Vitamins you need as a vegan

Intending to become a vegan? Or are you already one just that you are worried that you’re not getting enough daily nutrients? Well fret not! I am here to tell you which type of vitamins that you will need while on a vegan diet.

Vitamin B12

Firstly, it is Vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential, and it oversees many bodily processes such as protein metabolism, formation of red blood cells as well as the health of your nervous system. If your body does not have enough vitamin B12, you might get anemia and nervous system damage as well as infertility and bone and heart disease.

The recommended intake would be either at least 10mcg daily or at least 2000mcg weekly. You can also find Vitamin B12 in your food such as milk products, vegan spreads, and breakfast cereals. Furthermore, the ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases with age. Hence, the most reliable way to have enough vitamin B12 is by eating fortified foods or taking the supplement!

Vitamin D

Secondly, it is vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps enhance the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. With sufficient vitamin D in your body, you will be able to keep your bones and muscles healthy!

An intake of 10mcg daily is recommended for adults. It is also known that you can boost your level of vitamin D by making yourself expose to sunlight for a short period of time, just remember to not burn your skin.

It would be best for vegans to take vitamin D supplements as very little food are known to supply your body with it. Without vitamin D, you might get a deficiency which causes you to fall sick easily, tired, bone and back pain and a few other symptoms.

 

Omega 3 and 6

Omega 3 is known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) while omega 6 is known as linoleic acid (LA). These vitamins are important for our body as it supports our immune system, brain development, nerves, and eyes. Food that are enriched in omega 3 would be flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and soybeans. Also, fatty fish and fish oil. As for omega 6, it would be corn, safflower, sunflower, and sesame oils. 

If you’re a vegan, you most likely have lower blood and tissue levels of omega 3 so you would benefit from taking supplements!

Iodine

This vitamin is crucial for your body as it is for a healthy thyroid function which controls your metabolism. With insufficient iodine intake, it can cause you to have low energy levels, dry skin, weight gain or worse, hypothyroidism. Studies have shown that vegans are at risk of iodine deficiency.

The recommended daily intake for adults is 150mcg of iodine. Pregnant women should aim for 220 mcg per day while those who are breastfeeding, they need a higher daily intake of 290 mcg. This is because when you have iodine deficiency during pregnancy or early infancy, it can affect your child in irreversible intellectual disability.

Iron

This nutrient is used to make DNA and red blood cells as well as energy metabolism. It is also the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. However, luckily, lots of plant food such as chickpeas, tofu, cashew nuts contain this mineral. It is recommended that adults have a daily intake of 8.7mg while menstruating women have a higher intake of 14.8mg per day.

Do be careful and not take more than the recommended intake as it will cause harm to your body.

Calcium

Everyone knows calcium is a nutrient that keeps your bones and teeth strong. But they play a huge role in muscle function, nervous system, and heart health. The recommended adult intake is 700 milligrams per day. There are many foods that contains calcium such as kale, spring greens, chia seeds and almonds.

Based off evidence, vegans are consuming less than 52 mg of calcium, increasing the risk of bone fractures. Hence, it is advisable to take a daily supplement.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral important for metabolism, fighting infections and repair of body cells. The lack of zinc causes developmental problems, hair loss, diarrhoea and delayed wound healing.

The recommended daily intake is 8 – 11 mg for adults, 11-12mg for pregnant women and 12-13mg for lactating women.

Some sources of zinc would be walnuts, ground linseed, quinoa and many more!

Reference:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-supplements-for-vegans
  2. https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients