The human brain is the most complex object in the universe. It is also the organ that consumes by far the most energy, compared to its weight. The brain is only about 2% of our body weight, but uses 20% of the energy.
This remarkable organ has evolved over millions of years. During this time, humans were omnivores. We ate both meat and plants.
There are many nutrients in these foods that are absolutely critical for the proper function of this very delicate system. Unless proper care is taken to supplement, going vegan and eschewing animal foods may lead to a deficiency in some of these important substances.
Here are 5 nutrients that are very important for the brain and only found in animal foods.
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is critical for the health of the brain and nervous system and is primarily found in animal foods. A deficiency can cause all sorts of adverse effects on brain function.
Creatine is an important nutrient in muscle and brain that helps to supply energy. Studies show that vegetarians have a deficiency in creatine that leads to adverse effects on muscle and brain function.
3. Vitamin D3
A large part of the world is deficient in Vitamin D3, which is only found in animal foods. A deficiency in this critical nutrient is associated with depression and various diseases.
Carnosine is found strictly in animal tissues. This nutrient can reduce damage caused by elevated blood glucose and may have strong anti-aging effects.
5. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA is critical for proper function of the brain. It is primarily found in animal foods like fatty fish. Studies show that vegans and vegetarians are often deficient in it.
Just Eat Some Animals as well…
Humans evolved eating both animals and plants. However, we can function in some cases without either. The Inuit, for example, survived mostly without plants, but they had to compensate by eating lots of organ meats.
In the 21st century, people can survive and function without animal foods if they make sure to supplement with critical nutrients. Before the era of supplementation, completely removing animal foods would have lead to a slow and painful death due to B12 deficiency.
But even though functioning without either plants or animals is possible… neither is optimal. In the same way that a meat-based diet is healthier with a little bit of plants, a plant-based diet is healthier with a little bit of animals.
We highly recommend that people who choose to avoid meat for ethical reasons (because there is NO proven health reason) at least include some eggs and fatty fish. A little bit goes a long way and it is possible to choose natural, humanely raised sources.
But to those who really decide to remove all animal foods from their diet… make sure to be very prudent about your diet and supplement