Vegan Supplements Part II: The Extras

Photo: seigertmarc via Flickr

This is Part II of a 2-part feature on dietary supplements for vegans. Today, we’ll talk about some “extra” supplements that vegans might consider adding to their healthy diet. To read about the essential supplements for vegans, check out Part I.

When you walk into the supplements aisle of your favorite natural grocery or vitamin shop, the options can be completely overwhelming. Many people take supplements to help in the pursuit of a better bod, to treat sleeplessness or mood changes, and to combat the symptoms of everything from intestinal disorders to respiratory issues. Regardless of your specific health concerns, every vegan with healthy eating habits should still investigate whether these supplements are right for them and their lifestyle.

As with all changes to your diet and exercise, it’s wise to consult with a trusted medical professional before taking up new habits. We’re pretty smart here at Vegan Cuts, but we’re not doctors, so please don’t confuse our articles for medical advice.

Amino acids

We’re well past the era of food combining and complicated formulas to get enough protein on a vegan diet. But, is your protein complete? That is, you need to make sure that you’re getting all 9 “essential” amino acids, which are the building blocks of cells. It’s worth considering since your body can’t produce these amino acids on its own. For most vegans with a well-rounded diet, getting the essential amino acids is not usually a problem. If you’re concerned, consider incorporating quinoa into your diet. It’s the only grain on earth that is a “complete” source of protein. If that doesn’t cut it for you, look to culinary amino supplements. My favorite is Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, because it’s delicious AND good for you at the same time.

DHA+EPA+ALA
Sure, it all sounds like alphabet soup at this point, but bear with me. ALA (alpha-lineolic acid) is an Omega-3 oil that is the precursor to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the body. Walnuts and flaxseeds are a great source of ALA and most researchers agree that most vegans probably get enough through their diet. However, it can only be confirmed with a blood test. DHA is the more important supplement to consider, because the body can retrofit DHA to become EPA. (Isn’t the body amazing?) Having proper levels of DHA and EPA protect you against cancer, mood disorders, hyperactivity and ADHD, allergies, and other inflammatory diseases.

A good multivitamin
In this busy area of meal-skipping and junk food snacking, just about everyone can benefit from a daily multivitamin, whether you’re on a vegan diet or not. Luckily, a wide variety of vegan multivitamins are available these days, and many of them are quite affordable to boot. Expectant vegan moms can even reach for vegan prenatal vitamins, which include all the regular requirements, plus extra folic acid, iron, and other helpful nutrients to support a healthy baby.

A note worth repeating: As with all changes to your diet and exercise, it’s wise to consult with a trusted medical professional before taking up new habits. We’re pretty smart here at Vegan Cuts, but we’re not doctors, so please don’t confuse our articles for medical advice.

Read Vegan Supplements Part I: The Essentials

2 Comments

  1. Amy Dye

    You could consult a Registered Dietitian too, since doctors are only required to take one nutrition class in med school. Just sayin’ :o)

    Amy Dye, RD, LD (aka: Vegan Dynamo)

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