In March 2018 researchers from Germany published the results of their study to assess the association between vegetarian-diet-induced changes in cholesterol metabolism. Male and female omnivores, lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto vegetarians, and vegans were included in the study. Cholesterol intake, absorption, and faecal sterol excretion were measured as well as levels of cholesterol and non-cholesterol sterols. Results showed that lacto vegetarians absorb 44% less dietary cholesterol and synthesize 22% more cholesterol, whereas there were no differences in total and LDL(bad)-cholesterol. However, individuals folowing a vegan diet were shown to absorb 90% less dietary cholesterol, synthesize 35% more cholesterol, have a similar total cholesterol level but a 13% lower LDL(bad)-cholesterol level. Total cholesterol absorption was also seen to be lower only in vegans.
Lütjohann D et al. Cholesterol Absorption and Synthesis in Vegetarians and Omnivores. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Mar;62(6):e1700689.