Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out my other videos on cognition.

For more context, also check out my associated blog posts: Alzheimer’s Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventableMushrooms for Breast Cancer Prevention; and Anti-Cancer Nutrient Synergy in Cranberries.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out all the videos on cognition, including today’s corresponding blog post Alzheimer’s Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventable with lifestyle changes.

  • wilscot

    Another great series of videos (this and the two prior ones) – you do such a great job of pulling together the information from a variety of studies for a single video, and of highlighting and explaining the key results. I also really appreciate the links to the studies cited. Thank you! (from New Zealand)

  • pachitorex666

    Hello doctor Greger,

    We recently changed to a vegan diet. We have a daughter who is 8 years old who had been feeling dizzy as well as headaches. So we decided to take her to the doctor where they did blood and urine analysis. The diagnosis was anemia. The doctor told us that animal products are necessary because they have aminoacids and other nutrients that non-animal sources do not have. The doctor gave us vitamins and we are still following our vegan diet. We have also added extra portions of iron-rich foods (beans, lentils, soy, and nuts) for my daughter. I would like to know what is your opinion?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Sounds like your doctor needs a refresher in basic nutrition. You may want to share the official American Dietetic Association position statement, stating that vegetarian and vegan diets are suitable for all ages (i.e. animal products are unnecessary). In fact the most esteemed pediatrician of all time, Dr. Benjamin Spock, recommended in his final edition of Baby and Child Care that children be raised without exposure to meat and dairy. I talk about Dr. Spock in my video Doctors’ Nutritional Ignorance.

      In terms of anemia, the iron status of vegetarian children is comparable to that of omnivore children. I am concerned that your physician may have jumped on the dietary explanation out of ignorance without considering other causes. There are multiple reasons for anemia. Is she not making enough blood? Is she losing blood? (At age 8 I wouldn’t expect her to be.) Are her blood cells not living long enough? Are her kidneys not making enough blood-boosting hormone? Your physician can test for all these possibilities. I would be happy to review her lab results and offer a second opinion (can email them directly to me at if you don’t want them public).

      • sf_jeff

        That’s an interesting sounding study, but I don’t think I have access to the inside. Would you happen to know whether children who were supplementing with iron were excluded from comparison?

        Searching on the internet I found this study:

        It seems to indicate that vegetarians eat the same amount of iron, but absorb less, which I suppose can have its positives and negatives. Any thoughts on the discrepancy?

  • pachitorex666

    Thank you very much for your response, doctor. I really appreciate it. I felt a little disheartened when my daughter’s physician told us that our diet was not working (at least for my daughter). We are really concerned about factory farming and all the consequences it is having in our health and environment. That’s is the basic reason of why we changed our omnivore diet to a vegan one. We have been reading a lot of information about veganism and about all the foods we need in order to have enough nutrients in our diets. However, it has not been an easy task. But we are trying our best. I am glad we found you, at least online.

    Regarding my daughter and her diagnosis, my wife is going to go to the clinic on Monday, 12/5/11, to ask for the lab results. We are going to give them your email in case they don’t want to cooperate with us. My wife told me that when she spoke to the doctor she sounded somewhat annoyed by our vegan diet. As soon as I have the results I will post them here so you can help us understand them better. I thank you very much for your help and willingness to help, Dr. Greger.


    Oscar Narváez
    Waukegan, Illinois

    • Melissa

      Hi Oscar, A great resource that is in line with Dr. Gregor’s work is Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, Disease Proof Your Child. Great for adults too! Fuhrman is excellent at making sure a vegan diet is also an excellent diet. I am assuming Dr. Gregor agrees…All the best, Melissa

  • pachitorex666

    Hello Dr. Greger,

    I have sent you my daughter’s results so you can review them at your convenience. Feel free to answer me here or via email, whichever is best for you. We look forward to hear from your opinion.

    Oscar Narváez

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Got them and sent you back an email–glad I can help!

      • D. Costa

        Hi Dr. Greger,

        What ever happened to this situation. I just read the string of emails and your willingness to help! I’m curious what might have caused the child’s anemia after the family going vegan.

        D. Costa

  • Toothferry

    Team work! Way to GO!

  • danielle colas

    How can I prevent ovarian cancer? Thanks

  • DrBarbaraHoldeman

    We (my hubby and I) are eating a low fat high raw diet now (from eating vegan) and feel so much better! We eat lots of fresh organic fruits, veggies and a huge leafy green salad each day with dressing made from fruits and veggies. We found that eating so much cooked food was not ideal since we were consuming enough fruits and veggies. My mother-inlaw has dementia (along with many other lifestyle related diseases) and it is really sad to see. So doing our part in staying healthy is the best thing a person with “genetic” issues in the family can do!