When we talk about deficiencies on vegetarian and vegan diets, we mainly focus on supplementing vitamin B12 and iron. Although these are important, we often overlook other equally vital minerals. I fell into this trap personally, and only after a few years, with more detailed tests during pregnancy, did I find out what I had neglected
Let’s point out, that deficiencies including the ones mentioned below, can occur at any diet, even the traditional meat based diets.
Here are 4 non-obvious nutrients that I suggest you pay special attention to:
On a traditional diet, iodine is primarily obtained from meat and fish. If we don’t consume these products and don’t live close to the coast, we are likely to develop a deficiency. Maintaining the correct level of iodine is incredibly important as it affects the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones, in turn, play a significant role in the body’s functions, such as metabolism and growth. Therefore, prolonged deficiency can be dangerous. A low iodine level can also contribute to the development of thyroid nodules (goiter)
Also known as the sunshine vitamin because our bodies can generate vitamin D when we spend a lot of time in the sun. When it comes to dietary sources of this vitamin, unfortunately, they are only of animal origin. Vegetables and fruits do not contain vitamin D. I must mention here, before you think we have to eat meat, that the process of vitamin D production in animals is the same as in humans. If an animal doesn’t have access to sunlight daily, it has to receive vitamin D in its feed, through supplements. Considering that most animals in factories don’t see daylight, they receive (or not) supplements. In summary, since the source of vitamin D is a supplement anyway, we don’t have to eat an animal in the process.
It has been widely accepted that to maintain a suitable level of collagen in the human body, we should consume animal products, especially bone broth. Indeed, collagen is most easily obtained from animal products. However considering how intelligent the human body is, it’s hard to believe that over time it would simply stop producing something so essential.
As it turns out, consuming meat is not necessary. We can focus on supporting our body in collagen production, which, in simplified terms, means improving protein and amino acid synthesis. It’s worth noting that there are no plant-based sources of collagen. This protein is found only in mammals and birds. Vegan supplements typically consist of appropriate blends of ingredients that support collagen production. Therefore, besides supplementation, the key lies in a healthy diet. You can of course support yourself with supplements such as this vegan collagen from the Good Guru.
Omega-3 and omega-6 acids
Deficiencies in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can affect, among other things, the condition of hair, skin, and nails, and can lead to lowered immunity and allergies. When we think of omega fatty acids, fish consumption immediately comes to mind. Do you know why? All thanks to sea algae – the fundamental source of omega fatty acids. This means that we don’t necessarily have to eat fish since we can go directly to algae. Omega fatty acids can also be found in flaxseeds, walnuts, or green leafy vegetables.