Veganism has been getting increasingly popular by the day, as more and more people have started adopting the vegan lifestyle. Vegan diets have become the new big thing with more awareness about the environment, animal rights, and even personal health. However, there is always this one doubt regarding nutritional intake among people who wish to turn vegan.
As you adopt veganism, you need to cut out several things from your diet, such as animal protein, dairy products, honey, and so on. Since your body stops getting these basic food items, there are fat chances of developing some deficiencies. The lack of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals can take a toll on your body by affecting heart health, bone health, and even the nervous system, for that matter. However, you can solve this concern simply by consuming supplements of the nutrients that your body lacks. Continue reading this guide to know more about which supplements can help you complete your vegan diet.
What Are Supplements, And Are They Really Effective?
Dietary supplements contain certain nutritional properties depending on their composition. These are usually taken when your body doesn’t absorb an adequate amount of a specific nutrient. Dietary supplements can be in many forms, such as:
- tablets and capsules
- syrups and drinks
- gummies, etc.
Some of the most popular dietary supplements are iron, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Most of the supplements are pretty effective and show minimal to zero side effects. Ideally, the primary effort should always be made to get all the necessary nutrients naturally, which is through food, sunlight, etc. But since veganism restricts people from eating meat and many other things, deficiencies are likely to develop. In these cases, supplements can come in handy and make up for all the vital nutrients.
There are two types of iron that our body absorbs, heme and non-heme. Out of these two, heme iron can be procured only from animal food, which leaves vegans with only non-heme resulting in an iron deficiency. And you cannot simply ignore the fact that your vegan diet is not providing your body with an essential nutrient like heme iron; otherwise, you are at risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia. This is why consuming an iron supplement every day is recommended to vegans to match the ideal amount of iron requirement.
Vitamin D deficiency is possibly one of the most common deficiencies among people. More than 41% of Americans and over 1 billion people in the world do not receive enough Vitamin D. The body absorbs Vitamin D majorly from sun exposure. Still, some of the other good sources are fortified soy milk, fortified orange juice, etc. Vitamin D is primarily responsible for absorbing calcium in the body, ensuring better bone health, muscle memory, and a strong immune system. This is why a Vitamin D supplement can genuinely make you internally sound.
Vitamin B12 Supplement
Once again, in this case, too, Vitamin B12 deficiency usually occurs among vegetarians and vegans. It is one of the vital yet most neglected nutrients. Vitamin B12 is responsible for protein metabolism and ensuring the healthy functioning of the nervous system. It also carries oxygen transportation and the blood cells present in the body, making it extremely important. The ideal intake of Vitamin B12 for an adult is 2.4 mg and for pregnant women is 2.6 mg per day. And if you can’t meet this requirement naturally, taking a supplement is advised.
Calcium being the richest in dairy products, is often missed by vegans. Not just vegans, but generally too, calcium deficiency is yet another common deficiency found in humans. Women are most likely to develop this deficiency, so ensuring adequate consumption of calcium is necessary, be it from food sources or supplements. Calcium, as we all know, is responsible for maintaining healthy bone density and also teeth health. But since the best sources of calcium are milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, vegans should take supplements.
The presence of iodine is quite unpredictable in the case of all vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and even vegans. However, non-vegetarians can still get an adequate amount of iodine through seafood. Other than that, dairy products also make up for iodine consumption because the solutions used for cleaning farm animals usually contain iodine. But since these food items are restricted when you are on a vegan diet, your body is bound to develop an iodine deficiency leading to decreased fertility rates and mental imbalance. This is why iodine supplements are essential.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish are rich in omega-three fatty acids, mainly cold-water fish. At the same time, the vegan source of this essential nutrient can be through nuts and seeds. However, if you don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids from food sources themselves, you can always opt for supplements, usually in capsules. Vegans should take this supplement because a deficiency of this can result in mental impairment. After all, this nutrient is primarily responsible for ensuring the healthy functioning of the brain.
Veganism is truly an incredibly satisfying lifestyle, particularly if you are passionate about the environment, animal well-being, and of course, eating clean. However, these things shouldn’t come in the way of your dietary requirements. If your food sources are not enough to meet the ideal intake, then consumption of supplements would be the right step forward. However, make sure you consult a dietician or health expert to know the required dosage suitable for you and other essential factors.