Vegan and Depressed? Science Can Explain

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Do you enjoy a plant-based diet but sometimes feel the pressures of life a little more than everybody else? There is no second guessing that being vegan or vegetarian is the healthiest diet in terms of physical health and brain health, but what about your mental health? A new study suggests that a plant-based diet may be linked to depression.

Vegan Food Pyramid

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The recent study was conducted on about 9,700 men in Britain who were all either vegetarian and vegan. They were also all husbands of pregnant women who were taking part in a long-term study about parent and child health. During this study the men would identify as either vegetarian or vegan and fill out intensive questionnaires about their diet. This information would then be compared to information gathered about their placement on the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Prone to Depression

Given there weren’t many vegans, the men who were vegetarian/vegan were lumped together for this study. The study showed that men with a plant-based diet were more likely to have a higher depression score. The study even took into account variables that may have impacted this data, like family history, number of children, job status, and so on. It was found that regardless of these variables, the connection between plant-based and depression remained the same. There was also a connection between the number of years one had been on the diet and the severity of one’s depression.

The science behind it has to do with vegetarians and vegans intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and folate. Given the lack of meat in their diet, plant-eaters will have significantly lower levels of these essentials. What they may not realize is that deficiencies of these essentails are all associated with depression. There is also a high possibility that they are low in iron and zinc intake, and high in omega-6 fatty acids. All of which are directly linked to depression. 

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