8 supplements Vegans can benefit from
When switching to a vegan diet you have a lot of different things to consider with your diet. While many of us are familiar with the need to get enough protein, and get it from the right sources, there are other nutrients you'll also want to make sure you're getting enough of.
We chatted with Jurgen Farrugia who went vegan just over 5 years ago to see what supplements he recommended when starting out on your vegan journey see below for his suggestions, you can also follow his blog here
If you're a vegan and looking for some supplements, here's a list of the most important ones:
If you're a vegan, it can be difficult to get enough of the essential vitamin B12. This is because it's mainly found in animal products and most people don't eat enough of these foods to meet their daily needs. However, there are some plant-based sources of vitamin B12 that you should consider including in your diet:
- Fortified cereals (a cup provides about 20% of your daily value)
- Nutritional yeast flakes (1/4 cup will give you 7% DV)
- Mushrooms (a cup has about 3% DV)
The next supplement to take is DHA/EPA (a source of omega-3 fatty acids). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal health, but vegans have a harder time getting them. They're found in fish and other sea animals, so if you're not eating those foods regularly, consider taking a supplement with these fatty acids.
DHA and EPA are both important for heart health and brain function--they help fight inflammation and promote cell membrane function--so it's worth considering adding this supplement to your routine if you don't eat enough fish products every day.
If you're a vegan, iodine is an essential mineral that helps regulate thyroid hormones in your body. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism and growth in humans. A lack of iodine can cause goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), mental retardation, cretinism (a condition resulting from severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy), decreased IQ scores in children born to women who took no supplemental iodine during early pregnancy
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. It's important for bone health, and has been linked to heart health and cancer prevention as well.
Vegans are at risk of deficiency because they don't get enough vitamin D from food sources like dairy products or eggs--so it's important to supplement your diet with supplements containing vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a role in bone health, heart health and muscle contraction. Calcium can be found in leafy greens like kale and spinach; beans such as navy beans or black beans; tofu; fortified foods like orange juice or soymilk (look for the words "calcium added" on the label).
Calcium supplements are also available at most supermarkets or drug stores. If you're looking for an alternative option, consider taking vitamin D along with your calcium supplement--vitamin D helps your body absorb more of this important nutrient.
Zinc is a mineral that's important for immune function, wound healing, blood sugar control and prostate health. Zinc is found in beans, grains and nuts.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps regulate muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also plays a role in protein synthesis. Magnesium is a cofactor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body.
Because it's involved with so many different processes in your body--not just energy production but also muscle contraction and relaxation--you need to make sure you're getting enough magnesium on a daily basis to keep everything running smoothly.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of selenium for adults is 55 micrograms per day. If you're a vegan or vegetarian, be aware that plant foods may not contain enough selenium to meet the RDA; therefore, it's important to take a supplement like this one with your meals so you get enough of this nutrient every day!
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting and keeps your bones strong. It's found in fermented foods like natto, cheese and yogurt. Vitamin K1 is also available from leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli.
If you cannot get these through your diet you can get them in supplement form
If you cannot get these through your diet, you can get them in supplement form below:
- Vitamin B12: The most important supplement for vegans is vitamin B12. It's an essential nutrient that helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.
- Vegan DHA/EPA: These two omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in fish oil but not plants; they're important for heart health as well as brain function and eye health.
- Iodine: This mineral helps regulate metabolism and thyroid function (which affects weight), among other things; it's found primarily in seafood but also some plant foods like seaweed or mushrooms exposed to iodine-rich soil (the amount varies depending on where they grow). If necessary, consider taking an iodine supplement with selenium when starting out on a vegan diet since both minerals play an important role in thyroid activity.
- Vitamin D3 & K2: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with muscle weakness, fatigue -- especially during winter months -- depression and other mental health issues such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia because inadequate amounts may increase risk factors associated with these conditions.
- Calcium: Vegans must consume enough calcium from nonanimal sources such as leafy greens like kale or bok choy along with fortified foods such as cereals soaps nuts/seeds
- Zinc : Helping keep your immune system strong to fight off infections.
- Magnesium: Is essential for all it helps regulate muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
You can check out other vegan supplements here online and in our health shop in Naxxar, Malta
We hope this article has helped you understand what supplements are, and if they are right for you. As we mentioned before, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition--it all depends on your own personal needs and goals. If after reading this article, you feel like you want more information about how to supplement or what might be missing from your diet, please check book an appointment with one our experts at our Diet & Nutrition Clinic here
You can also follow Jurgen on Instagram here: