New Bristol research suggests going veggie may cause depression in men

God bless meat

A recent study by the University of Bristol suggests vegetarianism might be causing practitioners to suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can affect their mental health.

Researchers in UoB’s School of Social and Community Medicine, carried out a study of 9,668 men in the south west of England which found that those who renounced meat were nearly twice as likely to suffer depression as those on a conventional balanced diet.

This guy may well be suffering from depression

This guy may well be suffering from depression

The study, set to published in the next edition of The Journal of Affective Disorders, contends that whilst "Vegetarian diets are associate with cardiovascular and other health benefits" "little is known about mental health benefits or risks." Around one in 20 Britons are committed vegetarians and the majority are women.

The results showed that vegetarians- who comprised 3.6% of those surveyed- had higher depression scores on average than non-vegetarians and a greater risk for Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale scores above 10 than non-vegetarians, after adjustment for potential other factors.

Looks good enough to eat

Looks good enough to eat

There are a number of reasons why vegetarianism may be linked with depression including a lower intake of vitamin B12 and greater consumption of nuts rich in omega-6 fatty acids. The report detailed how: "Other potential factors include high blood levels of phytoestrogens – consequent mainly on diets rich in vegetables and soya."

"Another potential contributing factor is that lower intakes of seafood are thought to be associated with greater risk of depressive symptoms.”

One in 20 people in the UK are vegetarian

One in 20 people in the UK are vegetarian

Georgie Lockwood, President of the University of Bristol Vegetarian and Vegan Society commented on the findings: "This study lists nutrient deficiency as the issue contributing to depression, which is dependent on the individual's diet. Many omnivores are also nutrient deficient, and vegetarians consume sufficient supplements to avoid these deficiencies."

"Also if the study is particularly about men, then society is at fault for projecting the idea that meat is manly – this may lead to insecurities which may be the cause of depression."

"The study is small, with only 3.6% of people interviewed out 9668 being vegetarian: the small sample means that it isn't completely accurate or reliable and could easily be chance."

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University of Bristol