Vegetarian women & hip fractures

Vegetarian women are at a higher risk of hip fracture
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-vegetarian-women-high…
A study of over 26,000 middle-aged UK women reveals those with a vegetarian diet had a 33% higher risk of hip fracture compared to regular meat-eaters…

Among 26,318 women, 822 hip fracture cases were observed over roughly 20 years—that represented just over 3% of the sample population. After adjustment for factors such as smoking and age, vegetarians were the only diet group with an elevated risk of hip fracture…

Study co-author Professor Janet Cade, leader of the Nutritional Epidemiology Group in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds, said, “Hip fracture is a global health issue with high economic costs that causes loss of independence, reduces quality of life, and increases risk of other health issues.”

DB2

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The important information that vegetarian women suffer more hip fractures may be related to a fact I have observed about vegetarian women: even my super-fit gym friends have very wrinkled skin.

I believe that the connecting factor (pun intended) between these seemingly unrelated facts is collagen.

Osteoporosis is usually related to the mineral (hydroxyapatite, calcium phosphate) part of bones. This is easy to see because it appears on X-rays. Many, but not all, vegetarian diets omit dairy products and are low calcium. This is an important reason for loss of calcium from the bones over the years.

Doctors usually ignore the fact that bone mass is 60% calcium phosphate (rigid) and 40% collagen (protein, resilient). The collagen doesn’t show up on X-rays so it’s easy to ignore.

Collagen is strong because it contains a relatively rare amino acid, proline. While proline is synthesized from glutamate in our bodies when we are young, the synthesis process declines with age. Then proline becomes an essential amino acid which must be eaten.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acid

A vegetarian diet is low in proline. Animals are mostly squishy, soft cells. Our strong components are bones and collagen (tendons, ligaments, cartilage). Plants do not have collagen. Unlike animals, plants have cell walls. Their strong components are cellulose and lignan, neither of which can be digested by humans.

My grandmother told me, 50 years ago, to eat gelatin (collagen) every day in order to have strong fingernails and unwrinkled skin. I eat 2 tablespoons of hydrolyzed collagen every day. My hair became thicker and no longer splits. My nails stopped breaking. The tendon pain in my knee went away. My skin is so smooth that the women at the YMCA pool compliment me. (They can see the smooth skin of my inner upper arms which is a “tell” of old age in many women.) I am happy to share my secret – every human needs to eat collagen when aging because we all shed our entire skin once a month.

My vegetarian friends refuse to eat collagen because it’s animal based. I tell them that they are animals, not plants. It’s chemistry.

They refuse.

Collagen, which is the resilient material in the bones, surely goes away gradually similar to the collagen in the skin.

It’s no surprise at all that vegetarian women have more hip fractures. They are losing both components of bone structure – rigid calcium phosphate and resilient collagen.

Our body is permeated with collagen, which is about 25% of the dry weight of the human body. Here is an image of a pig heart with the cells removed, leaving only the collagen behind.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/01/health/ghost-heart-life-itsel…

When I see a person with very wrinkled skin I think of their heart. The skin is visible, but the heart is also permeated with collagen. Ditto the aorta and all the arteries. How many 68 year old women can do an hour of Zumba dancing, starting with this warm-up? I do Zumba (or a high-intensity weight workout 6 days a week).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGXoFBknmtk

Bottom line: A Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to be best for longevity. That is not necessarily optimal for the health of tissues that depend on collagen for integrity. It’s easy to buy hydrolyzed collagen. I use so much that I buy in bulk – 5 pounds of organic, grass-fed beef collagen hydrolyzate. Two tablespoons a day. In addition to my homemade bone broth which I eat every day.

Wendy

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In addition to my homemade bone broth which I eat every day.

As I was reading your post, I thought that homemade broth might be a source of collagen.

I would hazard a guess that the proline synthesis slow down as we age is not unique to women, but that it affects men as well.

Thinking it might be time for some chicken and dumplings, which starts with chicken broth, which I like to make myself.

–Peter

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My grandmother told me, 50 years ago, to eat gelatin (collagen) every day in order to have strong fingernails and unwrinkled skin. I eat 2 tablespoons of hydrolyzed collagen every day. My hair became thicker and no longer splits. My nails stopped breaking. The tendon pain in my knee went away. My skin is so smooth that the women at the YMCA pool compliment me.

Wendy, my wife just turned 82 and her experience mirrors yours.

Especially important has been the improvement in her knee pain. A few years ago she could barely walk. Used a wheelchair whenever we shopped. We had her thoroughly examined by a very reputable organization and they reported bone on bone and recommended a knee replacement. She could not tolerate the rehab so we passed on that. But she stuck to the collagen and her knee continued to improve. Now she can walk rapidly with only a slight limp.

Last year while in the hospital for some other tests, nurse described her skin “like a porcelain doll.” Bone density tests were excellent.

We just received two more 1.5 lb. jars of hydrolyzed collagen today from Amazon.

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If being vegetarian increases the risk of hip fractures for women, it seems likely that it has a similar effect on men.

Although I’ve been reading about the health benefits of going vegan, I’m now glad that I compromised by merely cutting back on meat consumption rather than eliminating it.

It may be that the optimum amount of meat/dairy/egg/fish consumption isn’t zero but is a modest amount that’s somewhere between vegan and what the average American consumes.

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<If being vegetarian increases the risk of hip fractures for women, it seems likely that it has a similar effect on men.>

Absolutely! But most of the data is collected on women because women’s bones are thinner than men’s so we have more osteoporosis and more hip fractures.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380170/

**Gender Disparities in Osteoporosis**
**by Khaled A. Alswat**

**Osteoporosis is four times more common in women than in men, but some evidence indicates that men tend to have more osteoporosis-related complications ...**

**In summary, males tend to have higher bone density and content and they achieve it at later age compared with females. This difference is not explained by nutrition, level of physical activity, body weight or lean mass, but it may be because of the bone size....women aged 50 years or older have a four times higher rate of osteoporosis and a two times higher rate of osteopenia compared with men...**

**Men have a higher mortality rate after sustaining a hip fracture compared with women. ... Infection, especially septicemia and pneumonia, may explain the higher risk of mortality in men who have a greater magnitude of infection. When they adjusted for the infection, the risk of mortality was similar for both genders....** [end quote]

My grandmother had such bad osteoporosis that she once broke a wrist opening a window. My younger sister (who weighs 40 pounds less than I do and avoided dairy for many years) has severe osteoporosis. She’s only 64.

I don’t have osteoporosis since I’m heavier and lifted weights starting at age 20. I also practice Zumba almost daily to improve my fast coordination and balance, which helps protect against falls.

<It may be that the optimum amount of meat/dairy/egg/fish consumption isn’t zero but is a modest amount that’s somewhere between vegan and what the average American consumes. >

It’s not just eating meat. The key ingredient is the specific amino acid, proline. Proline makes proteins stiff. It’s abundant in gristle and cartilage, which is usually trimmed out of softer cuts of meat. That’s why I buy collagen powder to add to my diet. It’s hard to get enough collagen to make a difference by eating soft cuts of meat.

Wendy

found this interesting and thought i’d pass it on. : >)

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-small-daily-portion-j…

“A small (57 g) daily portion of Jarlsberg cheese may help to stave off bone thinning (osteopenia/osteoporosis) without boosting harmful low density cholesterol, suggest the results of a small comparative clinical trial, published in the open access journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.”…

“This study shows that while calcium and vitamin D are known to be extremely important for bone health, there are other key factors at play, such as vitamin K2, which is perhaps not as well known,” comments Professor Sumantra Ray, Executive Director, NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health, which co-owns the journal.

The study also highlights an important research issue, he adds: “Different methods of preparation mean there are key differences in the nutrient composition of cheese which has often been regarded as a homogenous food item in dietary research to date. This needs to be addressed in future studies.”

But he cautions, “As this is a small study in young and healthy people designed to explore novel pathways linking diet and bone health, the results need to be interpreted with great caution as the study participants will not necessarily be representative of other groups. And it shouldn’t be taken as a recommendation to eat a particular type of cheese.”

best,

mike

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It’s hard to get enough collagen to make a difference by eating soft cuts of meat.

Although there was a big enough difference to show up in the long term study, or are you speaking of another difference?

DB2

<It’s hard to get enough collagen to make a difference by eating soft cuts of meat.

Although there was a big enough difference to show up in the long term study, or are you speaking of another difference?>

I agree, there was enough to make a difference. Many vegetarians are vegan – they refuse dairy products so they could be low on calcium as well as collagen.

Wendy

I agree, there was enough to make a difference. Many vegetarians are vegan – they refuse dairy products so they could be low on calcium as well as collagen.

Or they could consume plant-based milk, which is usually fortified with calcium.

<Or they could consume plant-based milk, which is usually fortified with calcium. >

I read some labels of plant-based “milk” and they didn’t have as much calcium as real milk. Anyone relying on this should read labels carefully.

Wendy

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