Eating a vegan diet – which excludes all animal foods – can lead to worse bone health compared to people who eat a more varied diet, according to a new study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR ). The findings were based on an analysis of data from 36 vegans, as well as 36 people who ate a variety of foods, including animal products.
The study involved blood and urine samples analyzed for biomarkers, as well as ultrasounds of the participants’ heel bones. After analyzing the data, the researchers found that vegan participants had lower ultrasound values when compared to participants on the mixed food diet.
The findings indicate that vegan diets can lead to worse bone health, according to the study, which also found that, in most vegan participants, the biomarkers associated with bone health were lower than in the other participants.
The link between the two is quite obvious, with the lowest concentrations of biomarkers such as vitamin A and B6 potentially being the cause of the poorest bone health seen by ultrasound. In a comment on the findings, BfR President Dr. Andreas Hensel said: “A vegan diet is often considered a health concern. However, our scientific findings indicate that a vegan diet affects bone health. “
This is the latest study to assess vegan diets and their potential health impact – with some seeing several benefits, such as decreased cardiovascular risk and increased weight loss, and others finding concerns largely related to potential nutritional deficiencies, including in children .