Calcium intake in vegan and vegetarian diets: A systematic review and Meta-analysis

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2023;63(31):10659-10677. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2084027. Epub 2022 Jun 6.


In recent years, plant-based diets have experienced increasing popularity. However, plant-based diets may not always ensure an adequate supply of micronutrients, in particular calcium. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of calcium intake in vegan and vegetarian diets as compared to omnivorous diets. We searched PubMed and Web of Science and identified 2,009 potentially relevant articles. Mean calcium intake values were pooled and standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed.We analyzed 74 studies, including 7,356 vegan, 51,940 vegetarian, and 107,581 omnivorous participants. Of these, dietary calcium intake was examined in 23 studies of vegans, 60 studies of vegetarians and 74 studies of omnivores. Vegans showed a substantially lower calcium intake than vegetarians (SMD = -0.57; 95%CI = -0.83 to -0.32; p = <0.0001) and omnivores (SMD = -0.70; 95%CI = -0.95 to -0.59; p < 0.0001), whereas no statistically significant difference in calcium intake was noted between vegetarians and omnivores (SMD = 0.07; 95%CI = -0.04 to 0.19; p = 0.1976). In conclusion, vegans show a lower calcium intake than vegetarians and omnivores. This finding emphasizes the need for vegans to monitor their calcium status.

Keywords: Plant-based diet; dietary minerals; dietary supplement use; micronutrient; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium*
  • Diet
  • Diet, Vegan
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • Humans
  • Vegans*


  • Calcium