Objective: The objective is to determine any possible differences between haematological, biochemical and bone mineral density in vegetarians (vegans and lacto-ovovegetarians) and non-vegeterians.
Methods: The examined group consisted of 100 individuals: 50 non-vegetarians and 50 vegetarians. The vegetarian group was further divided in 2 subgroups: 20 vegans and 30 lacto-ovovegetarians. In all participants, plasma levels of erythrocytes, haemoglobin, haematocrit, iron, low density lipoprotein, (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) total cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose were measured. Quantitative ultrasound parameters of the right calcaneus were determined in all participants.
Results: The results showed that lacto-ovovegetarians had statistically significantly higher red blood cell counts and haematocrit values than non-vegetarians. Vegans also had higher haematocrit values than non-vegetarians. Statistically significant differences were found between iron plasma levels in the examined groups. Iron levels were lower in non-vegetarians than in vegans and lacto-ovovegetarians. Non-vegetarians had much higher levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL than the other two groups, but there were no differences found between same values in vegans and lacto-ovovegetarians.
Conclusion: A well planned and balanced vegetarian diet, with avoidance of risk factors, does not result in abnormalities in laboratory tests and bone status parameters.