Over the years, we have seen more and more people adopting vegan way of living. The two most important reasons for the switch are environmental concerns and healthy living. While vegan diet (plant-based diet) has proved to have several health benefits, a recent study has found that it may lead to deterioration in bone health. The study, published in the open access journal BMC Medicine, stated that people who adapted veganism had 43 percent higher risk of hip, leg or vertebrae fracture, compared to the meat-eaters. One of the reasons, as per the report, could be the former's lower intake of calcium and protein.
A team of researchers at the University of Oxford and Bristol, UK surveyed a data of 54898 people over a long period of time. Among the total participants, 29,380 ate meat, 8,037 ate fish (but no meat), 15,499 were vegetarians, and 1,982 followed veganism. In the course, the researchers found cases of 3941 fractures that included 566 arms, 889 wrists, 945 hips, 366 legs, 560 ankle and 467 fractures at other places in the body.
"We found that vegans had a higher risk of total fractures which resulted in close to 20 more cases per 1000 people over a 10-year period compared to people who ate meat. The biggest differences were for hip fractures, where the risk in vegans was 2.3 times higher than in people who ate meat, equivalent to 15 more cases per 1000 people over 10 years," explained Dr Tammy Tong, lead author and Nutritional Epidemiologist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford.
The study also stated that the risk of fracture partly reduced with higher intake of dietary calcium and dietary protein and when Body Mass Index (BMI) was taken into account.
"Previous studies have shown that low BMI is associated with a higher risk of hip fractures, and low intakes of calcium and protein have both been linked to poorer bone health. This study showed that vegans, who on average had lower BMI as well as lower intakes of calcium and protein than meat eaters, had higher risks of fractures at several sites. Well-balanced and predominantly plant-based diets can result in improved nutrient levels and have been linked to lower risks of diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Individuals should take into account the benefits and risks of their diet, and ensure that they have adequate levels of calcium and protein and also maintain a healthy BMI, that is, neither under nor overweight," Dr Tong added.
Taking all these points under consideration, we say, one must include every essential nutrient (protein, calcium, vitamin D and more) in their daily diet to keep up a good health.
Always remember, balance is the key to healthy living!