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J Nutr. 2000 Jun;130(6):1591-6.

LDL of Taiwanese vegetarians are less oxidizable than those of omnivores.

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Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


The vegetarians in Taiwan consume diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. To investigate whether this dietary pattern results in high susceptibility of LDL to oxidation, 109 long-term (8 +/- 5 y) male and female vegans and lactovegetarians (ages 31-45 y) from Taipei and females from Hualien and matched omnivores were recruited to have 24-h-recall dietary assessments and blood lipid analysis. Body mass index and blood pressure were significantly lower in all vegetarian groups than in the matched omnivore groups (P < 0.05). Vegetarians consumed less energy except in the males and less protein, fat and cholesterol (P < 0.05). The mean polyunsaturated/saturated fatty acid (P/S) ratio of 2.4 in vegetarian diet was about two times that in omnivore diet (P < 0. 001). The concentrations of plasma total- and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) but not HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) were significantly lower (P < 0.001) and resulting HDL-C/LDL-C ratio was 38, 46 and 30% higher (P < 0.01) in Taipei female, male and Hualien female vegetarians, respectively, than in the matched omnivores. Plasma triglyceride concentration was significantly lower only in the Hualien women vegetarians (31%, P < 0.001) than in the matched omnivores. The lag time of conjugated diene formation in LDL oxidized in vitro induced by copper was longer in Taipei female (62%, P < 0.001), male (29%, P < 0.05) and Hualien female (38%, P < 0.01), and the production of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in LDL after 2-4 h of oxidation was 22-32% less (P < 0.005) in Taipei male and Hualien female vegetarians than the matched omnivores. Lag time of LDL oxidation was negatively related to LDL arachidonic (r = -0.55, P = 0.0003) and eicosapentaenoic (r = -0.47, P = 0.003) acid contents. LDL-TBARS production was negatively related to LDL linoleic acid content (r = -0.36, P = 0.023), but positively related to LDL arachidonic (r = 0.56, P = 0.0002) and eicosapentaenoic (r = 0.45, P = 0.004) acids. No significant differences were found in dietary vitamins C and E intakes and plasma LDL alpha-tocopherol concentrations between vegetarians and omnivores. Our results suggest that vegetarian diets decrease the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation despite their higher dietary P/S ratio.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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