Resistance Training Can Help Support Bone Strength In Plant-Based Eaters, Says New Study
If you follow a vegan diet, listen up. Any form of exercise is going to be a positive addition to a healthy routine, but there's one form of activity in particular that may be beneficial for better bone health: resistance training.
What the study found.
There are many health benefits to a vegan diet: It's heavily reliant on plants, helping you to reach your veggie intake goals each day, not to mention nutrient density as well (hello, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc.). However, the reality is that those who follow a vegan diet are missing out on dairy—one of the most significant sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. What's more, science has shown that vegans are more likely to struggle with bone density issues and weakness2.
With this, the observational study of European women and men followed 43 healthy vegans and 45 healthy omnivores, evaluating their nutrition intake, bone makeup, and physical activity. Given a 3D assessment of bone composition and structure (called pQCT), serum markers of bone turnover, their diet, and training style, the results revealed that in people who followed a vegan diet, those who were not engaging in resistance training reported a diminished bone makeup.
However, in both omnivores and plant-based eaters who resistance trained, the bone structure was remarkably similar. While the study does not prove this, it does suggest that resistance training may help cancel out some of the challenges of vegan eating on your bones. Therefore this form of exercise may be most effective in plant-based eaters looking to support bone density, strength, and longevity.
Bones are supported not just by general exercise or diet, but it appears that specifically a resistance exercise plan can be important to a vegan lifestyle for bone architecture, strength, and longevity.
Other (vegan!) ways to support bone health.
Your bone health is determined by many factors, but nutrition and physical activity are two major factors (you can control!). This new study provides evidence that plant-based eaters may want to consider adding resistance training to their routines for stronger bone architecture. On top of it all, adding a comprehensive multivitamin like mbg's ultimate multivitamin+ is an easy way to support overall health, regardless of your eating style.*
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.