deny and show two oldpeople taht look great.Like the women above who is also black wich contribues for her looks,but overall I see enumerous emacieted vegans.They do not look healthy.And some of the raw vegan clrealy have something going with their tyroid.I found this searching collagne deficience

  8. Hi,There

    My exprience is over 2 years eating like a vegetarian .
    In the 2 years i become old looking in my face everyone was asking me what happened to me.
    I always looked young for my age i was 36 and people always estimate me at 28 i saw it to in pictures of myself.
    I was eating vegetables fruits nuts seaweeds u name it big variaty of diet.
    Then i started eating meet again in 2 weeks i looked young and healthy again .
    Now i just eat 3 times a week meat i feel so much beter .


    • Maybe your body in particular needs these kinds of things. I have been vegetarian for 10 years, I am late 20s. People, to my surprise, are often surprised when I say I’m late 20s, they have been assuming I’m early 20s due to a lack of wrinkles.

      Genetics? Maybe, maybe not.

      • You’re not wrong. I’m in my 60’s and haven’t eaten meat in decades. I have been mistaken for being at least 10 years younger than my age, for my entire adult life. It is not surprising that you’re close to 30, but look 10 years younger. I can point to at least one thing that this author over looks: B vitamin supplements. If a vegan takes B supplements, they won’t be deficient in them, unless they have another health problem. I’ve had my B12 checked occasionally over the years. I’m never low on this, because I take a B complex supplement. Also she overlooks moisterizers that help skin stay young. If you’re concerned about Omega 3s, eat walnuts.

    • What a fake reply Oh my God!! Yes Yes.. eat meat 5 DAYS OR 7 DAYS PER WEEK AND DIE FASTER.. You wrote it because you simply like meat and milk products and you just don;t admit the truth..

  9. I’m 37 and I’ve been mostly WFPB (vegan but no oils) for about 2 years and I still get carded for liquor. I even get mistaken for being an older teenager. I get young girls approaching me who are as young as high school and I’ve developed a very lean look, and I’m finally getting a six pack! Never had one in my life. Also I’ve gone from from about 236 to 174. I was on blood pressure, cholesterol, Prilosec, and was prediabetic. I’m now only on blood pressure and Dr says he may take me off that soon (we’re both a little nervous about that one), and I’m no longer prediabetic. I have literally nothing negative to say about being WFPB, and I’ve tried Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, etc. WFPB was really what made the difference. I also eat a lot of legumes. In fact, legumes probably make up the biggest portion of my diet, specifically beans and lentils, the latter being regarded as a superfood. I also eat roughly half an avocado everyday, splitting it between meals. But I think the big difference comes from eliminating oils – including plant oils – and staying under the daily recommendation of salt and sugar, which is very tough but necessary. Too much sugar and salt can age you greatly, inside and out. Even most professed vegans eat too much of both, because many people become vegans due to ethical reasons rather than health reasons. (Oreo cookies are considered vegan to some)

    Of all the people I know who eat meat daily (most) literally none of them eat unprocessed meat, cheese, and milk. They all eat the packaged stuff. And they all eat far more than the daily recommendation (about 25%) and many eat literally no vegetables.

    It is nearly impossible to find unprocessed meat and dairy, at least where I live. And affording it? Lol. That’s another thing about being WFPB – my grocery budget has been cut to roughly 1/3 of what it was before. AND my health insurance costs next to nothing now and my insurance company even gives me rewards.

    I could go on. The benefits are endless.

    • That’s great! We would love to hear what you eat in a day (types of foods, etc). Do you take any vegan probiotics enzymes? I agree with you, there are some vegans who do not eat properly (they consume too much packaged vegan foods) and that is really not the way to go.

  10. I hear this and respect it. However, where is the research and study to back this up. As for now, this entire article seems opinion and therefore it loses its validity. Please conduct a study of a group of volunteers who eat vegan vs a group of volunteers who eat healthy and eat meats vs a group who are vegetarians. Therefore it will be fair. It is solely unfair to use your experience and one other to generalize an entire group.

  11. I’m with Alex.

  12. I am approaching 5 years as a vegan. I have had tests to check my health throughout this period and I am deficient in…you guessed it, nothing.

    The only regular thing I do, is have fortified foods that contain B12. If animal based foods are so essential, and vegan sources are somehow not adequate, why am I not dead or at least malnourished?

    If you havent already, I suggest reading Dr Gregors book ‘How Not to Die’.

  13. “constant blood sugar”..? We better hope we all have constant blood sugar but I imagine you meant: swings of high then low blood sugar, which is the problem with most diets.

    I agreee in principle with veganism & most types of vegetarian diets aging people faster, as proven when I used to do Biological Terrain Assessment with clients back in the 1990s. One girl aged 19 was 112 biologically & my sons who were 7 & 12 were both over 50 biologically. These biological ages soon changed though with the addition of Ionic-Alkaline water, Inland Sea Minerals, high magnesium & reintroducing chicken & heavy metal detoxinh, all of which have an alkalizing effect on the body…because that’s the big issue here, that people’s diet is far too acidic.
    And not just because of beans or lentils in the vegan/vegetarian diet. The SAD diet is even worse.

    The Longevity Project, a docuseries that looked at people around the world who live to be around 100…found that what they all had in common was beans/lentils, lots of home grown veges, wild meat 1-3× per week, which they caught themselves, & times of fasting ~ usually forced by war or famine. But soils weren’t depleted of minerals 60-100 years ago like they are now & that is the big issue. No one is getting the nutrients they need anymore from their chemical ladened GMO foods. And very few are supplementing with magnesium especially but minerals & vitamins in general. And very few are doing regular detoxing.

    The real problem with vegans (& most vegetarians), apart from most being fanatics which is an imbalance, is that they are malnurished.

  14. You can certainly be unhealthy and age faster on a vegan/vegetarian diet. IF you don’t know what healthy eating is.

    The majority of Americans are meat eaters and look around: Most are unhealthy, chronically ill, and use medications just to survive.
    All the symptoms you describe above which vegans can have if they aren’t careful about their diet, also apply to the vast majority of meat eaters.

    IF you don’t know how to eat, you can be aging faster on whatever diet you are on.
    Meat eating isn’t the savior.

    Also: How do cows get their protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B12, collagen, etc.?

    A catchy title but this long, long article isn’t very intriguing to me.

  15. Sorry but people who eat meat age faster.. not vegans and vegeterians..It is exactly the opposite! There is a study that sais that! Why you people have so obssesion about meat and milk products? They are the reason for the destroyment of our earth and every living creature in our planet.

    • thanks again for your comment, but no, you are wrong here. Do some research on free range meat and regenerative farming. Not only that, but in this research you’ll hopefully discover just how bad veganism and vegetarianism are for the environment.

  16. People who like meat and milk products will say that is healthy and don’t admit the truth. This article is fascism to our planet.. to our lives.!

    • Thanks for the comment, but no… this article is not fascism in any way and to say such a thing is just silly, and ridiculous.

  17. Thank you Mike!

    I so appreciate your incredible knowledge and research/evidence-based information!

    I became a vegetarian as of 7.9.2017 right before completing my second graduate degree. I had lost alot of weight with the South Beach diet but acquired painful crippling gout due to it being low carb, high protein. I was also battling (while losing weight) repetitive episodes of meningitis due to a history of valley fever contracted in Arizona at the age of 14 and taking prescribed antiviral meds that affect the kidneys. I lived on the high desert of So..Calif., until relocating to Western WA. and have not suffered anymore episodes of meningitis.

    Since becoming 90% vegetarian not vegan, I still have some grass-fed beef maybe once quarterly, omega eggs 5x per week, healthy chicken bone broth when ill, chicken once a month, wild-caught salmon once every other week, some cheese and dairy in my coffee, I have suffered wirh major stomach issues as you mentioned. The other symptoms you listed such as dry skin, hair and brittle nails, I have also endured among some of the other symptoms you mentioned. I have a back injury that seemed to get worse after becoming vegetarian: albeit, seeing a chiropractor regularly.

    My reason for writing is due to a sedentary lifestyle from 2010-2017, while studying, stress and minimal sleep the hypoglycemia I was diagnosed with at 23 became Type 2 diabetes as of 12.2017, I am 63. My question is, if I start to introduce more animal products and oils won’t it hinder the reversal of the efforts I am engaged in to reverse this type 2 diabetes malady with diet amd exercise?

    Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Barnard say to refrain from animal meat and oils to reverse this malady. I need your feedback desperately as the information becomes confusing. What I do know is the gout has improved by 70% since being vegetarian but that is the only positive thing that has happened. After introdicing both complex and simple carbs into my diet I went from 179-209 quickly, I am 5’5″. Presently, I am at 190 as lost 19 lbs and need to achieve my goal of 145.

    Previously, I was border-line diabetic and had fatty liver disease but with the low carb diet, the pre-diabetes and fatty-liver disease reversed with including meat! So I am a bit confused wirh these 2 doctors stating meat and oils will keep us Type 2 diabetics diabetic! My A1c was 6.8 and now 6.7. Not taking meds only homeopathic supplements for blood sugar stabilization with diet and exercise. Please advise and I thank you immensely!


    Mary Ann

    • Mary Ann, I don’t know if you’ll see this since it’s been a few months, but I thought I’d add a brief reply. I’m sure the site owner (not sure of his/her name) can’t keep up with all the comments! Lately I’ve been seeing some amazing reports of people reversing many health problems, including and perhaps especially diabetes, with either fasting, keto, carnivore, or a combination of these diets. Vegetables aren’t necessarily bad for everyone, but apparently they are for some! Some people only heal on a carnivore diet. Wow. I suppose they may not stay on it forever, but some have been doing it for years, with great results, plenty of energy, good blood tests, etc.

      Anyway, some names to look up on YouTube (mostly doctors) would be Jason Fung, Darren Schmidt, Ken Berry, and whoever else is suggested while you’re watching those. 🙂 You can even look up Cole Robinson if you want your ears scorched! He’s crazy but helps so many. I hope you have kept searching and learning, and that you’re doing better now.

  18. Can you look into an animal’s eyes and say “I am going to eat you”? Some people will eat animals that have no eyes. One woman who lived to be 115 said she ate 3 eggs a day. Eating eggs does not involve eating the chicken. Methylcobalamine is reported as being a natural source of B12. Coconut oil and avocado oil are considered good sources of oils. Some of the largest animals are vegetarians–such as elephants, hippos–what about the tortoises in the Galapagos? It has been said that some of them live to 150-200.

  19. Does this article (see url below) contradict the part here about AGEs ?


    Maybe I’m misinterpreting their findings, but it sounds like fish / meat contains and produces great amounts of AGEs compared to healthy / whole grains.. I’m quite confused.

  20. Nutritionist Gary Null is a careful scientist who has spent a lifetime investigating if plant-based or meat-based diets are good for us and to what extent. He has concluded that only plant-based diets are totally good (in general. Of course there are plenty of unhealthy plant-based diets as well!!) I trust him. He does NOT make a profit from his advice on non-commercial, completely listener-supported radio station WBAI. You can substitute supplements you don’t get from animals, such as B12 from walnuts, which I believe a writer wrote above. An added egg or so from time to time can’t hurt. But nature meant for us to eat the food which is easiest for us to get….such as an apple hanging from a low tree branch. Nature did not want us to have to run after animals running away in a panic for their lives!!!

    • Thank you for your thought out reply, but nope. Also – the fruits and veggies you see today did NOT look like that hundreds and thousands of years ago. They have been hybridized and toiled with in labs in order to be sweeter, juicier, and generally more palatable. And, nature isn’t the kindest of things and it most definitely wants us to eat animals.

  21. We do not have sharp teeth and big claws so not designed to eat meat like the animals. There is plenty of food and all the nutrition you need can be found in plants. My grandmother is 88 and and her mother passed away at 100 last year they never ate meat.

    • nope, sorry, but you can not find all the nutrition the body needs and desires from plants. Choking down a smoothie with pea protein is most definitely not the same as getting protein from a steak. I could go on, but that’s a pretty basic example.

      • I have been a vegan since 1968
        I do 120 prees ups everyday , 30
        sit ups , 2 1 and half minute planks , 2 scorpion stands ( fore
        arm stands) 2 1 minute peacocks
        horizontal hand balances, I run at least 2500 yards every day , plus
        Boxercise shoulder stands twice a day and several yoga stretches , I can easily touch my toes , head on my knees hands flat on the ground.

        What a sickly vegan at 73

      • I don’t know how you get so much attention when you clearly have no awareness of nutrition nor health

        • I get so much attention precisely because I have a lot of awareness on nutrition, health, and the environment

  22. I am currently a pescatarian although i believe about the aging part because I follow a lot of vegans and sadly they do look very old for their age 🙁 it’s scary ! BUT what if you’re reason isn’t for environmental but just for the fact I don’t want to contribute to the disturbing animal cruelty that goes on in the meat industry. I just can’t bring myself to enjoy chicken or steak knowing that a cow was hurt… how would I protect myself from aging then ? it’s so hard…. (I am 30 btw)

    • Not all of the operations act in that manner. I mean, obviously the animal has to be killed, but I’m guessing that’s not what you mean by ‘animal cruelty’.

  23. Frank Charlton Farma

    It seems you are been bought.
    You are anti vegan.
    Will nolonger follow u

  24. Theresa Scirocco

    It would be nice if you gave us the perfect diet for health and longevity Tell me three foods that fight memory loss, give me the top 10 anti-aging foods. These are the areas we need to know.

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