Adequacy - Zinc

Vegetarian diets across the lifecycle: impact on zinc intake and status.

Optimal zinc status is an important consideration when evaluating the nutritional adequacy of vegetarian diets. In the absence of animal tissue sources of zinc and with increased intake of inhibitors of zinc absorption, phytic acid in particular, the bioavailability of zinc is thought to be lower from vegetarian as compared to omnivorous diets. The aim of this chapter is to review the research that examines the effects of vegetarian compared to omnivorous diets on zinc intake and zinc status in the elderly, adults, children, pregnancy, and lactation.

Iron and zinc status of young women aged 14 to 19 years consuming vegetarian and omnivorous diets.

OBJECTIVE:To assess the iron and zinc status of young females, aged 14 to 19 years, consuming vegetarian and omnivorous diets. METHODS:Dietary intakes (via 3-day weighed food records), BMI, and laboratory indices of iron and zinc status were compared in a convenience sample of 79 lacto-ovo-vegetarians (LOV), 16 semi-vegetarians (SV), and 29 omnivorous (OM) females. RESULTS:Twenty-nine percent LOV, 44% SV, and 17% OM had low iron stores (i.e., plasma ferritin < 12 micrograms/L); only 3% had anemia.

Dietary intakes of adolescent females consuming vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous diets.

PURPOSE:To determine the energy and nutrient intakes of some omnivorous and vegetarian female adolescents to compare their risk for nutrient inadequacies. METHODS:A convenience sample of 78 lacto-ovo-vegetarians (LOV), 15 semi-vegetarians (SV), and 29 omnivorous (OM) females aged 14-19 years completed three-day weighed records from which mean intakes and major food sources of energy, nutrients, and dietary fiber (as nonstarch polysaccharides (NSP)) were calculated.

Dietary strategies to improve the iron and zinc nutriture of young women following a vegetarian diet.

Dietary strategies to enhance the content and bioavailability of iron and zinc in vegetarian diets were compiled. Strategies included increasing promoters and decreasing antagonists of iron and zinc absorption, adopting food preparation and processing methods which hydrolyze the phytate content of cereals and legumes, and using iron cookware. These strategies were used to devise two vegetarian menus based on food consumption patterns derived from three day weighed food records of 78 Canadian lacto-ovo-vegetarian adolescents.

[Data from an expedition to study a Siberian vegan settlement].

Health status, the way of life and nourishment of 84 vegans in Siberian village (Krasnoyarsk region) were studied and compared with those of 26 meat-eaters. The investigation included work with a questionnaire, clinico-diagnostic and laboratory research. It was shown that a vegetarian diet improves the serum lipid spectrum (cholesterol, LPLD, cholesterol of LPNP, atherogenic coefficient), normalizes weight and cardiovascular system. The vegans had normal levels of vitamin B12 and serum Fe but the calcium level in this group was lowered as compared with the control group.

[Nutritional risk factors of a vegetarian diet in adult lacto-ovo vegetarians].

Risk nutritional factors of alternative alimentation detected in childhood were evaluated in a group of adult lactoovovegetarians (n = 47). The levels of iron, calcium, zinc, total proteins, gluthatione, plasmatic profile of fatty acids and the lipoperoxidation product in correlation with the values of antioxidative vitamins were studied. The results are compared with mean sample upon mixed nutrition (omnivores n = 42). In both groups were the mean values of iron, calcium and zinc in physiological range, but significantly lower in vegetarians.

Moving toward a plant-based diet: are iron and zinc at risk?

With reduced intake of meat and increased intake of phytate-containing legumes and whole grains, movement toward plant-based diets reduces dietary iron and zinc absorption. Although vegetarians have lower iron stores, adverse health effects of lower iron and zinc absorption have not been demonstrated with varied, plant-based diets consumed in developed countries. Improved assessment methods and monitoring are needed to detect and prevent possible iron and zinc deficiency with plant-based diets.


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