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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Bone turnover, calcium homeostasis, and vitamin D status in Danish vegans

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  • Tue H Hansen
  • Marie T B Madsen
  • Niklas R Jørgensen
  • Arieh S Cohen
  • Torben Hansen
  • Henrik Vestergaard
  • Oluf Pedersen
  • Kristine H Allin
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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: A vegan diet has been associated with increased bone fracture risk, but the physiology linking nutritional exposure to bone metabolism has only been partially elucidated. This study investigated whether a vegan diet is associated with increased bone turnover and altered calcium homeostasis due to insufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Fractionated and total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)-D), parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcium, and four bone turnover markers (osteocalcin, N-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen (PINP), bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), and C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX)) were measured in serum from 78 vegans and 77 omnivores.

RESULTS: When adjusting for seasonality and constitutional covariates (age, sex, and body fat percentage) vegans had higher concentrations of PINP (32 [95% CI: 7, 64]%, P = 0.01) and BAP (58 [95% CI: 27, 97]%, P < 0.001) compared to omnivores, whereas CTX (30 [95% CI: -1, 72]%, P = 0.06) and osteocalcin (21.8 [95% CI: -9.3, 63.7]%, P = 0.2) concentrations did not differ between the two groups. Vegans had higher serum PTH concentration (38 [95% CI: 19, 60]%; P < 0.001) and lower 25(OH)-D serum concentration (-33 [95% CI: -45, -19]%; P < 0.001), but similar serum calcium concentration (-1 [95% CI: -3, 1]%, P = 0.18 compared to omnivores.

CONCLUSIONS: Vegans have higher levels of circulating bone turnover markers compared to omnivores, which may in the long-term lead to poorer bone health. Differences in dietary habits including intake of vitamin D and calcium may, at least partly, explain the observed differences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume72
Pages (from-to)1046-1054
Number of pages8
ISSN0954-3007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52643564