Do vegans need to supplement?

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» Do vegans need to supplement?

A common concern for new and experienced vegans alike is supplementation and The Vegan Society is here to help. 

Appropriate supplementation is an important part of healthy vegan nutrition. To help ensure we get all the nutrients we need, it is recommended that we use supplements to complement a balanced and varied diet.

We developed our VEG 1 vitamin and mineral supplement for this very purpose. Designed for vegans, by vegans, VEG 1 contains the following vitamins and nutrients which deserve special attention: 

Vitamin B12

This vitamin helps with the development of red blood cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Vegans need to consider B12 because it is not produced by plants; it is manufactured by microorganisms. People who do not consume animal products need to obtain B12 from fortified foods or supplementation. The latter option can be a straightforward way of ensuring that you consistently get enough.

Vitamin D3 

Vitamin D is important for bone and muscle health. During the spring and summer, many people in the UK can get this ‘sunshine vitamin’ through skin exposure to sunlight for a short period in the middle of the day. However, vitamin D supplementation is recommended from October to March as a minimum and year-round for certain groups, including people with darker skin and those who do not often expose their skin to sunlight. 

Iodine

A moderate, steady iodine intake is ideal for thyroid health. Most plants do not require this mineral for growth, so their contents vary and tend to be low.  Iodine fortification of milk and yoghurt alternatives is becoming more common, but this is not standard practice. If you consume around 500ml of iodine-fortified plant milk daily, this can provide a good amount of iodine. Alternatively, a supplement containing potassium iodate or potassium iodide, such as VEG 1, is a reliable option.

Selenium

Selenium helps our bodies to fight infections and protect cells and tissues from damage. Similar to iodine, most plants do not require selenium for their growth. They contain lower amounts when grown in soil with a lower selenium content, which is a common issue in some areas, including Europe. Supplementation is recommended as a reliable way of guaranteeing an adequate intake of this mineral.

Extra B vitamins: B2, B6 and folic acid

Vegan diets contain adequate B6, B2 and folic acid if they are well-planned. However, these B vitamins are included in VEG 1 because they work with B12 to help it do its job.

To find out more about VEG 1, please visit our shop.

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