Article CC BY 4.0
refereed
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Vegan diet and bone health—results from the cross-sectional rbvd study

ORCID
0000-0001-7938-4251
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Human Study Centre 5SZ - Consumer Health Protection, Germany
Menzel, Juliane;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Unit 54 Risks of Subpopulations and Human Studies, Germany
Abraham, Klaus;
Affiliation
Institute for Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany
Stangl, Gabriele I.;
Affiliation
Section for Pharmacology, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Ueland, Per Magne;
Affiliation
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Saarland University Hospital, Homburg, Germany
Obeid, Rima;
Affiliation
Department of Molecular Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam–Rehbruecke, Nuthetal, Germany
Schulze, Matthias B.;
Affiliation
Laboratory of Human Nutrition, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Herter-Aeberli, Isabelle;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Executive Office, Germany
Schwerdtle, Tanja;
Affiliation
Department of Food Safety, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Berlin, Germany
Weikert, Cornelia

Scientific evidence suggests that a vegan diet might be associated with impaired bone health. Therefore, a cross-sectional study (n = 36 vegans, n = 36 omnivores) was used to investigate the associations of veganism with calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measurements, along with the investigation of differences in the concentrations of nutrition-and bone-related biomarkers between vegans and omnivores. This study revealed lower levels in the QUS parameters in vegans compared to omnivores, e.g., broadband ultrasound attenuation (vegans: 111.8 ± 10.7 dB/MHz, omnivores: 118.0 ± 10.8 dB/MHz, p = 0.02). Vegans had lower levels of vitamin A, B2, lysine, zinc, selenoprotein P, n-3 fatty acids, urinary iodine, and calcium levels, while the concentrations of vitamin K1, folate, and glutamine were higher in vegans compared to omnivores. Applying a reduced rank regression, 12 out of the 28 biomarkers were identified to contribute most to bone health, i.e., lysine, urinary iodine, thyroid-stimulating hormone, selenoprotein P, vitamin A, leucine, α-klotho, n-3 fatty acids, urinary calcium/magnesium, vitamin B6, and FGF23. All QUS parameters increased across the tertiles of the pattern score. The study provides evidence of lower bone health in vegans compared to omnivores, additionally revealing a combination of nutrition-related biomarkers, which may contribute to bone health. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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