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Other than Vitamin B12, which other vitamins do Vegans get?

 
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From this New Year I have decided to become Vegan. I am vegetarian and want to become a dedicated Vegan. I have one simple question, other than vitamin B12, which other vitamins do vegans get and how they get? Please let me know. I got the detailed guide about B12 and how do vegans get B12 from http://www.vegansfirst.com/vegans-vitamin-b12-without-supplements
 
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We supplement with B12. Most animal eaters don't get enough either, so it can be a good idea for anyone to test, especially older adults. It is the only supplement that all plant based doctors agree on.

I also take vit D. Based on what I've researched and where I live, I decided it made sense for me.

That's it. But I'm whole food plant based so i really prioritize nutrition in what I eat. If you're just focused on eating vegan, and you eat a lot of processed foods, you might need something else.
 
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I'm thinking menstruating women and those with low iron might want to supplement with iron. Even when I was eating a lot of high-iron meat products to try to get my iron up, I would calculate out how much iron I'd gotten, and it wasn't enough. And I was always mildly anemic. Women in general need twice the amount of iron as men, and I think those with heavy periods likely need more iron than those with lighter periods. Since it's usually even harder to get enough bioavailable iron from plant sources, I think supplementing with iron might be beneficial for many.
 
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I take a vitamin D everyday and to get my B12 I eat nutritional yeast flakes. I start my day with a half cup of beans with one TBSP of yeast flakes. As I understand it vitamin D is created when skin is exposed to sun light. So if one needs vitamin D sit or work outside.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I'm thinking menstruating women and those with low iron might want to supplement with iron. Even when I was eating a lot of high-iron meat products to try to get my iron up, I would calculate out how much iron I'd gotten, and it wasn't enough. And I was always mildly anemic. Women in general need twice the amount of iron as men, and I think those with heavy periods likely need more iron than those with lighter periods. Since it's usually even harder to get enough bioavailable iron from plant sources, I think supplementing with iron might be beneficial for many.



I read a lot about this when I was pregnant with my first child. How the body uses the iron we eat and why some people suffer deficiencies is very complicated and poorly understood.  All sorts of weird interactions, like whole grains have more iron, yet they also contain phthalates which keeps our bodies from using the iron UNLESS the grains or the dough are fermented like with sourdough bread...but how much fermentation works  Who knows! And would eating unfermented whole grains keep you from making use of other iron-rich foods?  I don't know, every meal is its own science experiment.

I've been vegetarian (though not vegan) my whole adult life. The only animal product I eat that contains any significant amount of iron is eggs, which according to my egg carton one egg would give me 4% of my iron needs, and I definitely average less than an egg a day.  Maybe 2 eggs in a normal week, and some weeks none at all.  Still, I have never had iron deficiency.  I've never taken supplements, not even during my two preganancies and never had any problem. First pregnancy I made some effort to eat high-iron foods like blackstrap molasses and tahini, but second time I pretty much just ate what I wanted.  My sister-in-law, who is a meat eater and also eats nutritious foods did have iron deficiency during pregnancy. I am sure she was consuming more iron than me, yet some how her body either needed more or somehow couldn't make use of what she ate.

So I think dietary iron is a big mystery, and no real reason to expect that a person who does not eat animal products is at risk for iron deficiency solely due to lack of meat.
 
Sonja Draven
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I know a lot of people, including myself, who are whole food plant based, and none of us are iron deficient, need to supplement, or have issues absorbing iron from plants.

I lost a lot of blood in an incident last year and did not require a transfusion because of the health /quality of my blood. I was quite anemic though and was able to recover completely in a couple months by upping my leafy greens to three times a day (along with my usual wfpb diet).

I'm obviously not speaking for anyone else and I'm sure there are people who need supplements but I've been able to maintain with this diet even with heavy menstruation.

I can't speak to the outcomes with a traditional vegan diet.
 
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I supplement B12, D, and occasionally take an algae omega 3. It's a different form than is in plant foods like flax, so some people recommend it.

I've taken iron for a while a few times since becoming vegan, but never noticed much change in my iron levels. My doctor brings it up once in a while because I'm always slightly lower than normal. Taking iron pills for months on end doesn't change that, so I think that's just a normal level for me. Back when I ate lots of red meat, i started hemorrhaging during one of my periods and ended up needing a blood transfusion. I found out later that anemia can cause heavy periods, which can lead to a whole nasty spiral ending in a hemorrhage like mine. For years after I took iron pills every day and still struggled to keep my level up.

Now that I'm vegan my periods are still really heavy, as in, a day or two every month requires very careful planning if I'm leaving the house, but they're not as bad as when I ate meat. And my iron levels are stable, if a little lower than my doctor would like. I get at least the recommended amount of iron pretty much every day from whole foods.

I eat lots of low oxalate greens like kale, lettuce, mustard greens. I limit high oxalate greens like spinach and swiss chard, and try to eat them with something high in vitamin C, like a citrus based dressing.

I think veganhealth.org is a pretty good, to the point website for vegan nutrition. There's nutritionfacts.org if you prefer videos.

I suspect people overcomplicate the whole thing. Just eat lots of nutrient dense food of a wide variety, pay attention to a few tricky nutrients, and you'll be fine
 
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I read this article just recently - seems reliable and it lists not only vitamins & nutrients that are not present in plants, but also the ones that are hardly available or in too low amounts:

Vitamin A
Vitamin D
Vitamin K2
Vitamin B12
Other B vitamins
Iodine
Iron
Zinc
Omega-3 (DHA and EPA)
Cholesterol (for brain to function properly)

Source: The Vegan Brain by Georgia Ede MD.
 
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Flora Eerschay wrote:I read this article just recently - seems reliable and it lists not only vitamins & nutrients that are not present in plants, but also the ones that are hardly available or in too low amounts:

...

Source: The Vegan Brain by Georgia Ede MD.



I think that is very interesting that it says with such absolute conviction that we cannot or that it's too low to bother.

Especially when my family doctor has instructed me to eat more (and less) of certain plants to get some of those nutrients.

Iodine - seaweed and dashi (which may or may not contain fish, but nearly always has some sort of seaweed)
K2 - Fermentage cabbage
A and D are available in fortified foods like every commercial wheat product manufactured in Canada, but with Vitamine D, my body cannot absorb it from the diet anyway.  I have to make it by eating the building blocks and spending even more time outside.  Although I am supposed to cut back on Carrots as I have too much Vit A.
B Vits - again from fermented plants.
Iron - my body can't absorb it from meat sources so I need to eat more dark green plants.
...etc.

But we're doing bloodwork to monitor how much of the vitamins my body is absorbing and then change the diet accordingly.  

When someone says something is not possible, I am curious why they say that.  Are they trying to prove a point?  If so, absolutes are the fastest way to disprove a point because, exceptions.   When someone declares absolutes about the human body, I laugh and click away.  Every individual human body is unique and what will keep one person alive could easily kill another.  
 
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This is one of those topics where there are a lot of ideas floating around, no one really knows for sure what the answers are, and it's very likely there are no "answers" anyway, because every body digests and processes vitamins and minerals differently. It's not a simple "eat more of this or take a supplement for that", because for each vitamin and mineral our body needs, there's a complex cascade of enzymes, hormones, and other elements required to get to the stage our bodies can actually utilise them. Meat eaters can get iron and B12 deficient just as easily as vegans can.

I don't think I agree with that book listing nutrients vegans can be deficient in. It's actually impossible to make such a statement, because vegan diets vary so widely. Some are vegan and eat loads of super-healthy high-nutrient foods, some are vegan and eat highly-processed low-nutrient foods.  I had a friend who was extreme macrobiotic and ate nothing but brown rice and wondered why she got sick! I have other friends who eat nothing but meat and wonder why they get sick! I'm vegan for personal/spiritual reasons, and admit that at times, my diet is absolutely crap! Since vegan got trendy and every supermarket has a good supply of vegan junk foods, it's easy to get lazy. So, I currently supplement. I had a few years a while back as a raw-food vegan. It was amazing - I have never felt so healthy and full of energy! I didn't supplement then because I didn't need to.  

There's a theory that even Vit B12 can be obtained from fermented plant foods - that's how the B12 gets into animal foods, after all, the vit B12 in animal flesh was absorbed from fermenting plant food in that animal's gut. There are high levels of iron in green leafies, nuts and seeds, and fermented grain products. Cholesterol and healthy brain fats - nuts and seeds, avocados, coconuts. Vit D depends where you live and the time of year - I'm in England and probably everyone here should supplement 8 months of the year - the latitude means there's only a few months of the year when the sunlight is strong enough to produce Vit D. Traditional peoples in northern regions ate a LOT of animal fat in winter to get Vit D that way. Or they got deficient.

I guess what I am saying is that vegan is not inherently vitamin and mineral deficient, but it's not inherently higher nutrient, either. It depends what you eat. If you're concerned, you might find it useful to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks, weighing what you eat at least the first day to assess portion sizes, looking at the food nutrient charts, and calculating an approximate number for what you're getting of specific nutrients like iron and zinc. It also depends on what levels of nutrients you have stored in your body from what you ate last year and the year before that.

Enjoy your vegan journey, look to eat high-nutrient foods, take a supplement with the RDA if you are concerned.
 
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Jane Mulberry wrote:

There's a theory that even Vit B12 can be obtained from fermented plant foods - that's how the B12 gets into animal foods, after all, the vit B12 in animal flesh was absorbed from fermenting plant food in that animal's gut.

I can remember reading things ages ago (maybe in Nourishing Traditions, but don't quote me) that natural fermentation was a key explanation regarding how some subsistence-level  communities seemed to have healthy levels of certain nutrients when "theoretically"  they shouldn't, and fermentation was the key. However, I'll specifically point out the comment "from fermenting plant food in that animal's gut" and suggest that humans are animals too! And that we've got lots of helpful microbes doing that sort of thing in our guts! And that there's some evidence that eating naturally fermented foods can change our guts and make them more supportive of the "helpful" microbes we need and improve our overall health.

I didn't manage to make homemade sauerkraut last fall, and I think my gut is suffering from that lack. I'm the only one in the house that will eat it, so it's hard to put the time and space into it. I am not vegetarian, but I still seem to recently be having more difficulty absorbing enough iron from my food (age is a factor, but I don't know if it's that we've had more years of eating things we shouldn't, or that an old gut really doesn't work as well as a young one does!) Interesting that r ranson mentions that she seems to not be absorbing animal-sourced iron.

I totally agree that it's an interaction between our bodies, the nutrient density in the food we eat, the quality of the soil (partly determined by regional geography) the food is grown in/on, and what's going on in our guts, and likely more, that makes the difference in both how much of a vitamin we get, and how much we need.
 
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B12 is an interesting puzzle also.  I have read that traditional communities that ate a largely vegan diet in Iran were theorized to get B2 from human and animal waste used as fertilizer; not that leaving poop on your veggies is a recommended practice these days!  Also have read that even though you need to have consumed some B12 to kick things off, your body also makes it and is slow to deplete its stores.  So a person who already has an adequate B12 level might not have to worry about continuing consumption.

Personally, I do not take any supplements, because I never have suffered any deficiencies that I have noticed. However, different bodies react differently and every person's circumstances are unique. If you are low on some nutrient it might make sense to supplement. But I don't see how a blanket statement that all vegans (or all people of any other diet) need specific supplements makes sense.
 
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I do aim to have a predominantly whole food plant based diet, which as others have pointed out is not necessarily the same as a vegan diet in that it focus more on nutrient rich/dense foods.  

For supplements I do take the B12.  I found it interesting to learn that this is actually formed from soil microbes which is apparently how most animals get it.  I also have started taking vitamin D supplements, at least when I'm not out in the sun much, like my cloudy winter days here.

This thread has reminded me that I keep meaning to try grinding into a powder some dried seaweed I got from the oriental market.  My thinking is that this would make it easier to incorporate into dishes as a whole food plant based way of getting more iodine since I also seek to avoid excess salt, which means I don't use much iodized salt these days either.
 
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David, for making flakes/ powders many seaweeds crumble easily if you toast them briefly in a dry pan; you’ll see the texture change before your eyes.  You can keep the flakes in a shaker jar then.
 
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Tempeh is thought to have B 12 although more likely in tempeh that is homemade and unpasteurized and even then I hear that the amount varies.

I have only an anecdotal example...having made tempeh for several years and eaten some almost every day we suddenly couldn't get starter anymore so  abruptly stopped eating it and over several months time I developed a B12 deficiency that was quick to fix with a sublingual liquid B12 concentrate.
I was eating eggs but not every day.  

I'm not vegan or even total vegetarian but needed the steady B's to function.  
...making tempeh again now and eating it regularly

I think with enough dark green leafy greens iron is not so hard to maintain without meat.
 
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Vegans get all the necessary nutrients (except for vitamin B12) if they eat a balanced diet. If you are worried about developing any deficiency you may want to check out blogs by vegan doctors like https://nutritionfacts.org/. It provides a host of useful information unveiling the common myths about the vegan diet. Also, if you're a beginner to veganism there's an informative guide for vegan beginners at https://happyvegan.life/. I hope they will help to address your concerns.
 
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I'm not vegan but I do use a lot of nutritional yeast for b vitamins because I don't eat a lot of meat and can't afford to, so I eat a lot of plants and root vegetables with nutritional yeast.
 
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I will second Angelina's recommendation of NutritionFacts.org as a good source to look for info.  I've been following Dr. Greger and that site for years.  It's a non-commercial site that strives to look at just the science and remove, or at least reveal, monetary influences.  They always link to the studies they reference and try to reveal conflicts of interest there might be in them.
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