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Research


The Lightdrop Center for Plant-based nutrition

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Research


The Lightdrop Center for Plant-based nutrition

Your home for the latest and most-rigorous science

A key part of Lightdrop's mission is to provide evidence-based and practical education about your plant-based nutrition and how to thrive as a vegan.

Our team has looked at the latest, most rigorous research, and a diverse range of expert recommendations, to take the guesswork out of plant-based nutrition. 

You won't find a "company perspective" — this section is all about the science and research. And just so you know where we're coming from, here's what we believe:

A whole foods, plant-based diet is a nutrient-dense and disease-fighting way to eat. It is the optimal diet for your health, for the environment, and for the wellbeing of other animals. A handful of nutrients, however, are not consumed as part of a typical plant-based/vegan diet. This is true of any diet or style of eating (in many cases, more so than in a plant-based diet), and does not mean a plant-based diet is inferior. 

To maximize the benefits of a plant-based diet, it is important to obtain these hard-to-find nutrients. That may be possible through whole foods or fortified products, or in some cases, you may benefit from complementing your diet with a few key nutrients. 

In our Learning Center, we dive into the science regarding the key nutrients vegan need to thrive, as well as additional topics, other types of media, and much more! To start, we're focusing on the nutrients that cause the most confusion. Read below (or click the links to specific nutrients) to learn more.

 

 

The Brain-Gut Connection: How to improve your mood with food

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There are trillions of reasons to be happy. Many of them, it turns out, are in your gut.

The bacteria living in the digestive tract outnumber your human cells 10:1. You probably intuitively understand that keeping your microbiome healthy can improve your digestion and immunity, but most wouldn’t expect it to influence your mental health.

According to the  American Psychological Association, gut bacteria produce about 90% of the serotonin (the neurotransmitter regulating mood and impulses) in your body, along with neurochemicals that the brain uses to moderate physiological processes – including learning and memory.

Continue reading...


The Big Mistakes Most Vegans Don't Realize They're Making

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With veganism making unprecedented strides towards mainstream acceptance, there’s never been a more exciting time to be plant-based. But with so many people going vegan, are there any problems we’re facing?

I recently had a chance to speak to Matt Frazier, founder and author of No Meat Athlete, about his vision for the vegan movement. In particular, I asked him what he thought is the biggest mistake new vegans make.

Continue reading...


The Truth About Supplements: Do They Even Work ?

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Do supplements actually work? Or are you just wasting your money? Does it all just (literally) go down the drain? 

A few years ago, three major studies published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that multivitamin supplements were not any more effective than placebos in preventing heart disease, memory loss, or in promoting longevity. 

This prompted physicians from prominent medical schools in the US and UK to write an editorial entitled "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting your Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements."

Continue reading...


Vitamin B12

B12 is an essential nutrient for human health. Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. What’s more is that you must consume adequate amounts to avoid pernicious anemia. There are no adequate plant-sources of B12— despite what you might have heard about eating “dirty” vegetables. We'll start with the story behind that idea to better understand why it's critical to complement your plants with a B12 source. Continue reading...

 
Francesca - plant-based since 2014

Francesca - plant-based since 2014


Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our body, like other animals, synthesizes D in reaction to sun exposure. Getting enough vitamin D is essential to prevent vitamin D deficiency diseases like rickets and osteomalacia, and recently researchers have discovered that higher levels of vitamin D may be beneficial in preventing a host of conditions, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, upper respiratory tract infections, premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovary disease, psoriasis, muscle weakness, lower back pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. Increased levels of vitamin D might even improve your mood and mental health. Continue reading...

 
Carrie - plant-based since 2012

Carrie - plant-based since 2012


DHA/EPA

We've all heard of the importance of "Omega-3’s", but we don't often hear that not all Omegas are created equal. Omega fatty acids from flax or chia seeds — the "ALA" kind — are an amazing addition to your plate, but plant-based people may not adequately intake other forms — namely, DHA and EPA — which are also critical for cardiovascular and brain health. Continue reading...

 
Giada - plant-based since 2011

Giada - plant-based since 2011


Iodine

Your body relies on iodine in order to create essential thyroid hormones. Without those, you would be unable to properly regulate metabolism and other vital functions. This process is even more important for pregnant women and children because a growing human relies on thyroid hormones for bone and brain development. Continue reading...

 
Diana - plant-based since 2016

Diana - plant-based since 2016


Zinc

Zinc is an important nutrient with a complicated story. Our body utilizes zinc in a variety of ways. In fact, the mineral helps stimulate the activity of more than 100 enzymes. It also supports proper immune function; plays a role ensuring normal growth; and even helps neurons communicate, thereby enabling memory formation and learning. Studies have even shown that zinc can help stave off age-related chronic illness by combating systemic inflammation. So where do we find this powerful mineral? Continue reading...

 
Martha - plant-based since 2010

Martha - plant-based since 2010