More and more people are opting for a vegan or plant-based diet. Going vegan is healthy and cruelty-free, but there are some aspects that must be addressed. We can get many nutrients from a plant-based diet, but our bodies may lack certain vitamins and minerals if we don’t eat animal products. You don’t have to rely on food for every nutrient as taking supplements can provide essential minerals. To avoid a vitamin deficiency as a vegan, consider these vegan supplements to ensure optimal health.
6 Affordable Supplements Every Vegan Needs for Optimal Health
Essential omega-3 fatty acids
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the essential omega-3 fatty acid that can produce the other two important omega-3fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All these three types of omega-3’s are necessary for the normal functioning of the brain and body. ALA can be found in soybeans chia seeds and flaxseed, but it is not enough to produce EPA and EHA, found mostly in fatty fish. If you are a vegan, supplementing with omega-3 might be necessary.
Iodine deficiency can lead to problems related to thyroid, can cause fatigue, low energy, as well as weight gain. Studies have shown that vegans have lower levels of iodine compared to vegetarians. To avoid running low on iodine you can consume iodized salt or seaweed. If this doesn’t tempt your taste buds, consider Iodine supplements.
Iron is essential for carrying oxygen to our blood cells. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia and symptoms like fatigue, low energy and dizziness. The richest foods in iron are red meat and liver. However, nuts, seeds and beans also contain iron. If you suspect that your iron levels have dropped, go see your doctor and ask to run some blood tests. Only when tests show that you have low iron, then you can take vegan iron supplements.
Calcium is involved in bodily functions – the nervous system, the heart, bones and teeth all need optimal amounts of calcium. Most vegans don’t get enough calcium from food. There are plants and calcium fortified foods for vegans, but those may not cover your daily needs (RDA says 1000 mg). A simple blood test will show the levels of calcium in your blood. In case of deficiency you could adjust your diet and eat more food with calcium, or you can take calcium vegan supplements.
This vitamin is very important when it comes to functions of the brain, heart and bones. Anyone can have a vitamin B12 deficiency but vegans are more exposed. Vitamin B12 fortified foods can sometimes provide the right amounts of this vitamin. However, when you’re exposed to the sun, fortified foods can lose their nutritional properties. If you think you may not be consuming enough of this vitamin from your food, consider 25-100 mg of Vitamin B12 daily or 2000 mg once a week.
As you may know, our bodies produce vitamin D in the presence of the sun or from fortified foods. Vitamin D influences calcium absorption, mood, memory and muscle function. However, vitaminD deficiency is a problem for vegans and omnivores alike. If you don’t spend 15 minutes per day in the light of sun or you don’t eat a lot of vitamin D rich foods, then you should try vegan supplements. A plant-based diet is very healthy and provides a lot of nutrients. However, you should not ignore certain deficiencies. Vegan supplements can provide the essential vitamins and minerals your body may be lacking.
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