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Br J Nutr. 2012 Jan;107(2):272-6. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511002923. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Adaptive changes of pancreatic protease secretion to a short-term vegan diet: influence of reduced intake and modification of protein.

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  • 11st Chair of Pediatrics, Department of Gastroenterology and Metabolism, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.


In our previous study, we demonstrated that abstaining from meat, for 1 month, by healthy omnivores (lacto-ovovegetarian model) resulted in a statistical decrease in pancreatic secretion as measured by faecal elastase-1 output. However, no correlation between relative and non-relative changes of energy and nutrient consumption and pancreatic secretion was documented. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to assess the changes of exocrine pancreatic secretion with a more restrictive dietetic modification, by applying a vegan diet. A total of twenty-one healthy omnivores (sixteen females and five males) participated in the prospective study lasting for 6 weeks. The nutrient intake and faecal output of pancreatic enzymes (elastase-1, chymotrypsin and lipase) were assessed twice during the study. Each assessment period lasted for 7 d: the first before the transition to the vegan diet (omnivore diet) and the second during the last week of the study (vegan diet). The dietary modification resulted in a significant decrease in faecal elastase-1 (P < 0·05) and chymotrypsin output (P < 0·04). The lipase excretion remained unchanged. The decrease in proteolytic enzymes was documented to be positively correlated with a decreased protein intake (P < 0·05). In addition, elastase-1 and chymotrypsin outputs were also related to the changes of protein type, plant v. animal (P < 0·04 and P < 0·03, respectively). It was concluded that significant reduction and modification of protein intake due to a short-term vegan diet resulted in an adaptation of pancreatic protease secretion in healthy volunteers.

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