The animal protection organization Animal Libre conducted the first study of haematological status of vegans in Chile, and concluded that the vast majority have a normal nutritional status according to Body Mass Index (BMI), and the haematological status is also in normal ranges (based on blood count, biochemical profile, ferritin, and vitamin B12 tests). Consequently, this evidence supports the general view of physicians and dieticians that a planned and supplemented plant-based diet is not nutritionally deficient, and may even have health benefits. 

The study looked at the nutritional health of 65 vegans between the ages of 19 and 59 in Chile. The study determined that 83.1% of vegans have a normal BMI, and only 16.9% are overweight. From the hematological point of view, 77% of the vegans tested have normal levels of vitamin B12. Of the total cases studied, 83.2% are supplemented with vitamin B12 and 40% of those who do not supplement have normal blood values, confirming the importance of supplementation through food fortified with B12 or vitamin supplements. 

The study also shows that 86.2% of the vegan population studied has normal ferritin levels, so they do not have iron deficiency, and 99% have desirable blood cholesterol levels, indicating a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Regarding immune status, the study shows that 88% of cases have a good immune status. More than 95% of the vegans studied have normal serum calcium levels and more than 80% serum phosphorus, which translates into optimal bone health.

María Paz Orrego, director of studies at Animal Libre, explained that “in general, the vast majority of the population studied has a normal nutritional status and normal ranges of vitamin B12, hemoglobin and ferritin. They have optimal cholesterol levels that accounts for a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. From a hematological point of view, the myth that vegans do not get enough protein, calcium and phosphorus from a vegan diet or that they get sick often because they have an impaired immune system is demolished.” 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.