by Melissa Chichester
A well-planned plant-based diet can provide the most essential nutrients, but some may take a little more effort to receive so you can thrive.
Supplements are a helpful way to bridge nutritional gaps. Here are five supplements that support a plant-based diet and lifestyle and help you increase your intake of essential nutrients.
Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient predominantly found in animal-based foods – so vegans and vegetarians may have a more challenging time getting adequate amounts. Vegetarian foods that contain Vitamin B-12 include nutritional yeast and fortified soy products. In addition, it is more difficult to absorb as you age.
A primary benefit of Vitamin B-12 is that it supports energy metabolism.* It also aids in normal development and the regeneration of red blood cells, contributes to the health of the nervous system, and helps maintain circulatory health.* Vitamin B-12 also helps maintain cellular energy levels by converting food into energy.*
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for supporting heart health, healthy circulation, and much more.*
While they are primarily found in fatty fish, plant-based sources like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarian omega-3 fatty acid supplements can also help increase intake for people on a plant-based diet.
Iron is an essential mineral that is important for cellular energy and plays a key role in energy metabolism.*
While plant-based diets can provide an ample amount of iron, the type of iron found in plant foods is known as non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed as heme iron from animal sources. Enhancing iron absorption can be achieved by consuming vitamin C-rich foods alongside plant-based iron sources like legumes, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals.
In some cases, an iron supplement may be necessary, especially for individuals at risk of deficiency or those with increased iron needs, such as menstruating women or athletes.
Multivitamins are available in many different forms, including tablets, softgels, capsules, liquid multivitamins, powder blends, chewable tablets, and gummy vitamins. While they are not a substitute for a healthy diet, multivitamins can provide several benefits when used appropriately.
Just like any other nutrition plan, adopting a plant-based diet requires making sure you receive adequate nutrition. Most nutrients can be obtained through a well-planned diet, and certain supplements can provide added support.
Vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, a multivitamin, and iron are among the key supplements to consider. And don’t forget to speak with your healthcare practitioner before taking any new supplements.
|*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.|