Medical Conditions that Require Meat?


In my work, I come across people all the time who claim they would like to be vegan but because of food allergies, food sensitivities or a certain medical condition (like multiple sclerosis), they need to consume animal products for optimal health. What is the best way to respond to such claims?


There are plenty of people with food allergies or sensitivities that are vegan, so it might be beneficial to let such people know that there may be many others like them but who have succeeded at being vegan.

I would find out more about their condition and find out what they think meat is providing for them, and then suggest plant food alternatives to provide the same nutrients. With many medical conditions, people just think they need protein, which should be easy to solve.

Here are some articles on food allergies and being vegan that might help you:

If you know of someone with a specific condition who is saying this and you can find out more about it, feel free to email me and I’ll see if I can add anything of value.

I am always happy to try to help any people my readers might come across who want to be vegan but think they have a condition that prevents it. But, I ask that the people with the condition write me ̵ I won’t initiate contact with the person with the condition as that can be awkward. 🙂

You can support through these links

11 Responses to “Medical Conditions that Require Meat?”

  1. Mike Says:


    I remember that when Blink 182 drummer survived a plane crash he was told to eat meat to recover from burns faster. Is there any merit to that claim?

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:


    > told to eat meat to recover from burns faster. Is there any merit to that claim?

    Again, this would be protein and possibly zinc and vitamin A. They can all be gotten through a vegan diet and/or supplements. The people in a burn unit aren’t going to sit down and devise a vegan regimen to help him heal, it’s much easier just to say “eat lots of meat.”

  3. Cobie deLespinasse Says:

    I clicked on the link to the articles, and it doesn’t seem to work. Thanks.

  4. Jack Norris RD Says:


    Someone else mentioned this and then followed up saying they did work after all. I checked the links before I sent the post out, after the other person wrote me, and just now, and they have all worked for me each time both on the website and in the Feedburner feed. So, I’m not sure what’s going on.

  5. Vincci Says:

    I was about to mention people with renal failure (with or without dialysis) but I pointed myself toward this interesting discussion on the blog –

    Definitely worth a review!

  6. Sharyn Says:

    I have ulcerative colitis, have had it for 24 years. Properly treated it is not going to kill me, but those treatments over time, especially the sulpher-based ones and the mega high dosages of corticosteroids have limited my body’s ability to properly process all the vitamins and minerals I need from my diet. I have been severely aneamic for this time – to the point it has damaged my heart, and I have 24 years of blood work, matched by advice from dietitians, nutritionists and specialists. I have to take 6 iron supplements a day plus I eat a very high iron rich diet. But if I do not also eat at least two serves of red meat a week, then my iron levels plummet. I’m not all that rapt in this, as I am not particularly a fan of the taste of red meat, but it’s kind of foolish to ignore what is happening to my body if I don’t. I apologise for the epic response here, I wanted to make it clear that I know exactly what I do, and why, and I have so often come across people telling me that I can’t possibly “have” to eat meat, and have I tried X, Y or Z to which the answer is yes, carefully monitored for 24 years and this is the advice of everyone who treats me. … I can at least chose to support local butchers who source from local small scale producers who treat their animals well, and are killed quickly and humanely.

  7. Polly Says:

    I agree with Sharyn. There definitely ARE some reasons why people cannot be vegan/vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for 35 years, but after 4 years of severely debillitating medical conditions, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, operations, metabolic catabolism, and heavy duty medical drugs, I am unable to thrive/survive without having meat twice a day. I don’t like it, but I have no choice. So, I only eat fish and poultry…no mammals. My iron levels and B12 levels are fine, as usual. However, one day without meat throws me into some sort of severe, catabolic exhaustion. So, yeah…..there are SOME reasons why SOME people have to eat meat, but it’s the unusual reasons…..not the popular reasons.

  8. Jack Norris RD Says:


    I feel for you and am sorry to hear this.

    There has to be something (or a combination of things) in meat that is being provided that plants aren’t providing you. That this could happen after a single day is somewhat odd. Do you think if you fasted for a day, that would happen?

  9. Rave Says:

    I have been diagnosed as highly sensitive as a child so I’ve always had trouble with finding foods to eat or clothes to wear
    so my current diet is about 10 different foods, 4 of which are meat, 2 are non vegan (excluding candies and chocolates) which gives me about four foods to eat and it’s not like plants will be ripe and meet my specific standards all year round and fruits give me stomach aches if i eat more than about half a peach’s worth and I have stomach aches regardless but fruits make it worse, maybe even throw up, but never with meat.

  10. LilyWilly Says:

    When I go for more than a few hours without having at least one serving of meat, I feel unstable–mentally, emotionally, and physically unsolid.
    I’ve had it happen where I found myself wondering why on earth I was so cranky and depressed when I knew I’d eaten recently and I had taken a multivite/supplement. Open the fridge and have even a tiny piece of meat and suddenly I feel like I’m not about to lose my mind from a chronic internal scream.
    I have mild Von Willebrand’s disease (blood doesn’t clot normally so when I bleed I bleed more heavily than normal and have had a long history of my blood levels reading as iron deficient ) and occasional grand mal seizures. My body turns 40 this year and this has been a lifelong issue.

  11. Jack Norris RD Says:

    It doesn’t seem physiologically plausible that meat could make a difference for blood clotting or iron-deficiency in a matter of a few minutes. But, I suppose it’s possible that you feel better in anticipation of more iron. There’s been a long-standing debate about how much cravings can indicate true deficiencies. I wonder if you have a diet especially low in sodium—although many foods can satisfy a sodium craving.

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