Commenting on why veggie Indians are more at risk of heart diseases, Dr. Shah said in a press statement, “We found that Indians are grossly deficient in vitamin B12, which is a crucial cardio-protective factor in the body.
Vitamin B12 is usually found in food that comes from animals, like fish, meat, poultry, milk and milk products. However, since a lot of Indians are vegetarians, they do not get adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in their diet.”
However, this does not exempt non-vegetarians from the likelihood of suffering from heart disease as the intake non-vegetarian food by Indians is less than their western counterparts, added Dr. Shah.
“Our research revealed that the meat intake of a person living in the western world equals that of five non-vegetarians in India,” continued Dr Shah.
The report, made by Dr. Shah in collaboration with another bariatric surgeon Dr Jayshree Todkar, was presented at the event World Congress organized by the International Federation for Obesity and Metabolic Diseases in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Details of research study
To come to this startling conclusion Dr Shah along with his colleague Dr Todkar, studied the data collected from about 300 patients from Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, over the period of one year.
They were startled to find out that 70 percent of these patients had suffered from a cardiac disease or are at greater risk of cardiac attack in near future.
Nearly all of them were found to be suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.
“When vitamin B12 levels fall, homocysteine levels increase. The latter is known to cause atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries), as well as an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clot formation,” noted Dr Shah in his study report.
Suggestions for healthy heart
Dr. Shah revealed that heart ailments are increasing among Indians at alarming rate in today’s fast-paced life.
He also revealed that people can prevent the disease by taking good care to themselves and can also go in for a “simple blood test can detect B12 deficiency. So, while focusing on the other known factors, I would recommend people to have their vitamin levels checked, find out what’s lacking in their diet and have it corrected.”
He concluded that vegetarians can simply go for animal products such as milk and various other milk products to get the B12 vitamin. Roots and tubers are another good source of B12 vitamin.