Weird symptoms after 2 years of being vegan

Hey guys, I've been getting some pretty weird and kind of scary symptoms for a couple of months now after being vegan for 2 years, and would anyone know about the causes and how I could fix them? My night vision has been decreasing for a while now, and it's been getting progressively worse. Now in dim settings, everything can seem a little blurry. My period cycle has also recently gone a bit weird, and although I know this could just be normal, my cycle has always been very stable with no spotting. Now, I've been bleeding in between periods.


  • @gabriellita

    Sorry to hear you've been struggling. First, I would recommend seeing your family doctor, given your symptoms. Vitamin A intake is closely linked with night vision, so it's important that you get ample sources. While vegans don't get pre-formed vitamin A as retinol, they are still able to produce adequate amounts in the body from beta-carotene (and there is no evidence that a vegan diet increases degenerative eye disease) . However, you can get your vitamin A levels assessed to ensure adequacy.

    Changes to a women's cycle can occur as a result of weight changes/dietary restriction/excess activity or a medical cause.

    I would also ensure that you are properly supplementing:
    B12 - 50 mcg per day min
    vitamin D - 2000 IU per day
    source of iodine
    500 mg DHA per day

    This article outlines other nutrients you should be paying attention to for eye health (many are naturally found in plant-based foods).

    Best of luck!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Iron deficiency is also a possibility:

    Find this (I can't post links)

    "Iron Status of Vegetarian Adults: A Review of Literature"

  • Quote:

    Vegetarians have a high prevalence of depleted iron stores. A higher proportion of vegetarians, compared to nonvegetarians, had iron deficiency anemia. This is especially true for premenopausal vegetarian women.

  • na7na7
    edited October 2020


    My wife and I are raw vegans for 10 years now (80/10/10). Your periods stopped because of B12. It is not "normal" as many vegan "experts" say. We learned it the hard way. My advice is to start regularly taking the following tests:
    1. Blood test for B12 (be aware that if you eat certain seaweeds, the test could show normal levels, but in fact you could be deficient, because the B12 in some seaweeds is different and does not work, although the blood test does not distinguish that)
    2. Blood test 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-OH D3)
    3. Blood test for Hemoglobin
    4. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for bone density measurement

    I am regularly taking 1000 mcg of B12 (Methylcobalamin from Natural Factors) every day. My wife takes 1000 mcg 2-3 times per week. We determined our doses experimentally, by periodically taking the tests and adjusting the doses. Periods normalized immediately after starting taking B12 supplements at least for two vegan women I know.

    We also taking Vit, D supplements, about 2000 UI per day. We determined dosages individually, by taking the blood test regularly. Be careful with D3 supplements, they say, overdose is dangerous.

    And we recently started taking some Calcium supplements.

    I never took iron supplements, but my wife did.
    Also, there was a case when iron and hemoglobin normalized after taking some medication against Giardia lamblia. There are scientific studies about this association, just ask Google: "lamblia and iron deficiency study"

    I hope it helps someone.

  • Hey guys :) Huge thanks for all the helpful advice but surprisingly the causes were not dietary. After numerous blood tests with fine results and many specialist visits, I finally was able to see a neurologist that revealed that the night blindness was due to migraines and the spotting in between periods was just because of normal hormonal changes. All is good!

  • @gabriellita

    I LOVE that you updated us all. Although your experience was difficult, it's a helpful reminder that sometimes we experience weird symptoms that are beyond our control and are not due to what we are eating. If this is the case, seeking medical help is crucial.

    So happy you got the answer you were looking for!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • I STRONGLY suggest you SEE YOUR DR, rather than asking people here for advice! There are very many ways in which your food intake may effect you in those ways, and even more, concerning, things, unrelated to food, that could be the cause!

  • Since these types of symptoms also happen to people who are NOT vegan, I am not so sure that being vegan has anything to do with it.

  • edited February 2021

    I am glad all is well! <3

  • The typical vegan diet is so inadaquate in nutrients, that reqires constant checking, testing, supplementing. Still weird feelings happens too often with too many people. Unfortunately, converting of vitamin A in to its biologicallly adopted form for human body Retinol is too low. Some experts claim as low as 2% and even lower. The same story is with vitamine E, D3, K2, HDA, EPA, correct fat and proteins content. So is much easier, just from time to time eat poultry, fish, that meat with cholesterol and fat. All your needed components will be in there without even thinking or counting them. Try one little ecperiment using your Crono: in the list of food consummed a day just type 100 g of beef or lamb liver. You will be suprised how this small addition of live food cover all possible requirements of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and anything else by 100ts percents. Good luck

  • One can find the list of proved risks of deficiencies for vegans in Wikipedia:

    The are no any scientifically proved risks of all other deficiencies listed by @natasor .
    Vegans do not have vitamin A deficiency more than non-vegans, otherwise there would be a study to prove it. Same goes for E and others in the list.

    There is no any scientific evidence of any health problems in humans due to lack of EPA in the diet. Same goes for other's in the list.

    Wikipedia: "The association between Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and a lower risk of all-cause mortality appears inconclusive.[11][8]"

    I assure you, Wikipedia is not written by vegans.

  • Moreover, leading experts in nutrition (i.e. the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) confirm that a well-balanced vegan diet is safe for all stages of the lifecycle, including athletes and in pregnancy.

    We do know that some nutrients are lacking - B12, D, iodine, and DHA/EPA, but these can easily be met with supplementation. When, and if other nutrients are identified as low, the guidelines will sure to update with this new information.

    If you have any questions about planning a well-balanced plant-based diet, be sure to ask in the forums - we're here to help!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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