Increasingly more people are adopting a plant-based diet nowadays. While many would praise a raw-vegan menu, nutritionists and even scientists do not agree with the alleged benefits of such a diet. A new study, even more, revealed that a plant-based diet affects brain health due to the lack of choline that such a nutrition plan implies.
New research issued in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal revealed that the lack of choline, a characteristic of a plant-based diet, is causing the brain to function abnormally. Choline is essential for the human body, and, even though the liver naturally secretes it, the amount is less than the daily need. Accordingly, we should complement the naturally-secreted amount of choline with a correct diet.
Choline plays an essential role in brain health, especially during fetal developments, so this nutrient is mandatory also for pregnant women. But, nowadays, more and more women, besides men, adopt a raw-vegan diet, lowering the amount of choline inside the body.
Brain health affected by a plant-based diet, a new study showed
According to dieticians, the primary sources for choline are eggs, dairy products, fish, and poultry. While some vegans might consume eggs and dairy, raw vegans, who adopt some strict plant-based diets, might refuse to eat such products.
As per a directive adopted by the US Institute of Medicine in 1998, the minimum daily intake of choline would be 425 mg/day for women, 550 mg/day for men. For pregnant and breastfeeding women, on the other hand, the choline intake should be between 450 mg/day and 550 mg/day, respectively.
“This is concerning given that current trends appear to be towards meat reduction and a plant-based diet. More needs to be done to educate healthcare professionals and consumers about the importance of a choline-rich diet and how to achieve this. If choline is not obtained in the levels needed from dietary sources per se then supplementation strategies will be required, especially concerning key stages of the life cycle such as pregnancy, when choline intakes are critical to infant development,” explained Dr. Emma Derbyshire from the Nutritional Insight institute.