There's no difference in bone density between vegan and non-vegetarian women, according to Australian and Vietnamese researchers who compared the bone health of 105 postmenopausal vegan Buddhist nuns and 105 women who weren't vegetarians.
"In this work, we showed that although the vegans studied do indeed have lower protein and calcium intakes, their bone density is virtually identical to that of people who eat a wide variety of foods, including animal protein," said Professor Tuan Nguyen of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, United Press International reported.
"For the 5 percent of people in Western countries who choose to be vegetarians, this is very good news," Nguyen added. "Even vegans, who eat only plant-based foods, appear to have bones as healthy as everyone else. Bone health in vegetarians, particularly vegans, has been a concern for some time, because as a group, they tend to have a lower protein and calcium intake than the population at large."
The study was published in the online edition of the journal Osteoporosis International.