Vitamin B1, B2 and B6 status of vegetarians.
The vitamin B1, B2 and B6 status was determined in 132 healthy vegetarians, age range 25-57 years who have been practising vegetarianism for 1-22 years. Sixty-eight healthy non-vegetarians were chosen as controls. The conventional methods to measure the activation coefficient alpha ETK, alpha EGR and alpha EAST were applied to assess the vitamin status of B1, B2 and B6 respectively. The value of 1.25 alpha ETK, 1.5 alpha EGR and 2.0 alpha EAST and above indicate a deficiency in the vitamin status. The results showed significantly poorer vitamin B1 and B6 status in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, whereas, no significant difference in vitamin B2 status was found. None of the non-vegetarians were deficient in vitamin B1 but 3 of them (4.4%) were deficient in vitamin B6. On the other hand, 10 of vegetarians (7.6%) were deficient in vitamin B1; 38 (28.8%) in vitamin B6. A high prevalence of riboflavin deficiency was found in 32 (24.2%) of the vegetarians; as well as in 15 (22.2%) of the non-vegetarians. Only riboflavin status was significantly related with the duration of vegetarianism practiced. Vegetarians should be considered as the vulnerable group for vitamin B2 and vitamin B6 deficiencies. B-vitamins status should be checked and efforts should be made to improve through dietary counselling and nutritional education should be included and stress in the health education program in order to improve nutritional deficiencies.