(2013). "Vegetarian diets aid longevity, reduce risk of all-cause mortality. But results are more significant in men than women. Further research is needed to determine why." Duke Med Health News 19(8): 4-5.
Boanca, M. M., et al. (2014). "The impact of the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet on the erythrocyte superoxide dismutase activity: a study in the Romanian population." Eur J Clin Nutr 68(2): 184-188.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Recent studies have shown that vitamin B12 scavenges superoxide anion as effectively as superoxide dismutase (SOD), and has a key role in the defense against oxidative stress. The status of vitamin B12 is suboptimal in a substantial number of vegans and even vegetarians. We therefore evaluated in lacto-ovo vegetarians (LOVs) who did not take vitamin B12 supplements the impact of the duration of this diet on the vitamin B12 status, the erythrocyte SOD activity and the serum malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration. SUBJECTS/METHODS: The study group included 38 non-vegetarians and 48 LOVs divided, according to the duration of this diet, into two subgroups: LOV1 (2-10 years) and LOV2 (11-29 years). The erythrocyte SOD activity and the serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and MDA were assayed. RESULTS: In LOVs, the mean serum vitamin B12 concentration, the erythrocyte SOD activity and the mean serum MDA concentration were statistically significantly lower that in non-vegetarians. No significant association between the serum vitamin B12 and MDA concentrations and the duration of the LOV diet were observed. A significant inverse linear correlation between SOD activity and the duration of adherence to LOV diet was observed in LOVs. CONCLUSIONS: The duration of LOV diet has impact only on SOD activity. Further researches, both in vitro and in vivo, are necessary to understand the underlying molecular mechanism.
Chiang, J. K., et al. (2013). "Reduced risk for metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance associated with ovo-lacto-vegetarian behavior in female Buddhists: a case-control study." PLoS One 8(8): e71799.
INTRODUCTION: The association of vegetarian status with the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is not clear. In Asia, Buddhists often have vegetarian behavior for religious rather than for health reasons. We hypothesize that the vegetarian in Buddhism is associated with better metabolic profiles, lower risk for the MetS and insulin resistance (IR). METHODS: We enrolled 391 female vegetarians (~80% lacto-ovo-vegetarians) and 315 non-vegetarians from health-checkup clinics at a Buddhist hospital in Taiwan. RESULTS: The vegetarian status was associated with lower body mass index, smaller waist circumference, lower total cholesterol, lower low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), and lower HDL-C in multivariate linear regression analyses. Despite having lower HDL-C level, the vegetarians had significantly lower total cholesterol/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios. After adjusting the other covariates, the risks for the MetS were lower for ovo-lacto-vegetarians of 1-11 years and >11 years respectively by 54% (odds ratio [OR] =0.46, 95%C.I.:0.26-0.79) and 57% (OR=0.43, 95%C.I.:0.23-0.76) compared to non-vegetarians by the IDF criteria. Likewise, they were lower respectively by 45% (OR=0.55, 95%C.I.:0.32-0.92) and 42% (OR=0.58, 95%C.I.:0.33-0.997), for the MetS by the modified NCEP criteria. In the subgroup of non-diabetic subjects, the vegetarians also had lower risk for IR by HOMA compared to the non-vegetarians (OR=0.71, 95%C.I.:0.48-1.06). CONCLUSION: The vegetarian behavior, mainly lacto-ovo-vegetarian, related to Buddhism, although not meant for its health effects, is associated with reduced risk for the MetS and IR and may potentially provide metabolic and cardiovascular protective effects in women.
Clarys, P., et al. (2013). "Dietary pattern analysis: a comparison between matched vegetarian and omnivorous subjects." Nutr J 12: 82.
BACKGROUND: Dietary pattern analysis, based on the concept that foods eaten together are as important as a reductive methodology characterized by a single food or nutrient analysis, has emerged as an alternative approach to study the relation between nutrition and disease. The aim of the present study was to compare nutritional intake and the results of dietary pattern analysis in properly matched vegetarian and omnivorous subjects. METHODS: Vegetarians (n = 69) were recruited via purposeful sampling and matched non-vegetarians (n = 69) with same age, gender, health and lifestyle characteristics were searched for via convenience sampling. Two dietary pattern analysis methods, the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) and the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) were calculated and analysed in function of the nutrient intake. RESULTS: Mean total energy intake was comparable between vegetarians and omnivorous subjects (p > 0.05). Macronutrient analysis revealed significant differences between the mean values for vegetarians and omnivorous subjects (absolute and relative protein and total fat intake were significantly lower in vegetarians, while carbohydrate and fibre intakes were significantly higher in vegetarians than in omnivorous subjects). The HEI and MDS were significantly higher for the vegetarians (HEI = 53.8.1 +/- 11.2; MDS = 4.3 +/- 1.3) compared to the omnivorous subjects (HEI = 46.4 +/- 15.3; MDS = 3.8 +/- 1.4). CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate a more nutrient dense pattern, closer to the current dietary recommendations for the vegetarians compared to the omnivorous subjects. Both indexing systems were able to discriminate between the vegetarians and the non-vegetarians with higher scores for the vegetarian subjects.
Dominique Ashen, M. (2013). "Vegetarian diets in cardiovascular prevention." Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med 15(6): 735-745.
OPINION STATEMENT: There is growing evidence that consumption of a vegetarian diet as well as specific components of a vegetarian diet lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death. Vegetarian diets lower the probability of developing CVD, are effective in altering serum lipids, are beneficial in reducing blood pressure, improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity, reduce weight, and lower mortality. Vascular effects of a vegetarian diet include a thinner carotid IMT and lower brachial artery resistance. Health care providers should be aware of the types of vegetarian diets and their risks and benefits in order to guide patients' dietary habits with the ultimate goal of reducing their CVD risk. While a patient does not have to become a complete vegetarian to reduce their CVD risk, they can make simple changes in their diet that are effective in risk reduction.
Filippi, M., et al. (2013). "The "vegetarian brain": chatting with monkeys and pigs?" Brain Struct Funct 218(5): 1211-1227.
An array of brain regions in the fronto-parietal and temporal lobes cooperates to process observation and execution of actions performed by other individuals. Using functional MRI, we hypothesized that vegetarians and vegans might show brain responses to mouth actions performed by humans, monkeys, and pigs different from omnivores. We scanned 20 omnivores, 19 vegetarians, and 21 vegans while watching a series of silent videos, which presented a single mouth action performed by a human, a monkey, and a pig. Compared to omnivores, vegetarians and vegans have increased functional connectivity between regions of the fronto-parietal and temporal lobes versus the cerebellum during observation of mouth actions performed by humans and, to the same degree, animals. Vegans also had increased connectivity with the supplementary motor area. During human mouth actions, increased amygdala activity in vegetarians and vegans was found. More critically, vegetarians recruited the right middle frontal gyrus and insula, which are involved in social mirroring, whereas vegans activated the left inferior frontal gyrus and middle temporal gyrus, which are part of the mirror neuron system. Monkey mouth actions triggered language network activity in both groups, which might be due to the attempt to decode monkey mouth gesture, with an additional recruitment of associative temporo-occipital areas in vegans, whereas pig mouth actions activated empathy-related regions, including the anterior cingulum. These results support the role of the action observation-execution matching system in social cognition, which enables us to interact not only with our conspecifics but also with species in phylogenetic proximity to humans.
Foster, M., et al. (2013). "Effect of vegetarian diets on zinc status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies in humans." J Sci Food Agric 93(10): 2362-2371.
Plant-based diets contain less saturated fat and cholesterol and more folate, fibre and phytochemicals than omnivorous diets, but some micronutrients, especially zinc, are poorly bioavailable. The findings of studies exploring the zinc intake and zinc status in populations that habitually consume vegetarian diets are inconsistent. This study aims to investigate the effects of plant-based diets on dietary zinc intake and status in humans using systematic review and meta-analysis techniques. Thirty-four studies were included in the systematic review. Of these, 26 studies (reporting 48 comparisons) compared males and/or females consuming vegetarian diets with non-vegetarian groups and were included in meta-analyses. Dietary zinc intakes and serum zinc concentrations were significantly lower (-0.88 +/- 0.15 mg day(-1), P < 0.001 and -0.93 +/- 0.27 micromol L(-1), P = 0.001 respectively; mean +/- standard error) in populations that followed habitual vegetarian diets compared with non-vegetarians. Secondary analyses showed greater impact of vegetarian diets on the zinc intake and status of females, vegetarians from developing countries and vegans. Populations that habitually consume vegetarian diets have low zinc intakes and status. Not all vegetarian categories impact zinc status to the same extent, but a lack of consistency in defining vegetarian diets for research purposes makes dietary assessment difficult. Dietary practices that increase zinc bioavailability, the consumption of foods fortified with zinc or low-dose supplementation are strategies that should be considered for improving the zinc status of vegetarians with low zinc intakes or serum zinc concentrations at the lower end of the reference range.
Gorczyca, D., et al. (2013). "Impact of vegetarian diet on serum immunoglobulin levels in children." Clin Pediatr (Phila) 52(3): 241-246.
BACKGROUND: Nutrition plays an important role in immune response. We evaluated the effect of nutrient intake on serum immunoglobulin levels in vegetarian and omnivore children. METHODS: Serum immunoglobulin levels and iron status were estimated in 22 vegetarian and 18 omnivore children. Seven-day food records were used to assess the diet. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in serum IgA, IgM, and IgG levels between groups of children. Serum immunoglobulin levels were lower in vegetarian children with iron deficiency in comparison with those without iron deficiency. In the vegetarians, IgG level correlated positively with energy, zinc, copper, and vitamin B(6) intake. In the omnivores, these correlations were stronger with IgM level. CONCLUSIONS: Despite negligible differences in serum immunoglobulin levels between vegetarian and omnivore children, the impact of several nutrient intakes on IgM and IgG levels differed between groups. Low iron status in vegetarian children can lead to decreased immunoglobulin levels.
Gorczyca, D., et al. (2013). "Iron status and dietary iron intake of vegetarian children from Poland." Ann Nutr Metab 62(4): 291-297.
BACKGROUND/AIM: In Poland, vegetarian diets are becoming more and more popular. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of iron intake on iron status in vegetarian children. METHODS: Dietary iron intake, iron food sources, blood count, serum iron, ferritin level and total iron-binding capacity were estimated in two groups of children, namely vegetarians (n = 22) and omnivores (n = 18) of both sexes, aged from 2 to 18 years. Seven-day food records were used to assess their diet. RESULTS: Dietary iron intake in vegetarians and omnivores was low (up to 65.0 and 60.1% of the recommended dietary allowance). A significantly higher intake of vitamin C was observed in vegetarians compared with omnivores (p = 0.019). The main sources of iron in vegetarians were cereal products, followed by vegetables and mushroom products, then fruit. The prevalence of iron deficiency (ID) was higher in the vegetarian group (p = 0.023). The serum ferritin level and mean corpuscular volume in the vegetarians were also lower than in the omnivores (p = 0.01 and p = 0.014, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Children who follow a vegetarian diet may suffer from ID in spite of having a high vitamin C intake. This indicates the need to introduce dietary education and iron status monitoring.
Kahleova, H., et al. (2013). "Vegetarian diet in type 2 diabetes--improvement in quality of life, mood and eating behaviour." Diabet Med 30(1): 127-129.
Kahleova, H., et al. (2013). "Vegetarian diet-induced increase in linoleic acid in serum phospholipids is associated with improved insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes." Nutr Diabetes 3: e75.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Fatty acids are important cellular constituents that may affect many metabolic processes relevant for the development of diabetes and its complications. We showed previously that vegetarian diet leads to greater increase in metabolic clearance rate of glucose (MCR) than conventional hypocaloric diet. The aim of this secondary analysis was to explore the role of changes in fatty acid composition of serum phospholipids in diet- and exercise-induced changes in MCR in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D). METHODS: Subjects with T2D (n=74) were randomly assigned into a vegetarian group (VG, n=37) following vegetarian diet or a control group (CG, n=37) following a conventional diet. Both diets were calorie restricted (-500 kcal day(-1)). Participants were examined at baseline, 12 weeks of diet intervention and 24 weeks (subsequent 12 weeks of diet were combined with aerobic exercise). The fatty acid composition of serum phospholipids was measured by gas liquid chromatography. MCR was measured by hyperinsulinemic isoglycemic clamp. Visceral fat (VF) was measured by magnetic resonance imaging. RESULTS: Linoleic acid (LA; 18:2n6) increased in VG (P=0.04), whereas it decreased in CG (P=0.04) in response to dietary interventions. It did not change significantly after the addition of exercise in either group (group x time P<0.001). In VG, changes in 18:2n6 correlated positively with changes in MCR (r=+0.22; P=0.04) and negatively with changes in VF (r=-0.43; P=0.01). After adjustment for changes in body mass index, the association between 18:2n6 and MCR was no longer significant. The addition of exercise resulted in greater changes of phospholipid fatty acids composition in VG than in CG. CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that the insulin-sensitizing effect of a vegetarian diet might be related to the increased proportion of LA in serum phospholipids.
Kim, M. S., et al. (2013). "Strict vegetarian diet improves the risk factors associated with metabolic diseases by modulating gut microbiota and reducing intestinal inflammation." Environ Microbiol Rep 5(5): 765-775.
Low-grade inflammation of the intestine results in metabolic dysfunction, in which dysbiosis of the gut microbiota is intimately involved. Dietary fibre induces prebiotic effects that may restore imbalances in the gut microbiota; however, no clinical trials have been reported in patients with metabolic diseases. Here, six obese subjects with type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension were assigned to a strict vegetarian diet (SVD) for 1 month, and blood biomarkers of glucose and lipid metabolisms, faecal microbiota using 454-pyrosequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA genes, faecal lipocalin-2 and short-chain fatty acids were monitored. An SVD reduced body weight and the concentrations of triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and haemoglobin A1c, and improved fasting glucose and postprandial glucose levels. An SVD reduced the Firmicutes-to-Bacteroidetes ratio in the gut microbiota, but did not alter enterotypes. An SVD led to a decrease in the pathobionts such as the Enterobacteriaceae and an increase in commensal microbes such as Bacteroides fragilis and Clostridium species belonging to clusters XIVa and IV, resulting in reduced intestinal lipocalin-2 and short-chain fatty acids levels. This study underscores the benefits of dietary fibre for improving the risk factors of metabolic diseases and shows that increased fibre intake reduces gut inflammation by changing the gut microbiota.
Leitzmann, C. (2013). "[How are vegetarian food and mortality associated?--Finally reliable data: vegetarianism reduces mortality]." Dtsch Med Wochenschr 138(39): 1930.
Li, D. (2014). "Effect of the vegetarian diet on non-communicable diseases." J Sci Food Agric 94(2): 169-173.
A vegetarian diet generally includes plenty of vegetables and fruits, which are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, vitamins C and E, Fe(3)(+), folic acid and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and is low in cholesterol, total fat and saturated fatty acid, sodium, Fe(2)(+), zinc, vitamin A, B(1)(2) and D, and especially n-3 PUFA. Mortality from all-cause, ischemic heart disease, and circulatory and cerebrovascular diseases was significantly lower in vegetarians than in omnivorous populations. Compared with omnivores, the incidence of cancer and type 2 diabetes was also significantly lower in vegetarians. However, vegetarians have a number of increased risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as increased plasma homocysteine, mean platelet volume and platelet aggregability compared with omnivores, which are associated with low intake of vitamin B(1)(2) and n-3 PUFA. Based on the present data, it would seem appropriate for vegetarians to carefully design their diet, specifically focusing on increasing their intake of vitamin B(1)(2) and n-3 PUFA to further reduce already low mortality and morbidity from non-communicable diseases.
Marsh, K. A., et al. (2013). "Protein and vegetarian diets." Med J Aust 199(4 Suppl): S7-S10.
A vegetarian diet can easily meet human dietary protein requirements as long as energy needs are met and a variety of foods are eaten. Vegetarians should obtain protein from a variety of plant sources, including legumes, soy products, grains, nuts and seeds. Eggs and dairy products also provide protein for those following a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. There is no need to consciously combine different plant proteins at each meal as long as a variety of foods are eaten from day to day, because the human body maintains a pool of amino acids which can be used to complement dietary protein. The consumption of plant proteins rather than animal proteins by vegetarians may contribute to their reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
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