The vegan diet is trending currently. How this type of diet affects health is the subject of scientific studies.
In a new study, researchers tested the bone health of 36 vegans as well as 36 people following a mixed-food diet.
They used an ultrasound measurement of the heel bone and found that on average, people following a vegan diet had lower ultrasound values compared to the other group.
This indicates poorer bone health.
The research was conducted by a team at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
In the study, the scientists also determined biomarkers in blood and urine. This aims to identify nutrients that might be related to diet and bone health.
Out of 28 parameters of nutritional status and bone metabolism, they found twelve biomarkers most strongly associated with bone health.
It was shown that in combination vitamins A and B6, the amino acids lysine and leucine, omega-3 fatty acids, selenoprotein P, iodine, thyroid-stimulating hormone, calcium, magnesium and α-Klotho protein were positively linked to bone health.
Conversely, lower concentrations of the hormone FGF23 were observed at higher ultrasound levels in this pattern.
The team showed that in most cases, the combination of these biomarkers was present in lower concentrations in vegans.
This could be a possible explanation for the poorer bone health.
The team says a vegan diet is often considered health-conscious. However, the new scientific findings indicate that a vegan diet does affect bone health.
Taking into account other scientific studies, the results indicate that vegans intake fewer nutrients that are relevant for the skeleton and are mainly found in food of animal origin.
One author of the study is BfR President Professor Dr. Andreas Hensel.
The study is published in Nutrients.
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