Do you REALLY need supplements as a vegan/vegetarian?

Written by Kajsa IngelssonMarch 14, 2020

There’s a lot of information floating around out there in these strange times we are in. I feel like there has never been more proof of the benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet. Whenever we have a virus outbreak, where does it come from?

That’s right, from eating animals. Don’t believe me? Look at this;

Ok. that’s as much as you are going to hear me talk about this Corona virus, i’m already so over it…

Let’s get into today’s post;

Do you really need supplements on a vegan/vegetarian diet?

The answer to your question is; yes, a couple. I’d also like to add that these supplements might be a good idea for people on a flexitarian diet to include as well. Oh and btw, getting a blood checkup at your doctors is the best way to know exactly what’s going on within your body.

With that being said, here’s what I have been taught and told by my doctors regarding supplements on a vegan diet:

Let’s start with B12. This vitamin occurs naturally in animal products. There have been reports of B12 in plant foods, but this is mostly inactive pseudo-B12. Chlorella may be a possible exception, but if you are not chomping down a lot of this seaweed (which you should btw), a supplement might be a good idea. Just a side-note, make sure that you are not taking too high doses as this is well-known to cause serious acne.

Vitamin B12’s contributions are pretty important: It’s crucial for producing red blood cells—and without enough of them, you’ll feel tired and weak. We also need it for healthy nerves and for memory and learning. We store B12 in our liver—unlike other B vitamins—so a deficiency can take years to develop, but by then nerves may be permanently damaged.

That brings us to another energy booster; iron! Beans and greens contain quite a bit of iron, but the problem is that iron from plant foods is poorly absorbed. You need iron, like B12, for red blood cells, strength, and energy. Fatigue due to low iron is a big problem for women and teens of reproductive age, because iron is lost with menstruation, especially with heavy periods.

You can optimise your iron absorption by including vitamin C (from fruits and veggies) with meals. Beware: Combining meals with calcium supplements or tea—green or black, not herbal—will block iron absorption. And antacids can interfere with absorption of both iron and vitamin B12.

Vitamin D is another key player. Essential for your body to absorb calcium, this mineral is best known to support healthy and strong bones. But hey, what about the Vit-D from the sun, you might ask yourself. Well, the thing is that 1) most of us spend the majority of our lives inside, and 2) you need to have 40% of your body exposed to sunlight for at least 30 min a day and lastly 3) you cannot shower for 24-48 hours after sun-exposure for optimal absorption.

Conclusion; supplementing this vitamin might be a very good idea for almost the entire western population!

Finally, a vegan diet usually won’t contain enough of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which are valued for building brain and eye cells. Seaweed and flax are a source, but again, if this is not something you chomp down on often and a lot, consider a high-quality supplement to make sure you are keeping your brain, eyes and skin on fleek!

So, there you have it honey bees! Let me know if you want to know what brands I’m using for myself, or any other questions you might have 🐱