Vitamins

What supplements should vegans take?

What supplements should vegans take?

Different eating habits (or diets), provide different nutrients and also the lack thereof. If you predominantly eat meat, then your diet is filled with sufficient protein but may lack fiber if vegetables are not present. If you only eat junk foods and processed treats than your diet is filled with refined carbohydrates but will lack essential nutrients. Being a vegan has some amazing benefits, but like all diets, there may be a lack of certain nutrients; especially when specific foods that contain key nutrients, are not obtained. A wholesome diet consists of a balance of macronutrients and micronutrients, along with proper water intake and exercise. Vitamins are a great way to substitute key nutrients that may be lacking from a diet. 

What supplements do vegans need?

In this article, we will focus on the vegan diet and will be discussing the best vegan supplements.

Protein

A complete protein consists of 20 amino acids which are abundant in meat and dairy. In non-meat foods, complete proteins are a little harder to come by but are still available in things like quinoa, spirulina, tofu, hemp seeds, and amaranth which contain all 20 amino acids. If these foods are lacking in the diet and other measures are not taken, then a vegan will start to see rapid weight loss and muscle wasting, which would indicate a protein deficiency.

There are three ways a vegan can ensure they are getting sufficient protein in their diet. You can make a conscious effort to incorporate complete protein foods, you can combine any legume or grain (like brown rice and beans) to get your 20 amino acid combination, or you can supplement with a plant based protein powder, which is a quick, easy and filling way to top up on this essential macronutrient. 

Vitamin B-12

B-12 is abundant in animal protein and can also be found in organic, unwashed produce in trace amounts. Although fortified plant-based milks, cereals, nutritional yeast and plant-based meats, contain small amounts of B12; deficiency is still prevalent amongst vegans. B-12 supports the brain and nervous system and its deficiency can cause dizziness, forgetfulness and pernicious anemia. The easiest way to obtain B-12 is through a vegan multivitamin, that will not only contain recommended daily amount of B-12, but other vitamins like D-3, which also seems to be lacking in vegan diets. 

Vitamin D-3

If you live in a year-round sunshine state, then obtaining ample amounts of D-3 is as simple as going outside for 20 minutes a day.  For my vegans who do not have this luxury, then being conscious of your vitamin D-3 intake is important. D-3 is a supplement vegan’s need and its presence in the body is vital to bone strength and function, mood balance and brain health. Fortified beverages like orange juice and nut milks, along with vegan multivitamins like Nootropics, contain it.

Omega 3

The Omega 3 is a nutrient that we all need, no matter your diet. Omega 3 must be sourced externally, hence its classification as an “essential” fatty acid. Vegans require this vitamin, responsible for enhancing cognitive function, bone health, reducing bad cholesterol, and promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails. Vegan food sources include raw nuts, avocados, hemp, chia and flaxseeds. While most Omega 3 supplements come from fish oil, some companies provide vegan options sourced from algae oil.

Iron

Cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and nut milks are rich sources of iron, an important mineral. Iron is essential for energy metabolism, forming red blood cells, and transporting oxygen within the blood. Its deficiency can trigger a condition called anemia, which involves symptoms of extreme fatigue and tiredness. Menstruation causes significant iron loss, and pregnant women have much higher iron needs. Vegans supplement with non-heme iron from plant sources, whereas heme iron, animal-based, is not part of their diet. While adequate protein and vitamin C boost iron absorption, caution is necessary as iron levels can become toxic. . A licensed professional should administer it only after diagnosing deficiency.

All in all, 

You should now have a clear idea of what supplements vegans should take. While everyone can benefit from vitamins, it’s crucial to assess your diet for possible nutrient gaps and address them appropriately. Studies show that veganism reduces the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes, offering remarkable health benefits. It also promotes a healthy weight and increased energy levels. With these benefits also come risk factors of specific nutrient deficiencies. Choose a balanced, wholesome diet and lifestyle for optimal health and longevity, regardless of your preferences or choices.

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