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What are the best supplements for vegans to take

What Supplements Should Vegans Take?

Supplements are something that you might add to your diet if you are lacking in certain minerals, vitamins or amino acids. You might look to add a supplement to your daily intake if you are noticing symptoms which could relate to a deficiency, or if a healthcare professional has told you to.

Our guide to the best supplements for vegans

As a vegan, you might find there are certain supplements you should take. This isn’t because the vegan diet isn’t a healthy one, but some vitamins you simply can’t get from a plant based lifestyle. You may also be missing them if you haven’t carefully planned your nutrition, or if you are a fussy eater.

What vitamins are vegans mostly lacking?

It has to be said here that it isn’t only vegans who might lack these vitamins. Some meat eaters could also have deficiencies here. However, the ones most commonly seen in meat and dairy free diets include:

  • B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Zinc

What supplements should vegans take?

You should only take supplements if you know you are deficient in something, or if you are noticing side effects which relate to a deficiency.

where to go next?

Here's a few supplements you might consider as a vegan

B12

B12 is a vitamin that helps make red blood cells and your DNA. It is found in animal sources such as fish, meat, poultry and eggs. Foods are sometimes fortified with B12, some of which will be vegan. 

Without enough B12 you might notice some symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Weak and lightheaded
  • Pale skin
  • Constipation, gas or diarrhea
  • Nerve problems 
  • Vision loss
  • Depression 

If you think you might have a B12 deficiency then try taking a B12 supplement containing 250 mcg per day. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one we should be getting from the sun. However, to fully absorb this you need to not be wearing sun cream, which isn’t advised. Also, if you don’t live somewhere very sunny you might easily become deficient in it. Thankfully, you can also get vitamin D in some foods. 

Vitamin D’s role is to help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These are nutrients that are needed to keep teeth, muscles and bones healthy.

If you are conscious of the food you eat then it is possible to get enough vitamin D in your diet. It is found in foods such as 

  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified almond milk
  • Fortified rice milk

If getting enough vitamin D is a struggle, you might consider taking a supplement. Symptoms of low vitamin D may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps
  • Mood changes, like depression and anxiety 
  • Getting ill more often

If you do have a deficiency in vitamin D as a vegan you might want to take 10-100 mg per day.

Omega 3 fatty acids 

While there are plenty of plant based foods which contain omega 3 fatty acids, some vegans may still find they are deficient.

Omega 3 fatty acids are found in seafood and fish, nuts and seeds and plant oils. It is an important acid which may help to lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides and reduce likelihood of a heart attack and stroke. There is also thought that it plays a part in sharpening memory and brain function. 

Symptoms of low omega 3 might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor memory
  • Dry skin
  • Heart problems
  • Mood swings

If you think you might have low levels of omega 3 vitamins as a vegan, chat with your doctor or dietitian. They’ll be able to suggest exactly how much you need to take. 

Zinc 

Vegans may be lower in zinc levels than meat eaters or vegetarians. You can get zinc from plant based foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds and oats. However, if you are noticing a decreased sense of smell or taste, loss of appetite, lack of alertness or hair loss, then you might be low in this important nutrient. 

Zinc plays a part in helping your immune system and metabolism function. It also helps with wound healing and your sense of taste and smell.

With careful planning you can get enough zinc in your vegan diet without a supplement. However, if it is something you are lacking you can easily supplement it.

Outro: A note on vegan supplements

When you are shopping for supplements, check that the ingredients are suitable for vegans. Some supplements might contain animal products, so it is always best to check the labels.

Remember, if you are unsure about which supplements you personally need you should always talk to your doctor or dietician. They will be able to run tests to see if you have certain deficiencies. Taking too much of some supplements can be unnecessary and sometimes harmful so it is important to understand what you need. 

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