Veganism, vegetarianism, bone mineral density, and fracture risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Journal: Nutrition Reviews

Publication Date: 10/2018

Summary: The numbers of vegans and vegetarians have increased in the last decades. However, the impact of these diets on bone health is still under debate. This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to study the impact of vegetarian and vegan diets on bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk. A systematic search was conducted of PubMed, Scopus, and Science Direct, covering the period from the respective start date of each database to November 2017. Two investigators evaluated 275 studies against the inclusion criteria (original studies in humans, written in English or Spanish and including vegetarian or vegan diets and omnivorous diets as factors with BMD values for the whole body, lumbar spine, or femoral neck and/or the number of fractures as the outcome) and exclusion criteria (articles that did not include imaging or studies that included participants who had suffered a fracture before starting the vegetarian or vegan diet). The quality assessment tool for observational cohort and cross-sectional studies was used to assess the quality of the studies. Twenty studies including 37 134 participants met the inclusion criteria. Compared with omnivores, vegetarians and vegans had lower BMD at the femoral neck and lumbar spine and vegans also had higher fracture rates. Vegetarian and vegan diets should be planned to avoid negative consequences on bone health.

Key Takeaways

An aggregation of 275 studies with 37134 total participants showed vegetarians and vegans have lower bone mineral density than omnivores. Vegans also had higher rates of fractures than vegetarians and omnivores.

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2 thoughts on “Veganism, vegetarianism, bone mineral density, and fracture risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis”

  1. With all the health risks associated with Vegan diets why are they so popular?
    Women have more endocrine issues than men, is this because they are more likely to diet and eat low fat diets. The percentages of these issues are similar, so is that correlation or causation? Hormones require animal fat and Vitamin D3 in order for the body to process them and start the hormone cascade. Eating low-fat diets impairs the hormone cascade.

  2. I was vegetarian for 20 years. 45 to 55. I fell off my bike and broke my wrist. I was also at my fattest, 250lbs. Just saying. Now I’m helping my arthritis with carnivore and the gym and I weigh 156.

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