One common worry everyone has about vegan diets is whether this diet gives your body all the minerals and vitamins it requires. Some people claim that a plant based, whole-food diet can easily meet all the nutrient requirements of your body. Some even encourage people on vegan diets to avoid any kind of supplement. But despite their positive intentions, this advice can cause people more harm than good.
So if you’re curious about what supplements should vegans take? Here are 6 supplement nutrients that you may have to take while being on a vegan diet.
1. Vitamin B12
Foods that are often heard to be rich in Vitamin B12 comprise of mushrooms that are grown in soils rich in B12, unwashed organic produce, chlorella, nutritional yeast, nori, and spirulina.
Some people think vegans who eat enough vegetables don’t have to worry about the deficiency of Vitamin B12.
But, we don’t have any evidence regarding this statement.
According to some studies, it has been known that while some people have low risk of having deficiency of B12, vegans have even a higher risk of its deficiency. This is exceptionally true for people who are not taking any vitamin supplements.
It is essential to know that Vitamin B12 is absorbed the best if you take it in small doses. Thus, the less often you take vitamin B12, the more you need to take it.
This is the reason why vegans who are not able to reach the daily intake of vitamins through fortified foods should take a vitamin supplement everyday with 25-100 mcg of cyanocobalamin or a supplement weekly with the dosage of 2000 mcg.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vitamin that is fat-soluble. It helps in enhancing the absorption of phosphorus and calcium from your gut.
This vitamin also impacts other many processes in your body which include, immune functioning, memory, muscle recovery and mood.
But keeping the little amount of vitamin D intake from your diet, you can increase your vitamin D intake from sun exposure. Most people get enough vitamin D in their body by spending 10-15 minutes in the sun everyday when the sun is strong. But you need to make sure to not apply any sunscreen and expose your whole skin to the sun.
Moreover, old people, people with darker skin, people living in colder or northern areas, and those who stay inside their house most of the time may not be able to produce enough vitamin D in their bodies.
Iron is the best supplement if you’re wondering, what supplements should vegans take? Iron is a nutrient that is used to make new red blood cells and DNA in your body. It also helps carry oxygen in your blood. Iron is needed to energize your metabolism.
Less amount of iron in your body can cause you to have anemia and also symptoms like decreased functioning of the immune system and fatigue.
The recommended dietary allowance of Iron is 8 mg for adult men and menopausal women. It is increased to 18 mg everyday for adult women and 27 mg per day for pregnant women.
Vegans with low iron intake in their body should eat more food items that contain a lot of iron which include cruciferous vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and peas. Iron-fortified foods include cereals, plant milks, and enriched breads, which can also help further.
Excess intake of iron supplements can cause harm to your body by damaging the cells or stopping the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
Vegans who don’t have enough iron intake from their everyday diet should start taking fortified foods or supplements. But keep in mind that extremely high levels of iron can be dangerous for you, and iron supplements should only be taken after consulting a doctor as they are not recommended for everyone.
Calcium is a mineral which is important for the great health of your bones and teeth. It plays a huge role in muscle functioning, heart health and nerve signaling as well.
The recommended dietary allowance for calcium is at 1,000 mg everyday for adults and increases to 1,200 mg everyday for people aged over 50.
Calcium can be found in plants such as bok choy, mustard greens, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, watercress, calcium-set tofu, chickpeas, and fortified juices or plant milks.
However, some studies agree that most vegans don’t consume enough calcium.
It has been often heard among the community of vegans that vegans require less calcium than omnivores as they don’t need this mineral for neutralizing the acidity caused by meat.
But still it needs to be researched to know how vegan diets affect daily requirement of calcium.
But according to some evidence, it has been concluded that vegans whose calcium intake is less than 525 mg can most likely get bone fractures more often.
Vegans who consume less calcium through their diet should start taking supplements. It is specifically essential for those whose daily calcium consumption is less than 525 mg.
Zinc is also a mineral which is important for better metabolism, repair of body cells and immune functioning.
Less intake of zinc can cause developmental issues, diarrhea, hair loss and delayed healing of wounds.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for zinc is set at 8-11 mg everyday for adults currently. It is then increased to 11-12 mg for women who are pregnant and around 13 mgs for those women who are lactating.
Some plant foods contain a high amount of zinc in them. Also, the absorption of zinc from some plant foods is limited because of their phytate content. So, vegans need to increase their zinc intake 1.5 times more than the recommended dietary allowance.
To increase your zinc intake, eat a lot of different food items all rich with zinc throughout the daily. These food items can be whole grains, tofu, wheat germ, nuts, sprouted breads, seeds and legumes.
Vegans who cannot reach the recommended dietary allowance of zinc should first add more foods rich with zinc into their daily diet. But if you still have low blood levels of zinc, you should consider taking a zinc supplement everyday.
We hope we were able to end your curiosity of what supplements should vegans take?. If you plan your vegan diets according to your body’s nutritional needs it will be easier for you to consume all the required minerals and vitamins.
All vegans who are not able to fulfill their recommended dietary allowance through their daily meals should start taking supplements. But it will be even better if you consult a doctor before starting to take any required supplement.
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