Featured Scholar: Arash Harzand

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Featured Scholar: Arash Harzand
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Featured Scholar:a
,irash Harzand
2005 - 2006 University Scholar
Mentor: Lynn Bailey

Under the guidance of human nutrition professor
Lynn Bailey, Harzand evaluated fasting blood
samples of more than 300 vegetarian men and
women between the ages of 19 and 49 and found their vitamin B12 intake to be
significantly lower than that of the omnivore group surveyed-17 percent of vegetarians
surveyed were deficient in the essential vitamin, versus 8 percent among the meat-

Since vitamin B12 is present only in animal-derived products-meat, eggs and dairy-
Harzand says vegetarians are at an increased risk of developing a deficiency that may
lead to irreversible neurological damage, cardiovascular disease or impaired fetal
development in future offspring. However, despite the fact that more vegetarian
participants in Harzand's study were deficient in B12 than omnivores, the overall B12
concentration in both groups was well above the normal level.

"A possible weakness of this study is the lack of separation of vegetarian groups into
more specific groupings, such as lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, and vegans,"
Harzand stated in his University Scholars research. "The results may have been different
when comparing the contribution of vitamin B12 intake from eggs, for example, since
vegans and lacto-vegetarians do not consume them."

Harzand recently graduated magna cum laude with a degree in nutritional sciences and is
currently enrolled at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. As an
undergraduate, he served as treasurer of Baha'i Association and volunteered at the
Ronald McDonald House and the Equal Access Clinic. He was also a medical volunteer in
Costa Rica and Panama, establishing health clinics in underserved areas. In 2005, he
served as a legislative intern for Senator Bill Nelson, focusing on health policy research.


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