Vegans Have Lower Bone Density, But Not More Fractures

By | July 6, 2009

Vegans Have Lower Bone Density But Not More Fractures

Vegans have lower bone densities than non-vegans, researchers have concluded.

But the news isn’t all bad, with the study finding an animal-free diet doesn’t translate into more fractures.

The findings, published today in the American Journal of Nutrition, came out of a review of previous studies that included more than 2,500 individuals.

Research has shown that low bone density, a predictor for osteoporosis, increases the risk of bone fracture.

Epidemiologist and lead author Tuan Nguyen, of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research Garvan Institute of Medical Research , said there are four main factors that influence bone density: genetics, hormones, exercise and nutrition.

He expected vegans, those who avoid eating animal products, would have lower bone density and therefore a higher risk of bone fracture. The study found that on average vegans had a bone mass density 5 percent lower than non-vegans. But Nguyen said the study found vegans were no more likely to be treated for bone fractures than non-vegans.

This is probably because vegans tend to be more health conscious, he said.

“If you look at vegetarians as a whole they are certainly healthier, they tend to live longer and have lower risk of hypertension and heart disease.” And there are other factors that may override the influence bone density has on fracture risk such as hormone deficiencies, smoking and lifestyle, said Nguyen.

The study also found women have lower bone densities and a higher risk of fracture.

“About 70 percent of fractures in the elderly occur in women,” said Nguyen. …

“The push to have everyone eat massive amounts of dairy products is invalid,” she said.

Stanton said what’s missing from the study is a differentiation between a good and bad vegan diet.

“Just as you can have a good omnivorous diet and bad one, so too with vegan diets,” she said.

Stanton also said the study failed to consider the effects of vitamin D.

“Vitamin D is probably the most important factor in the way calcium is used and studies are showing now that a lot of people don’t get enough Vitamin D.”

Nguyen agress and suggests vegans monitor their calcium and vitamin D intake.

via Vegans Have Lower Bone Density: Discovery News.

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