Plants contain a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, aroma oils and phytonutrients that the human body can use. The vitamins and minerals extracted from plants are accompanied by other natural compounds, called conutrients, that work together with vitamins and minerals to create beneficial processes in the body. Without these conutrients, some processes simply won't happen, making synthetic supplements useless. Here are 7 nutrients you may need to supplement while following a vegan diet.
Foods that are often promoted as rich in vitamin B12 include unwashed organic produce, mushrooms grown in B12-rich soil, nori, spirulina, chlorella, and nutritional yeast. Several studies show that while anyone can have low levels of vitamin B12, vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk of deficiency. This seems to be especially true for vegans who don't take any supplements (1, 2,. Vitamin B12 is important for many body processes, such as protein metabolism and the formation of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
It also plays a crucial role in the health of the nervous system (. A lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia and nervous system damage, as well as infertility and bone and heart diseases (4, 5,. The recommended daily intake is 2.4 mcg per day for adults, 2.6 mcg per day during pregnancy and 2.8 mcg per day during breastfeeding. The only scientifically proven way for vegans to achieve these levels is by eating foods fortified with vitamin B12 or by drinking a vitamin B12 supplement.
Foods fortified with vitamin B12 usually include vegetable milks, soy products, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast only contains vitamin B12 when it is fortified. However, vitamin B12 is sensitive to light and can degrade if purchased or stored in clear plastic bags (1). Those who are wary of taking supplements may find it comforting to check their blood levels of vitamin B12 before taking them.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps improve the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestine (1). This vitamin also influences many other body processes, such as immune function, mood, memory and muscle recovery (18, 19, 20, 2). The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D for children and adults is 600 IU (15 mcg) per day. Elderly people, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women, should consume 800 IU (20 mcg) a day (2). That said, some evidence suggests that your daily needs are much higher than the current recommended daily allowance.
(2) Unfortunately, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods fortified with vitamin D are often considered insufficient to meet daily needs. This could partly explain global reports of vitamin D deficiency among both vegans and omnivores (19, 2). However, the elderly, people with darker skin, those who live in northern latitudes or in colder climates, and those who spend little time outdoors may not produce enough (25, 26, 2). In addition, due to the known negative effects of excess UV radiation, many dermatologists warn against sun exposure to increase vitamin D levels (2).
Although vitamin D2 is probably adequate for most people, some studies suggest that vitamin D3 is more effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D (29, 30). Vitamin D deficiency is a problem for both vegans and omnivores. Vegans who are unable to maintain normal blood levels through fortified foods and are exposed to the sun should consider the possibility of taking a supplement. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids play a structural role in the brain and eyes.
Adequate dietary levels also seem important for brain development and for reducing the risk of inflammation, depression, breast cancer, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 3.) In addition, research consistently shows that vegetarians and vegans have up to 50% lower blood and tissue levels of EPA and DHA than omnivores (3.Vegans tend to have lower levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in their blood and tissues.) Therefore, they may benefit from supplementing with EPA and DHA. A lack of iron can cause anemia and symptoms such as fatigue and decreased immune function. The recommended daily dose is 8 mg for adult men and postmenopausal women. It increases to 18 mg per day for adult women, and pregnant women should consume 27 mg per day (4).
Vegans with low iron intake should try to eat more iron-rich foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, nuts and seeds. Iron-fortified foods, such as cereals, fortified breads, and some plant milks, may help even more (24, 4). In addition, using cast iron pots and pans for cooking, avoiding tea or coffee with meals, and combining iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C can help increase iron absorption. Unnecessary intake of supplements, such as iron, can do more harm than good, as it damages cells or blocks the absorption of other minerals (4).
Vegans who don't get enough iron from their diets should consider consuming fortified foods or supplements. However, levels that are too high can be harmful, and iron supplements are not recommended for everyone. The recommended daily dose of calcium is set at 1000 mg per day for most adults and increases to 1200 mg per day for adults over 50. (5) Plant sources of calcium include bok choy, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, broccoli, garbanzo beans, calcium-curdled tofu, and fortified vegetable milks or juices. A comment that is often heard among the vegan community is that vegans have lower calcium needs than omnivores because they do not use this mineral to neutralize the acidity produced by a diet rich in meat.
More research is needed to assess how meat-free diets affect the daily needs of soccer. However, evidence suggests that vegans who consume less than 525 mg of calcium tend to have a higher risk of bone fractures (5). Vegans who consume too little dietary calcium should consider taking a daily supplement. This is especially important for those who consume less than 525 mg per day.
An insufficient intake of zinc can lead to developmental problems, hair loss, diarrhea and delayed wound healing. To maximize your intake, consume a variety of zinc-rich foods during the day. These include whole grains, wheat germ, tofu, sprouted breads, legumes, nuts and seeds. Soaking nuts, seeds and legumes overnight, eating enough protein, and eating fermented foods, such as tempeh and miso, also seems to increase absorption (5.Vegans who cannot reach the recommended daily intake of zinc should focus first on adding zinc-rich foods to their diet.) People with low blood zinc levels should consider taking a daily supplement.
Getting enough iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function, which controls metabolism. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood can result in irreversible intellectual disability (4). In adults, insufficient iodine intake can lead to hypothyroidism. This can cause several symptoms, such as low energy levels, dry skin, tingling hands and feet, forgetfulness, depression, and weight gain. (4) Vegans are considered to be at risk of iodine deficiency, and studies indicate that vegans have blood iodine levels up to 50% lower than vegetarians (42, 4.The recommended daily dose for adults is 150 mcg of iodine per day).
Pregnant women should consume 220 mcg per day, while those who are breastfeeding are advised to further increase their daily intake to 290 mcg per day (4). Iodine levels in plant foods depend on the iodine content of the soil in which they were grown. For example, foods grown close to the ocean tend to contain more iodine. The only foods considered to have consistently high iodine levels are iodized salt, seafood, seaweed and dairy products, which collect iodine from solutions used to clean cows and farm equipment.
Half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of iodized salt is enough to meet your daily needs. Vegans who don't want to consume iodized salt or eat seaweed several times a week should consider taking an iodine supplement. Iodine plays an important role in thyroid function and metabolism. Vegans who don't get enough iodine from seaweed or iodized salt should consider taking an iodine supplement. This is especially true for vitamin B12, vitamin D, and long-chain omega-3s.
When transitioning to a plant-based diet, Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, CHN, CHN, celebrity chef, nutritionist, and reiki teacher, says it may be a good idea to have a high-quality plant-based protein powder on hand. UV treatment of certain fungi and yeasts can convert ergosterol in vitamin D2 for the production of plant-based supplements. While many vitamins traditionally come from animal products, plant-based vitamins and minerals are a growing trend. It can be difficult to find plant sources of some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are traditionally derived from animal products.
Consumer interest in plant-based products and vegan lifestyles has skyrocketed in recent years, and manufacturers are taking notice. However, recent innovations are helping companies overcome these challenges in their search for plant-based supplement options. If you've made changes to your products or developed new offerings to meet consumers' interest in plant-based vitamins, it's important to understand how testing requirements may change. No matter how complete your plant-based diet is, including regular consumption of these 12 powerful foods, it's surprisingly easy to maintain some of the recommended daily doses.
Replacing products of plant origin with products of animal origin can also open the door to obtaining kosher, halal or vegan certifications, which are important for an increasing number of consumers. When switching to a plant-based source, supplement manufacturers must be aware of the requirements to accurately analyze the specific form or forms of the nutrient. Botanic Healthcare's plant-based vitamin and mineral supplements are very low-processed and offer several advantages over synthetic vitamins and minerals.