004: Do We Need Supplements For Plant Based Living?

SUPPLEMENTS FOR VEGANS

When you go plant based, people will try to tell you that you have a deficiency.  This might scare you or cause you to be unsure, and you might be wondering what supplements (if any) you might need to take.

 

We want to get rid of all the confusion around this subject and make sure you have a full understanding of what you should do when it comes to supplements for your new vegan lifestyle.

 

This way you can be comfortable and act with confidence while avoiding the negativity of people trying to claim you have a deficiency.


Let’s get into it…

 

Protein 

Should we take it or not? It’s really up to the individual, their activity level and how they feel. Most likely, they are not deficient in protein. I like to try to get all of mine from food, supplements need to be high quality.

As we’ve gone over many times in the past, protein can be found in all plants. A plant based diet can include all of the 22 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins.

Therefore, it is not always necessary to supplement with extra protein.

If your body is sore and you are an athlete who is going hard day in and day out, you may consider supplementing to see if it helps with recovery and soreness.

If it does not work, or you continue to feel sore, stop use. 

If it does work, then great you just helped your performance and you can be a better athlete because of it.

Personally, I try to get all of my protein from food. I never feel super sore, and I don’t think I’m deficient in protein, so I just stick to the whole foods and I usually feel great!

One thing to consider when looking at any or all supplements is the quality.  The supplement industry is a bit strange in that there is no best practices and they do not need FDA approval to launch a new supplement. 

That means the claims they make can be a bit overzealous and not necessarily accurate.

Make sure you check the ingredients on all supplements and look for real whole foods without a bunch of added sugar and garbage.

I would try to get my protein from whole plant based foods before trying to use a supplement.

 

Vitamin B12 

This is something that more people should be talking about or focusing on, because it is not very available in our sterile world.

Animal meat tends to carry some vitamin B12 as they do not wash their food the same way humans do, so they end up eating it.

Animal meat contains around 8% RDA of B12 and therefore should not be considered a great source. People who eat meat may still be deficient in Vitamin B12.

Vegans can supplement with B12 easily by using a spray or eating fortified foods. Common fortified foods are almond milk, cereals, and nutritional yeast.

Normally the lozenge or spray b12 supplements contain over a 1000% RDA which means, we only need to take it around once per week.

Some people only take it once every 2 weeks or once per month.

 

Other B Vitamins 

You can get them from plants, however If you are not getting enough of them, you will notice symptoms.

B vitamins are important for skin, hair, and nails, and some of them are super important for our mouths.

Specifically Vitamin B2 Riboflavin and B12 if missing, you can get sores in or around your mouth.


This is one symptom that you might notice from B vitamin deficiency.

Others report feeling tired more often, because B vitamins are heavily involved with the production of energy from food.

The main goal of this specific podcast is to remind you to listen to your body and if something is wrong, try to fix it slowly and while paying attention to how your body reacts.

Most of our problems start on a nutritional level. If we are able to experiment and fix the problem with what we’re eating it will save our body from pain and stress long term.

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Iodine

Iodine is an extremely important mineral that many people are deficient in, especially in western culture. One estimate is that iodine deficiency affects over 2 billion people worldwide.

Iodine is essential for the healthy function of our thyroid gland, which regulates our heart, metabolism, and energy. 

Like most nutrients, breastfeeding women need more than twice as much to pass down to their children.

A healthy functioning thyroid will increase our energy levels and make us feel more alive! That’s why it’s so important to try to get Iodine in our diet, and also why a long time ago, they decided to try iodized salt.

Now, people are switching to healthier forms of non-iodized salt such as Himalayan pink salt.

We can get Iodine from sea vegetables like seaweed, Dulce, and Nori.  

These foods are cheap, convenient, and I think they are tasty.

If you can’t stand the taste, you could always mask it by adding it to smoothies or salads.

Iodine is not just a vegan problem, everybody should be worried about getting enough of it.

 

Micronutrients 

For some reason, so much of the focus in western diets is on macronutrients like carbs, calories, and protein, when instead we should be focusing on micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients

The best way to get these into our diet is simply to eat whole plant based foods as they are high in most necessary vitamins and minerals.


One may consider tracking their food intake to make sure they are hitting RDA of important nutrients, and then balance throughout the week accordingly.

It’s important to remember that just because you are low in one nutrient, does not mean it was a bad day. You can simply make up for it the next day.

It is not as important to get the full range of vitamins and minerals every single day, as it is to make sure that your week and the big picture points to all of the necessary nutrients.

Our favorite food tracker is cronometer, which is free, and it shows all of the nutrients in our food as well as amino acids, calories, and everything in between. This tool is valuable for anybody wanting to track their food!

Ryan Kearns