Vegan strength training is key to bone health.here’s why

  • A plant-based or vegan diet is known to have health benefits, but it can also negatively affect bone strength.
  • A new study explores the role strength training plays in bone health in people who follow a vegan diet.
  • Researchers have found that vegans who regularly perform resistance exercise have better bone microarchitecture than vegans who don’t do resistance training.
  • Research results suggest that people who adhere to a vegan or plant-based diet should perform regular resistance training to maintain bone strength.

A vegan or plant-based diet is one that avoids all animal-based foods, including meat, dairy, eggs, and often honey.

Plant-based or plant-forward diets, especially veganism, are growing in popularity. A 2018 news report estimated that the number of people in the United States who identified as vegan between 2014 and 2017 increased by 600%. Additionally, the Good Food Institute reports that plant-based food sales have grown from $4.9 billion in 2018 to $7 billion in 2020. .

Following a plant-based diet has several known health benefits.a 2019 research review A vegetarian diet may have positive effects on energy metabolism, body weight status, and systemic inflammation.

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Despite the benefits of going plant-based, there may be drawbacks. 2020 survey Non-meat eaters and vegans were found to be more likely to experience fractures, especially in the hip joints. .

but, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism It indicates that resistance training may be more important than nutrient intake to maintain bone strength in people who follow a plant-based diet.

In this study, researchers from Austria evaluated microarchitecture of trabecular and cortical bone in the radius and tibia of vegans and people who had been on an omnivorous diet for at least 5 years. Next, we investigated the relationship between the microarchitecture of these bones and nutrition and exercise.

The scientists who conducted this study recruited 88 male and female participants for the study. They divided her into two groups, vegans and omnivores.

Both groups filled out questionnaires about the type of exercise they regularly participated in. Those who reported doing regular resistance she training at least once a week using free weights, machines, or bodyweight exercises were divided into subgroups. Those not doing strength training were assigned to a separate subgroup.

Researchers assessed the bone microarchitecture of study participants using: High-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). They also looked at serum markers of nutrient intake and bone turnover.

After analyzing the data, the scientists found that study participants in the vegan group who did not participate in regular resistance training had significantly reduced bone microarchitecture compared to omnivores who did not. I discovered that

However, scientists have found little to no difference in bone structure between omnivores and vegans who regularly participate in resistance training.

The researchers also found that bone structure differed between those who did strength training and those who didn’t, with greater differences among vegan participants.

Furthermore, research results have shown that vegans and omnivores who engage in only aerobic exercise or no physical activity have similar bone microarchitecture.

Additionally, researchers found that bone microstructure was not affected by how long a person followed a vegan diet.

“Vegan participants who did resistance training, such as machines, free weights, and bodyweight resistance exercises at least once a week, had stronger bones than those who didn’t,” said study co-author Med. Dr. Christian Musitz, associate professor at the university, said. The head of the Department of Metabolic Bone Disease at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Vienna told Healthline.

“People who follow a vegan lifestyle should do strength training regularly to maintain bone strength.”

In addition to resistance training, nutrition can play a role in bone health in people following a plant-based diet.

The authors of the study reported that intakes of protein, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D were adequate and similar between resistance-trained vegan and non-resistance-trained vegan groups.

However, they suggest that vegans should consider vitamin B12 supplementation and ensure that they consume enough plant protein in their diets to prevent bone loss.

According to Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, FAND, and Boston University nutrition professor and host of the nutrition and health podcast Spot On!, healthy bones require other nutrients such as:

“Fortunately, these nutrients are usually very easy to obtain when enjoying a vegan diet.

Blake pointed out that other nutrients known to promote bone growth, such as vitamin D and calcium, may be deficient in a diet free of animal products.

Still, it’s possible to get these nutrients through a plant-based diet.

“One of the best plant-based sources of these two nutrients is fortified soy milk,” Blake said. Please note that we do not always provide

An Austrian study suggests that resistance exercise is essential for bone health in people following a vegan diet. Dr. Kelsey Butler, registered dietitian and nutritionist, agrees.

“Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are most beneficial because they help build and maintain bone density,” she told Healthline.

“Examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, running, jogging, and climbing stairs. Resistance exercises such as weightlifting and using resistance bands also help build bone density.”

Adding balance exercises to maintain coordination and strength can also help prevent falls and fractures, says Butler.

Not vegan specific Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Adults are recommended to do at least two days per week of moderate-intensity muscle-strengthening exercise involving all major muscle groups.

A vegan diet can benefit your health by getting the right balance of nutrients from whole foods. However, if the diet is poorly planned, this diet may not provide enough nutrients for bone health.

People who follow a plant-based diet may have lower bone strength than those who eat both plant- and animal-based diets, according to a new study. found that regular resistance training could offset these differences.

Good nutrition is essential, but scientists recommend that those who follow a plant-based diet should consider incorporating regular resistance training into their lifestyle to maintain bone health and strength. .