How to avoid the two main deficiencies in a vegan diet?
The number of vegans has been growing rapidly over recent years and the concept of vegetarianism is not new dating back as early as 500 BC, first mentioned by Pythagoras.
In Great Britain, the number of vegans is estimated to have quadrupled between 2014 and 2019.
Novak Djokovic, Venus and Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Mike Tyson, Martina Navratilova, David Haye are great examples that veganism offers one the potential to not only be healthy, but also for elite athletes to thrive.
Some key nutrients vegans should be aware of
Although there are health benefits to a vegan lifestyle, it is also important to recognise that, as with any diet, if not appropriately planned then it is easy to become nutritionally deficient as there are certain nutrients that are not available from plants.
Below are some of the 2 key nutrients that vegans need to be aware of to avoid deficiencies or imbalances.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, which does not originate in plants, but from bacteria.
In fact, B12 supplements are (for the most part) also given to farm animals, meaning even those on non-vegan diets are supplementing, but indirectly.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include:
- A pale yellow tinge to your skin
- A sore and red tongue (glossitis)
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- Disturbed vision
- Unexplained sadness
- A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement
Due to B12 not being readily present in a vegan diet it’s recommended to supplement this, especially for strict vegans.
Two tablets daily of our Saffrosun with Vitamin B12 offers 100% of the Nutritional Reference Value (NRV).
Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin”, and although it is possible to obtain this through certain plant foods such as mushrooms, in general it is not broadly consumed on a vegan diet.
In fact, the NHS advises that "everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter” [Source ].
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency may include:
- Not sleeping well
- Bone pain or achiness
- Feelings of sadness
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Getting sick more easily
Again, it is good practice to use a supplement to ensure you are getting the recommend intake of Vitamin D, particularly in colder seasons with having less sun exposure. One capsule of our Pure Organic Vitamin D offers 200% of the NRV, and one capsule of our Vitamin D3 contains 100% NRV.
Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, and studies suggest that taking probiotics are linked to a range of health benefits. These include benefits for gut function, immune function, respiratory tract infections, and duration of illness.
Although vegans generally consume a diet rich in fibre, which is a key gut nutrient and it is possible to acquire probiotics from plant-based sources such as fermented foods (e.g. sourdough bread and tempeh), vegans don’t consume the most common probiotic rich foods such as yogurt and kefir.
Our Gut Love supplement contains 21 probiotics and prebiotics, and 19 billion good bacteria to support overall gut health including one probiotic which originates from soil.
The Naked Pharmacy Supplements
All of The Naked Pharmacy’s own brand of supplements are entirely vegan and contain natural ingredients, meaning higher absorption and bioavailability than synthetic supplements.