There are many more people who are plant-based or vegan these days. But do they get everything they need from their food? There are some key nutrients that get missed or are harder to get from plant food alone.
The top nutrients that may need to be supplemented:
1. Iron – this is better absorbed from animals than from vegetables.
2. B12 – you can only get this from animal products or made in your own small intestine. Don’t be fooled by advertising that says plants have B12 e.g. quinoa. They have been grown in water that contains B12, so what amount of B12 is in that plant that you are then eating is uncertain.
3. Zinc – mostly animal source. You can get zinc from pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, but you may need to eat a lot of these if you are trying to get a therapeutic dose rather than maintenance dose.
4. Vitamin A – Beta-carotene from plants does convert to vitamin A in the body, but this can be a harder process for some people. The best source of vitamin A is from cod liver oil. This doesn’t appeal to most plant-based eaters so perhaps a supplement with vitamin A may be beneficial, especially if you are getting sick a lot or have certain skin conditions e.g. acne.
Not every person who is living a plant-based lifestyle will need to take these supplements and some markers should be checked to make sure via blood test e.g. iron and B12.
Some supplements we recommend include: