Cardiovascular disease risk factors are lower in African-American vegans compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarians.J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Oct; 17(5):425-34.JA
This study was undertaken to determine if African-American strict vegetarians (vegans) exhibit lower blood pressure (BP) and a more favorable serum lipid profile than their lacto-ovo vegetarian (LOV) counterparts, and if plasma ascorbic acid (AA) concentrations could explain any group differences in these cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Habitual dietary intake, anthropometric characteristics, blood pressure, and blood lipids and ascorbic acid concentrations were determined in African-American study participants (male vegans, n = 14, age = 45.6 years; male LOV, n = 49, age = 49.8; female vegans, n = 31, age = 51.1, female LOV, n = 94, age = 52.1) recruited from Seventh-Day Adventist Churches in several cities in the northeastern United States.
Body mass index (BMI) was significantly lower in the vegans (24.7 +/- 1.9 kg/m2) compared to LOV (26.4 +/- 0.45 kg/m2). There were no diet or gender differences in BP. Serum total cholesterol (3.75 +/- 0.12 vs. 4.51 +/- 0.10 mmol/L), LDL-cholesterol (2.06 +/- 0.13 vs. 2.65 +/- 0.09 mmol/l), and triglycerides (0.94 +/- 0.07 vs. 1.17 +/- 0.04 mmol/L) were significantly (p < 0.05) lower in vegans compared to LOV, but there were no dietary group differences in HDL-C. The ratio of total to HDL-cholesterol was significantly lower in vegans than in LOV (3.0 +/- 0.13 vs. 3.7 +/- 0.13). There were no dietary group differences in plasma AA concentrations. However, in the entire sample, plasma AA was inversely associated with BP (SBP: r = -0.46, p < 0.001, DBP: r = -0.32, p < 0.001), but unrelated to the serum lipid concentrations.
African-American vegans exhibit a more favorable serum lipid profile than lacto-ovo-vegatarians and plasma AA is inversely related to BP in African-American vegetarians but does not explain any of the differences in CVD risk factors between vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians.