Becoming vegan is a bold lifestyle choice and not for the faint at heart. Taking on a plant-based diet takes effort and focus, but sometimes it’s easy to wonder whether you’re feeding your body the nutrients it needs in order to function properly, particularly during high energy workouts. However, there are now many supplements that you can add to your diet in order to ensure that your nutrient intake is well-rounded and optimized for your training regime.
- Vitamin B12
You might have often heard of supplementing your diet with vitamin B12 even before you took on a vegan diet, but without adding this to your plant-based diet, you might find yourself at a higher risk of deficiency. You can find vitamin B12 naturally in mushrooms, nori, and nutritional yeast, but an easier way to get more into your diet is by using vitamin B12 supplements. Without this, you risk anemia and heart disease. Vitamin B12 also assists in protein metabolism, so if your fitness focus is bodybuilding, B12 is a must!
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D has many roles in a healthy body, but the main thing it does is enhance the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. In addition, it can help other aspects of your body’s function, such as your immune system function and muscle recovery. Very few foods contain vitamin D naturally, so supplements are the best way for you to make sure you achieve healthy levels. Vitamin D can help improve your workout performance, too, and can assist in all sorts of physical activities.
- Long-chain Omega-3s
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids can be naturally produced in your body, which makes sense because they have a huge part to play in the structure of your brain and eyes. It’s hard for vegans to get enough of this particular fatty acid through diet, and therefore supplementing with algae oil might be an option for you. Long-chain omega-3s are essential for helping your workout recovery so make sure you stock up.
If you care about your metabolism, then you should care about your iodine levels. In fact, deficiency in iodine and lead to some pretty bad conditions, particularly if you’re pregnant or planning on becoming so. The more tolerable risks, though, include decreased energy levels and dry skin. However, these are easily avoided by supplementing your diet with iodine. In fact, you can avoid an iodine deficiency by using half a teaspoon of iodized salt in your meals each day.
If you’re a woman, you’ve probably struggled with your iron levels at some point in your life already. Low iron can severely affect your energy levels and immune function. In fact, the recommended dosage for adult women is 18 milligrams per day. This is hard to get from food, especially if you’re vegan, as most iron-rich foods tend to be meat. You can see more information regarding low iron levels, and you should have your levels checked if you fall into an at-risk category. Iron supplements are easy to get a hold of, but it’s important to know what your baseline levels are before starting them. Once you’ve found the right dosage for you, you’ll be seeing increased bursts of energy during your workouts.
Throughout childhood, we are bombarded with information regarding calcium intake and how important it is to maintain good bone health. Studies have shown, though, that vegans tend to not get enough calcium in their diets. If you can’t reach the recommended minimum of 525 milligrams of calcium each day from your diet, then you should definitely consider supplements. Calcium is similar to Vitamin D, giving you strength during your workout activities.
Being a vegan is a great choice for ethically minded people. However, without meat and animal products in your diet, it’s really easy to allow your nutrient intake to fall below acceptable levels, particularly if you’re a fitness fanatic. Next time you’re at the drugstore, have a browse in the vitamin section to see if you can find supplements to keep your body healthy and energized.