Most Important Supplements for Vegans
Nowadays, a healthy lifestyle is a priority for most people. Thus, the vegan diet is gaining more and more supporters. Unfortunately, too drastic changes in eating habits and an inadequate diet formulated without the help of a specialist can lead to a serious deficiency of vitamins and minerals and cause health problems in the future.
A balanced diet that provides our body with all the necessary nutrients to prevent vitamin deficiencies plays an important role in determining our health. If you are interested in a personalized eating plan, please contact us.
Vegans often use supplements in addition to a well-balanced diet. Such supplements are designed to deliver micronutrients commonly found only in animal products or exhibit greater bioavailability than plant microelements. Vegan supplements are made so that their bioavailability is high, but it should be remembered that the absorption of micronutrients will vary from individual to individual. A product that worked well for one person may not be the right solution for another.
Read on for a list of necessary supplements for vegans.
NECESSARY SUPPLEMENTS FOR VEGAN
Vitamin B12 is basically bacteria that live in the soil or dirt. Vitamin B12 deficiency is also common among people who eat meat, dairy products, and eggs, so it’s a good supplement for all types of diets.
This vitamin is made in the large intestine, but unfortunately, to absorb it, it must be in the small intestine, which is not physically possible. Also, there is no proven sufficient or natural plant source for this vitamin.
You can find more on this topic in this article: Vitamin B12: Everything You Need to Know.
When choosing the right supplement, you have to follow a few rules:
- Choose the appropriate dose. The dose of the supplement depends on your health, age, and physiological condition (e.g., if you are pregnant or lactating). Talk to your dietitian or doctor for more information.
- The form of vitamin matters. The most recommended and tested form of B12 is cyanocobalamin.
- The origin and composition of the preparation – Vitamin B12 can be of plant origin, for example, it can be obtained from yeast. Sometimes, such supplements may contain gelatin. So read the label carefully if you are a vegan.
- The form of the preparation – Vitamin B12 is available in the form of tablets, liquid, or aerosol sprays. Choose the one that suits you best.
This vitamin can be taken in two ways. You can take a daily dose of 25-100 micrograms or a weekly dose of 1000-2000 micrograms.
Vitamin D is a hormone activated in the body, first in the liver and later in the kidneys, thanks to the sun’s rays. Vitamin D deficiency is a problem for many people around the world, especially those living in countries with a cool climate. Chronic deficiency of this component negatively affects the bone, blood, and immune systems.
Vitamin D allows the proper use of calcium derived from food in our body. So it is involved, inter alia, in bone mineralization. Without this vitamin, calcium cannot reach the bones, even if we consume it in the right amounts.
Which preparation should I choose?
- Pay attention to the appropriate dose. The first step is to do blood tests to check the level of Vitamin D in your body, and then discuss the results of the examination with a doctor and dietitian. Specialists can help you with choosing the right dose.
- Should you take D3 or D2? Vitamin D3 is better absorbed than Vitamin D2.
- The origin and composition of the preparation – The majority of preparations with Vitamin D are based on animal products, e.g., fish oils or sheep’s wool. There are also preparations of vegetable origin available on the market, but just like in the case of Vitamin B12, you have to read the label to check.
- With or without fat – Vitamin D is dissolved in fats, therefore it should be consumed with a meal. All the fat you need is already in the meal (avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, oils, etc.). You do not need to add extra fat.
- Supplement form – Vitamin D can be purchased in the form of tablets or liquid. The most absorbable form of Vitamin D is liquid.
Discuss the dosage and time of consuming Vitamin D with your dietitian or doctor because it will depend on your individual needs.
This vitamin exists as K1, K2, and K3. In 1930, the role of this vitamin in the blood clotting process was examined and called vitamin coagulation. Vitamin K1 is made from alfalfa leaves and Vitamin K2 from fish meat.
What is the difference between these two forms?
K1 occurs only in vegetable food – green leaves, vegetables, and vegetable oil. In the body, it is transported by triglycerides, mainly to the liver. It is absorbed by 15%.
K2 is produced by the saprophytic bacteria of the digestive system and occurs in meat and animal products (milk, milk products, and eggs). It is transported and delivered to various tissues by LDL and HDL lipoproteins. K2 is absorbed all over.
The function of Vitamin K is to modify proteins, which results in the proper binding of calcium, which strengthens our bones. This vitamin should be taken with Vitamin D.
More here: Why Vitamin K is Essential in the Daily Diet.
Decide which form will suit you best. When choosing a supplement, carefully check the composition and quality. Ask your dietitian or doctor about the dosage.
CONSIDER THIS SUPPLEMENTATION
FATTY ACIDS OMEGA-3 (EPA, DHA)
It is very difficult to obtain calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids in a plant-based diet. (See here: How to supplement calcium in the vegan diet?).
It’s hard to find the right sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs) – EPA and DHA in pure form. Therefore, you must consider the appropriate selection of vegetable fats to create the above-mentioned set. For this purpose, you will need flaxseeds, walnuts, and rapeseed oil.
Walnuts and rapeseed oil contain ALA fatty acids, from which our body can produce EPA and DHA. However, this process is complicated and depends on many factors. That means that it can be ineffective. If you are pregnant, nursing, or doing intense exercise, consider Omega-3 animal supplements for the best form of bioavailability.
Read more on this topic here: Omega 3 – Everything You Need To Know,
and here: Cannabis – The best source of omega acids and proteins in the vegan diet
Probiotics are necessary for the proper functioning of the whole body. Not everyone knows about the importance of supplementing this valuable nutrient. Probiotics can be obtained from food. You can read about probiotics here: Probiotics can help you lose weight and feel better. Here’s how!
And if you need additional therapy with probiotics, remember that the best probiotics will contain more than 10 strains of bacteria, especially those that are resistant to gastric acid and can safely enter the duodenum. Probiotics are best supplemented just before bedtime to allow the bacteria to calmly and effectively colonize our intestines. Do not eat more than one tablet a day.
Do not overdo it with supplementation. In a balanced vegan diet, you deliver many vitamins and minerals from the food to the body. Additional supplementation of other micronutrients than those discussed above may lead to hypervitaminosis or other side effects of the introduction of condensed doses of individual nutrients.
If you have decided on any supplementation, always pay special attention to the quality of supplements and the reliability of the brand.