Here at Jan de Vries we’re all in favour of this lifestyle choice, whether undertaken for health or moral reasons, however, with ‘Veganuary’ now upon us, we’ve noticed an increasing number of potential vegans coming in-store, asking our advice about supplements so we thought we would put together a list of our favourite supplements that we would be happy to recommend to anyone thinking of going vegan.
1 – Iron
Iron is an incredibly important mineral and is vital for the formation of healthy red blood cells, helping to transport oxygen throughout your body. If you’re not getting enough iron, you can very quickly become fatigued and start to experience digestive upsets.
Unfortunately, low iron levels and anaemia are very common here in the UK, particularly with menopausal women and those that adhere to a restricted diet such as veganism. This is mainly because iron is most readily available in animal by-products such as red meat, eggs and fish.
That’s not to say iron cannot be found in vegan sources such as spinach, wholegrains and fortified cereals, and many vegans manage to obtain healthy iron levels through their diets, however, in some cases a supplement might be necessary and sometimes finding a vegan-friendly one can be tricky.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered with Floradix’s Floravital Liquid Iron and Vitamin Formula. Unlike Floradix’s Liquid Iron Formula, this preparation is free from gluten and yeast as is completely suitable for vegans, offering not only an easily absorbable form of iron, but also a mix of B vitamins and vitamin C, which are essential for helping your body to utilise this mineral. Flavoured with fruit juice and free from artificial colourings, this is one of our favourite supplements here at Jan de Vries!
2 – Protein
Protein exists in almost every cell of your body and is essential for your survival – you need protein for your skin, cell formation and as fuel for your body and, if you’re not getting enough, you’ll very quickly know about it; in mild cases with a sluggish metabolism, fatigue and mood swings but in more severe instances, joint pain, high blood sugar levels and low immunity.
However, like iron, most sources of protein in our diets comes from animal by-products like meat, eggs and milk, although there are plenty of plant-based sources too such as lentils, pulses and nuts. Getting the balance right, at least for novice vegans, can sometimes be difficult which is why we often recommend that aspiring vegans try to incorporate a protein powder into their daily routine.
This is where SunWarrior comes into the picture. This vegan-friendly protein powder not only helps to increase your daily intake of protein, it also helps your body to absorb other vitamins and minerals and contains all essential and non-essential amino acids! Derived from whole-grain sprouted brown rice, it’s easy to digest even for infants and adults!
It’s even rumoured that the World Health Organisation may be using Sunwarrior protein in the future to feed malnourished individuals! And, with flavours such as Vanilla and Chocolate, you won’t lack for range. Just add a scoop to your morning smoothie or even use when baking delicious treats such as pancakes or energy balls!
3 – Vitamin B12
Anaemia is a condition that often affects those with low levels of iron, however, in some cases it can also occur because of low vitamin B12! This important B vitamin helps to support your blood cells and is even involved in making DNA! Without vitamin B12, you’ll probably find yourself feeling a bit forgetful and lethargic, or you may even suffer from joint pain or digestive problems such as diarrhoea and nausea.
Since fish is a particularly good source of B12, it’s often not readily available to vegans and vegetarians, except for in fortified foods, and the Vegan Society even recommends a daily supplement that provides around 10mcg or a weekly supplement of 2000mcg!
BetterYou’s Boost B12 Oral Spray is a favourite of ours here at Jan de Vries because just 4 sprays provide 1200 mcg of B12! It’s also convenient to take and absorbs easily into your bloodstream without having to pass through your digestive system. It also contains chromium which can help to prevent blood sugar spikes and fatigue.
4 – Calcium
Famous for its association with healthy bones and teeth, calcium does play many other roles within the body, helping to support healthy nerve and muscle function as well as the metabolism of iron and the absorption of vitamin B12. When you think of dietary sources of calcium though, the chances are that dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt immediately spring to the forefront of your mind.
Calcium, however, can be found in other sources like legumes, leafy green vegetables, nuts, lentils and even tofu! Getting the right balance of calcium in a vegan diet usually isn’t a problem but sometimes we do recommend a supplement for newer vegans that are still trying to work their way towards a balanced diet.
Getting a vegan calcium supplement can be challenging, which is why we recommend Solgar’s Chelated Calcium Magnesium Tablets. As the name may suggest, these tablets also contain magnesium, an important mineral for supporting the nervous system and muscles and joints, making it particularly effective as well as convenient and easy to take!
5 – Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for helping to absorb calcium, not to mention this vital nutrient is also involved with other biological processes, including your brain function and immune system. However, as with many other nutrients on this list, vitamin D is widely found in fish and dairy products, although it can also be sourced in tofu and mushrooms.
Vitamin D deficiency isn’t just a concern for vegans and vegetarians though – this is one of the most widespread nutritional deficiencies and most of us are at risk, especially at this time of year. This is because, food aside, most of us synthesise vitamin D from sunlight which, if you happen to live in the UK, can be in short supply even during summer!
Studies have even found that taking a vitamin D supplement may help to alleviate symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so taking a supplement, at least during winter, might be something that all of us want to consider!
If you are vegan though, I would recommend going with Vridian’s Organic Vitamin D Vegetable Capsules. Unlike most traditional vitamin D tablets that utilise non-vegan vitamin D sources such as lanolin, Viridian instead choose to use a form of vitamin D sourced from mushrooms. Providing 400Iu of vitamin D, it’s a generous offering without giving you too much vitamin D, which can sometimes be just as dangerous as getting too little!