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Nutritional Supplements For Vegans

Posted On: May 29, 2019


There are specific nutrients required for good health that are found abundantly in animal products which occur less (or not at all) in plant based foods.

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Vitamin B12

Also known as methylcobalamin, vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutritional supplements for vegans. This is because it is found only in animal products with the exception of small amounts in fortified cereals, soy milk, nutritional yeast and energy bars.

Vitamin B12 is required by the body for energy and metabolic function. With low levels of B12, it’s common to experience fatigue, depression and even numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

To prevent deficiency in a vegan diet, taking a high quality vegan vitamin B12 supplement is necessary. Check in with a qualified healthcare practitioner to determine the proper dosage for your individual needs.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is best known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s synthesized from the sun and is a key nutrient for maintaining a happy mood. During the winter months in colder climates, vitamin D deficiency is a concern for everyone.

For non­-vegans, vitamin D is found in organic food sources such as egg yolks, fatty fish and some beef products. Unfortunately there aren’t any plant-­based sources that contain adequate levels vitamin D. This puts vegans at a higher risk of deficiency.

As you can guess, a lack of vitamin D can lead to mood disorders such as depression. It may also result in a sluggish metabolism. If low levels of vitamin D are prolonged, it can lead to osteoporosis. This is because Calcium and vitamin D work together to keep bones strong and healthy.

Important note:Always read the label of your vitamin D supplement to be sure it contains no animal products as most vitamin D supplements have been sourced from sheepskin oil.

If you are in search of a recommendation, AOR’s Vegan Vitamin D3 is sourced from lichen. This is one of Canada’s only vegan vitamin D nutritional supplements available.

Iron

There are two forms of iron nutritional supplements: non-heme iron and heme iron.

Heme iron is found in animal products such as red meat, fish and poultry. Heme iron is the most bio-available to the body.

Non-heme iron is found in plant-­based foods such as dark leafy greens, seeds and legumes. If you are consuming these foods on a regular basis, you may not require an iron supplement. However, because non-heme isn’t absorbed as well as heme iron, it’s something to keep on your radar­ especially if you’re feeling weak and tired.

Caution: Before choosing supplementation, be sure to get your iron levels checked. High levels of iron in your blood can be toxic.

L-­Carnitine

L-­Carnitine is an amino acid that plays a critical role in cardiovascular health, energy levels and memory. It is found in large quantities in red meat, though minimal amounts are present in dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

With very few vegetarian sources of L-Carnitine, this is one of the best supplements for vegans to ensure their heart health and cognitive function are not impaired.

If you’re looking for a 100% vegetarian source of L-­Carnitine, we recommend AOR L­-Carnitine Veggie Caps.

Zinc

This mineral is crucial to the immune system. Zinc is found mostly in shellfish, beef and egg yolks. While zinc is present in spinach, legumes and pumpkin seeds, it doesn’t hurt to supplement with zinc as an “insurance policy” if you aren’t eating these foods each day.

Zinc deficiency symptoms can manifest as hair loss, frequent illness, acne and other skin disorders.

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