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PHiE 2019, 100(2)

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Probl Hig Epidemiol 2018, 99(4): 303-309pl

Calcium intake, bone mineral density and risk of fractures in vegetarians and vegans

Paulina Nowaczyk 1/, Katarzyna Kozanecka 2/, Joanna Bajerska 1/

1/ Instytut Żywienia Człowieka i Dietetyki, Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Poznaniu
2/ Studentka Kierunku Dietetyka, Wydział Nauk o Żywności i Żywieniu, Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Poznaniu

Interest in vegetarian diets is growing systematically. However, total or partial elimination of animal-origin foods from the diet may result in dietary deficiencies such as calcium. The results of the above studies indicate that among the various types of vegetarian diet, the vegan diet is the most deficient in calcium. The daily calcium intake of people following a vegan diet were two or three times lower compared to the intake level of this macroelement in the diet of those with traditional eating habits or those following less restrictive vegetarian diets, for example pesco-vegetarian, vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets. However, this lower intake of calcium observed in subjects following vegetarian diets, was not always associated with lower bone mineral density or higher risk of fractures, as compared to those with traditional eating habits. Nevertheless, in the case of vegans with a daily calcium intake lower than 525 mg, the risk of fractures increased significantly. For this reason, those following restrictive types of vegetarian diet should carefully monitor their diet in terms of calcium intake, while paying attention to any factors that tend to increase or reduce absorption of this particular macroelement.

Key words:  calcium, osteoporosis, vegetarianism, veganism