Research: LI,

Listed in Issue 207

Abstract

LI, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. duoli@zju.edu.cn  reviews evidence regarding vegetarian diet on clinical factors relating to cardiovascular risk factors.

Background

This review summarizes the effect of a habitual vegetarian diet on clinical complications in relation to chemistry and biochemistry.

Methodology

Omnivores have a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared with vegetarians, including increased body mass index, waist to hip ratio, blood pressure, plasma total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerol and LDL-C levels, serum lipoprotein(a) concentration, plasma factor VII activity, ratios of TC/HDL-C, LDL-C/HDL-C and TAG/HDL-C, and serum ferritin levels.

Results

Compared with omnivores, vegetarians, especially vegans, have lower serum vitamin B12 concentration and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels in the tissue membrane phospholipids, which are associated with increased collagen and ADP stimulated ex vivo whole blood platelet aggregation, plasma 11-dehydrothromboxane B2, and homocysteine levels and decreased plasma HDL-C. This may be associated with an increased thrombotic and atherosclerotic risk.

Conclusion

It is suggested that vegetarians, especially vegans, should increase their dietary n-3 PUFA and vitamin B12 intakes.

References

Li D. Chemistry behind Vegetarianism. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 59(3):777-84. Feb 9 2011.

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