Top 6 Vitamins and Minerals for Vegans
One of the biggest concerns I see with those who are eating a plant based diet is whether they, and their children, are getting enough of the key nutrients that a plant based diet is often limited in, or void of. Luckily, we are easily able to supplement these vitamins and minerals and they are quite readily absorbed by most people. Here I will list the key nutrients, name the foods and supplements that provide them and give a link to the supplements that I use. The links are through the amazon affiliate program, but they are products that I personally purchase and give my family.
1. B12 – B12 is important for neurological function, red blood formation, and synthesis of DNA. It is only found naturally in animal products, but can be found fortified in some cereals and in nutritional yeast. This is the the vegan form of B12 my family uses. It is best absorbed sublingually (under the tongue).
2, 3, and 4. Calcium, Vitamin D, and Magnesium: I am combining all three of these because it is best to take them together. Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones, it also assists in regulating heart and muscle function. Vitamin D is important in helping to absorb Calcium. It plays an important role in immune function and growth and development of bones and teeth. Magnesium helps to regulate calcium levels, calms anxiety, helps to fall asleep, and helps to increase energy levels. This is the vegan Calcium, Vitamin D, and Magnesium for adults that I use.
This is the vegan Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D I like for my kids.
•••Be careful when you are buying vitamin D, as its source can sometimes not be plant based. Vitamin D2 is always vegan. Vitamin D3 can be derived from sheep’s wool. Look for vitamin D3 that is derived from lichen, which is vegan.
5. Iron: Helps with hemoglobin formation, muscle function, treats restless leg syndrome, and apparently treats a rare disorder that I have called Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder where one acts out their dreams. If you are eating a well rounded diet and do not have any rare disorders, iron can be obtained through a plant based diet. Beans, lentils, tofu, baked potatoes, cashews, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals are all rich in iron. DO NOT TAKE WITH CALCIUM, as it will block the iron’s absorption. Do take with Vitamin C, i.e. orange, strawberries, mango, etc. Basically just space your calcium and iron supplement out throughout the day. When choosing an iron supplement for vegans, this is the one I love.
6. DHA: DHA protects neurological function and protects brain development through all life stages. My favorite DHA for my kids is Barlean’s Vegan Omega Swirl.