HomeHealth articlesobesityAre Vegan Athletes At A Greater Risk Of Developing Health Problems?

Health Problems In Vegan Athletes

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Vegans have both healthy and unhealthy benefits. Please read the below-given article to understand the reasons for developing health problems in vegans.

Written by

Dr. K Anusha

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Published At May 24, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 22, 2023


A well-planned vegetarian diet can improve an individual's health by reducing the amount of meat in their diet. Eating a vegetarian diet may help to lower the individual’s blood pressure, reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of heart disease in people and the chances of obesity in people.

What Is The Difference Between A Vegetarian And A Vegan?

  • Vegetarian Diet: A vegetarian diet comprises foods that come primarily from plants, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts, which may include eggs and milk of ovo-lacto vegetarians.

  • Vegans: It includes only plant-based food and not animal protein, or animal by-products such as eggs, milk, or honey.

As per the sports physician, there are seven factors for athletes to choose a plant-based diet:

Factor 1:

  • Plant-based diet fights inflammation and speeds up recovery time.

  • Plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants so that the body can heal and recover from a hard session faster. The first thing that is noticed by taking this diet was inflammation leaves the body, making it much easier to reach the rest of the goals.

  • After a challenging workout, the muscles are damaged and release free radicals or electrons from their body like the sand in the oyster that stimulates the pearl. Antioxidants come in and quench free radicals blocking the damage, so it will help to repair the damage by consuming it right after a workout.

Factor 2:

  • Food tastes better when people eat healthier and more veggies.

  • So it can be said that" what tastes good is fresh ingredients cooked to bring out their flavor, not mask it."

Factor 3:

  • One will not gain weight by eating as many whole plant foods.

  • It was an exciting change because some people love eating, so it is not a bad idea to eat all day but change to a plant-based diet.

  • The game changes, when an individual changes to a fully vegan diet by building up their power and endurance.

Factor 4:

  • With this vegan diet, every individual will be healthier and gain more endurance, strength, and lean muscle.

  • By observing several experiences from people after turning vegan, not only in sports people but also in normal individuals, a large number of plants in the diet is ideal.

So "one can change their health by eating better."

Factor 5:

  • Every individual should skip their over-the-counter painkillers.

  • Instead of taking Ibuprofen, taking curcumin is as powerful an inflammatory drug as any drug.

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are the most used counter painkillers that people take, but they can achieve this same effect naturally with curcumin.

Factor 6 :

  • With a vegan diet, fatigue will drop, and energy levels will go through the roof.

  • If people are imagining means then they will not realize it until they go off dairy and meat. People will feel sore and have aches and pains, leading to poor sleep and sluggishness all day, and also they will want to nap all day. But when one gets off animal products, they will have so much energy and will not believe; that they get a lot today.

Factor 7 :

  • If people set a goal to lose weight, then they will get plenty of protein.

  • If people want to lose fat and get strong and if their diet is not working, then pea protein is always an option. Eating lentils, beans, and grains is so much better if taken as supplements. So people do not want to add powders to them.

  • Plants are plenty of protein sources: seeds, nuts, and legumes. If people need a recovery snack, peanut butter is a high-protein food.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Vegetarianism?


  • A vegan diet helps with weight loss.

  • It increases the feeling of satiety.


  • Nutrient deficiency is common in vegetarian individuals.

  • Vegans have more trouble achieving protein needs without using protein supplements.

What Are The Health Disadvantages Of Being Vegan?

Some side effects of veganism include anemia, disruption in hormone production, vitamin B12 deficiency, and depression from lack of omega-3 fatty acids. That is why it is crucial to have plenty of proteins, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, iodine, zinc, and omega-3 in the diet.

Are Vegans More Likely To Have Health Problems?

Vegans are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to specific, irreversible side effects. So doctors always advise vegans to consume supplements of vitamin B12 to prevent health conditions such as constipation, fatigue, weakness, anemia, and appetite loss.

Does Veganism or Vegetarianism Affect Athletic Performance?

Vegan or vegetarian athletes are twofold to threefold times higher in terms of endurance, stamina, and strength. The time was reduced for complete recovery in strict vegetarians, with some causes needing a fifth of the time that meat-eating athletes required.

Research studies proved that plant-based diets effectively decrease weight, create leaner bodies through reduced body fat percentage, and enhance athletic endurance.

Is It Healthy For An Athlete To Be Vegan?

A diet which is low in fat, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and high in carbohydrates is known as a plant-based diet. So it provides all the nutrients the body needs for training and competition. And it can support or improve athletic performance.

Do Vegetarians Have More Health Problems?

Compared with meat eaters, vegans and vegetarians may have an increased risk of developing stroke. Rates of heart diseases (such as angina or heart attack) were 13 percent lower in pescatarians. And the rates of stroke percent higher among vegetarians.

Are Vegan Athletes More Injury Prone?

A plant-based diet can impact joint and ligament health, resulting in weaker muscles with less muscle protein synthesis. So while it is expected to have less inflammation and less pain on a vegan diet, there might be cases of being more prone to injury in the first place due to the quality of protein available on a diet.


By seeing all the reports, one can get the conclusion that there are both positive and negative effects of taking a vegan diet on athletes. It is true that plant-based diets do contain some nutritional deficiencies but it can be replaced by proper supplements or a plant-based food that is of the same nutritional value as that of an animal-based food.

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Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



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