Adopting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle offers numerous health benefits, but keeping up with meeting the nutritional needs can be challenging. While plant-based diets are rich in various nutrients, there are specific vitamins and minerals that may require supplementation, either because they cannot be found in vegetables or the plant-based version is less absorbable. In this blog post, we'll explore eight essential supplements for vegans and vegetarians, based on insights from Healthline's informative guide.
1. Vitamin B12: Essential for Brain Health & Red Blood Cells
Vitamin B12 is a cornerstone supplement for those on plant-based diets. B12 is essential in different body processes like maintenance of nerves’ myelin coating, and maturation of red cells in the bone marrow. Plants do not need B12 for these processes, so plants are not a good source of this vitamin. Vegans and vegetarians can maintain a healthy nervous system and an optimum red cell count by incorporating a vegan B12 supplement into their routine.
2. Iron: Key for blood and energy levels
Iron plays a key role in oxygen transport as an essential component of hemoglobin, the protein in charge of transporting oxygen through the bloodstream. Critical for oxygen transport and preventing anemia, iron is essential for overall well-being. Although plant-based sources like lentils and spinach offer iron, its absorption may be less efficient. A carefully chosen iron supplement can help vegans and vegetarians combat fatigue and maintain optimal iron levels.
3. Calcium: Fortifying Bone Health
While dairy products are commonly associated with calcium, plant-based sources such as fortified plant milk and tofu offer alternatives. However, for additional support, a calcium supplement can contribute to strong and healthy bones, especially for those on vegan or vegetarian diets.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Support Brain and Heart Health
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, are crucial for Brain and Heart health. While ALA is found in plant sources, its conversion may be limited. Vegans and vegetarians can turn to omega-3 supplements derived from algae oil for a plant-friendly option, taking advantage of its benefits without relying on fish-based sources.
5. Vitamin D: An essential nutrient that is not at optimal levels in most people even with adequate sunlight.
Vitamin D is essential for body function, participating in calcium absorption, supporting immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. Although this vitamin can be synthesized by skin cells in the presence of sunlight, modern life limits sunlight exposure. That's why Vitamin D3 deficiency is becoming increasingly prevalent. Vitamin D can help boost your mood & immune system, helps with your teeth and bone health, and helps with your balance!
6. Zinc: Boosting the Immune System
Zinc is vital for the immune system, supporting growth and normal function of immune cells. This mineral is present in plants, phytates can reduce its absorption. A Zinc supplement is a wise choice to support immune health and overall well-being for those following plant-based diets.
7. Iodine: A Thyroid Health Essential
Iodine is a key component in Thyroid hormones. It is more commonly sourced from seafood and iodized salt. Vegan and vegetarians can source iodine from table salt, but for those who also seek to reduce the sodium intake, there are vegan Iodine supplements available.
8. Creatine: Enhance Physical Performance
Adding to the list is Creatine, a naturally occurring compound important for energy production in muscles. While creatine is found in small amounts in plant foods, supplementing can enhance physical performance, making it an excellent addition for active individuals following vegan or vegetarian lifestyles.
By combining nutrient-rich plant-based foods with carefully chosen supplements, individuals embracing vegan or vegetarian lifestyles can thrive healthily. These eight supplements can help you meet your nutritional needs when adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet. At METSI Care, we offer discounted supplements through our Vitamin Shoppe. With METSI Care, receive personalized supplement recommendations based on your own nutritional blood results so you can boost the positive health benefits while on your plant-powered journey. Don’t hesitate to contact us and start living healthy!