Vegetarian girls have 33 per cent larger danger of breaking a hip

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A big examine monitoring girls within the UK finds that vegetarians have a better danger of breaking a hip in contrast with girls who eat any quantity of meat

Well being

11 August 2022

Woman arranging vegetarian buffet

Vegetarian diets have a tendency to incorporate much less calcium and vitamin B12, that are vital for bone well being

Facinadora/Alamy Inventory Photograph

The danger of breaking a hip is a 3rd larger for girls who’re vegetarian than those that are common meat eaters, in response to a big UK examine.

The rise in danger might come up from meat-free diets tending to have much less protein, which helps construct muscle mass, and doable deficiencies in nutritional vitamins and minerals, equivalent to calcium and vitamin B12, which assist strengthen bones.

Girls usually tend to break their hips than males, particularly as they grow old, as a result of after the menopause, ranges of the intercourse hormone oestrogen fall, resulting in weaker bones. Damaged hips are a big reason for deaths in older individuals as they’re laborious to recuperate from and can lead to prolonged immobility and well being problems. “The impact on well being is fairly huge,” says James Webster on the College of Leeds, UK.

Earlier research have steered that vegetarians and vegans have weaker bones, so Webster’s group took benefit of a big ongoing examine that has tracked the well being and way of life of over 26,000 girls within the UK for about 20 years. They have been aged between 35 and 69 at recruitment, and none have been transgender so far as the researchers know.

General, about 3 per cent of contributors broke their hip throughout that point. Those that have been vegetarian had a 33 per cent larger danger of this taking place in contrast with those that consumed meat at the very least 5 occasions per week.

There was no distinction in danger between common meat eaters and those that ate lesser quantities, or simply ate fish. Vegans weren’t included within the examine.

Different analysis has discovered that being vegetarian is healthier for well being in numerous methods – for example, it’s linked with a decrease danger of coronary heart illness. All such research, together with the most recent one, are observational, nonetheless, and so can’t show that food regimen causes totally different well being patterns – solely that there are correlations.

Such research could make meat-free diets appear extra useful than they are surely as a result of vegetarians normally have more healthy existence in different methods, equivalent to avoiding smoking and heavy ingesting. The most effective form of medical proof comes from randomised trials, however these are laborious to do for a significant dietary alternative equivalent to whether or not or to not eat meat.

Webster says the most recent findings shouldn’t make individuals stop vegetarianism, as individuals can get protein from dairy merchandise and pulses and may take vitamin dietary supplements or use calcium-fortified dairy merchandise if vital.

Jen Elford on the Vegetarian Society says: “You will need to hold this difficulty in proportion – outcomes for the well being of vegetarians are usually excellent. Fracture danger is usually correlated with consumption of calcium and vitamin D and so the necessity to guarantee dependable intakes of those vitamins is highlighted.”

Journal reference: BMC Medication, DOI: 10.1186/s12916-022-02468-0

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