The American Dietetic Association (ADA) reports that following a well-balanced vegan diet can provide you with most of the nutrients your body requires for healthy living, but a few essential vitamins and minerals aren`t present in a vegan diet.
In addition to a well-balanced diet, vegans should take supplements to meet their recommended daily nutritional requirements of the following vitamins and minerals.
Although most of the B vitamins are readily available in raw grains, vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is not. Vitamin B12 naturally occurs in dairy products, eggs, liver and animal flesh.
This vitamin is necessary for your body to produce healthy blood cells and proper cell division. Low vitamin B12 levels can cause anemia as well as nervous system damage.
Taking a B-complex supplement that contains B12 helps give vegans enough of this crucial vitamin.
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is crucial for healthy bone growth. It also helps your body turn carbohydrates into energy.
Vegans who don`t consume a lot of leafy green vegetables and nuts might not be getting enough of this nutrient, so riboflavin supplements can help to improve overall nutrition in these cases.
The Vegetarian Resource Group reports that vitamin D isn`t naturally present in vegan diets because it`s primarily found in dairy produce, eggs, liver and fish.
Your body needs this vitamin to properly absorb calcium and phosphorous. It also promotes the health of your teeth and bones.
The Linus Pauling Institute states that exposure to sunlight can give you your recommended daily dose of vitamin D, but then you run the risk of skin cancer. It`s a better idea to take a 400 IU supplement of vitamin D supplement every day.
The ADA reports that vegans often have low levels of zinc in their bodies. One reason is because the highest amounts of zinc are found in high protein foods, such as beef and pork.
Another reason for lower than average zinc levels could be because vegans often consume a lot of phytic acid, a component found in legumes and whole grains. Phytic acid binds to the zinc, which decreases your zinc absorption.
The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that zinc is found in every cell of your body, working to heal wounds and promote proper growth, insulin levels, blood clotting abilities and thyroid functioning. Symptoms of a zinc deficiency can include hair loss, night blindness, depression, acne and appetite loss.
The best way for vegans to consume the right amount of zinc is to take a daily supplement that contains this crucial mineral.
Iron helps your body to produce blood cells and helps to transport oxygen throughout your entire body.
Although plant derived foods often contain iron, plant based iron isn`t as easily absorbed into the human body as meat based iron. Because of this, vegans sometimes develop iron deficiencies, particularly vegan females during menstruation.
Signs of a possible iron deficiency include fatigue, breathing difficulties, hair loss and anemia. If you become anemic, you will probably feel fatigued and experience cognitive problems.
Taking your iron supplement with a source of vitamin C, such as orange juice, can help to increase your iron absorption rate. However, taking iron with coffee, tea and milk can reduce your body`s iron absorption abilities.
Look for supplements that don`t contain any animal derived ingredients. Keep in mind that many gel capsules actually include cowhide, cattle bones or pigskins, all ingredients that might not show up on the product`s label. It`s a good rule of thumb to stick to tablets when purchasing vegan supplements.
Save time and money by purchasing high quality supplements from reputable online pharmacies such as The Healthcounter pharmacy.