Bad News for Vegan Aging

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor or a nutritionist. I am NOT recommending that anyone reading this post take any supplement without first consulting their own health care professional.

In the year plus that I’ve been mostly vegan, I’ve learned some things about nutrients that people who are consuming a vegan diet are missing. I found a new one which I’d like to share.

L-Carnosine

Please READ THIS ARTICLE on Carnosine, which details the many health benefits of this amino acid. (Some may refer to Carnosine as a dipeptide, meaning two amino acids joined together. In the case of Carnosine, it’s the combination of beta-alanine and L-histidine.)

Most notably, in my opinion, Carnosine helps reduce protein glycation – which is a fancy way of saying that as your body takes in sugars like fructose (from eating fruit, for example), those sugars create free radicals and damage your cells. This damage causes, among other things, cells to age.

Carnosine is naturally ingested by people who eat meat. However, Carnosine is available as a supplement too.

It is VERY ironic to me that vegans will “suffer” the ill effects of not ingesting Carnosine to help delay the aging process unless we use supplements. However, even eating a lot of red meat may not be sufficient amount of Carnosine to accumulate the benefits of this amino acid.

 

Previously, I’ve written about the use of Creatine and my personal experiences with that supplement too. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you have very low levels of creatine in your body from not eating meat. If you are an athlete, you may want to consider supplementation. Please look for my other posts about this.

In keeping with this form of experimentation, I have ordered some Carnosine and once I get the supplement I will begin taking it.

No one seems to know the “correct dosage” for Carnosine, however the supplement producers are making 500 mg capsules as the daily dose, so my plan is to begin taking the 500 mg daily. I will plan to report back on the effects, so far as I am able to observe them (nothing like being my own lab rat!)

Some final thoughts…

Vegans are probably, by nature, already health conscious since we are careful about what we’re putting into our bodies. However, we still have to be mindful that by deleting entire food groups from our meal plans, we are missing different nutrients (B12, Carnosine and Creatine for example.)

If we choose to, we can take supplements to remain in better overall balance, while still avoiding the foods we don’t want to eat.

In my opinion, a great daily multi-vitamin is a wonderful place to start. If you are a (pre-menopausal) woman, and a vegan, get a multi that has B12, calcium, iron and zinc.

If you want to go beyond that, consider supplements that are right for you.

I’ve chosen to be mostly vegan. I consume eggs, and I also choose to take a fish oil based Omega 3 supplement daily – although I do not eat fish. (Yes, I know flax and chia seeds have Omega 3’s, but not anywhere near supplement levels.)

Now I will add a Carnosine supplement too.

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get straight answers about health and nutrition in this country, especially as it pertains to supplements. It’s always a good idea to do as much research as possible, or talking to your personal health care provider, until you feel comfortable with what you decide to take.

I’m wishing everyone great health!

 

Additional Reading on Carnosine

Wiki page for Carnosine

Life Extension Magazine on Carnosine

BodyBuilding.com (older article) on Carnosine

The Wellness Dilemma

I’m frustrated to date by my level of progress in my wellness routine.

I’ve been on my new weight lifting routine at the gym for three and a half weeks now, and I continue to watch what I eat and to maintain my vegan regime. However, the scale has been persistently stubborn. I have barely lost two pounds.

Most everyone I’ve spoken to about this: the trainers at the gym, and others, have said don’t look at the scale because you will likely lose inches with a weight lifting program, rather than pounds.

Okay, but what if I want to lose inches AND pounds? (Hint: I do want to lose inches and pounds!)

I decided that it might be a good idea to see a nutritionist to assist me with my eating plan. I went online and searched for holistic nutritionists, figuring that a holistic nutritionist would know about supplements, vegan dietary requirements and the like.

Today I had a free consultation with the holistic nutritionist I found online. I was so discouraged when I left the consultation, I am unsure what I’m going to do next.

I filled out an extensive health questionnaire, which asked me about my eating habits, the supplements I was taking, what kind of exercise I do, what my goals were, etc. I filled all that out before the appointment.

In the conversation today, I found out that this person, who bills themselves as a holistic nutritionist, tells me that they do not know about supplements nor do they have any way to comment on supplements as part of my diet. Moreover, this person said, and I quote, “I couldn’t be vegan because I couldn’t eat beans everyday.” I replied, “I don’t eat beans everyday.” Then the person said, “well, there aren’t many sources of protein left…” and then they went on to try and convince me that maybe I should try eating chicken because that’s “more pleasurable”! (Seriously, wtf?)

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, and that’s pretty bad, this person said “I’m not a fitness coach, so I won’t have any suggestions about your exercise routine.” Fair enough, but when I asked about how my exercise routine would factor into my eating plan, I was told that as long as I was doing exercise, that was good enough for them to know.

HUH? How the heck is a nutritionist going to come up with a viable eating plan for me if they don’t know HOW MUCH EXERCISE I AM DOING??

ARGH!

That experience was TOTALLY disheartening. If you have a disease, the doctors know what to do and health insurance covers it. If you have a cavity, the dentist knows what to do and dental insurance covers it. BUT, if you are WELL … if you are healthy, and want to maintain your health, or maybe improve it … then you are completely on your own. Good luck with all of the contradictory information too.

Based on this person’s comments today, I’d need to assemble a health team to deal with my wellness program. I should hire a nutritionist, a supplement expert, a personal trainer, and probably a damn secretary for keeping all these appointments straight.

Yes, I am frustrated; frustrated by my desire to be healthier than I am today, without a clear path on how I can achieve that.

More research will follow, no doubt. There’s still hope I can achieve the goals I’ve set for myself … even if I have to carve my own path through this wellness wilderness.