The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service has inducted to the ARS Science Hall of Fame a pioneering researcher in the importance of animal-source protein for nutrition and health.
Lindsay H. Allen was inducted in a virtual ceremony on April 5, 2022.
ARS established the Science Hall of Fame in 1986 to honor senior agency researchers for outstanding, lifelong achievements in agricultural science and technology. The scientists are inducted by their peers and must be retired or eligible to retire to receive the honor.
A research physiologist at the ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center's Obesity and Metabolism Research unit in Davis, Calif., Allen was honored for outstanding and sustained contributions leading to a better understanding of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12, which is only available from animal food sources.
In some instances, Allen's findings reversed long-held scientific dogma. In the case of vitamin B12, her research showed that a deficiency of this micronutrient isn't solely limited to strict vegetarians but is also widespread in men, women and children who consume inadequate amounts of animal-source foods such as fish, meat, poultry milk and eggs. This deficiency also extends to low-income population groups.
Allen's research also showed that consumers could be deficient in a suite of micronutrients because of poor dietary quality. More recently, Allen's work showed that women consuming poor-quality diets low in animal-source foods tend to have lower breast milk concentrations of most micronutrients, findings that led to substantial funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations.