Are you going vegan this January? If so, that’s fab – but don’t forget you simply cannot get all of your nutrients from a vegan diet so you need to look after yourself a little more than usual. If it’s just for the month, you’ll no doubt be fine, but if it turns into a longer commitment, you would be wise to supplement. But how and what?
First have a read of my new veganism factsheet and follow the link given there to read a really good scientific overview of a vegan diet and the gaps you need to plug to keep from being one of my patients in-clinic in a few years! I jest, but it is serious. I love the ethical stance, the higher consumption of plant foods, the reduction of animal foods (to a point) and the environmental impact is not at question BUT a vegan diet does have some nutritional deficiencies, especially if people don’t plan it well. My clinical – and personal – experience shows that those deficiencies can make people feel quite poorly. And it’s not just about B12. Anyway, do read the factsheet here.
Next, here is a useful vegan supplement protocol from Biocare for you to consider:
Whether you’re going vegan for health reasons, animal welfare, the environment or all the above, it’s no myth that there are still nutritional gaps in a vegan diet that we need to address. But with the right preparation and supplementation support, you will be on track to reaching your optimal health goal.
Such nutrients requiring extra attention include vitamin B12, vital for energy metabolism, red blood cells and immune function. Vitamin D for immunity and bone density, and essential fatty acids (EFAs), more specifically, the active forms of omega-3 called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), necessary for cognition, cardiovascular and eye health. These being the main 3 areas to focus on regarding supplementation, not to mention the potential reduced intake of iron, zinc, vitamin B6 and calcium, which also need to be taken in to consideration.
These nutrients can still be found in a good amount through various plant foods, for example, calcium can be taken in through ample leafy green vegetables, tofu and tahini. Iron is commonly found in leafy green vegetables, dried apricots and legumes and vitamin B6 can be found in avocados, squash and pistachios. These nutrients are also available due to fortified vegan produce, however, these are often in small amounts and in forms that are poorly absorbed such as calcium carbonate or cyanocobalamin for B12. It is advised if you are deficient, have symptoms of a deficiency or worried you won’t take in the required amounts, to supplement with the required nutrients to regain optimal levels.
With this in mind, we’re supporting you the whole way, and in fact whether you’re vegan for a month, 12 months or 12 years, we want to ensure you’re not missing out on these essential nutrients. Read on to find our best vegan supplements to support you throughout Veganuary and beyond.
NUTRISORB LIQUID METHYL B12
Introducing our Nutrisorb Liquid Methyl B12. It’s no myth that if you’re following a vegan diet, even just for a month, it’s imperative to supplement with vitamin B12 alternatively. Vitamin B12 is vital to our health, specifically for our nervous and cardiovascular health, as it plays a crucial role in red blood cell formation, homocysteine and energy metabolism to support tiredness and fatigue. As vitamin B12 is naturally available from animal products, vegans are at a higher risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can commonly manifest as nervous dysfunction and fatigue.
This high potency B12 formula, provides 500mcg per 6 drops, which is in its active, methylated form as Methylcobalamin and Adenosylcobalamin. This is highly absorbable and being in liquid form makes this very versatile and easy to dose accordingly. [Ed: I make sure P, who is vegan, has a mix of different B12 forms and this one does it for you :)]
This is ideal for those who are deficient or want to prevent a B12 deficiency, have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules or those with digestive and absorption difficulties. This is a very pure and simple product, free of allergens and safe for children to take.
- Place 6 drops directly under the tongue or taken mixed in to liquid.
- Take 1 capsule per day with food.
- Increase dose for a more therapeutic effect.
VITAMIN D3 1000IU
Our high potency vegan Vitamin D3 1000iu in its preferred form, Cholecalciferol (D3), sourced from lichen. D3 is the most active form of vitamin D, which normally is only available from sun exposure or animal products, it’s very exciting that we now can source this from a vegan source, lichen! Providing a therapeutic dose of 1000iu (25µg) per capsule.
Vitamin D is important for overall health, more specifically, supporting bone density, muscle function and balancing the immune system. It’s safe to say, it’s crucial we’re getting our daily intake of vitamin D. With the current NRV being 5µg (200iu) per day[i], however this doesn’t factor in dietary changes, illness, climate or genetics and therefore for most, the NRV value misses the mark. If you would like more guidance with dosages of vitamin D please do seek guidance from a health professional. [Ed: I always recommend a quick fingerprick D3 test so you can see how much you need. Often it is a lot more than 1000iu. But also you can have too much of a good thing. See my Vitamin D factsheet here
- Simply take 1 capsule with food.
- Increase dose as necessary.
MULTI NUTRIPOWDER/METHYL MULTINUTRIENT
Looking to take an all-in-one, hassle-free complex, which covers your key nutrients, so you don’t have to supplement separately? May we present to you our latest, antioxidant blend, multinutrient in powder and capsule form! These 2 products provide a broad range of nutrients in their most bioavailable forms and at therapeutic dosages for optimum absorption, which is easy on the digestive tract. These contain a great overall vitamin B complex which contributes to normal energy production and normal functioning of the nervous system, including essential B vitamins, such as B12 (as Methylcobalamin) and B6 (as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) in their preferred active forms and folate as Methylfolate (the natural form of folate found in leafy greens). This also contains vitamin D3 at an excellent daily dose of 1000iu, vitamin A, C and zinc for further immune support, as well as antioxidant support for protection from oxidative stress.
Methyl Multinutrient comes in capsule form. This contains higher dosages of certain nutrients, such as the B vitamins, including vitamin B12, B6, B5, folate, K and zinc. Easy for those who are on the go, prefer capsules or who are looking to take a higher potency multinutrient.
Multi NutriPowder comes in powder form which offers great flexibility making this the perfect option to share between the family, especially as this can be taken by children from the age of 1 at a 1/3 of the recommended dose. This can be conveniently added to any liquids, smoothie or non-dairy yogurt. This is a true staple in the supplement cabinet.
- 1 teaspoon taken daily, mixed in to either liquid or can be blended in to a smoothie.
- Ideally taken with food.
- Children’s dose from:
- 1+ – 1/3 teaspoon
- 4+ – ½ teaspoon
- 9+ – 1 teaspoon
Omega-3 is most abundant in fish and shellfish, and conversion of the plant form of omega-3, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), into EPA and DHA can be quite inefficient in the human body,[ii] which can make the vegan diet difficult to obtain the necessary intake of omega-3.
Our Vegan Omega-3 provides a direct supply of the essential EPA & DHA sourced from natural algae. DHA and EPA contribute to the normal function of the heart and DHA maintains normal brain function and vision, which is particularly important during pregnancy. This product comes in a convenient capsule form. Suitable for daily use and safe to take throughout pregnancy.
- Take 1 capsule per day with food.
- Increase dose for a more therapeutic effect.
Introducing BioAcidophilus Forte. Adjusting to a vegan diet, eating different foods, or certain foods in greater quantities than you are used to could impact your gut health initially, this goes for all dietary changes. This product is ideal to support you throughout this transition. BioAcidophilus Forte is our most popular live bacteria product, which provides 30 billion live bacteria per capsule of our extensively tested and clinically-researched LAB4 formula, consisting of 4 key strains of live bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium lactis).
This is our go-to therapeutic live bacteria product, ideal for everyday support. Also, informed sport certified, approved by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) making this the perfect option for professional sports persons to take.
Take 1 capsule per day.
Ideally taken with food.