Living well with lupus

Are vegetarian or vegan diets okay for people with lupus?

Dr. Ronenn Roubenoff is a Senior Director of Immunology Medical Research at Biogen Idec, Inc. in Cambridge, MA.

See all of Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, MHS's answers.

Vegetarian or vegan diets are okay, but you need to take a multivitamin that includes vitamin B12, as this vitamin can only be obtained through animal products. Otherwise you might develop anemia and nerve damage. Also, it’s important to mix your sources of protein so that you get complete proteins – for example rice and beans, or corn and wheat. Animal proteins, dairy, and eggs are complete proteins, but vegetable proteins are generally low in one or more amino acids, which makes them inadequate as sole sources of protein.

Medically reviewed on July 21, 2013