Vegetarian diet raises risk of heart disease and cancer

 31 Mar 2016 - 9:59

Vegetarian diet raises risk of heart disease and cancer

 

Washington: Vegetarianism over generations can result in genetic mutations which increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Researchers found a long-term vegetarian diet means populations are more likely to carry DNA that makes them vulnerable to inflammation.
The mutation is believed to make it easier for vegetarians to absorb necessary fatty acids from plants, but also boosts their production of arachidonic acid, which increases inflammatory disease and cancer.
This, coupled with a diet rich in vegetable oils, means the mutated gene turns fatty acids into arachidonic acid.
The problem is also worsened because the mutation obstructs the production of Omega 3, which protects against heart disease. 
This is an increasing issue given the shift in people’s diets away from fish and nuts, which contain valuable Omega 3, to vegetable oils, which contain the unhealthier Omega 6.
The new findings provide an explanation for previous studies which found that vegetarians were up to 40 per cent more likely to develop bowel cancer than those who eat meat.
Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition at Cornell University, said: ‘Those whose ancestry derives from vegetarians are more likely to carry genetics that more rapidly metabolise plant fatty acids.
Vegetarians are often found to be deficient in protein, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and calcium, with one study showing that vegetarians had a five per cent lower bone-mineral density than those who eat meat.

QNA