Use Me To Help You Decide What The Best Supplements for Vegans And Vegetarians Are!
Have you heard vegans will die if they don’t supplement? Are you a vegetarian and worried you’re not getting enough nutrition from your foods?
Recently someone asked me If I use any Vitamin or Mineral supplements. They read Are Vegans And Vegetarians Fit For Hard Physical Labor?, and pointed out that many trace minerals are lost through your sweat and hard to replace.
To answer this question let’s address the Vitamin B12 Debate. Being a vegan/vegetarian for many years, I’ve had a lot of people ask me where I get my Vitamin B12. Many people will point out that there aren’t any plant sources with Vitamin B12.
It’s true that there’s not a lot of Vitamin b12 found in plant sources, so it’s a good question. Here’s something else to consider real quick; A large percentage of the general population, including people who eat foods from animals are Vitamin b12 deficient. Knowing this, it’s not a bad idea to supplement with Vitamin B12, regardless of how you eat.
B12 is an essential nutrient and there are consequences for those who don’t get enough long term. We need vitamin b12 for our bodies to synthesize protein and DNA. So it’s pretty important.
Some vegans argue that you CAN get enough B12 from algaes like Chlorella and Spirulina, although more and more vegans supplement with Vitamin B12 to be sure they’re really getting what they need.
People who believe vegan diets are deficient say that the b12 in spirulina and chlorella is not human active. It’s true their are b12 analogues. Our bodies have receptor sites for b12, and these analogues look like b12 to these receptors, but they don’t do the same job as human active b12. That means they might even block the uptake of real b12.
That being said, some companies have labels on their spirulina that indicate their spirulina has human active b12 specifically.
Regardless of whether or not a vegan can get enough b12 from their diet, I do take it for insurance. I use a liquid form of methylcobalamin, which is one of the forms of b12 that can be easily assimilated by your body. Avoid Cyanocobalamin if you’re supplementing.
Vegetarians who eat dairy get some b12 and those that eat eggs get even get more, but it’s still a good idea to supplement with b12 even if you eat eggs and dairy.
Most other nutrients are easy to obtain from a plant based diet, BUT…. not just any plant based diet. A nutrient dense whole foods diet with a wide variety of plant foods included is the best.
If you eat plenty of fresh fruits, grains and beans, you’ll be covering most of your other nutrient needs pretty well.
Besides b12 I only take 2 other supplements on a regular basis. Those are iodine and Vitamin D. You need iodine for healthful thyroid function, and Vitamin D is absolutely essential for bone health and immunity, not to mention a whole lot of other things.
Most omnivores, herbivores and carnivores are deficient in iodine and vitamin D so chances are pretty good you’ll benefit from taking these supplements.
Supplements I use once in a while include zinc and silica. Silica is a mineral most people can benefit from taking, but I only supplement with it here and there right now.
I also have a little magnesium as magnesium chloride every once in awhile. Magnesium chloride is easy for the body to absorb and it’s one of the mineral salts your body can sweat out. If you have leg cramps a little magnesium might help you.
Fortunately the right varied plant based diet has an abundance of magnesium. Chlorella is one of the very best sources for magnesium, and greens in general are also good sources.
Summing things up, most people can benefit from SOME supplementation whether they are vegans, vegetarians, or omnivores.
I believe in simplicity and try to get most of my nutrients from food. Nutrients in their food states are usually the easiest for your body to recognize and utilize.
If there is any doubt in your mind about whether you need to supplement or not you should probably get some blood work done. I plan on doing that in the near future because I’m curious, and it’s a good part of my own experiment on myself.
Up to this point I’ve been vegan or vegetarian since 1996 and I feel great and perform well. I have been a minimalist as far as supplementation is concerned but I still think it’s wise to know for sure, and that’s why I’ll be getting my own tests done soon.
For now I’ll continue to eat a lot of fresh fruits, fresh and cooked vegetables, beans and grains, and any other whole foods that I like to get most of my nutrients. How about you?