Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood & Productivity

Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood & Productivity
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The most comprehensive controlled trial of diet and mood finds that a plant-based nutrition program in a workplace setting across ten corporate sites significantly improves depression, anxiety, and productivity.

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A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression concluded that a healthy diet pattern was significantly associated with reduced odds of depression, but out of the 21 studies they could find in the medical literature, they were able to find only one randomized controlled trial, considered the study design that provides the highest level of evidence. It was the study I profiled in Improving Mood Through Diet, in which removing meat, fish, poultry and eggs improved several mood scores in just two weeks.

We’ve known that those eating plant-based tend to have healthier mood states—less tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue. But you couldn’t tell if it was cause and effect until you put it to the test, which they finally did. What could account for such rapid results? Well, eating vegetarian does give you a better antioxidant status, which may help with depression.

Also, as I’ve previously addressed, consumption of even a single carbohydrate-rich meal can improve depression, tension, anger, confusion, sadness, fatigue, alertness, and calmness scores among patients with PMS—but what about long term?

Overweight men and women were randomized into a low-carb, high-fat diet, or high-carb, low-fat diet for a year. By the end of the year, who had less depression, anxiety, anger, and hostility, feelings of dejection, tension, fatigue, better vigor, less confusion, or mood disturbances? The low-carb dieters are represented by the black circles, and the low-fat dieters are represented in the white. These sustained improvements in mood in the low-fat group compared with the low-carb group are consistent with results from epidemiological studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, and have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing.

But the overall amount of fat in their diet didn’t significantly change in this study, though. But the type of fat did. Their arachidonic acid intake fell to zero.

Arachidonic acid is an inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that can adversely impact mental health via a cascade of neuroinflammation. It may inflame your brain. High blood levels in the bloodstream have been associated with a greater likelihood of suicide risk, for example, and major depressive episodes. How can we stay away from the stuff?

Americans are exposed to arachidonic acid primarily through chicken and eggs. But when we remove chicken and eggs, and other meat, we can eliminate preformed arachidonic acid from our diet.

So, while high-quality treatment studies investigating the impact of diet on depression are scarce, there is that successful two-week trial, but even better, how about 22 weeks?

Overweight or diabetic employees of a major insurance corporation received either weekly group instruction on a whole food plant-based diet or no diet instruction for five and a half months. There was no portion size restriction, no calorie counting, no carb counting. No change in exercise. No meals were provided, but the company cafeteria did start offering daily options such as lentil soup, minestrone, and bean burritos.

No meat, eggs, dairy, oil, or junk, yet they reported greater diet satisfaction compared with the control group participants who had no diet restrictions. How’d they do though? More participants in the plant-based intervention group reported improved digestion, increased energy, and better sleep than usual at week 22 compared with the control group. They also reported a significant increase in physical functioning, general health, vitality, and mental health. Here’s that represented graphically, where the plant-based group beat out controls on nearly every measure.

There were also significant improvements in work productivity, thought to be due, in large part, to their improvements in health. So, what this study demonstrated was that a cholesterol-free diet is acceptable, not only in research settings, but in a typical corporate environment, improving quality of life and productivity at little cost. All we need now is a large, randomized trial for confirmation, but we didn’t have such a thing—until now.

Ten corporate sites across the country from San Diego to Macon, Georgia. Same kind of setup as before. Can a plant-based nutrition program in a multicenter, corporate setting improve depression, anxiety, and productivity? Yes, significant improvements in depression, anxiety, fatigue, emotional well-being, and daily functioning. Lifestyle interventions have an increasingly apparent role in physical and mental health, and among the most effective of these is the use of plant-based diets.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to JD Hancock via Flickr.

A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression concluded that a healthy diet pattern was significantly associated with reduced odds of depression, but out of the 21 studies they could find in the medical literature, they were able to find only one randomized controlled trial, considered the study design that provides the highest level of evidence. It was the study I profiled in Improving Mood Through Diet, in which removing meat, fish, poultry and eggs improved several mood scores in just two weeks.

We’ve known that those eating plant-based tend to have healthier mood states—less tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue. But you couldn’t tell if it was cause and effect until you put it to the test, which they finally did. What could account for such rapid results? Well, eating vegetarian does give you a better antioxidant status, which may help with depression.

Also, as I’ve previously addressed, consumption of even a single carbohydrate-rich meal can improve depression, tension, anger, confusion, sadness, fatigue, alertness, and calmness scores among patients with PMS—but what about long term?

Overweight men and women were randomized into a low-carb, high-fat diet, or high-carb, low-fat diet for a year. By the end of the year, who had less depression, anxiety, anger, and hostility, feelings of dejection, tension, fatigue, better vigor, less confusion, or mood disturbances? The low-carb dieters are represented by the black circles, and the low-fat dieters are represented in the white. These sustained improvements in mood in the low-fat group compared with the low-carb group are consistent with results from epidemiological studies showing that diets high in carbohydrate and low in fat and protein are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, and have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing.

But the overall amount of fat in their diet didn’t significantly change in this study, though. But the type of fat did. Their arachidonic acid intake fell to zero.

Arachidonic acid is an inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that can adversely impact mental health via a cascade of neuroinflammation. It may inflame your brain. High blood levels in the bloodstream have been associated with a greater likelihood of suicide risk, for example, and major depressive episodes. How can we stay away from the stuff?

Americans are exposed to arachidonic acid primarily through chicken and eggs. But when we remove chicken and eggs, and other meat, we can eliminate preformed arachidonic acid from our diet.

So, while high-quality treatment studies investigating the impact of diet on depression are scarce, there is that successful two-week trial, but even better, how about 22 weeks?

Overweight or diabetic employees of a major insurance corporation received either weekly group instruction on a whole food plant-based diet or no diet instruction for five and a half months. There was no portion size restriction, no calorie counting, no carb counting. No change in exercise. No meals were provided, but the company cafeteria did start offering daily options such as lentil soup, minestrone, and bean burritos.

No meat, eggs, dairy, oil, or junk, yet they reported greater diet satisfaction compared with the control group participants who had no diet restrictions. How’d they do though? More participants in the plant-based intervention group reported improved digestion, increased energy, and better sleep than usual at week 22 compared with the control group. They also reported a significant increase in physical functioning, general health, vitality, and mental health. Here’s that represented graphically, where the plant-based group beat out controls on nearly every measure.

There were also significant improvements in work productivity, thought to be due, in large part, to their improvements in health. So, what this study demonstrated was that a cholesterol-free diet is acceptable, not only in research settings, but in a typical corporate environment, improving quality of life and productivity at little cost. All we need now is a large, randomized trial for confirmation, but we didn’t have such a thing—until now.

Ten corporate sites across the country from San Diego to Macon, Georgia. Same kind of setup as before. Can a plant-based nutrition program in a multicenter, corporate setting improve depression, anxiety, and productivity? Yes, significant improvements in depression, anxiety, fatigue, emotional well-being, and daily functioning. Lifestyle interventions have an increasingly apparent role in physical and mental health, and among the most effective of these is the use of plant-based diets.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to JD Hancock via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

Here’s the link for the video I mentioned about the original randomized controlled trial, Improving Mood Through Diet, and the pilot data on workplace interventions can be found in Slimming the Gecko and Plant-Based Workplace Intervention.

Diet can help at home too! See:

Arachidonic what? For background on the inflammatory fatty acid see:

2018 Update: I just did a new series on the CHIP program. Check it out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

82 responses to “Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood & Productivity

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  1. Just a question on Arachadonic Acid– is this the same type of omega-6 found in peanuts and some other nut sources? (en francais L’Arachides) If this is accurate, what kind of concentration differences are there between nut and animals sources? Does the Arachadonic acid in peanuts still provide a similar inflammatory effect?

    Thanks!

    1. Arachidonic acid is the counterpart to DHA and EPA. It is not found readily formed in plants. Linoleic Acid (omega 6) is found in high amounts in peanuts, the body proceeds to convert it to arachidonic acid. This is more controlled and is based on how much omega 3 is available for conversion as well. They are competitive substrates for similar enzymes. People tend to get too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3 in their diet which tilts the balance towards more arachidonic acid and much less DHA and EPA. That is why you maye have heard that your ratio of overall of omega 6:3 should ideally be 4:1 or better.

      http://www.hqt-diagnostics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/1._simopoulos_omega-6_-_omega-3_balansen.pdf

    2. Arachidonic acid is the counterpart to DHA and EPA. It is not found readily formed in plants. Linoleic Acid (omega 6) is found in high
      amounts in peanuts, the body proceeds to convert it to arachidonic acid. This is more controlled and is based on how much omega 3 is available for conversion as well. They are competitive substrates for similar enzymes. People tend to get too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3 in their diet which tilts the balance towards more arachidonic acid and much less DHA and EPA. That is why you may have heard that your ratio of overall omega 6:3 should ideally be 4:1 or better.

      http://www.hqt-diagnostics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/1._simopoulos_omega-6_-_omega-3_balansen.pdf

  2. So is it going to take bean-counters actually counting on beans to improve The Bottom Line numbers of the Corporation to begin to influence Western dietary patterns toward a more healthful life? Oh the conflicts, but I do hope that study participants learned something, and tell two friends.

    Lower rates of disease and mental issues would be a great start on a better world, a reversal of our negative spiral. Maybe this is the straw. We need a turning point.

  3. Could you please make more videos on mental illness and mental health? I am studying to become a mental health counselor and I find your videos extremely helpful and useful. Thanks for all the effort you put into educating the masses on the benefits of a vegan diet :)

  4. Now this is the type of video I love to wake up and read in the morning. Still the best way to start the day is with a nutritionfacts video. Kudos Dr G!

  5. I have Hashimoto’s and was vegetarian for many years – the Hashi’s got worse. I was told to try The Paleo Approach to healing auto-immune diseases and after not touching meat for years started adding MINIMAL organic chicken, grass fed beef and bone broths and WILD fish to my diet and miraculously – after years of suffering – I healed. You are NOT going to get the bodies needed amino acids, Omega 3 fatty acids etc. from plants or nuts or seeds (they are high in the BAD Omega 6 f a) And the ammountof fructose in a plant based diet is way high – so you can keep it. I am living proof how dangerous eating plant based diets sre (oh lets not forget lectins and phytates). If you want to REALLY learn about the food you consume – but an excellent book like The Paleo Approach!

    1. I think you mean the Paleo approach to stinky body odor, bad breath, greasy skin, low energy, cancer, heart disease, type2 diabetes and a shorter sicker life? That sounds about right for the Paleo diet. Try going vegan to heal your made up problems. Eggs and dairy are some of the worst foods ever and ‘bone broth’ is an old stupid Weston A Price wives tale. gross… Go Vegan!

      1. I am now a couple years into eating lean organic grass fed beef, wild fish, organic free ranged chicken, plenty of organic vegetables, no grain or nightshades, no gluten – and I have never felt better in my 66 years! I have energy, my thyroid and Hashimoto’s antibodies tests are good. I have gone to lean muscle and lost the 20 lbs I could never lose. Yesterday I made home made organic chicken soup (bone broth is SO healing). When I was a Vegetarian I tried the Vegan route – I was sick, bloated and full of gas. The soy did in what was left of my thyroid (and you may Google this phenom – also I suggest that you really learn about the nutrient needs of your body. I only eat enough animal products to sustain my life. If you will look at Nature, you will find that MANY species have to consume other species for survival. They don’t have to gorge on it, but they do have to consume. I am fine with my health now with much kudo’s to The Paleo Approach for teaching me about food and what each food does IN the body and that helped me design an eating plan for my heath. My energy is off the charts. Not so when I was “plant based”. I am a “whatever floats your boat” type of gal, so to each his own – I have found my path back to wellness and as you can see, sustaining it. My Doctor is amazed and put his wife on my eating plan. She lost 40 lbs so far (a little more to go) and feels wonderful. That’s all the “proof” I need. I now know what each and eery food that I eat does to and for my body and I know what NOT to consume.

    2. Anecdotal evidence is always interesting but hardly compelling. While you may have correlated your diet change to resolving your Hashimoto’s I hope you recognize that there may have been something else going on. In addition you can’t ignore the negative health effects of red meat or wild fish. Paleo if followed does recommend a number of servings of fruit and vegetables so unless you are avoiding those recommendations you still should have a higher than Standard American Diet in plant food intake.

      1. How about 10.000’s of anecdotal evidences? Will you still call them anecdotal? And how anecdotal is the fact that Hom Jay Dinshah, founder and former president of American Vegan Society died of a heart attack in 2000? Don’t you find this funny – it’s you vegans/vegetarians that claim YOUR way is the ONLY way how to prevent heart attack… C’mon guys, get real. If you’re 20 or 30yrs old, come back when you’re 50 and tell me that you still thrive. Going vegan/vegetarian ALWAYS help if you were on SAD previously. Few months, even few years if you really do your homework and combine plants wisely so that you maximally prevent any deficiencies/disbalances that most of the vegetarians and esp. vegans suffer from – B12, iron, hormonal mess… I do like the fact that Dr. Greger promotes plant-based diet. What I do not really like (and highly involved in nutrition for past 20+ years I can see it in 2 of 3 of his videos) is the fact that he only sees the problem from one side and does not mention (widely available) studies that contradict his findings. Not mentioning that he does not differentiate McDonald’s hamburger from grass-fed beef prepared in crockpot using only fresh herbs and salt additionally.

        1. 10,000 pieces of anecdotal remain anecdotal do they not? Just as a single heart attack death by a vegan remains anecdotal. Dr. Greger has done at least one talk looking at the death of Hom Jay Dinshah and possible causation. https://youtu.be/q7KeRwdIH04
          If you want to see studies that tell you red meat is good for you, you’ll never find them on this site which shouldn’t be a surprise. Start up your own page with your own comments and studies if you want to see them gain more traction. Feel free to post a link to any “widely available” study which is actually available to read (no paywall) and name what study Dr. Greger used which is being refuted.

    3. Vegetarians still eat animal products, but if you were vegan you must not have had a very balanced diet because there is nothing in animal flesh that you can’t get a better version of in plants. Hashimotos is an immune disorder, so something else is going on, you can’t blame veganism. In fact, eating more sea plants actually “fixed” my hypothyroid issues. And the fructose in plants is a non issue, it helped me get rid of diabetes, that disease caused by consuming all those unhealthy animal fats! No disrespect intended, but YOU are the one who really needs to learn about the food you consume!

      1. Where did you study biochemistry? Fructose helped you get rid of diabetes? Do you know how fructose is metabolised and that in first line it has nothing to do with glucose blood levels? And that in 2nd line it contributes to overweight/obesity/metabolic syndrome? That it is primarily used to replenish glycogen stores and if eaten in abundance it gets again stored as body fat? Your claim calls for Nobel price ;-)

        1. First of all, get yourself right. Diabetes is a disease where your cells which need all the glucose as primary energy production fuel have come to a circumstances that they resist and the glucose can’t into the cells as fuel needed. The glucose (the goods) only can keep ‘driven’ by insulin (the transportation) in the bloodstream (the road). This is called the type 2 diabetes (What they call them? Insulin-resistant diabetes? Oh gosh, I hope I’m not wrong though I’m just an average forgetful science Biology and Medical Lab Technology student LOL)

          Another one type 1 diabetes is the insulin isn’t doing their work (the broken transportation lorry). The patient can easily get diabetes ketoacidosis (the cells can’t get glucose as burning fuel, the body automatically breaks down protein that’s muscles into glucose for own cells fuel to create energy for body metabolism, and this process called gluconeogenesis = production of glucose using the new hybrid way, and the bi-product of this abnormal way of sustaining energy production of being alive is ketone, will be very toxic to neurons especially in too much amount at one time, so means starving without strenuous physical activities is going to have gluconeogenesis of protein fuel and not really your fat first…!)

          Please correct me if I’m wrong =)

    4. There is nothing about a plant based diet that says you can’t sprout, roast or soak nuts, legumes or grains. Plants also have omega 3s and amino acids. Quinoa and amaranth are very high in different amino acids. If you’re going to be a healthy paleo you shouldn’t eat a lot of meat anyway. A lot of the paleo authors are gradually admitting that good carbs are necessary and you should eat more plants than meat anyway. You don’t have to be 100% vegan or high meat/fat. John S

      1. Agree. Not a lot of meat. And Linda did not say anything about going 100% free of carbs. Quinoa and amaranth are as good as all the other plants with regards of amino acid profile – or rather as bad as the others. The best sources from plants with the most complete amino acid profile are rice and pea – those 2 combined along with i.e. artichoke (one of the few plant-based sources of isoleucine) will give you 100% of essential amino acids. Or you can have 1 piece of grass-fed steak gently prepared in crockpot once a week and you achieve the same ;-)

    5. Well thanks for giving me a good chuckle this afternoon with your comment about the “dangers” of eating a plant-based diet. Maybe take a few minutes and watch Dr Greger discuss the Paleo Diet

    6. Linda, as MikeOnRaw suggests there are many things involved in auto immune diseases. By that I mean that you could be consuming any number of things with a vegetarian diet which might provoke an auto immune response. That might include nightshade, gluten, citrus, dairy, eggs, et al. Each of those, with the exception of dairy or eggs are healthy unless it provokes an allergy or auto immune response. With the paleo fad you might well have eliminated an important provocation to your immune system along with the ingestion of some very unhealthy things.

      Indeed I had a diet that was not unlike a paleo diet but it was the gluten (not included in a paleo diet) that was giving me psoriatic arthritis. I eliminated gluten and the psoriasis disappeared. On further study I found about numerous pro inflammatory factors in meat and dairy and decided to eliminate all. Then the occasional flair up and residual swelling from the arthritis disappeared. After a year I checked and the gluten sensitivity had also disappeared. Again, this is just my own anecdote but when I reported this to a class at Cornell, I was told that this is very common.

      Good luck with your auto immune condition. Auto immune conditions are ubiquitous and they can be serious.

  6. Arachidonic acid is essential for your brain, liver, and organs, according to the National institutes of Health. A study published in 2013 in the American Journal of Cell Physiology reports that arachidonic acid appears to help increase muscle mass, and a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that arachidonic acid supplementation, when combined with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), helps improve social interaction in people with autism spectrum disorders.

    Getting too much arachidonic acid in your diet could be problematic. The University of Maryland Medical Center and the American Heart Association both say that arachidonic acid promotes inflammation, which can increase your risk for heart disease. However, if you’re getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids — abundant in coldwater fish, flax seeds, soybeans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, and other plant-based oils — exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting saturated fat, trans fat, dietary cholesterol, and sodium in your diet your heart-disease risks should stay low.

  7. Listening to your video it occurred to me that nearly all the symptoms you mentioned that improved on plant-based diets are symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of mental health issues (such as irritability, depression, anxiety, and more) are one big result of low magnesium. Eating more plants should improve magnesium levels since that is where we typically primarily get magnesium from. Higher energy, less PMS (or eradication of it), less menopausal symptoms (or eradication of those), and so much more are all benefits of magnesium. I hope you will do a series of the incredible benefits of magnesium and how transdermal magnesium can help much faster than even getting mg through plant food. See Dr Mark Sircus and Dr Carolyn Dean books.

    Regarding arachadonic acid. Don’t walnuts have arachadonic acid? But you’ve shown health benefits from walnuts daily. Is this just a small amount of arachadonic acid? Why the difference?

    1. Hello Pla,

      As is often the case, magnesium may very be a marker of plant food intake in studies unless supplemental magnesium is the independent variable, as potassium and fiber are often used as markers of plant food intake. Walnuts do not contain preformed arachidonic but they do contain omega 6 in the form of linoleic acid. Please see my statements above in an earlier post regarding omega 6 and 3.

  8. The removal of neuroinflammation producing factors as a possible basis for mood and productivity improvement might also be responsible for improvement in many other things as well. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s come to mind immediately.

    Then of course diabetics limiting the amount of exogenous advanced glycation end products from animal sources has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity dramatically. Too many possible benefits in these studies for just one video.

  9. Interesting. I have a good friend who was diagnosed as being bipolar. He gave veganism (without consuming any gluten as well) a try and his bipolar episodes have stopped completely. I really wonder if AA has something to do with it.

  10. Check out the role of amino acids (neurotransmitters role). With age or gained functional deterioration, some people lose the ability to create enough non essential amino acids. For example, glycine has an important role as a neurotransmitter among many other functions.

  11. Question: does the good doctor have a clinical practice? Does he see and treat patients? Does he have hospital privileges? Did he ever? His bio does not state.

    1. Shut up. That’s Dr Greger your talking about. He does his own voice overs. He sounds great, most people find his delivery entertaining and engaging unlike you Matt. I bet you look like W.C Fields.

      1. I don’t care what his name is, he needs to sober up before doing the narration. Sound like some sot doing a video in his moms basement.

    1. I think I deleted your comment because it was rude and inappropriate. The credibility of each video can be found in the “sources cited” section. Please consider reading the transcripts if you don’t like the audio. You are free to comment here but please be respectful.

      Thanks Matthew,
      Joseph Gonzales, R.D.,
      Nutrition Director

  12. i used to go on a vegetarian diet and had felt healthier in many aspects. But one thing that concerns me is the level of hair loss and constipation.

    What should I eat to promote faster hair growth because I am experiencing bald spots on top of my head.

    thank you

  13. The term ‘probiotic’ means supporting life. Probiotics are friendly,
    beneficial bacteria. These bacteria (as well as others) are normal
    inhabitants of the large and small intestines and are a very important
    part of a healthy digestive system.

  14. I would just like to add my personal experience. I have bipolar type 1, borderline personality disorder, PTSD and social anxiety. Over the course of this year I have gradually become vegan. At first it was ‘accidental’ – I was too lazy to cook for one when my ex was ejected from the house for being an idiot. After a couple of weeks I began to realise that I was feeling better. I have been suffering with severe, life-threatening bipolar depression for approximately 4 years and now, since becoming fully vegan and exercising regularly (which I was unable to do when I was depressed and a meat-eater) I have been able to more than halve the medication I take and haven’t had a single bipolar episode all year. My psychiatrist agrees that diet helps, but refuses to believe just how much of a difference it has made. Unbelievably, I feel pretty certain that I will eventually be able to do away with my meds altogether if I continue to be a healthy and active vegan. I am an intelligent woman and to be honest, I am cursing myself for not realising before just HOW different I could feel simply by changing my diet. I am also losing weight at a nice, healthy rate because I have significantly reduced my portion sizes as the food I now eat fills me up more. Given how much exercise I am doing, I would have thought I would need to eat more, but it definitely appears that nutritional content is the key. I would like to thank Dr. Greger and others like him for putting forward the truth about plant-based diets. As with someone who has commented below, I would like to see more videos regarding a plant-based diet and the effect it has on mental health issues. I can testify that it has worked literally wonders for me. At 49, I really wish I had known this sooner. GPs need to catch up on this and start helping their patients transition to a healthier diet, and it’s about time the meat industry wasn’t allowed to make false claims regarding the so-called health benefits of the products they sell. From my experience, meat is not health giving.

    1. Hi Ruth, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. We love hearing stories like this. I firmly believe that the benefits of a plant-based diet, although plentiful already, are still to a large extent, unknown, and we will continue to see in the years to come how many people can benefit from such a diet. I wish you all the best in your journey!

  15. But what about THIS study that show vegans and vegetarians have if I can leave more mental health issues.? If you are looking at long-term studies dont you think you really need to look past one year? Did you know about this study when you did this video? I’m sure you didn’t,because I’m sure if you did, you wouldn’t purposely ignore it. Now that you see it, perhaps you should do a video on mental health that incorporates this and debunks it. Because a lot of us who are investigating for our long term health aren’t just going to accept something because it comes from a doctor that we respect. we’re still going to do our research. And if you do the research you are going to stumble upon this study http://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-9-67

    1. I looked at this study briefly and I noticed right away it says this, “Within the nutrition-survey that was part of the core survey a vegetarian diet pattern was assessed with the item ‘Do you currently follow a vegetarian diet (no meat) or did you follow a vegetarian diet in the past?’ Participants could answer either ‘no, never’, ’yes, completely’, or ’yes, predominantly’. It should be noted that the word ‘meat’ in German language excludes poultry.”

  16. Dear Dr. Gregor,

    Hi! How are you? I’ve been reading your articles and watching your videos for a few months now. I have a tiny request for you – Could you please write an article on Pyrrole disorder (Pyroluria)?
    After countless years of suffering from severe inner tension, spontaneous anger outbursts, acne all throughout my pre teen and teenage years, history of family alcoholism and suicide, digestive issues, white spots on finger nails etc., I’ve only recently heard about this disorder. I’ve been diagnosed with GAD, borderline personality disorder, depression, bipolar II…. I’ve heard it all, and have been on numerous SSRI’s and benzodiazepines, even institutionalized for my sporadic mood swings, but not once has any doctor recommended that I alter my diet. When I feel “normal”, I am a kind and easy going 27 year old woman.
    Only until last year when I began studying holistic nutrition, is when I began to recognize that diet is linked to EVERYTHING in regards to our physical and mental wellbeing. However, even though I am absolutely convinced I suffer from severe Zinc and B6 deficiencies, is there a generic diet those suffering from pyroluria should follow? I’ve read sources that claim those who suffer zinc deficiencies NEED to consume animal protein. I mostly consume a plant based diet but still suffer occassionally mostly from inner tension and social anxiety. Is pyroluria a subjective disorder or should those of us affected all be consuming a similar diet?
    Please, any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you doctor Gregor!
    Your loyal fan,
    Kim

    1. Hello Kim! Unfortunately, Dr. Greger is unable to answer most of the questions posted here, however, we do have an amazing team
      of volunteer doctors, nurses, and dietitians who answer questions. I have forwarded your question to them.
      Please note that we don’t have enough volunteers to get all questions answered, so an answer is not guaranteed.

    2. Kim,

      A few suggestions…… one, please get tested to make certain that this is indeed your health issue. The pyroluria test may need to be repeated and make sure you’re off any and all supplements for at least 2 days prior to the test. One of the concerns with pyroluria is that you will need more than zinc and B6 to address the genetic condition. There is an interplay between nutrients that will need to be addressed. Another test to consider is the Spectracell test for nutrient deficiencies which will give you a broader overview of your status. You might consider taking this test with the current supplements to see where your levels are with your current diet or as a follow up to address deficiencies and excesses.

      There is no specific diet that I’m aware of that will supply the necessary amounts of the nutrients for a true pyrrole disorder. The PBWF’s diet is one of the most nutrient dense, but may not meet the need entirely and supplemental intakes of vitamins and minerals for this disorder are inexpensive and can address the genetic expression.

      Also keep in mind that you will want to evaluate your digestion as well to maximize the absorption of the nutrients. Exercise caution if you choose to just do the B6 or zinc without some assistance as they can cause additional health issues at high doses or when used without a balanced approach.

      Look forward to hearing your feeling better and able to balance your food and nutrients.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  17. Hi there! Thank you so much for your work. I am vegan (have been for four years) and I am a big fan of Dr. Greger and nutritionfacts.
    I just stumbled upon this study (published in The Journal of Affective Disorders) and I would love to hear your expert opinion on it.
    Thanks in advance and keep on the good work

    Phil

    http://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327(16)32391-6/fulltext

    Conclusions
    Vegetarian men have more depressive symptoms after adjustment for socio-demographic factors. Nutritional deficiencies (e.g. in cobalamin or iron) are a possible explanation for these findings, however reverse causation cannot be ruled out.

  18. An article mentioned in medscape news links vegetarian/vegan diets with depression. According to The news article, the study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders.
    Could Dr Greger please comment on this article?

    1. Thanks for your question. Our research team is not able to review all the other articles like this that are sent to us simply due to limited time. But here are a few more videos Dr. Greger has made about depression that you might find interesting:

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-inflammatory-diet-for-depression/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/exercise-vs-drugs-for-depression/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-and-depression/

      Kelly
      Moderator

  19. Hi!

    I am a Ob/Gyn from Mexico and I recently became vegan, some of my peers are very aggressive about this issue, so they send me this article from Medscape about depression and vegetarians/vegans diets, obviously they primary link this to B12, Zinc and iron deficiency, but there is another opinion from a doctor from Australia, that supports the findings as she was a vegetarian and had some mood issues that were resolved soon as she start eating meat again.
    Could you comment on this please?
    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/886916

    1. You will all be waiting, like me, for dr Greger to answer your inquiry. In all likelihood, he will never respond. I have tried every avenue to get answers to questions–fb, messaging, this comment section, his utube and fb live q&as, and I believe he simply ignores the questions he doesn’t have solid answers for.

      1. I’m a volunteer moderator with nutritionfacts.org. We receive a vast amount of questions everyday. There is no way Dr. Greger could possibly respond to all of them. The volunteer moderators such as myself do the best we can to answer as many questions as they can. I’ve been at it for the last hour and a half and I feel like barely made a dent in our inbox, but I’m doing what I can. I apologize if no one has every gotten to one of your questions. They are not being intentionally ignored. There is just a huge amount of questions we receive.

        1. Hi Nurse Kelly! I think Nutritionfacts is awesome. I realize you must receive a lot of questions everyday and I really appreciate your effort trying to answer them all. That said, if your answers only and systematically consist in a quick polite replies it kind of defeats the purpose… It seems to me this (the article we are referring to) is important new information and as a moderator, wouldn’t your role be to bring this up to the rest of the team so it can be addressed? Just wondering…

    2. Thanks for your great comment Gonzalo Unfortunately, if you ask around, people seem all too eager to give you reasons not to adapt a plant based diet. But here at nutritionfacts.org, we believe in the science which tells a different story.
      Here are a few more videos Dr. Greger has made about depression your might find helpful:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-inflammatory-diet-for-depression/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/exercise-vs-drugs-for-depression/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-and-depression/

      You mention Vitamin B12. Dr. Greger does recommend a Vitamin B12 supplement and Vitamin D if you eat a plant based diet (but you could just as easily be deficient in these vitamins if you eat animal products too).
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-brain-loss-with-b-vitamins/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-necessary-for-arterial-health/

      Kelly
      Moderator

    3. Thanks for your great comment. Unfortunately, if you ask around, people seem all too eager to give you reasons not to adapt a plant based diet. But here at nutritionfacts.org, we believe in the science which tells a different story.
      Here are a few more videos Dr. Greger has made about depression your might find helpful:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-inflammatory-diet-for-depression/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/exercise-vs-drugs-for-depression/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/antioxidants-and-depression/

      You mention Vitamin B12. Dr. Greger does recommend a Vitamin B12 supplement and Vitamin D if you eat a plant based diet (but you could just as easily be deficient in these vitamins if you eat animal products too).
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-brain-loss-with-b-vitamins/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-necessary-for-arterial-health/

      Kelly
      Moderator

  20. Hi, I have suffered severe depression plus inflammatory arthritis for 25 years…. last year I changed my diet drastically to high protein diet. This worked amazingly on my arthritis and I am now able to walk without a walker!
    However… I would love to be able to eat all the foods recommended and have indeed become totally vegan since October last year after watching ‘more than an apple a day’ and ‘what the health’.
    A huge problem arises as I had a total colectomy in 2016 and my body cannot process many of the foods such as pulses, greens and vegetables and fruit ….. even pulverised is making life more complicated with chronic diarrhoea. I’m also highly allergic to wheat so have to be gluten free .
    I would appreciate any advice as I truly believe a total plant based diet is the way to go.

  21. That’s indeed a challenge! May I suggest you visit plantbseddoctors.org and search for gastroenterologists?A plant based GI doc may be able to give the best advise for your situation. You could also seek out a plant based bariatric surgeon, as post gastric bypass patients have issues with altered absorption as well. If there is one near you, I’d schedule a visit. If not, you could look for contact information to ask advice.

    Best to you. -Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  22. I have been almost completely vegan since I was 8 (I eat oysters two or three times a year and sometimes, although rarely, have honey). Everyone who knows me has always commented on the fact that I am (almost) always in a good mood. I wake up happy, even during very difficult periods in my life. It’s actually really cool, and I have often thought that this was because of how I eat.

  23. @nutritionfacts.org: love your work guys! I was wondering though: weten jullie van het bestaan af van een studie waarin ze de gezondheid van mensen met een dieet van biologische (grass-fed) vlees, gevogelte en zuivel vergelijken met de gezondheid van veganisten? Ik ben benieuwd wat de uitkomsten van een dergelijke vergelijking zijn, omdat je veel leest dat de manier waarop dieren gevoed en behandeld worden een impact kan hebben op de kwaliteit van de producten

  24. @nutritionfacts.org: Love your work guys! I was wondering though: do you know of the existence of a study in which they compare the health of people with a diet of organic (grass-fed) meat, poultry and dairy with the health of vegans? I wonder what the results of such a comparison are, because you read a lot about how the way in which animals are fed and treated can have an impact on the quality of the products…

  25. Your question has come up before and one of our volunteers gave a comprehensive answer which I’ll share. I believe it speaks to the question of whether grass fed has been shown to be healthier. Glad you are benefitting from NF.org!
    The summary answer is that while these products may be “marginally” healthier, they are not significantly healthier. How do we know that? Because many of the reasons why these products are healthy would apply to the product regardless of its source. While an organic or wild or grass fed product may have less say saturated fat, they still have plenty of saturated fat– enough to matter. All of these animal products are still going to have saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein, TMAO, contaminants, etc. All of these products are going to be lacking fiber and vital phytonutrients, including precious few antioxidants. http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/antioxidant-power- of-plant- foods-versus-animal- foods/
    The following NutritionFacts overviews gets you started on this topic and you will see that most if not all of these mechanisms apply to the product regardless of it’s source: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/meat/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/igf-1/ and http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/endotoxemia/ Here’s a quote from moderator Rami: “Looking at meat and dairy, they still contain trans fats which the recommended daily allowance is at 0: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/good-great- bad-killer- fats/ Dairy blocks the phytonutrients of plant foods, http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/nutrient-blocking- effects-of- dairy/ Looking at chicken, its fat to protein ratio is abominable http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/does-eating- obesity-cause-obesity/ Fish protein itself shortens lifespan by 6 years by cutting down our telomeres. http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/research-into- reversing-aging/
    What do animal products have in common? They promote cancer due to raised IGF-1 levels, promote heart disease, autoimmune disease, dementia, etc.. What can stop the progression and in most cases reverse these diseases? Plants, not meat.
    It seems clear based on all of the evidence that plant food, all around, is much healthier than meat, organic or not.” NutritionFacts does have some videos that directly address your question. For example, here is a video on organic salmon: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-problem- with-organic- salmon/ Note that while organic was better, it’s still got plenty of contaminants. “The differences were really marginal…” Here is a video showing arsenic in organic chicken: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/arsenic-in- chicken/ Regarding the issue of grass-fed beef: In Uruguay for example where all beef comes from grass-fed animals, the more beef eaten, the higher the rates of cancer. https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/09/08/

  26. i used to go on a vegetarian diet and had felt healthier in many aspects. But one thing that concerns me is the level of hair loss and constipation.

    What should I eat to promote faster hair growth because I am experiencing bald spots on top of my head.

    thank you

    1. Hello Jamal,

      I am sorry to hear about your previous struggles on a vegetarian diet. While I do not have much information to go on as far as your previous diet, I would highly recommend downloading the free “Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen” app for iPhone and Android and attempting to tick off the boxes on a daily basis. That will ensure you’re maximizing your nutrition since hair loss is potentially due to certain nutrient deficiencies. Furthermore, the primary cause of constipation is a low-fiber diet. Were you consuming many processed foods previously? Concentrating on consuming whole plant foods, as seen in the Daily Dozen, will ensure you are getting more than adequate amounts of fiber and should help prevent constipation.
      It is also unclear in your question, but when you state that you were vegetarian, does that mean you consumed eggs and dairy? If so, dairy has been linked to constipation, particularly in children, although that may carry forward into adulthood as well.
      If you choose to give a plant-based diet another try, I hope these resources are useful for you.

      Matt

      Dairy + Constipation in children: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/childhood-constipation-and-cows-milk/
      Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist-2/

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