Specifics relating to the development of osteoporosis and disease mechanisms
Vegetarian diets contain many beneficial properties as well as carry a risk of inadequate intakes of several nutrients important to bone health. The aim of the study was to evaluate serum levels of bone metabolism markers and to analyze the relationships between biochemical bone markers and anthropometric parameters in children on vegetarian and omnivorous diets. The study included 70 prepubertal children on a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet and 60 omnivorous children. Body composition, bone mineral content (BMC), and bone mineral density (BMD) were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Vegetarian and vegan diets contain low amounts of protein and calcium. For this reason they are supposed to cause low bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis. But this is not the case, except for vegans with a particularly low calcium intake. The absence of osteoporosis or low BMD can be explained by the low acid load of these diets. Nutritional acid load is negatively correlated with bone mineral density (BMD) and positively with fracture risk. Low acid load is correlated with lower bone resorption and higher BMD.
Although exposure to ultraviolet light is often viewed as pathogenic owing to its role in the genesis of skin cancer and skin aging, there is growing epidemiological evidence that such exposure may decrease risk for a number of more serious cancers, may have a favorable impact on blood pressure and vascular health, and may help to prevent certain autoimmune disorders - in addition to its well-known influence on bone density. Most likely, these health benefits are reflective of improved vitamin D status.
BACKGROUND:Scientific literature points to the positive association between vegetarian diet and reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and diabetes. On the other hand elimination of animal products from the diet decreases the intake of some essential nutrients which may influence bone metabolism. This is a very important problem especially in childhood and adolescence, when growth and bone turnover are the most intensive. Bone metabolism is regulated by variety factors, which are involved in the bone formation and bone resorption processes.
Vegetarian diets have been suggested to be beneficial for bone health due to increased consumption of plant foods, including soya, or reduced consumption of meat. However, meat may also be beneficial for bone health. The evidence relating diet to bone health is based largely on studies of women, often in those at high risk of osteoporosis. Few studies have investigated dietary inter-relationships in men as well as women from general populations.
PURPOSE: In general, most children on well-planned vegetarian diets can achieve normal growth and development. However, elimination of animal products from the diet decreases the intake of some essential nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and may influence bone metabolism. This is especially important in childhood and adolescence, when growth and bone turnover are most intensive. The aim of this study was to investigate the serum concentrations of biochemical bone turnover markers in prepubertal vegetarian children.
OBJECTIVE:This study examines the extent to which a plant-based dietary intervention that discourages consumption of dairy products and meat influences bone-relevant nutrients. METHODS:A randomized controlled study design was used to evaluate the Coronary Health Improvement Project. The Project is a heart disease prevention intervention administered in an intensive 40-hour educational course delivered over a 4-week period. Participants were evaluated at baseline, 6 weeks, and 6 months.
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