Is There A Link Between Plant-Based Diets & Depression?

African American woman eating saladWhile going vegan or vegetarian has been known to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. New research proposes that opting for a plant-based diet may negatively impact one’s mental health.

Sure, recent documentaries like “What The Health” and “Cowspiracy,” may have you thinking that it’s time for a total life change. But, per a recent Bristol University study, scientists claim that vegetarians and vegans are more likely to be depressed than meat eaters. In the study, authors suggest that a lack of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids abundant in fatty fish like salmon and tuna as well as red meats is missing from their diet. Deficiencies of both nutrients have been associated with depression.

“Vitamin B12 is directly linked to mood, so much so that depression manifests with diets deficient in the essential micronutrient,” dietitian/nutritionist Jennifer Bowers, PhD, RD, tells “To complicate matters, the only natural sources of vitamin B12 are animal foods such as beef, fish, milk and cheese. Vegetarians and vegans can still eat enough B12 through fortified cereals.”

Per the findings, authors reviewed self-reported data from “9668 adult male partners of pregnant women in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) included identification as vegetarian or vegan, dietary frequency data and the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale (EPDS),” a reports states. Male participants filled out questionnaires about their daily diets, mood, financial hardships, and marital status, among other things. Even after considering factors that could impact happiness, vegetarians and vegans were almost twice as likely to suffer from depression than meat-eaters.