Why reducing red meat may double risk of Depression and Anxiety

About six years ago, this study came out showing a correlation between low red meat intake and an increased risk of Depression and Anxiety. Unfortunately the study was small and lacked the important detail that everyone wished to know.

Whats in red meat that makes it so special?

Fast forward six years and this new study comes out showing that those with low blood levels of L-Acetyl-Carnitine are more prone to Depression. L-Acetyl Carnitine is produced from an amino acid called Carnitine.  So what’s that got to do with red meat?

Guess which food is highest in Carnitine?

Yes, you guessed it, red meat. There are other factors at play in the conversion of L Carnitine to Acetyl L Carnitine but the correlation between these two studies warrants further investigation.

Here is a chart which demonstrates the staggering difference in Carnitine from red meat versus other sources.

Food Milligrams (mg)
Beef steak, cooked, 4 ounces 56–162
Ground beef, cooked, 4 ounces 87–99
Milk, whole, 1 cup 8
Codfish, cooked, 4 ounces 4–7
Chicken breast, cooked, 4 ounces 3–5
Ice cream, ½ cup 3
Cheese, cheddar, 2 ounces 2
Whole–wheat bread, 2 slices 0.2
Asparagus, cooked, ½ cup 0.1


There are many other reasons why someone could be Depressed but this is yet again another study highlighting the important role diet can play in Depressive disorders.

I’ve already discussed many other reasons in my previous article. With a range of studies showing increased mental health issues from deficiencies in Folic Acid, B12 and Vitamin D, the questions remain…

Unfortunately its not yet standard for these deficiencies to be tested within the medical community and even if some are, the difference between frank and mild deficiency isn’t recognized.

I’ve had some backlash over this article amongst Vegan communities. I think there is far too much Polarisation amongst health communities.

Everyone wants to be healthy but without openly debating challenging areas we just continue to revalidate our own life decisions often existing in an echo chamber of our own beliefs.

My advice, read outside your current belief system rather than constantly reinforce it. One day that knowledge may serve useful even if it presently sticks in your throat.




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