Vegetarianism and veganism: dietary supplements to compensate for possible nutrient deficiencies.
Vegetarians and vegans choose their diets for a variety of reasons, including ethical considerations, environmental protection, or health benefits. A vegetarian or vegan diet can be nutritious and healthy. However, it is important to pay attention to possible nutrient deficiencies and, if necessary, compensate for them with dietary supplements. In this article, we present some supplements that can be important for vegetarians and vegans.
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found mainly in animal products and is essential for the function of the nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, fatigue and neurological problems. Vegetarians and vegans should watch their vitamin B12 intake and take a supplement if necessary. There are various vegan vitamin B12 preparations on the market in the form of tablets, sprays or drops.
Iron is an essential trace element necessary for oxygen transport in the blood and cellular respiration. Plant sources of iron are called "non-heme" iron and are more difficult for the body to absorb than "heme" iron from animal foods. Therefore, it may be wise for vegetarians and vegans to watch their iron intake. Iron supplements are available in various forms, such as tablets or capsules. Be sure to take iron supplements along with vitamin C to improve iron absorption.
Calcium is an important mineral for bone and dental health. Vegetarians who consume dairy products usually have no problems with calcium intake. However, vegans should make sure to consume enough calcium-rich plant foods. If this is not possible, a calcium supplement may be considered. Be sure to choose a supplement with good bioavailability, such as calcium citrate.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain and heart health. Vegetarians and vegans can obtain omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. However, these plant sources contain the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which the body must convert to the biologically active forms EPA and DHA. However, this conversion is often inefficient. Therefore, vegetarian and vegan omega-3 supplements derived from microalgae that contain EPA and DHA directly,