Biology Project

Here was last semester’s Biology project. The assignment was to study a certain controversial issue in the biological field and then present our findings on the topic. Not only was our research supposed to contain at least five authoritative sources, but we were also supposed to interview an actual Doctor or Scientist who had personally done research in that field for an added opinion. The Lord worked it out for me to talk with Joseph Gonzales, L.D., R.D., from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who was one the nicest people to talk to!

So, here’s the presentation that I was able to come up with throughout the semester. It earned me a 99% grade.

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**NOTE: After viewing my presentation, one student proceeded to inform me that she used to be vegetarian, but had to go back to eating clean, white meats just to keep her iron levels up. Despite all the supplements and iron-rich food she ate when a vegetarian, her iron levels were often low, which was disappointing for her, as she liked to donate blood every so often and sometimes was turned away. This type of scenario I had never heard of before, so I did a little more research, and surprised even myself by my findings! I learned that there are some dietary substances that can hinder iron absorption. “Substances (such as polyphenols, phytates, or calcium) that are part of some foods or drinks such as tea, coffee, whole grains, legumes and milk or dairy products can decrease the amount of non-heme iron absorbed at a meal” (Centers for Disease Control, 2011, para. 8). Furthermore, “There is evidence that calcium from supplements and dairy foods may inhibit iron absorption” (ODS, para. 46). So, perhaps something caffeine or dairy or other substance in this woman’s diet was affecting her body’s ability to absorb all the iron she was being careful to take in. Also the Office of Dietary Supplements mentioned that “excessive blood loss” can be associated with low iron levels. It could be that her repeated blood donations depleted her body of iron, in which case it was probably a good thing that she was turned down for giving blood in that it gave her body time to build up its iron levels again. References: 1) Centers for Disease Control. (2011). Iron and iron deficiency. CDC. Webpage. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html. 2) Office of Dietary Supplements. (n.d.). Dietary supplement fact sheet: Iron. National Institutes of Health. Webpage. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/.**

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**NOTE: For those who may not know, lacto-ovo-vegetarian (sometimes called ovo-lactarian) is basically the same thing as the typical understanding of vegetarian: Someone who has cut all meat products from the diet, but has not gone as far as being vegan and still consumes dairy products (lactose) and eggs (ovum). The longer term just provides a way to more specifically state if one’s vegetarian diet excludes eggs but not dairy (lacto-vegetarian), excludes dairy but not eggs (ovo-vegetarian), or includes both dairy and eggs (lacto-ovo-vegetarians).**

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And that concludes one of the most fun, most challenging, and most rewarding school assignments I’ve ever done! Let me know what you think!

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