Find out which dietary supplements are particularly important for vegans on a plant-based diet: vitamin B12, zinc, iron, etc.
A plant-based diet is very healthy if it is varied. But even with a varied diet, important nutrients can be missing because they are not sufficiently covered. In this article, I would like to introduce you to particularly important nutrients that should be kept in mind, especially in a plant-based diet. I will also introduce you to dietary supplements that I personally can highly recommend.
Important nutrients in a vegan diet
Why B12 is important
Vitamin B12 supports the normal functioning of the nervous system, helps against tiredness, and contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells. Signs of a deficiency can include tiredness, tingling, speech or memory problems, and balance problems.
Where is vitamin B12 found?
In ruminants, fish, and other animals, B12 is produced in the stomach itself through digestion. Vitamin B12 is therefore contained in animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk and is ingested by humans through these animal products (Stefanie Uhrig, 2020). Vegans and vegetarians who eat a whole or part plant-based diet may not be getting enough vitamin B12.
This is how you cover your B12 needs as a vegan/vegetarian
B12 is sold as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules or drops and is also available as a nasal spray.
Why zinc is important
Zinc has many important functions and helps the body, for example, to strengthen the immune system, heal wounds, form DNA, and divide cells. (Jillian Kubala, 2018)
Where is zinc found?
Zinc occurs naturally in a variety of plant and animal foods. The foods with the highest zinc content include shellfish, meat, and fish. However, zinc is also found in legumes such as chickpeas or black beans. Zinc is also found in nuts and seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts), whole grain products (e.g. oats, brown rice) or certain vegetables (e.g. mushrooms, kale, peas).
This is how you cover your zinc needs as a vegan/vegetarian
Make sure that you include many natural zinc sources such as whole-grain products, nuts, legumes in your diet. To promote the absorption of zinc in the body, it is recommended to take zinc at the same time as citric acid, malic acid or lactic acid. It is best to enjoy fresh oranges, lemons, berries or sauerkraut with your sources of zinc. (Bettina Eick)
Why vitamin D is important
Vitamin D helps maintain bone health, supports muscle function, and supports immune function.
Where is vitamin D found?
Our body produces vitamin D itself. As soon as sunlight hits our skin, the body produces the valuable vitamin through its own synthesis. Regardless of the type of diet, people often have a vitamin D deficiency. The reason for this is not enough sun, especially in the winter months, and because we don’t spend enough time outdoors.
However, vitamin D can also be ingested through food. Fish and dairy products are considered sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms are also a plant source of vitamin D.
This is how you cover your vitamin D needs as a vegan/vegetarian
Although there are foods with vitamin D, their content is often relatively rare. That’s why it makes sense to take a vitamin D supplement, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or otherwise.
Why iron is important
Iron is essential for the body as it contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency can lead to tiredness and exhaustion.
Where is iron found?
Fish and meat are considered rich sources of iron. But there are also plant-based, iron-rich foods such as spinach, kale, whole grains, beans, lentils, dried fruit or tofu. However, the iron in fortified vegan/vegetarian foods can sometimes be more difficult for the body to absorb than the iron in meat.
This is how you cover your iron needs as a vegan/vegetarian
Make sure you’re getting enough iron-rich foods in your diet. To help your body absorb iron, you should eat iron-rich foods with vitamin C (peppers, broccoli, oranges, and citrus fruits).
Why Omega 3 is important
Omega-3 fatty acids are fatty acids that help maintain good overall heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by our body itself, so it is important to get these essential fats from our diet.
Where is Omega 3 found?
Fish like salmon and tuna are considered the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. But also plant-based foods such as walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or rapeseed oil.
This is how you cover your omega 3 needs as a vegan/vegetarian
Fish are considered a particularly good source of omega 3 because they absorb algae that contain the fatty acid. In order to supply the body with omega 3, the algae can also be ingested directly. For example, drops or capsules with which Omega 3 can be easily supplemented are suitable for this.
Difference between chemical and natural dietary supplements
Over millions of years, the human body has adapted to digesting natural food, including natural vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, and adjusted its metabolism accordingly. Therefore, our body can distinguish between natural and artificial substances and absorb and utilize natural substances better. Since chemical dietary supplements are synthetically manufactured and foreign to the body,
Therefore, you should only use natural dietary supplements.
In addition, the following nutrients are also important
- iodine and folic acid
A balanced diet is essential to provide the body with the necessary nutrients. While some of the vitamins can also be obtained from plant-based foods, vegans and vegetarians should cover some nutrients with supplements.
I personally recommend getting a regular blood test to check for any nutrient deficiencies. In order to ensure that your body is supplied with all the important nutrients it needs every day, it makes sense to take food supplements after consulting your doctor. I’ve been using Sunday Natural* products on the recommendation of my doctor for a few months and I’m very happy with them. The dietary supplements are natural, sustainable and of high quality. (Sunday Natural). You also offer many preparations in drop or capsule form, so there is something for everyone.
Recently I’ve been testing the “All in One” capsules from Sunday Natural* in particular. All important nutrients and vital substances for vegans are contained here in a single capsule. With the compact multi-nutrient supplement, I can ensure that all-important nutrient groups are optimally covered.
I hope you enjoyed the post about vegan supplements. Please note that I am not a doctor or nutritionist. If you have any questions, you should always contact your trusted doctor. Stay healthy!
- Stefanie Uhrig, 2020: “Vitamin B12 – alles, was du wissen musst“; https://www.quarks.de/gesundheit/ernaehrung/vitamin-b12-und-vegane-ernaehrung/
- Jillian Kubala, 2018: Zinc: Everything You Need to Know”, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc#what-it-is
- Bettina Eick: Die wichtigsten Nährstoffe bei veganer Ernährung”; https://www.peta.de/veganleben/vegan-naehrstoffe/
- Sunday Natural, https://www.sunday.de/ueber-uns
- Melanie Widmer, 2021: “Gefährliche künstliche Vitamine”; https://www.zentrum-der-gesundheit.de/ernaehrung/nahrungsergaenzung/weitere-nahrungsergaenzungsmittel/vitamine
*Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by sending test products from Sunday Natural.