#463: Do Vegan Diets Cause Depression?

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. People in this Episode
  3. Overview
  4. Related Resources
  5. Detailed Study Notes (Premium Subscribers Only)
  6. Transcript (Premium Subscribers Only)


In this episode, the Sigma team explores the question: “Do vegan diets increase the risk of depression?”

This is a question that emerges from a few different places. First, it’s common to hear such a claim from proponents of largely animal-based diets. Some reference is often made about how vegan diets can, at best, worsen symptoms or, at worst, even cause depression. Or conversely, they may state that moving away from a plant-based diet will improve mental health outcomes, including depression.

And while all of those specific claims aren’t within the scope of this episode, such claims do get people wondering if a plant-exclusive diet is actually a cause of various mental health ailments.

But is there a basis for such claims?

In this episode, we explore the evidence from two ends: 1) research related to the proposed mechanisms by which a vegan diet could cause problems, and 2) outcome data looking at the impact of such diets.

People in this Episode


  • Claims about vegan diets and depression
  • Suggested Mechanisms
    • Cholesterol & The Brain
    • EPA & DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • Choline
  • Key Studies:
    • Michalak et al., 2012
    • Beezhold et al., – Seventh Day Adventist Study
    • Askari et al., 2022 Meta-analysis
    • Lee et al., 2021 Cross-sectional Study
  • Difficulties with Diet-Depression Evidence

Detailed Study Notes

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