Vegans, Which Supplements Should You Actually Take?

This is a continuation from the previous post here.

The point: to make sure you don’t just feel good in the short term, but that you STAY healthy for the long term.

(Those two concepts aren’t the same. And confusing them is a costly, possibly irreversible, mistake to make.)

So here’s the Cliff’s notes version of those long articles from the previous Lesson, including what I personally do for myself:

– Take B12 (either form)
– Take Vitamin D (and D3 is the best vegan, bioavailable form)
– Take DHA & EPA (important Omega-3s not provided by vegan sources like flaxseeds or walnuts)

Oh, and eat a plant-based diet full of micronutrients. If you don’t do this, then you’ll probably want to take a multivitamin… but come on, if you don’t do this, then what are you doing!?

If you look at the science, it’s clear that these nutrients aren’t in most of our diets — even really, really good and varied ones — in adequate amounts. (Because nobody eats giant piles of seaweed, algae, or dirt, and we don’t want to eat fish.)

And I’d say the vast majority of plant-based doctors and experts agree. But what about the other three mentioned in the articles — iodine, zinc, and K2?

They’re all worth considering, but to me less universally recommendable, because of a lack of convincing science and/or availability in diverse plant-based diets.

For example, I use iodized sea salt, so I get mine that way (not that weird — non-vegans get a lot of their iodine from the remnants of the cleaning products leftover on dairy processing equipment!).

I might eventually become convinced that zinc and K2 are important, but right now, when I weigh the available evidence of benefits against the potential risks and costs of supplementing — for my own family — it’s not a clear choice either way. I’ve taken both in the past and will probably continue to experiment with them, but for now, I don’t take them.

So there you have it.

For an even shorter version: if I could have a billboard (on Route B12, ideally) that every vegan would see as they drove by in their Prius, here’s what I’d put on it:

“Eat whole plants and take B12, D3, and DHA/EPA.”

I reserve the right to update my billboard as more science becomes available. :)

You can click here to download a summary of this in a simple “cheat sheet” form (with a few more details, too). No email address required; it’s just a straight download.

More lessons coming soon!