Recently, more and more people are consciously eating less meat and more plant-based foods. Since 2018, there are at least 150% more vegetarians and vegans. Many of them have to be extra vigilant about getting enough essential nutrients because of their diet.
Therefore, supplements for vegetarians or vegans can sometimes be recommended or necessary to avoid nutrient deficiencies. You can read more about this in this blog.
What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?
What is the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian? I’d like to explain that to you. A vegan does not eat any animal products at all. A vegetarian does not eat fish and meat but does eat dairy. Dairy includes milk products such as cheese, quark, butter, and milk. There are also other variants, such as a pesco vegetarian. A pesco vegetarian does not eat meat but does eat dairy and fish.
The term “flexitarian” has also been around for several years. As a rule, you can call yourself that if you do not eat meat or fish at least once a week.
Supplements for vegetarians and vegans
Below I will discuss three vegetarian and vegan supplements. Starting with healthy omega fatty acids, after which I zoom in on vitamin D, and then end this blog with information about vitamin B12.
Omega-3 fatty acids are fish, shellfish, and vegetable oils. There are several omega 3 fatty acids, such as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
The fatty acid ALA is mainly found in vegetable oils, such as rapeseed oil, soybean oil, linseed oil, (diet) margarine) and walnuts.
EPA and DHA are found in salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout, among others. Fatty fish contain more of these omega-3 fatty acids than white (lean) fish. These fatty acids contribute to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you are a pesco vegetarian, then supplementation is not necessary if you eat fatty fish at least once a week.
However, buying healthy fatty acid supplements is recommended for vegetarians and vegans. Make sure that you do not take a standard omega 3 supplement. It can be difficult to get enough omega-3 fatty acids through vegetable oils.
A standard omega supplement contains fish oil. You now have many supplements, especially for vegans and vegetarians. These are made, for example, from algae. The Recommended Daily Allowance is 200 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin D is mainly obtained from sunlight. Our body produces vitamin D in the body thanks to sunlight.
Vitamin D is also in foods. It is mainly found in oily fish. Meat and eggs contain lower levels. It is also added to various products, such as baking and roasting products, margarine, and low-fat margarine.
For some people, it is necessary to supplement vitamin D anyway. This is the case with young children, people with a dark complexion, and people who spend little time outside. For vegetarians and vegans, it may be wise to take a vitamin D supplement.
After all, they don’t eat meat and fish, which are the largest dietary sources of vitamin D. A vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms per day is recommended for vegetarians and vegans.
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal sources. Think of dairy, meat, and fish. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause anemia and memory loss. Vitamin B12 is stored in fat, so it usually takes a while before a deficiency occurs.
If you are a vegetarian, you can in principle get enough vitamin B12 by eating enough dairy. For vegans, it is usually important to take a vitamin B12 supplement of 2.8 micrograms per day.
When taking supplements, it is important to use a dose of no more than 200% of the Recommended Daily Allowance. Higher doses can lead to toxic effects. If you want to know if you have a nutrient deficiency, you can have your blood tested by a medical specialist