As a vegan, it is important to ensure that you are getting all the necessary nutrients in your diet. While a well-planned vegan diet can provide all the nutrients the body needs, there are some supplements that may be beneficial for vegans to consider.
Here are the most important supplements for vegans:
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is important for the production of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is found almost exclusively in animal-derived foods, so it can be difficult for vegans to get enough of it. Supplementation with vitamin B12 is essential for vegans to prevent a deficiency, which can lead to anemia and neurological problems.
Iron: Iron is an essential mineral that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen throughout the body. Vegan diets can be low in iron, as the non-heme form of iron found in plant-based foods is not as easily absorbed by the body as the heme form found in animal products. Vegetarians and vegans may need to consume 1.8 times more iron than non-vegetarians to meet their daily requirements. Supplementation with iron may be necessary for some vegans, especially for women who are menstruating or pregnant.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain and heart health. They can be found in small amounts in plant-based foods such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, but supplements are a more reliable source. Vegan-friendly supplements made from algae are available and can provide the necessary omega-3s.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is important for bone health. It can be difficult for vegans to get enough vitamin D from their diet, as it is found naturally in very few plant-based foods. Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but this may not be possible for those who live in areas with limited sun exposure or who are indoors for most of the day. Supplementation with vitamin D may be necessary for vegans, especially during the winter months.
Calcium: Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth and is found in plant-based foods such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. However, the calcium in these foods may not be as easily absorbed by the body as the calcium found in dairy products. Supplementation with calcium may be necessary for vegans, especially for those at risk of osteoporosis.
While a well-planned vegan diet can provide all the nutrients the body needs, these supplements may be beneficial for some vegans to ensure they are getting enough of certain nutrients. If you have any questions about your diet and what supplements you could take to ensure your body gets everything it needs, please come into one of our stores and talk to our associates who will be more than happy to help.