When Do Vegetarians And Vegans Need To Take Supplements?
More people than ever are becoming vegetarian and vegan thanks to the ease in finding meatless meals in restaurants and on grocery shelves. Of course, animal rights activists have played a large role in this developing trend, as well as health experts who have confirmed that choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet has proven to yield immense benefits, including lessening the chance of heart disease, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and more.
However, how healthy is it to go this route? Are you getting all of the nutrition you need?
In general, those vegetarians and vegans who eat a balanced diet that is filled with diverse foods, and choose foods on their plate by color are healthy and have no nutritional deficiencies. Research does show that there are appropriate times for vegetarians and vegans alike to take certain supplements in order to maintain proper nutrient levels, but not everyone will need them. The information below discusses when and how each supplement is recommended.
All vegans and vegetarians can benefit from taking Vitamin B12 as soon as they begin their diet. Otherwise, it is easy to become deficient. Vegans and vegetarians should consume 100-200 micrograms of B12 daily, although if you haven’t been consuming B12 for a while, increase your dosage to as much as 2,000 micrograms every day for the first few weeks.
I personnaly take 1 B12 pill a day from essential organics.
Unless you live in an area with lots of sunshine, you should be taking a Vitamin D supplement, regardless of your diet. Most people do not come close to the recommended levels of Vitamin D. We should aim for 1,000 I.U.s to maintain a healthy balance. This is (arguably) not as critical for vegans and vegetarians as the B12 supplement, but a highly important one nonetheless.
This one is a bit controversial. Many argue the importance of calcium for bone health; others argue that calcium supplements are unnecessary and lead to osteoporosis. For years, people have also argued that low protein diets require lower levels of calcium, although this has never been proven. Vegans should consult their physician and make a personal decision about whether to take calcium supplements.
Vegetarians do not necessarily need this supplement, but vegans, who do not eat dairy, will need to consume about 90 micrograms daily, which is best obtained from iodized salt. Vegans who consume a large amount of sea vegetables may not need this supplement at all.
Iron supplements are primarily only needed for young women with heavy periods or post-menopausal women. Everyone else can obtain healthy iron levels from a well-balanced diet. Vegans and vegetarians may want a little extra iron by way of a supplement, but for the most, it is not needed. Examine your diet and consult your physician to see if an iron supplement is right for you.
Protein bars and shakes have become popular in recent years. While these are beneficial to consume after a workout, vegans and vegetarians do not need to take these supplements. They can easily obtain protein from nuts, seeds, beans, grains, some fruits, and many vegetables.
Conclusion on vegetarians, vegans and the supplements.
While certain supplements such as B12 and Vitamin D are highly beneficial for both vegetarians and vegans, other supplements are not as critical unless you are lacking certain foods in your diet or have certain medical needs.
For example, people with a family history of bone or blood problems related to calcium deficiency should consider a calcium supplement, and post-menopausal women should consider an iron supplement.
Other than B12 and Vitamin D, vegans and vegetarians should consider their own unique needs by discussing their nutrition habits with a physician or a nutritionist.
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