HomeNewsVegans May Be at Higher Risk for Broken Bones, Study Says

Vegans May Be at Higher Risk for Broken Bones, Study Says

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Be careful while patting yourself on the back, vegans. You could break something. At least according to a new study that found they are 43 percent more likely to suffer a fracture, CNN said.

The study tracked nearly 55,000 healthy adults in the United Kingdom for several years. Researchers said their data shows that people who gave up meat and cheeses had weaker bones, The Mirror reported. Scientists found those who didn’t eat meat or fish had lower calcium and protein intakes. This made them particularly susceptible to hip, leg, and spine fractures.

“[Hip fracture] risk in vegans was 2.3 times higher than in people who ate meat, equivalent to 15 more cases per 1,000 people over 10 years,” said the study’s lead author, Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Oxford. “In addition, vegans also had a higher risk of fractures anywhere in the body, as well as fractures of the legs and vertebrae when compared to the meat-eaters.”

Researchers began recruiting subjects for the study in 1993 and 2001. They asked participants about their health and dietary habits and grouped them accordingly. By 2016, those in the study reported nearly 4,000 broken bones among the 55,000 involved.

Vegans had a 43% higher risk of fractures anywhere, especially in the hips, legs, and vertebrae. Even when the researchers took body mass indexes into account, vegans still had a much higher risk of breaks.

“The study findings support a growing body of research on bone health with protein and calcium intake as well as BMI (body mass index),” Lauri Wright, a registered dietician and professor at the University of North Florida, told CNN. “Protein and calcium are the two major components of bone.”

Okay, okay… Fellow hunters and meat-lovers hide your laughs and snickers for a bit, let’s talk safety:

How Can Vegans Protect Their Bones?

Katherine Tucker, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, said vegans or those considering the diet should speak with a dietician.

“There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, so you really do have to be careful,” Tucker said, according to CNN.

Vegans must increase their intake of key nutrients like protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. And in higher amounts than in meat-eaters because plant nutrients aren’t as easily absorbed, she said.

Tucker recommends eating nuts and seeds that are rich in the supporting nutrients magnesium and potassium. Calcium-fortified, whole food soy products such as tempeh and soy milk; corn tortillas; leafy green vegetables; and legumes.