There are rare birth defects in which the inability to produce certain compounds requires an exogenous source. Presented here is a case report of a boy with a mutation in his carnitine transport system.
Remember the arachidonic acid story? Cholesterol? There are other similar necessary components found exclusively or almost exclusively in the animal kingdom—not the plant kingdom— such as carnosine, carinitine, creatine, and taurine.
But if something is made only by animals, what about those eating vegetarian? Thankfully, vegetarians are, animals too, so they make it themselves. Now carnivores are the exception. Cats don’t make taurine, for example, but that’s because they’re built to eat animals that do. But humans produce all these compounds on their own--unless they have some rare genetic inborn error of metabolism birth defect.
There is actually a hereditary disease that may affects as many as 1 in 40,000 births. It’s a mutation on chromosome 5 of a carnitine transport protein. They actually make enough carnitine; but end up peeing too much out and so develop a carnitine deficiency. And actually was a case report about 30 years ago of a 10 year boy in Israel in and out of the hospital every four or five months. No one knew what was going on. The clue only came when he decided to go meat-free, and that made things worse. Then he started having attacks every three weeks. Turns out he had that rare disorder, but it was being kept somewhat at bay by the exogenous, external dietary source of carnitine in the meat that the other 39,999 kids out of 40,000 don’t need.
He stayed vegetarian, but they gave him high dose creatine supplements, and at the time of the report he was 12, and completely cured.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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The "arachidonic acid story" I refer to in the video can be viewed here:Chickens, Eggs, and Inflammation. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient not made by plants or animals and is critical for those eating plant-based diets. See Safest Source of B12 for an introduction, and my blog post Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Putting It Into Perspective. And there are hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note that all of the sources listed above in "Sources Cited" are open access, so you can download them by clicking on the links.