When on a vegan diet it is important to make sure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs to function optimally. I have listed the 4 essential nutrients and supplements for vegans below. My recommendations are based on the knowledge I have learnt on my 3 year nutrition course. I want to share my knowledge with vegans so they can remain healthy on a vegan diet.
- Vitamin B12 – is important for making red blood cells, energy and concentration. It is found only in animal products so it is vital that you take a vitamin B12 supplement. I recommend BetterYou B12 Boost Oral Spray. It is a sublingual spray that is absorbed under the tongue directly into the blood stream for faster action.
- Omega 3 EPA & DHA – is important for brain health, building cell membranes and reducing inflammation in the body. The active form of omega 3 EPA and DHA is only found in fish and eggs. ALA is found in flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, rapeseed oil and walnuts. ALA is converted to EPA and DHA is the body but it is thought that only 5% is converted. I recommend taking Opti-3 Omega DHA & EPA supplement. The recommended amount of omega 3 for an adult is 2g per day.
- Zinc – is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in the body. It is also important for a healthy immune system, producing stomach acid to digest food, appetite and taste. Zinc is found mainly in animal products, especially seafood and also in fresh root ginger, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds. I recommend all vegans take 15mg of zinc daily. A good supplement is Biocare Nutrisorb Zinc Plus Ascorbate with zinc in it’s most absorbable form. Also good is Biocare Zinc Citrate.
- Vitamin D – most people in the northern hemisphere are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D functions like a hormone and is important for bone health and mood. You can get vitamin D from animal products and mushrooms. The easiest way to get vitamin D is from 20 minutes exposure to sunlight on bare face and arms daily. In the winter months it is recommended to supplement with vitamin D as your body stores are used up after 3 months, so last until December. A good, clean vegan supplement is Cytoplan Vitamin D3 2500IU made from lichen.
It is always best to get the nutrients you need from your diet if possible. Supplements ‘supplement’ your diet and are not a replacement for a healthy diet.