Is depression and anxiety a part of becoming vegan?


Feb 5, 2017
Reaction score
  1. Vegan newbie
Hi. :)

I've been suffering from depression and anxiety for quite some time now. Is started complete vegan diet around 4 weeks ago, and at first I felt some good improvements, but now it is starting to wear off.

I've been trying to find the best info on vegan diet and its connection to depression, because I wouldn't like to hurt my health.

I found this article that is packed with Vegan foods and talks about what to eat and what not when you're prone to depression:

Crushing depression and anxiety with vegan food: The ultimate list

and then I found other articles on why going vegan could potentially hurt you

Risks of going meatless

Any advice or experiences? This really makes me scared.

Thank you. :)
  • Like
Reactions: AJAY
I have had cases of anxiety but never associated becoming a vegan with it. But now reading up on it there seems to be a connection. I really hope that someone who's more of an expert can help in explaining how to deal with it. Glad we are all in this forum and can discuss this candidly.
  • Like
Reactions: AJAY
I've also struggled with the above diseases for about 5 years years and have been vegetarian 2 years, but vegan 3 months. I've felt no increase in depression or anxiety after going vegan.

It's very likely that the test subjects in the studies were on a malnourished vegan diet; they may have been deficient in iron, omega 3s, b12, and plenty of others...and the article never tells us what kind of food they were eating/if they were going about the vegan diet correctly.

"tryptophan, an essential amino acid found almost exclusively in poultry" is absolutely not true, considering soy, legumes, and nuts have ample amounts of tryptophan.

A vegan diet full of proper nutrients is a healthy one for me ;)
Mariah, we need to think when reading about the benefits / harms of diet who is telling us ... who is funding their telling us & what they may be trying to sell us.
Much of the world does not eat flesh foods ...

then there is this one -

you see? You need to think about how YOU feel about what you are eating ... I feel my diet has improved my mental health because it has improved my physical health ...
I feel happier because I am personally not contributing to animal suffering (so far as I know - there is always more to learn). A good healthy plant-based diet surely cannot do you any harm. Apart from slowly losing weight :)I haven't had any noticeable changes in my health or moods. I still get highs and lows and colds and 'flu bugs and the odd migraine. I don't see being vegan as a cure-all for us, just a stopping of the suffering to animals that eating and using animal products inflicts.
  • Like
Reactions: leedsveg
I can fully identify with what you say Sally. Only time I've been even slightly depressed was just after I went vegan 20 years ago. In the first flush of veganism, I was excited thinking that everybody else was surely going to go vegan when they saw things the way that I did. Took me a while to realise and accept that meat eating is so entrenched in world societies that a change to veganism was going to be A LOT more gradual than I'd initially thought.
I have gone nearly vegan and quite heavily raw and can't say it has caused any depression. i have had depression many times but am feeling pretty good now. perhaps you should try more raw and organic. what i am doing is eating individual items and then if something doesn't feel right i don't finish it. maybe something i will need another time maybe not. as far as depression i would suppose that the change could make people wake up quite a bit. that is what i feel and i was already pretty awake. perhaps i will have some ups and downs maybe even some flu or something but I do know I was vegetarian for some time with the occasional meat and like at christmas eating meat with family put me on a downer the energy was really nasty so if someone is doing it different way they might suddenly start feeling problems that they did not notice when they were effected by meat and other things like pesticides and so forth. i'd look into stuff like grounding and breathing techniques like watch the videos about the ice man wim hof and not underestimate how big a change this could be. as far as the article saying how people getting depressed all i can is it is about time i was depressed when i was like 4 years old and already had people trying to put me on toxic drugs and tell me it was my fault and nothing to do with the huge problems in this world. you have to go thru alot to find out what happyness really is. I am not particularly convinced my some peoples happyness like maybe being functional and 'happy' in a dysfunctional situation is a sign of much worse than depression.
Last edited:
Some people feel anxious or depressed after going vegan because their eyes have opened to all the animal suffering around them. Could that be what's going on with you? Some studies show that eating a plant-based diet can alleviate depression, so it seems unlikely that the change in diet alone would cause depression.
  • Like
Reactions: Lou
I battled depression for a little over a decade. Going vegetarian didn't help, nor did going vegan 15 years later. I notice lots of things affect my body, and my health, but rarely my moods. Good luck overcoming your depression. I know you can do it, I did.
I have been attracted to veganism because of its health benefits. Having read the book How not to Die by Michael Greger and Gene Stone I am convinced that eating meat is not only unacceptably cruel to animals but also very harmful to those who eat it. The authors of that book produce all the evidence needed to persuade me that I am much better off without animal products. The population of India has the longest and healthiest lives because they eat no meat, despite the fact that they are far from being the richest people in the world.
I am very sorry that you are suffering from depression. I know from my son's experience how hard that is. My son followed a course of CBT to help him overcome the problem.
A balanced vegan diet is a good route to a healthy life. It does not guarantee mental health unfortunately. But you can get help to achieve that too.
PS My son is now leading a happy and fulfilled life. You can achieve that too.
Hi Mariah,

I really hope you see this! I absolutely know what you mean, I had depression, was tired, my muscles ached. All in all I felt pretty awful. I ate what I considered a very healthy diet (raw fruit and veggies, tofu, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, smoothies, regularly took a b12 supplement) and my doctor agreed that my diet should not lead to me feeling this way (God bless liberal doctors!) so she ran a blood test.

It wasn't free but it was totally worth doing because she discovered I had very low vitamin D levels, not surprising given I live in a very cloudy city, hadn't eaten any fish in many years (was vegetarian before vegan) and you don't get this so readily from a vegan diet. Sooo I started taking a daily vitamin D supplement and kept eating the same as before with more fresh fruit and smoothies (the sugar rush gives you a high that can really put you in a good mood to kick start your day) and now I feel great. With my new found energy and elevated health I also joined a gym which makes me feel even better (I used to be Mrs Anti-Exercise). My mood is so much better now, I get so much more done each day.

Also since finding out I was deficient in vitamin D I started using which is an online food diary that tells you approximately how much of each vitamin you are getting. And not just the usual vitamin C, iron, calcium etc. The works! Every amino acid, every B vitamin, omega 3 and 6. I'm basically addicted to it now (!) and not surprised I felt so bad before as my vitamin D intake was virtually at 0% for many months.

Totally try this website if you're not ready to pay out for a blood test but I would totally recommend a blood test and exercise even if you think you are to down or tired, it will lift you like you would't believe.

XxStay well my dear, hope you see this and it helps you stay a strong and a happy vegan xx
Becoming vegan has helped with my depression. It gave me something to focus on and to feel positive about in a world that can feel overwhelmingly cruel.
Becoming vegan honestly made me happier. It has helped my mind almost clear, I’ve had more energy which has pushed me back into working out. And that helps with depression too. Anxiety wise, I’ve had it since age 7. My anxiety has been better. There’s also been studies that vegans consume more superfoods and greens - and that helps depression and anxiety.

I totally agree with @broadthinking. Get blood tests done. Vitamin deficiencies and lack of certain foods when you have those deficiencies can kinda lower your mood and make you feel yucky!! I hope things get better soon dear.

It might not apply in all cases but Im wondering since casein in milk acts like an opiate if the withrawl of dairy is playing a role?
Only if you undereat due to lack of knowledge on how to get calories, or due to disguising an eating disorder as "veganism" (yes, anorexia/starvation makes people feel bad) OR if you have underlying mental health issues OR in the long-term you don't make sure that you get B12 (and Omega 3s which are super easy from walnuts, hemp, canola oil, flax seeds, etc).

Vegans who get super sick are starving or are usually decades-long vegans who refuse to take B12 back in the wacky and less-informed 70s and 80s. I actually own a book written by one of these types, I wonder what happened to the author frankly, because though the book is totally ON POINT in terms of philosophical arguments, he also advises a raw diet without any B12 - the book was published sometime in late 70s when this gentleman would have been way ahead of his time in every other regard. I hope he changed his mind about the B12.
  • Like
Reactions: Veganite