A whole-food, plant-based diet certainly can meet all of one’s daily nutrient requirements. However, even the most well-intended individuals can miss out on some of the dietary building blocks required for our body’s complex natural processes. Here is a must-follow list of supplements all of us plant-based eaters should have in the cupboard. You’ll find these recommendations boosts immunity and ensures optimum wellness.
Several studies show that while anyone can have low vitamin B12 levels, vegetarians and vegans have a higher risk of not getting their recommended daily intake. Vitamin B12 is important for many bodily processes, including protein metabolism and the formation of oxygen-transporting red blood cells. It also plays a crucial role in the health of your nervous system. Too little vitamin B12 can lead to anemia and nervous system damage, as well as infertility and bone and heart disease.
This important vitamin impacts immunity, mood, memory, and muscle recovery. Most people likely make enough vitamin D by spending 15 minutes in the strong midday sun. However, because of the known negative effects of excess UV radiation, dermatologists warn against using sun exposure to boost vitamin D levels. Unfortunately, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. For these reasons, everyone, plant-based or otherwise, should take some form of Vitamin D supplement.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids play a vital structural role on your brain and eyes. Adequate dietary levels are also important for brain development and reducing the risk of inflammation, depression, and even inattentiveness. Additionally, vegetarians and vegans have up to 50% lower blood and tissue concentrations of Omega 3. Healthcare professionals agree that 200–300mg per day should be sufficient. Vegans can reach this recommended intake by supplementing with algae oils.
Getting enough iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function. In adults, insufficient iodine intake can lead to hypothyroidism. This can cause various symptoms, such as low energy levels, dry skin, tingling in your hands and feet, forgetfulness, depression, and weight gain. The only foods considered to have consistently high iodine levels are iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, and dairy products. Vegans are considered at risk of iodine deficiency and have up to 50% lower blood iodine levels than vegetarians. If you don’t see yourself consuming iodized salt or eating seaweed several times per week, you should consider taking another form of iodine supplement.
This is a mineral that’s necessary for good bone and teeth health. It also plays a role in muscle function, nerve signaling, and heart health. An often-heard remark 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 meat-rich diet. Furthermore, evidence shows that vegans consuming less than 525mg of calcium tend to have an increased risk of bone fractures. Keep those bones strong by having a calcium supplement on hand.
If you’re a bit overwhelmed by all the vitamin options on the market, take a look at Plantie’s pre-approved vitamin and mineral vendors here.