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Essential Vitamins For A Vegan Diet

Essential Vitamins For A Vegan Diet - Mason & Greens

If there's just one thing you must do when switching to a vegan diet that can't be over looked it's taking your vitamins. 

Sure sure, you grow up being told to take you vitamins.  Take a daily, take vitamin D in the winter to combat the loss of sun.  For stronger bones take calcium supplements.  If it's the winter take take vitamin C.  The list goes on.  

But for us Vegans, there are a slew of vitamins that are essential to keeping us healthy.  We do tend to get most of our vitamins and minerals by eating a well rounded plant based diet of ALL the fruits, veggies and grains but there are some, not many now, but some that can only be found in animal products.  So what are they? 

B12

Let's start out by talking about what B12 does.  B12 helps make your DNA and your red blood cells while also being essential for energy production and central nervous system function.

B12 can be stored in the body, the liver more precisely, for up to 5 years but it is entirely possible to become deficient if you don't make it a point to supplement your diet with this vitamin.  

The only place to get B12 naturally is from animal based products like meat, cheese, eggs and dairy.  If you follow a vegan diet those are not foods you wish to eat and therefor you have to take a supplement with B12 or eat foods fortified with it. 

Why is it so important to get the right amount of B12? 

Without the proper amount of B12, things can go south pretty quickly. Without enough you can start to feel fatigued.  Remember, B12 helps in the making of your red blood cells so when that process is interrupted it leads to a decrease in red blood cell production that in turns can impair oxygen delivery to your body. When your body lacks the right amount of red blood cells to adequately carry oxygen to tissues, your body can become weak and tired.  

Headaches and mental focus can also start to take effect if you're B12 deficient. But that's not all.  Other alarming symptoms of a deficiency could be yellowing of the skin, depressive thoughts, gastrointestinal issues, muscle cramps and muscle weakness, impaired coordination, erectile dysfunction, vision disturbances and even paresthesia in the hands and feet which is a pins and needles or burning sensation in certain areas of the body. 

But getting the right amount of B12 with a vegan diet isn't hard.  It's as easy as taking a daily vitamin.  This is a vitamin you just can't overlook.  It's essential for your overall health and isn't that why we started eating vegan in the first place?  To be health?! 

D3

Vitamin D3 is the more jacked version of vitamin D or D2.  It's superior in raising the body's vitamin D stores which are responsible for increasing your absorption of magnesium, calcium and phosphates from foods. It's the D vitamins that are known to help build strong bones and also play a critical roll in cellular function.  

Both D2 and D3 are critical for the normal functioning of the human body but as vegans it's the D3 we have to be cognitive of getting in our diet.  While D2 can be found in plants like mushrooms and yeast, D3 is mainly found in animal products. To get enough D vitamins into our diet, supplementing is the only way. 

Health Benefits Of D3

Also known as the sunshine vitamin, getting the right amount of D3 can help boost your mood and has been shown to decrease depression.  And because it helps increase absorption of needed minerals like calcium into the body, it's a great vitamin to help strengthen bones and muscles.  On top of all that, D3 can also boost immunity, reduce inflammation and improve heart function.  

Omega 3's 

Omega 3's are powerful little things.  They're the main structure of every cell wall you have in your body.  They're paramount to keeping your heart, lungs, immune system, and blood vessels working properly while also being a great source of energy.  

Benefits of Omega 3's

Omegas pack a punch when it comes to all its health benefits.  

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Reduce triglycerides.
  • Slow the development of plaque in the arteries.
  • Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.
  • Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease.
  • Lower cholesterol.
  • Improve tolerance to cancer treatment.
  • Improves depression.

Why Vegans Need To Supplement 

Omega 3 is not exclusively found in fish as you would most commonly expect but that is the majority of places where you will find it.  There are plants that contain omega 3 like flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and soy beans but because the list is limited it's always wise to supplement to make sure you are indeed getting the right amount of nutrients in your daily diet.  

"B" Vitamin Rich 

Getting your daily vitamins is crucial whether you follow a vegan diet or not but it is imparitve while being vegan just because of the lack of some of these vitamins in foods we do eat.  

While it's always best to eat a well rounded diet and to not just be a junk food vegan, its not always going to give you everything your body needs to properly function.  And this list is by no means a complete list of all the vitamins you need depending on your own personal health and how you like to supplement.  

 

*I am not a doctor and can not prescribe or dose vitamins according to your lifestyle.  This article is meant as a way to explore the options you have around you.  Please consult your doctor before taking any medicines, vitamins or supplements.  

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