Vegans only eat plant-based foods and steer clear from the consumption of any foods produced by animals, including dairy products and eggs. While there are numerous nutrients coming from plants and organic produce, vegans may lack the nutrients that can commonly be sourced from meat and its by-products. For this reason, it is recommended that vegans take in supplements to ensure that they get balanced nutrition even with a purely plant-based diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Vegans can get some of the omega-3 fatty acids that their bodies need through some of the food they eat. However, there are studies that show that vegans tend to have lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid linked with a number of health benefits, including improved brain health. For this reason, it is significantly beneficial for vegans to take in vegan-friendly brain supplements, or the so-called “nootropic supplements”, which are rich in DHA. They will most likely have improved thinking skills, memory boost, and speedy reaction times even if they only feed on plant-based products.
Another vitamin that vegans tend to lack is vitamin B12 because of the limited vegan sources of this vitamin. Vitamin B12 is essential for several body functions such as the formation of red blood cells, as well as metabolism and keeping a healthy nervous system. A deficiency in this vitamin may lead to anemia or nervous system damage, as well as heart disease and even infertility.
Some foods that contain this vitamin include plant milk, soy products, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast. They may also turn to unwashed organic produce or even mushrooms that grow in B-12 rich soils. However, merely consuming these foods may still prove to be insufficient in providing the necessary vitamin B12 that the body needs which is why it is important to take in supplements.
Vitamin K-2 is the type of vitamin K that is present in dairy products and egg yolks. Since vegans don’t consume these foods, there is a greater chance for them to be deficient with this vitamin. Nonetheless, they can turn to fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, vegan kimchi, or unpasteurized kombucha, but these may not be enough to get the amount of vitamin K-2 that is needed by the gut to help process vitamin K that is necessary for blood clotting and wound healing. Hence, it is better for a vegan to take supplements rich in vitamin K-2 to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
To wrap things up, as much as possible, vegans need to take in supplements that are rich in omega-3, vitamin B12, as well as vitamin K-2 to ensure that they get balanced nutrition even if they only consume plant-based foods. In addition to this, it will also be beneficial for them to take in calcium, iron, zinc, or vitamin D supplements. These are only some of the essential supplements, but there are a number of other supplements that they can opt to take as they deem necessary.