German vegan study: diet, life-style factors, and cardiovascular risk profile

Ann Nutr Metab. Nov-Dec 2005;49(6):366-72. doi: 10.1159/000088888. Epub 2005 Oct 11.

Abstract

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / epidemiology*

Substances

  • Lipids
  • Vitamin B 12