Do vegans need to take supplements?



A typical vegan diet excludes animal products of any kind from their diet. Whether someone is vegan for health reasons, environmental reasons, or for no reason at all other than they feel like it, it is important to know what comes with following a vegan diet, whether it is a strict or flexible one.


It’s a common misconception to some that vegans need to take supplements to make up for nutrients they may be missing out on due to what many consider to be a “restrictive” diet. Truthfully, there are only a few nutrients that vegans are missing out on. Calcium and vitamin B-12 are two nutrients vegans may be low on since calcium is found abundantly in dairy products, and vitamin B-12 is mostly found in animal protein.


With that being said, taking supplements is not necessary, and here’s why:


Most of us know that calcium is an important nutrient because of the support it provides for bone health. However, dairy is not the only source abundant in this nutrient. “Dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli, are good plant sources when eaten in sufficient quantities. Calcium-enriched and fortified products, including juices, cereals, soy milk, soy yogurt, and tofu, are other options.” [1] As for vitamin B-12, this nutrient “is necessary to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia.” [1] Since this nutrient is found mostly in animal proteins, you may be wondering where vegans can get enough without taking supplements. Well, consuming “vitamin-enriched cereals and fortified soy products” is a helpful way for vegans, and vegetarians, to make sure they are consuming this important vitamin. [1]


Enriched and fortified foods are usually the way to go when it comes to vegans consuming nutrients found in products they cannot eat or choose not to eat. However, there is nothing wrong with taking supplements if you are just starting a vegan or vegetarian diet, or if it’s just the way you prefer to get all the nutrients you need. Either way, there are multiple options out there for vegans to stay happy and healthy with their food choices.



References:

1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, August 20). Vegetarian diet: How to get the best nutrition. Mayo Clinic. <