Is Your Vegetarian Diet Making You Depressed?


Over the last couple of years, there has been a few studies that have shown a vegetarian diet might be associated with an increased risk of mood disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Today, we are looking into this in more detail, trying to connect all the dots and provide you with nothing but the facts.

The anecdotal indications that going vegetarian might cause mood disorders in some people have been reported for quite some time now. People who have been active their whole lives, never having to deal with any mood disorders were becoming depressed and started experiencing panic attacks not long after going meatless. It didn’t take long for some psychiatrists and nutritionists to start seeing the connection and associating these new problems with newfound lack of meat in their patients’ diets.

The truth is that this is something not often discussed, the fact that going vegetarian might have its bad sides too. This is especially true over¬†these last couple of years when going vegetarian has become more popular than ever before and when new studies only reinforce the people’s decision to go meatless.

And do not get us wrong, vegetarianism definitely has its benefits. It is (on average) a much healthier diet which is usually accompanied by a more active and healthy lifestyle. For most people, it goes without any problems and they truly change their lives for better.

shutterstock_260484878-(1)That being said, there are still those who experience problems when switching to a vegetarian diet. There were enough such people for two separate studies to be conducted, one in Australia and one in Germany. Both studies showed that going vegetarian increases the chances of developing mood disorders.

According to the German study, their vegetarian subjects were twice as likely to suffer from anxiety and 15 percent more likely to experience depressive disorders. The Australian study showed that vegetarians were 28 percent more likely to experience anxiety and panic attacks than the control group and that they were 18 percent more prone to depression.

The reason for this, most nutritionists and doctors will agree, is that certain substances that are found commonly in meat are simply lacking (or present in very, very diminished amounts) in the vegetarian diet. Substances like zinc, iron, tryptophan and B vitamins which all play important roles in the way our body regulates neurotransmitters and affects our mood.

Most experts also agree that if you have had experiences with mood disorders in the past or if you are particularly worried you might suffer in the future, you should stop eating meat gradually and ease your way into vegetarianism. This should help you avoid mood problems and experience nothing but the good sides of going veggie.

Related: Top 5 Most Common Dieting Mistakes

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