Vegan diet could cause weaker bones, study warns

BERLIN — A vegan diet is often touted for being heart- and brain-healthy, but one new study warns  it also causes weaker bones.

Fresh research reveals that eating a meat- and dairy-free diet can result in a greater risk of broken bones. That may be because a vegan diet can lack the same quantities of nutrients for skeletal health. The research, carried out by a team at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), is published in the journal Nutrients.

“A vegan diet is often considered health-conscious. However, our scientific findings indicate that a vegan diet does affect bone health,” says BfR President Professor Andreas Hensel in a statement.

While previous research shows a vegan diet is beneficial to health in a number of ways, ultrasounds taken of the heel bones of 36 vegans in the most recent study showed they had unhealthier bones compared to 36 non-vegans. Meanwhile, blood tests show they were also low on bone health nutrients lysine and vitamins A and B6.

Lysine is an amino acid that the body cannot make. It’s found in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and some plants such as soy.

Vitamin A is found in eggs, as well as dark leafy vegetables and vitamin B6 is found in meat and fish as well as chick peas and some fruits

“People are turning to a vegan diet not only due to compassion for animals and awareness of environmental problems but also for health benefits. Indeed, scientific evidence suggests that a vegan or vegetarian diet may protect against many chronic diseases, for example diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, or cancer,” the authors write. “However, a vegan diet was found to be associated with lower bone mineral density, which is associated with higher fracture risk, compared to omnivores.”

SWNS writer William Janes contributed to this report.