So, I had to go to the school nurse for something today, and while I was waiting I saw that she had an area of handouts on various health issues. One of them was on vegetarianism, so I picked it up and was pretty livid about what I read. I'll write to her about it when I get home and have some resources around me. More than anything, I don't appreciate the obvious pro-red meat slant here. Ugh. And should my high school students be curious and read it, they'll be easily swayed by the loaded language. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, at least check out the last paragraph.
Please also note the complete lack of references.
Here's the text itself (I tried to keep the spelling and grammar errors intact, though I ended up fixing a few out of habit!):
If a person chooses to be a vegetarian, they should be aware of some potential health risks.
First and foremost is a relative protein deficiency, especially an amino acid named tyrosine. Tyrosine is a precursor to a neurotransmitter called epinephrine (commonly known as adrenaline). This deficiency does not permit normal functioning of the adrenal glands (which are necessary for life) and the thyroid gland (as tyrosine is the central building block of the thyroid hormone).
The adrenal glands are relatively small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and have many important functions including mineral balance, anti-inflammatory hormones such as cortisone, sex hormones (both estrogen and testosterone in both men and women), adrenalin, and last but not least, cortisol. Cortisol is necessary for raising blood sugar levels when they are low. This last aspect is especially deficient in vegetarians who tend not only to have a relative protein deficiency, but also tend to have an adrenal stress syndrome.
Since the adrenals are not able to respond properly the blood sugar tends to be very unstable. The more unstable the blood sugar is, the more unstable the adrenals become, and on and on and on into a vicious cycle.
Due to a blood sugar/adrenal stress syndrome the patient tends to develop a chronic ileocecal valve syndrome (which is the valve that connects the small and large intestines). This ICV syndrome can lead to numerous far reaching problems in the body.
Vegetarianism tends to lead to vitamin B12 deficiency which is also necessary for adrenal function and an optimally functioning nervous system. A prolonged B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible nervous system damage.
There is a balance in the body between the adrenal and thyroid glands due to the tyrosine (most abundant in red meat) deficiency neither the thyroid or adrenals can function optimally.
Again, with this relative protein deficiency, when the albumin/globulin ratio is off, the body will rob protein from the joint surfaces in order to put it in other areas of the body, which may lead to painful arthritic joints.
All in all in my experience, vegetarians tend to be the poorest responding patients I see. I do everything I can to convince them to eat some lean red meat daily in the rarest form possible. I have seen dramatic improvements in all kinds of conditions from those who comply to what I call a common sense diet.