HOT TOPICSVeganism, aging and longevity: new insight into old conceptsNorman, Kristinaa,b,c; Klaus, Susannec,d Author Information aDepartment of Nutrition and Gerontology, German Institute for Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Nuthetal bResearch Group on Geriatrics, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin cInstitute of Nutritional Science, University of Potsdam dDepartment of Physiology and Energy Metabolism, German Institute for Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Nuthetal, Germany Correspondence to Kristina Norman, Department of Nutrition and Gerontology, German Institute for Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Arthur Scheunert Allee 114-116, 14558 Nuthetal, Germany. Tel: +49 33200 88 2280; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: March 2020 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 145-150 doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000625 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review Plant-based diets are associated with better health and longevity. Veganism is a strict form of vegetarianism, which has gained increasing attention in recent years. This review will focus on studies addressing mortality and health-span in vegans and vegetarians and discuss possible longevity-enhancing mechanisms. Recent findings Studies in vegans are still limited. Epidemiologic studies consistently show lower disease rates, such as lower incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease, but mortality rates are comparable with rates in vegetarians and occasional meat eaters. Reasons for following strict vegan diets differ, which may affect diet quality, and thus health and life-span. New insights into some characteristics of veganism, such as protein restriction or restriction in certain amino acids (leucine or methionine) show potentially life-span-enhancing potential. Veganism improves insulin resistance and dyslipidemia and associated abnormalities. Gut microbiota as mediator of dietary impact on host metabolism is more diverse in vegans and has been suggested to be a health-promoting factor. Vegan diets do not fulfill the requirements of children, pregnant women or old individuals who should receive adequate supplements. Summary There is substantial evidence that plant-based diets are associated with better health but not necessarily lower mortality rates. The exact mechanisms of health promotion by vegan diets are still not entirely clear but most likely multifactorial. Reasons for and quality of the vegan diet should be assessed in longevity studies. Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.