Vegan supplements recommendations



Vegan supplements recommendations are all over the place. You need these supplements, no, you don’t need any supplements on a vegan diet. So what’s the real deal with recommendations for vegan supplements?

First, we’ll talk about protein and calcium because they’re easily met on a vegan diet. And then, we’ll discuss vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Iron.

Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are harder to find in diet – no matter what type of diet you’re on, vegan, vegetarian or meat-eating. Iron, on the other hand, is more abundant and often we consume too much of it. And this can lead to other problems we don’t think about. So without further ado, let’s dig in.

Vegan supplements recommendations #1: Protein, a vegan myth


Let’s start with protein because that’s definitely #1 myth in vegan nutrition and must-have supplements.

My mum is interested in nutrition, she knows stuff, and when I told her I went vegan, the first thing that came out of her was: “Oh my gosh, are you sure? I mean, how do you get your protein? Did you lose your muscles? How’re you feeling?”

This is the most common reply you’ll get. If you’re vegan, you probably have the knowing chuckle on your face.

Getting enough protein on vegan diet is easy.

 

Just to be on the same page, let’s quickly review why protein is so important for us.
Protein is required for building, maintenance and repair of our body. Protein is made of amino acids. And amino acids can be synthesized both – by the body or they can be ingested by food.

You, your body, can only make 11 of them, thus the term 9 essential amino acids. The 9 essential animo acids cannot be produced by the body. They must be obtained by the diet aka the food that you put into your mouth.

 

Vegan source of protein
Nuts and seeds are good source of protein for vegans.

 

A wide spectrum of grains, legumes and vegetables can easily provide all the essential amino acids.

Another thing, you’ll often read about is intentional combining to meet you protein needs. We now know that intentional combining is not necessary to get all the amino acids. As long as your diet contains a variety of grains, legumes and vegetables you’re good to go.

At this point, we should talk about the traditional Western diet just to get the whole picture.

The average American, on a mainstream American diet, consumes about double the protein that body needs.

Double the amount! And, to be straight, animal protein is no good for your body. If you’ve read any of the previous posts, you know animal protein is high in saturated fat, really difficult on your guts.. Which is just not good for your health.

RDA, or recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 gram/kg of weight.

For example: if you weight 141 pounds, that is 64kg.

64kg x 0.8g/kg = 51g/day

Keep in mind that RDA are only rough recommendations. A guideline. Maybe 51g/day is too much for you. Your body is different, your lifestyle is different and you have to do your research and know your body to figure out what’s best for you.

You are one of a kind 😉 Do your research.

Vegan supplements recommendations #2: Calcium, another vegan myth


Did you know, diet high in animal protein actually pulls calcium from your bones? And so it’s actually really not that great for you. Calcium is found in dairy products, or in other words animal protein. Yes, if you eat lots of dairy products, your bones are that happy.

The China study is a great book to read, that’s showing areas in China where people who’re consuming no dairy have the lowest rates of Osteoporosis. And then, on the opposite site, people from Western countries, where they’re eating a lot of dairy, have the highest rates of Osteoporosis.

Calcium and bone health
Calcium from plant foods will make your bones healthier and stronger than dairy products.

If you want to know more about connection between dairy and cancer growth – scientifically proven, stuff – watch documentaries like “Forks Over Knives” and “What the Health”.

It’s a game changes for many.

 

There are many good sources of calcium that can be found in a plant based diet: butternut squash, chia seeds, some seeds and nuts, soy beans and lentils, etc. Bottom line, it’s very easy to get enough calcium on a plant based diet especially if you’re eating a healthy plant based diet with limited processed foods.

Now let’s get into some things that are a little harder to get in the diet.
Not only for vegans and vegetarians, but for the general population.

Vegan supplements recommendations: Vitamin B12, the truth


Plain and simple, you cannot get enough of vitamin B12 on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria and other one-celled organisms in the small intestines of animals. When the animals eat or consume dirty food or dirty water full of bacteria their body produces vitamin B12.

Healthy, vegan diet provides an abundance of

vitamins and minerals but not vitamin B12.

 

Humans used to be able to do the same thing when our soil was a lot richer (some would say dirtier) and we grew our own food. From out garden to our table.
With Agricultural industry, food safety and just this entire process of getting produce from point A to point B, we started vigorously watching vegetables and making sure everything is super sterilizing, super clean and that’s how we lost the ability to produce B12 and to get it in our body.

Vitamin b12 quality
The quality and quantity of vitamin B12 is getting lower because of soil degradation and food safety regulations.

 

Which brings us to why meat-eaters should pay attention to B12 as well.

As we know now, B12 is found in animals gut and that’s why meat-eaters should be OK when it comes to B12. Doing my research, I disagree with that.

Unless you have a farmer you know how he raises his livestock and all that, then the animals that were slaughtered for meat were probably treated with antibiotics their entire lives. Which means, their gut flora is dead, non-existent, fucked. Which means no B12.

So I think that we all should be taking a vitamin B12 supplement because the quality of the B12 and the amount of it is definitely reducing as time goes on.

Sources of B12 are: fortified breakfast cereals, fortified soy milk and fortified fake meats. If you don’t eat a lot of processed foods, you can definitely get enough of B12 from nutritional yeast. Most popular brand is Red Star vegetarian support formula.

If you want to get your B12 from other source, just make sure to check the ingredients list of the nutrition facts label to make sure that you’re getting an active form of the vitamin B12. The active form is called cobalamin or cyanocobalamin. So make sure you’re getting the active form so your body can absorb it.

RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micro grams per day. And again, you’re one of a kind. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding then you need to be getting a little more than that. For aging and elderly folks – you want to make sure you get enough B12 because the B12 is extremely important for your nerve health and for your blood health. All I’m saying, do your own research.

Vegan supplements recommendations: Vitamin D, needed


Vitamin D is another vitamin that everyone should take. There’re very little foods that are rich in vitamin D, so you can’t really get it with diet.

Another option is to get it from sunlight.

Sources of vitamin D
Sunbathing for 15min a day, in your bikini, provides enough vitamin D to meet your body needs.

I believe that to get enough Vitamin D you should sunbathe for 15 minutes, each day and expose 3/4 of your body while doing so. Who does that? It’s winter and raining, and you have to work, no time to lie around exposing 75% of your body.

So yes, I think everyone should take vitamin D no matter what they eat.

RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU/day.

 

Vegan supplements recommendations: Iron, not what you’d expect


Lastly, iron.

I want to talk about iron because it falls in another category – we often get too much iron than too little. And iron doesn’t wash out of your body like, for example, Vitamin C, that you just pee out.

Iron stores in your liver and can cause serious health issues if you don’t address it properly.

Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, which is the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body. Yes, iron is extremely important and yes, your body does need a certain amount of iron for a healthy blood cells which can be obtained from food. But beyond this rather small amount which is smaller than you probably think, it can become a really dangerous substance.

Iron overload is a lot more common in

America than iron deficiency.

 

Iron in excess can act as a catalyst, a helper for the formation of free radicals which can cause cancer cells in your body.
A lot of research has shown that high iron amount in your blood can increase cancer risk. So do your own research and find what feels good for you but be aware that once excess iron is absorbed by your digestive tract the body stores it.

Iron overload is a lot more common in America than iron deficiency. So I don’t think you should take iron supplements, unless something special is going on with your body and you talked it through with your doctor.
To know where you’re at with your iron, get blood work done. Simply go to your doctor, tell him you want a full blood work profile done to see what’s happening. Then you can go from there.

Iron supplements
Before taking any iron supplements, you should do a full blood check and consult with your doctor.

 

If you eat a varied, healthy plant based diet that include lots of whole foods and you’re not just eating the same thing every day or a bunch of junk all the time, I really don’t believe it’s necessary to keep close track of your iron intake.

 

Vegan supplements recommendations


My recommendation for vegan supplements is vitamin B12 supplement and Vitamin D supplement.

You’ll see that every single vitamin B12 supplement has a much higher amount of B12 than the RDA of 2.4 micro grams. As far as I know, there’s no toxicity with higher amount so you don’t need to be worried about that.

Finding vegan vitamin D can be tricky. You’ll need to read ingredients label and sometimes even contact manufacturer. Most vitamin D supplements, more specifically D3, are obtained from sheep’s wool and being vegan that’s a no – no. Sometimes D3 is obtained from lichen, which is vegan-friendly.

However, Vitamin D2 is always suitable for vegans.

You don’t need protein, calcium or iron supplements.

 

And please, pleeeease, don’t trust everything that you read on the web. And to be fair, don’t trust me, I’m only speaking from my experience and the research I did.

I’m not going into details on purpose, because I want you to get interested, because I’m a strong believer in doing your own research. Find information that vibe with you. Information that you believe in. You have the responsibility to your body and it’s on you to leech out the truth over bullshit.
And sometimes it’s impossible to figure it out, because you find yourself in a grey area – that’s the case with dietary supplements.


Nature made vitamin b12


vegan vitamin D

These are my 2 vegan supplements recommendations that I believe everyone should take.

 

 

If you liked what you read and found the information useful, please follow on social platforms and join my Facebook group “Vegan for Beginners”.

If you have any questions, want to share your experience or just chat on this topic, write a comment below. I’d love to hear your point of view!

Till next time,

Katya

15 thoughts on “Vegan supplements recommendations”

  1. There’s so much misinformation out there about the vegan diet, it seems like everyday I see another anti-vegan YouTube video pop up in my feed saying that vegans are nutritionally deficient, when in fact it’s the opposite, people on the SAD diet are the ones deficient.

    I do realize the importance of B12, however I’m not a fan of taking supplements if it means having to swallow a capsule everyday. Would eating B12 fortified foods be just as effective?

    Reply
    • Hi Son, yes, eating fortified foods will do the job. There’s a wide variety of different products that have vitamin B12 added, just look at the ingredients label at the back of the packaging.

      Best,

      Katya

      Reply
  2. Hi Katya,

    Interesting information, thanks for good advice.

    Unfortunately, wild mushrooms are not common in American culture. I am Russian (Aren’t you? Your name sounds Russian). 

    I grew up going to the forest each summer with my grandma for mushroom picking. I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than walking in the woods and looking for mushrooms, and then I don’t think there is more delicious food than certain kinds of wild mushrooms. I am saying this because mushrooms also contain protein, iron, and believe it or not, some even contain vitamin D. I don’t know easy English names for these mushrooms, but I looked them up in Wikipedia and found Latin names for them. Boletus Edulis is rich in protein and iron. Lactarius Resimus contains vitamin D. This last mushroom we eat pickled. 

    I thought that a peek into another culture might be entertaining. 🙂

    Thank you for the good educational post. I really enjoyed reading and learned something new for myself. 

    ~ Julia

    Reply
    • Hi Julia, at first I was a bit confused why mushrooms 🙂 A lot of people, I colder climates grow mushrooms indoor, maybe you can find it in Russia as well and no, I’m not Russian, I believe my name originates from Slavic Katerina or maybe Katjusha 🙂 

      I’ll look it up: Boletus Edulis and Lactarius Resimus. 

      Thanks so much for putting your time in it. I love mushrooms and will try to find them here (in Australia).

      xo,

      Katya

      Reply
  3. Hi Katya

    You have done an awesome job with your presentation. I hope meat eaters and anti-vegan will read this post and get a better understanding of what you get as a vegan or vegetarian. 

    I remember when I told my sister that I became a vegetarian, she was like, that not good, you will not get enough protein or calcium. She works in the health industry, but she reacted as most of people do. And then we discussed it in details. I asked her, can one find proteins only in meat? What about mushrooms? She took time to think and we came up with substitute in nuts and other vegetables.

    It is really important to teach people to understand that meat is not the only source of proteins. And teach them what we can find in plants, nuts and fruits. 

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Adyns68, always great to hear from you 🙂

      I know exactly what you’re saying, my mum was..still is so concerned if I’m malnourished and she’ll always ask me what I eat and how I feel. I take it as a compliment, she cares about me. 

      And your sister clearly cares about you too 🙂

      There’re like 80000 edible plants and I think we just forgot about everything we can eat. But you know, each individual has to decide for themselves either to explore it or not.

      Best and say hi to your sister,

      Katya 

      Reply
  4. Hi Katya

    Getting the right balance of vitamin and minerals is very important, no matter if you eat animal products or not. Calcium is available from leafy green and should not be an issue.  I believe you should get your nutrients from food as much as possible, but I  can imagine people who will struggle with this. I agree you don’t need to supplement with iron unless you suffer from anemia, which could be a sign of internal bleeding.

    Vitamin D is so important and I would recommend supplementation, as long as it is in the right form of vitamin D3. Vitamin B12 absorption can decrease with age, in that you are getting enough in your diet but your body have difficult absorbing it.

    Thank you for writing this article, which will help people greatly. What about the micro mineral that are required in minute qualities?

    Thanks

    Antonio

    Reply
    • Hi Antonio, thank for leaving you comment. 

      To answer your question, there are 9 micro minerals or trace elements: 

      Iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, copper, flouride, manganese and chromium. They can all be found and absorbed eating whole food, plant-based diet and is no need to supplement them – unless, again, there’s something special going on with your body. In this case, doctor and/ or certified nutrition person is to go to address.

      Hope this helps,

      Katya

      Reply
  5. I learned a lot from the presented myth of calcium, protein and, Vitamin B12. I would agree that the culprit in health deficiencies this time and age is too much processed food.  Less intake of vegetables and fruits as natural as they are will result in many illnesses.

    People who live a long life in the old days are really vegans and we can learn a lot from them. That means they don’t lack those calcium, protein, and vitamin B12 by rarely indulging in meat.

    Reply
    • Abagatan, that’s exactly what we were just discussing with my partner. He’s a meat eater and cannot understand why and how cca 50g/day of protein (meat in his books) should be enough for an adult.

      He: “Well, our grandparents’re doing just fine and they have been eating meat for their entire lives.”

      Me: “But they eat it only on Sundays.”

      He: “Oh, yeah. That’s true.”

      Like you said, we can learn a lot from previous generations and hopefully, stop for a minute and think.

      Best,

      Katya

      Reply
  6. I agree with you. Every vegan must make necessary research about any nutrients in the supplement they are about to take to avoid any compromise. Not all of those manufacturer will list every ingredients they used. This is a very educating review. I have learnt so many things from this review. Ranging from the source of vitamin D12 which happened to be from a dirty source, gowch! to that of vitamin D. Is there any chronic side effects if one decided not to take this nutrients? Lols. Every nutrients have their own super role and there is need to get supplement for them. This supplement you recommended should be of help. But I must say, being a vegan Is a great descipline.

    Reply
    • Hi Stella, thanks for leaving your comment.

      Discipline, yes and no. When you’re ready to go vegan you just do it and it’s easy – that’s when you have a really strong “why I went and am vegan”. But if you don’t have that “why”, then I imagine you feel like you’re missing out on things. 

      And that’s my honest opinion, no one can persuade you to go vegan. Once you’re ready, when you know enough and too much to tolerate it, you’ll just do it and be vegan. Permanently. Because of your “why” you cannot un-know, un-see things.

      I went deep, didn’t I? 🙂

      Now to the deficiencies: Long term vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression and that is no joke. 

      I’ve read a study done in Scandinavian countries where they were researching what to do to lower the suicide rate. They connected it to a general emotional state of people during polar night and general lack of vitamin D. What they did to tackle this problem is, in workplaces (office, school, stores, etc.) they put in lights that imitate solar and radiate like sun. Brilliant. 

      Vitamin B12 deficiency can have most serious consequences during pregnancy, because it can affect the baby. In general, long term deficiency can lead to weak body in any sense, from physical endurance, healing cuts, feeling dull and lifeless, etc.

       Hope this helps,

      Katya

      Reply
  7. Hello Katya, thanks for this article. It is very handy and insightful. I cannot agree more with you that vegans need to be more careful and try to carryout researches on the kind of ingredients that are used in the supplements they consume as most manufacturers are too greedy to list most of the ingredients with the hope of hiding some facts. Great article and I also learnt about the source of some vitamins which is not favorable at all.. Some, disgusting!
    thanks for Sharing this article

    Reply
  8. I found it hard to discipline myself as a vegan largely because of the myths you already stated here. I thought I might be deficient in amino acids and calcium. Now I know better. We used to have mushrooms in the place I lived before but I never considered them edible. Now, I will love to include them in my diet since they supply protein to the body but the problem now is that I am not sure if I can easily find them here.  I like to ask if dairies are also high in saturated fat?

    Reply
    • Hi grea8J, you can get protein from any type of mushrooms and/or plants. Legumes like lentils, peas and beans are wonderful sources of protein and probably most commonly used for protein on a WFPB. 

      To answer you question on dairy products and saturated fat; Yes, dairy foods such as butter, cream, ghee, regular-fat milk and cheese all have saturated fats. The jury is still out whether low-fat yogurt or milk is better for you than full-fat but rule of a thump is the fatter the dairy the more saturated fats.

      Hope this helps,

      Katya

      Reply

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