An unbalanced vegetarian diet can lead to depression. To avoid nutritional deficiencies, scientists advise taking certain B vitamins.
Vegetarian food and balance
More and more people are fond of vegetarian diets, but such food should be completely balanced in terms of the elements necessary for the human body. Otherwise, a deficiency of certain substances will lead to depression, the scientists concluded: the results of the study were published in the journal Nutrients.
How is vegetarianism related to depression?
So, doctors decided to test the theory that the adoption of a certain diet may be associated with nutritional deficiencies, which can affect brain health.
Scientists have found that a lack of vitamins B-6, B-12, and folates (B-9) can lead to depression in vegetarians.
In the course of the study, it turned out that the addition of vitamins B-6, B-12, and folic acid (synthetic folate) in the form of dietary supplements to the diet of vegetarians with manifestations of depression had a positive effect on the functioning of their brains. Accordingly, the manifestation of the depressive state decreased.
What is the connection between these vitamins and depression?
The conclusions of scientists are logical since vitamin B-9 (folates) is needed for DNA synthesis, growth, and cell division, including the immune system.
A deficiency of this vitamin leads to the development of depression, weakness, fatigue, tachycardia, and deterioration of the condition of hair and skin.
B-6 is the main catalyst for the exchange of amino acids in the body, it is also responsible for the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the nervous system, and metabolism in the brain. The deficiency of vitamin B-6 leads to poor mood and memory.
Vitamin B-12 or cyanocobalamin is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. It also serves for the development of neurons and DNA synthesis.
Its deficiency leads to:
- the accumulation of homocysteine - a neurotoxic compound;
- anemia, which is almost always accompanied by a depressive state;
- memory impairment.
These vitamins, especially B-12, are in large quantities in animal-based food: meat, liver, fish, eggs, and milk. That is, in foods that vegetarians just avoid.
What plant foods contain these B vitamins?
Folates are in:
- leafy vegetables,
- citrus fruits,
Vitamin B-12 is often added to fortify plant-based milk, nutritional yeast, breakfast cereals, and vegan spreads.
In cases where these vitamins do not supply to the body in sufficient quantities, nutritional supplements will help. But only the doctor will determine whether you have a deficiency of any trace element. And whether it is worth taking nutritional supplements.
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