A research from the year of 2009 conducted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that other than being associated with plenty of health advantages, the vegans and the vegetarians tend to do better when it comes to certain nutrient intakes.

These people consume more magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, Vitamins C and E, flavonoids, carotenoids, and other phytochemicals than the average consumer of an American diet.

Vegan Supplements

Vegan Supplements

But on the other hand, it has been reported that the vegans and vegetarians have been struggling to get a proper amount of other nutrients, such as omega 3s, calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. This is why, in this article, we are going to cover all of these nutrients and the proper way to get them.

We will explain why each and every one of them is important for vegans, and generally all people, so keep on reading and find out!

  • Omega 3 fatty acids

First of all, let’s tackle the issue of omega 3s. These are essential fatty acids that play a very important role in building healthy cells, maintaining the optimal function of the brain and the nerves and fighting off inflammation.

There is one other reason why we need a lot of healthy levels of omega 3 – because they maintain a balance between the omega 6s and the omega 9s. Most of the Americans get more omega 6s than omega 3s, which usually leads to numerous diseases.

Even though regular people can get their share of omega 3s through fish and grass fed beef, this can be quite the challenge for vegans. This is all because the crucial parts of the omega 3s are not found in the plant based foods.

How much do you need and where to get it from? Even though there is no standard intake, you clearly have to make a balance between all the omegas.

There is a healthy ratio between the omega 6s and the omega 3s and it is somewhere between 4:1 and 1:4. Well, if you want to achieve this, then you need to cut down the amount of omega 6s by reducing the intake of processed foods and vegetable oils.

The good sources that you have to turn to are the flax seeds, flax seed oil and walnuts.

  • Vitamin B12

The Vitamin B12 is vital for the proper formation of the red blood cells, synthesis of the DNA and a proper neurological function. Studies have connected the B12 deficiency with loss of vision, lower cognitive skills, brain shrinkage, disrupted sleep, depression, infertility that can come with both men and women, and a whole other set of medical issues.

Studies have shown that vegans have less Vitamin B12 circulating in their body. This is why, when it comes to the plant based eaters, the Vitamin B12 supplementation is very important.

When it comes to how much of it do you need and where to find it, it is recommended that the adults get 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 on a daily basis, and the women who are pregnant or breastfeeding taking slightly more. Naturally, this vitamin is found in animal products such as fish, eggs, dairy, and it can be found in some plant based products too.

When it comes to the vegans and vegetarians, if they want to ensure they’re getting the proper amount of this vitamin, they should consume nut milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast, because they all have bioavailable B12. There are B12 capsules and sprays available if you’re not up for consuming these foods.

Finally, a little warning – when it comes to the spirulina, it contains Vitamin B12, but not in a form that our bodies can process very well.

  • Vitamin D

Not only vegans, but all people should get a proper amount of this vitamin. Why? Here is why – the Vitamin D plays some important roles in the body functions, such as a development of the lungs and the brain, contributes to the formation of strong and healthy bones, and their preservation, boosting the function of the muscles and the immunity, and improving the circulation and the health of the heart.

Low levels of this vitamin are connected to dementia, depression and poor health of the bones. A lot of people struggle to get their fair share of this vitamin but the vegans may struggle a bit more, because this is a vitamin that is found in animal products.

If you want to get the Vitamin D, the recommended dose is 600 IU for men and women from the ages 19-70. Those who are older than 71 should receive 800 IU.

Even though the 15 minute exposure to sun in a day is enough to get your share of Vitamin D, it is not always the best way. Sometimes the sun can be just a bit too much for your skin and can lead to some serious issues.

And even though the plant based sources of Vitamin D are limited, there are plenty of products such as orange juice, tofu, dairy free milk and cereals that are fortified with this vitamin in order to help you reach your goal. However, the best way for you to get this vitamin is through supplements.

  • Calcium

The body needs plenty of calcium in order to make up for a healthy nervous system, healthy bones, heart and muslces. If a person doesn’t get enough of this mineral, he or she is at risk at having calcium deficiency disease or osteoporosis.

Vegans often fail to accomplish the daily calcium target, and this affects the health of their bones.But how much of it do you need and where can you find it?

All the adults and children over the age off 4 need to consume about 1000 – 1300 mg of calcium each day. You can find it in tofu, orange juice, Chinese cabbage, kale, soy milk, almonds and broccoli.

  • Iron

The iron is found to be essential in the production of hemoglobin – the substance within the red blood cells through which the oxygen is transported all over the body. There are symptoms that indicate if you have low levels of iron in the body, and they include fatigue, anemia, paleness, anxiety, dizziness, brittle nails and much more.

Even though it is prevalent in a number of plant based foods, the reasons both vegan and vegetarians struggle with the levels of iron is the non heme iron (the one found in the plaant foods) is not as easily absorbed by the body.

But, in order to take care of that issue, it is recommended that you consume about 8 mg of iron in a day, and the vegetarians will have to consume almost twice that amount in a day. Some of the foods that provide a decent amount of  iron include a cup of cooked beans, half a cup tofu, pumpkin, sesame or squash seeds.

Good sources of iron are chickpeas, lima beans or red kidney beans, one medium baked potato, broccoli, or a cup of dried apricots. Some other sources of iron are 1 oz of any kind of nuts, spinach, some pasta or rice, or a medium green pepper.

  • Iodine

This is another quite essential nutrient that our bodies are not able to produce, so the only way to get it is through the dieting plan. This mineral is vital for the optimal function of the thyroid, which has a role of producing hormones that are required for the health of the heart, muscles and the digestive system.

Also, they are responsible for the regulation of the body heat and the metabolism. Because the seafood, fish and the dairy products are the richest sources of iodine, vegans need to make some serious efforts in order to consume this nutrient.

But where to find it? The adults should consume about 150 mcg of the iodine every day, and the women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will be needing more of it. Iodized salt is one of the most common sources of iodine in the American  diet, but in order to make the most out of it, make sure you buy from a company with a good reputation.

When it comes to veggies, the best sources might be the sea vegetables such as kelp and nori. Here you need to watch out how much of it you eat per week in order not to intake excessive amounts of iodine. It is best recommended to consume the sea veggies about once a week.

So, as you were able to see, with a little work and planning, there is no reason for the vegans not to receive all the supplements they need in order to maintain their health and well being. If you are worried about or getting enough nutrients, then either invest in supplements or consult with your doctor.