A vegan diet reduces the need for medication among the elderly, says study


A recent study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that, among an elderly population, those with a non-vegetarian diet more than double their chance to be in a polypharmacy situation than those with a vegan diet. Polypharmacy is a public health term to describe a situation when multiple medications (five or more) are prescribed to one individual.


The research assessed the data on 328 participants who were 60 years or older. Even though an increase in age, different body mass indexes (BMI), and current diseases also correlated to a higher number of pills taken, a vegan diet was the factor associated with the lowest amount of medications among the sampled population. According to the results, a vegan diet reduces that amount by 58% when compared to diets that contain meat.


The use of several medications simultaneously also does not come without its own risks. According to the study, “individuals who take more than five medications daily have 88% higher risk of adverse drug events. In consequence, patients with adverse drug events stay longer in the hospital, cost more, and have higher mortality rates. Among homecare patients, this number can be much higher as it was observed in the ONEHOME study, with 51.5% of homecare patients in the polypharmacy group.”


Although this new study is a very important tool for public health, its results should not be seen as a surprise. Other studies had already proven the relation between the consumption of meat and dairy and significant higher risks of development of serious diseases, including different types of cancer, which often lead to an intensive treatment with multiple medicines.


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