Background/aim: Evaluation of cardiovascular risk profile in 154 German vegans.
Methods: Cross-sectional study, Germany. Study instruments: 2 FFQ, 2 questionnaires, analyses of fasting venous blood samples.
Results: The total study population had a low BMI (mean: 22.3 kg/m(2)), a moderate blood pressure (mean: 120/75 mm Hg), an extremely low consumption of alcohol (mean: 0.77 g/day) and 96.8% were nonsmokers. Moderate physical activity (PAL) was reported by nearly 50%, whereas 22.7% declared to have a high PAL (>3 h/week). Median triacylglycerol (TG) was 0.81 mmol/l, total cholesterol (TC) was 4.33 mmol/l, HDL was 1.34 mmol/l. The mean TC/HDL-ratio was 3.3. Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) was 8.13 mg/dl, concentrations of >30 mg/dl were prevalent in 25% of the participants. In general, status of folate and pyridoxine were sufficient, while 49.7% showed cobalamin concentrations <150 pmol/l. Plasma homocysteine levels were slightly elevated (median: 12.5 micromol/l). Cobalamin concentration and duration of vegan nutrition were the main determinants of homocysteine in the total study population.
Conclusion: Although TC and LDL concentrations were favorable, low HDL and elevated homocysteine and Lp(a) concentrations were unfavorable. Overall, these results confirm the notion that a vegan diet is deficient in vitamin B(12), which may have an unfavorable effect on CHD risk.