Boy left with BLUE nails because of a deficiency common in vegans

Meat-eating Indian boy, 12, is left with BLUE nails because of a vitamin B12 deficiency

Indian boy, 12, is left with BLUE nails because of a vitamin B12 deficiency normally found in vegans

  • Doctors in India revealed the unidentified child was lacking in vitamin B12
  • Vegans are more likely to be deficient in it because B12 is found in meat
  • The strange tale was unveiled in the British Medical Journal Case Reports 

A meat-eating boy’s fingernails and toenails turned blue – because of a deficiency common in vegans.

Doctors revealed the unidentified 12-year-old, who was not following a plant-based diet, was lacking in vitamin B12.

Vegans are more likely to be deficient in the nutrient, found only in animal products, because they do not eat meat, eggs, milk and cheese.

Vitamin B12 is important for brain and nervous system function and plays a role in regulating mood.

Doctors in India revealed the unidentified child – who was not following a plant-based diet – was lacking in vitamin B12 (pictured: his blue fingernails and toenails)

The tale was unveiled in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, a prestigious publication doctors often publish bizarre incidents in.

The boy, from India, was concerned about the ‘progressive darkening’ of nails on his hands and feet over the previous three months.

He sought help from doctors in his home town of Chandigarh – 162 miles (260km) north of New Delhi.

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Upon questioning, the boy revealed he had not been exposed to any dyes that may have changed the colour of his nails.

He had also not suffered any trauma – which could have been responsible for the blue colour of his nails through bruising.

Doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research revealed he was a ‘non-vegetarian’.

They were left scratching their heads as to what caused the discolouration and conducted a series of laboratory tests on the boy.

Results showed the child’s levels of vitamin B12 were 0.08ng/ml, much less than the recommended minimum of 190ng/ml.

The rest of his tests came back normal, according to the case report written by Dr Lesa Dawman and colleagues.

Paediatrics started him on bumper-dose injections of vitamin B12 and it took just a month for his levels to return to normal and his blue nails to disappear.

In the journal, doctors wrote the most common symptoms of a deficiency in the essential nutrient are anaemia and tremors.

But they wrote ‘blue-back pigmentation of nails’ are a rare sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency, alongside vitiligo.

Blue nails are normally caused by a lack of oxygen in red blood cells, causing them to turn a blue-purple colour.

Estimates suggest there are more than three million vegans in the UK – with a huge spike in the past three years.

The NHS also claims around one in ten people over the age of 75 are deficient in vitamin B12, which is harder for older people to absorb. 

Having Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease or lupus can also leave patients at higher risk of the deficiency. 

The health risks of being vegan

1. Fatigue and exhaustion 

Fatigue or exhaustion occurs due to the lack of vitamin B12 found in eggs, fish poultry and cheese.

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA.

The body does not make B12 and cannot store it because it is a water soluble vitamin, meaning it is eliminated in urine and we require a continuous daily supply in our diet. 

2. Unruly acne   

If you’re starting developing unruly acne, it may be due to a lack of protein.

Protein is essential to the maintenance of muscle mass as well as healthy skin, hair and nails.

A big issue plant-based eaters have is that no single vegetable contains all the essential amino acids one needs in their diet, unlike meat. 

Women need about 55 grams of protein per day and men need 65 grams. 

 3. Diabetes risk

Many vegans drink protein powder as an alternative source of protein.

However, a number of the ingredients have hidden or synthetic sugars that cause inflammation and upset the digestive tract.

The high-sugar content can also lead to a rise in blood-sugar level and eventually cause diabetes.

The synthetic sugars also make your body crave more sugary food because they are digested differently than regular sugars. 

4. Problems with digestive tract

Ironically, consuming too many vegetables can cause bloating and too many beans can lead to problems with the digestive tract. 

To avoid this, try cooking vegetables as your body gets used to the nutrients in them.

Beans are also great source of protein but eating them at every meal can cause GI tracts discomfort and gas.

5. Hyperlipidemia 

Many vegans rely on white, refined carbs, which lack fibre.

Consuming too many refined carbohydrates also increases the rick of diabetes and hyperlipidemia, a condition that occurs when there is too much fat in the blood.

Most people can’t tell that they have it, but eventually it can cause the formation of potentially-fatal blood clots.

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