Do I need to Supplement on a Vegan Diet?
At Together, we believe that a vegan lifestyle is great for your health and for the planet. Plant-based diets are growing in popularity in the UK as well as around the world. It is estimated that one in eight Britons are now vegetarian or vegan (1) and the number of just vegans has increased fourfold in the past ten years from 150,000 to nearly 550,000 (2).
This is good news for the planet (3) and good news for our health! Plant-based diets are often richer in fibre, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals. Studies also report that they provide more potassium, magnesium and vitamin C (4, 5, 6, 7) than a traditional Western diet.
However, there are certain nutrients that can often be difficult to get without supplementation:
Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) is the body’s preferred and most readily absorbed form, as opposed to the vegetarian form of D2. Other than our body’s conversion of sunlight into vitamin D3, the only dietary sources are animal ones.
Furthermore, if you live in the UK, (and the majority of the northern hemisphere) apart from during the summer months, the skin makes little (if any) vitamin D3 from the Sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north (8).
However, there is one source of plant-based vitamin D3 in supplement form, from lichen, and it is found in Together’s Vegan Vitamin D3 supplement.
Found in meat, fish and dairy, B12 is an essential micronutrient that can only be reliably obtained in fortified food and supplements if following a vegan diet (9). A lack of B12 can cause many health problems that may only manifest over time. It is also important to note, that non-vegans can also be deficient in B12 too.
Calcium and Zinc
One of the most extensive studies of vegetarians and vegans in the world found that vegans not only had the lowest intakes of vitamin D and vitamin B12, but also calcium and zinc (10). Inadequate levels of calcium can lead to Osteoporosis over time. Side effects of not getting enough zinc in your diet can include hair loss, lack of alertness and a reduced sense of taste and smell.
Iodine is usually found in fish and dairy products, although it can be found in cereals and grains, but generally at low levels depending on the amount of iodine in the soil where the plants are grown. A dietary plant source providing iodine is seaweed, but the levels present can be unpredictable and in some cases lead to an excessive level. One study showed that 80% of vegans are iodine deficient (19). Iodine is necessary for thyroid hormones which help keep cells and the metabolic rate healthy.
Together’s B12 Vegan Complex contains all the above essential nutrients and more in an easy to swallow capsule format.
Omega 3 is well known for its numerous favourable health properties, such as improving eye, brain and heart health, fighting depression and anxiety, as well as many other benefits (16).
But did you know that not all omega 3s are created equally? Whereas short chain omega 3 fatty acid ALA is easy to get in a vegan diet, the long chain omega 3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA are traditionally found in fish. ALA is the form of omega found in all vegan diet choices. The body has to convert ALA to the all-important DHA and EPA and this conversion is generally inefficient. However, it is possible to get a rich source of omega 3 DHA and EPA from omega 3 oil produced from algae, the same algae that the fish eat that give them their omega 3!
Together’s Algae Omega 3 supplement is a unique plant source including both DHA and EPA and ideal to support a vegan diet. It is also a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to source omega 3.
‘’A vegan diet conveys many health benefits as well as being extremely positive for the environment and animal welfare. But it is important to be mindful of any missing essential nutrients that help us live long, healthy and happy lives and look out for additive free, vegan supplements that can ensure your daily nutrient levels are met.’’
Lee Robertshaw, Founder of Together
Together began in Yorkshire ten years ago, when brothers Lee and Daniel Robertshaw were on a mission to improve their health. Now working with leading experts in nutrition and health, along with the highest-quality ingredient producers in the world, Together have developed a trusted and effective range of products. Dedicated to making the most natural, wholesome and healthiest supplements on the market, they are committed to using recognisable ingredients grounded in nature.
Together’s Product Promise
We’ll always use whole foods, ocean nutrients, and powerful plants to make effective products that are recognisable, gentle, and highly absorbed.
We’ll never use artificial product additives or processing aids. Instead, we use ingredients and methods that are kind to your body and the environment.
We follow the journey our ingredients take to reach you, making sure they’re carefully monitored, cared for, and tested. We’re 100% transparent about our ingredients.
Together’s supplements are sold nationally and internationally at www.togetherhealth.co.uk, and in-store at Holland & Barrett, Revital, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic and Independent Health Food Shops nationwide.
Written by Lee Robertshaw, Founder of Together Health
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