Bone Remodelling, Vitamin D Status, and Lifestyle Factors in Spanish Vegans, Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians, and Omnivores

Nutrients. 2024 Feb 2;16(3):448. doi: 10.3390/nu16030448.


Sustainable healthy diets are promoted, and consequently vegetarian diets are currently increasing. However, scientific information on their effects on bone health is scarce. A cross-sectional study was performed in adults (66% women) classified into three groups: omnivores (n = 93), lacto-ovo vegetarians (n = 96), and vegans (n = 112). Nutrient intake, body composition, physical activity, vitamin D status (25-hydroxycholecalciferol, 25-OHD), parathormone (PTH), and bone formation (bone alkaline phosphatase, BAP) and resorption (N-telopeptides of type I collagen, NTx) markers were determined. Lacto-ovo vegetarians and especially vegans showed lower protein, fat, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D, retinol, iodine, and zinc intakes, and higher carbohydrate, fibre, carotenes, magnesium, and vitamin K intakes compared to omnivores. Body composition was similar in the three groups that performed vigorous physical activity regularly. Body bone mass and muscle mass were positively correlated with BAP, and time performing physical activity with 25-OHD. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency (25-OHD < 75 nmol/L) was 93.7% in the studied population, and vitamin D deficiency (25-OHD < 25 nmol/L) was significantly higher in vegans. Vegetarians of both groups had increased PTH and NTx with vegans showing significantly higher PTH and NTx than omnivores. Conclusion: Adult vegetarians, especially vegans, should reduce the risk of bone loss by appropriate diet planning and vitamin D supplementation.

Keywords: body composition; bone; bone formation; bone resorption; nutrient intake; parathormone; physical activity; vegan; vegetarian; vitamin D status.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Diet, Vegan
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Vegans*
  • Vegetarians
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins