The planning of a proper diet for vegans, meaning mostly vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, and a small amount of nuts or seeds every day, can make it possible to side-step the typical pitfalls of nutrient deficiencies.
But even with that checklist executed, vegans can still miss the mark on nutrients like B12, Vitamin D, calcium, iodine, protein, and zinc.
You can find supplements that are of particular interest to vegans by paying close attention to our list below.
Omega-3 fats are abundant in cold-water fish, flax, hemp, and pumpkin seeds, with the richest sources being chia seeds and walnuts.
In fact, you can significantly increase your omega-3 intake by eating a dozen or so walnut halves each day.
There are excellent reasons to include vegan omega-3 fats into your nutrition, including lowering your blood pressure, lessening the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease, reducing the chance of strokes, heart attacks, and abnormal heart rhythms, and slowing down the development of plaque in your arteries.
Iron is available in quite a few vegan foods, such as leafy green vegetables, seaweed, and some variations of beans.
Still, having an iron shortage in your body can happen, particularly in women that are of a child-bearing age.
But if you are taking iron supplements or a multivitamin that includes iron, help is surely on the way for you as long as you don’t overdo it.
Before you take any iron supplements, first get the go-ahead from your doctor based on your bloodwork.
Vitamin C can significantly increase your body’s ability to absorb iron when taken along with an iron supplement or ingested with iron-rich food.
If you don’t have vitamin C supplements available for this purpose, you can squeeze half a lemon in water alongside your iron.
Vitamin D usually comes from exposing your skin to direct sunlight, drinking fortified milk or taking vitamin D supplements.
Taking a vitamin D supplement can make up for the amount of direct sun exposure your skin needs to produce enough vitamin D, which is particularly hard during cold winter months.
There are many vegan vitamin D3 products that have entered the marketplace.
If you happen to be a vegan, you will be thrilled to know that most types of almond or soy milk contain more calcium than the average cow’s milk does. To confirm that you have chosen correctly, you will need to check the label for a sufficient dose of calcium.
Drinking these vegan-friendly forms of milk on a daily basis, along with consuming tofu that lists calcium sulfate in its ingredients, can ensure that you are receiving an adequate amount of calcium.
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones and for the proper functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves.
Truth be told, if you aren’t in the habit of consuming foods rich in calcium, such as vegan milk, beans, greens like kale, or tofu, it will be difficult to achieve the required daily allowance of 1000 milligrams without taking supplements.
You can look for some calcium supplements that don’t include animal products like gelatin and beeswax.
Zinc is a mineral that is integral for the function of your immune system, your metabolism, and repairing body cells.
The recommended daily allowance for zinc is between 8-11 mg a day for adults and it goes up to 11-12 mg for pregnant women and for women that are lactating women, it is 12-13 mg.
Vegans that aren’t getting enough zinc in their diets can consider taking a daly zinc gluconate or a zinc citrate supplement.
The consequences that come with not consuming enough zinc include hair loss, the delayed healing of wounds, as well as diarrhea.
You can plan for a vegan diet and still get an abundant amount of nutrients that you would normally find in multivitamins.
There are still several nutrients that cannot be properly acquired while only depending on food choices alone, so vegan supplements fill the gaps and provide the health benefits that your body deserves.
You aren’t going to find too many vegan foods that are advisable sources of iodine or zinc, and with more people becoming vegans for health reasons, these two nutrients are reason enough to take a multivitamin.
Keep in mind that multivitamins are generally 100 percent of the B12 recommended daily allowance.
Plus, there are many people that won’t be able to absorb sufficient amounts of B12 from a tablet taken daily that contains 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance.
Avoid purchasing a multivitamin that contains iron unless your doctor recommends it based on blood work.
With supplements, it isn’t hard to push your iron intake beyond recommended levels, which can be as bad as not having enough iron.
When vegan diets can’t completely fulfill your nutritional requirements, especially omega-3s, vitamin-D, and vitamin B12, it may be time to fill in the gaps with vegan-friendly supplements.