Does a Vegetarian Diet Cause Depression?

(Last Updated On: November 23, 2021)

Three key brain nutrients worth supplementing on a meat-free diet

A study published in October 2021 found that a meat-free diet “was associated with poorer psychological health.” This systematic review of 18 studies of meat and mental health involved a total of over 160,000 participants. It concluded that:

“The most rigorous studies demonstrated that the prevalence or risk of depression and/or anxiety were significantly greater in participants who avoided meat consumption.”

This review may be highly significant, but it does not prove that a vegetarian diet causes mental health problems. It just highlights a strong relationship between two factors. Association is not causation, after all.

One irrefutable fact is that the food you eat can affect the way you feel. No surprises there: the brain is made of fat, protein, cholesterol and water, and is powered by a broad spectrum of micronutrients. Many of those nutrients are unique to animal-source foods – they are either missing from a plant-based diet or have low bioavailability, meaning they are poorly absorbed.

Therefore, there are potential risks involved in meat avoidance, including the development of depression and anxiety. Anyone who chooses a vegetarian diet needs to be aware of this. After that, it’s quite simple: just take the appropriate supplements. The important thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms of deficiency and know which supplements to take. Here are three key nutrients likely to be missing on a meat-free diet.

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Image: JerzyGorecki on Pixabay

Copyright © 2021 Maria Cross All rights reserved.

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