Serum, urinary and fecal levels of ten lacto-ovo-vegetarians and nine total vegetarians were assayed using Ochromonas malhamensis. Intakes of vitamin B12 , protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and calories were calculated using 7-day diet histories and questionnaires. Correlations between nutrients consumed, years on diet, serum, urinary and fecal B12 levels were also calculated.

Mean serum B12 levels of the lacto-ovo-vegetarians and total vegetarians were 657 pg/ml and 381 pg/ml respectively. There was no significant difference between the two groups. The average daily intake of vitamin B12 was 2.0 ug for lacto-ovo-vegetarians and 0.6 ug for the total vegetarians.

When nutrients were expressed as percent of calories, the total vegetarians consumed a significantly smaller percent of calories as protein, but there was no significant difference in the percent of calories consumed as fat or carbohydrate or in the percentage of required calories consumed. When nutrient intake was expressed as grams per day. the total vegetarians consumed significantly fewer grams of protein and fat and significantly more grams of fiber than the lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Beth groups consumed fewer calories than required, but the total vegetarians consumed significantly fewer calories than the lacto-ovo-vegetarians.

There was no significant difference in the amount of urine excreted by the two groups, but the total vegetarians excreted a significantly greater amount of feces. This is probably a result of the greater fiber intake by the total vegetarians. There was no significant difference in the amount of B12 excreted in the feces or urine of the two groups.

A positive correlation was found between the percentage of calories as protein in the diet and the level of result of an increased synthesis of the transcobalamin proteins. There in the serum. This may be a were no other significant correlations between serum B12 and dietary components, but in the lacto-ovo-vegetarians there was a positive correlation between serum B12 and fecal B12.

A positive correlation was also found between serum B12 and the period of time on a total vegetarian diet; serum B12 increased as the number of years on the diet increased.

This study concludes that the amount of vitamin B12 consumed by a total vegetarian can be adequate to maintain serum B12 unless the individual has extra needs (infants or the elderly). The need for dietary B12 can be met with a balanced diet containing adequate protein and B12 fortified plant foods.




Graduate School

First Advisor

U. D. Register

Second Advisor

James W. Blankenship

Third Advisor

Irma B. Vyhmeister

Fourth Advisor

Kenneth I. Burke

Fifth Advisor

Paul Y. Yahiku

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Vegetarianism; Diet



Page Count

v; 47

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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Nutrition Commons