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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;53(3):189-94.

Nutrient intake and iron status of Australian male vegetarians.

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  • 1School of Nutrition and Public Health, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The study was designed to investigate the iron intake and status of Australian, male vegetarians aged between 20 and 50 y.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional comparison of male vegetarians and age/sex matched omnivores.

SETTING:

Free-living community subjects.

SUBJECTS:

39 ovolactovegetarians, 10 vegans and 25 omnivores were recruited by local advertisement.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

A 12-d semiquantitative dietary record to assess iron and zinc intake. Iron status was assessed by measurement of serum ferritin and haemoglobin concentrations.

RESULTS:

Mean (s.d.) daily iron intakes of both the ovolactovegetarians (20.4 (7.7) mg/d) and vegans (22.9 (6.2) mg/d), were significantly higher than the omnivores' intake of 15.8 (4.5) mg/d. Ovo-lactovegetarians and vegans had significantly (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively) lower serum ferritin concentrations than omnivores: mean (s.d.): 64 (46.9), 65 (49.9) and 121 (72.5) ng/ml, respectively. Significantly more ovolactovegetarians and vegans than omnivores had serum ferritin concentrations below 25 ng/ml and below 12 ng/ml (P < 0.05). A higher proportion of omnivores had concentrations above 200 ng/ml (P < 0.05). The differences in serum ferritin concentrations between the vegetarians and omnivores remained significant even after exclusion of iron supplement users.

CONCLUSION:

Australian male vegetarians had iron intakes higher than those of omnivores and above recommended levels, but their iron status was significantly lower.

PMID:
10201799
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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