The 6 Best Vegan Supplements
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
- Vegan diets are ever rising in popularity, but going vegan means that you may end up missing out on some vital nutrients like iron, vitamin B-12. and vitamin D.
- Another vital nutrient that vegans may end up missing, especially as they cut dairy products, is C15:0, a odd-chain saturated fatty acid that can help support cell function and strengthen cell walls.
- Luckily, vegans can easily supplement their diets by incorporating fatty15, a dietary supplement that will provide them with all the necessary C15:0.
If you changed your diet after watching a popular documentary in 2017, you aren’t alone. In fact, prior to 2017 only 1% of the American population identified themselves as vegan, but in 2017, that percentage jumped to 6%.
More research of the health benefits of a plant-based diet have even led doctors to prescribe these diets to patients as a means of improving overall health and wellness. Vegan diets--diets that are void of any animal product or byproduct--may help patients avoid certain diseases and lower their overall cost of healthcare during their lifetimes.
The issue with a vegan diet is that there are some essential vitamins, nutrients, and fatty acids which cannot be obtained through plant consumption. As such, it’s imperative that a vegan consider adding certain supplements to their health stack to fill in the gaps and better protect their overall wellbeing.
If you’re currently a plant-based fanatic, or a meat-eater considering making the switch, here are some common deficiencies of a vegan diet you should consider.
Common Deficiencies in a Vegan Diet
If your main concern with a vegan diet is whether or not you’ll be able to get enough protein, no need to worry. Plants are an excellent source of protein (the first source, actually), and it may surprise you that meeting daily protein goals usually isn’t a problem for most vegans. What can be an issue is ensuring vegans get the proper amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that are most commonly found in animals and animal byproducts. Here are some of the most common.
- Vitamin B-12. This vitamin is created by bacteria and is most prevalent in animal products like dairy and meat. Although this vitamin is available in plants, the amount of plant products required for consumption to reach your daily goal is pretty large. Essentially, you’d have to really pile on the fortified nutritional yeast to get the amount of B-12 your body needs each day. Research has shown that many vegans, and some vegetarians, simply aren’t getting the B-12 they need.
- Vitamin D. Commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin because it can be made from sun exposure, vitamin D has a plethora of health benefits, including helping your body retain strong bones. It’s a vitamin that partners with calcium to get this job done. There are few foods that are naturally great resources of vitamin D, and most of the ones that do contain high amounts of vitamin D are certain types of fish. While many foods can be fortified with vitamin D, the likelihood you’re getting enough from these foods has proven unlikely, especially for vegans.
- Iron. Iron is crucial to your blood; it is what allows your blood to carry oxygen from your lungs to all other parts of your body. Your red blood cells need iron to function correctly. Diets low in iron can lead to anemia, which can result in fatigue and lowered immune system function. While iron is available in both plants and animals, the type of iron found in plants isn’t as easily absorbed by humans as the iron found in animals. As such, you would either need to dramatically increase your iron-rich plant intake (leafy greens anyone?), take an iron supplement, or take a supplement that helps protect and support your red blood cells.
- Zinc. The source of this mineral is usually obtained in the typical diet from red meat and poultry, leaving vegans at a definite disadvantage. Zinc is important in bolstering our metabolism and keeping our immune system functioning properly. While many plants do contain zinc, they contain phytic acid, which can inhibit proper absorption of zinc in the body.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. DHA omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fatty fish and fish oils, making it pretty tough for a vegan to get enough of them. These fatty acids are important to your brain health and eye health. Although your body can make DHA omega-3s from ALA omega-3s (found in many seeds and nuts), studies show that the typical plant based diet may be lacking in ALA omega-3 intake.
- C15:0. C15:0 is an odd-chain fatty acid with growing evidence of broad health benefits found mostly in dairy products, making it difficult for a vegan to obtain adequate levels, until now. Never heard of it? Let’s look at C15:0 a little more closely.
What is C15:0?
C15:0 is an odd-chain fatty acid found primarily in whole milk and butter. Global evidence is mounting that this fatty acid has a myriad of health benefits that positively affect our bodies on a cellular level. Dietary C15:0 intake has decreased significantly in the last 40 years, due to dietary guidelines that have encouraged us to seek out foods lower in saturated fats, especially whole milk and butter, to help keep our hearts healthy. Unfortunately, an increasing number of studies support that diets low in C15:0 may have an adverse affect on our overall health and wellness.
Essentially, for 40 years we’ve been eliminating from our diets a key fatty acid (C15:0) which:*
- Balances immunity. As we age, our immune system becomes unbalanced. C15:0 can help regulate our immune system by binding to fatty acid receptors throughout the body that help keep your immune system under control on a foundational level.
- Promotes healthy metabolism. A natural part of aging is a declining metabolism. C15:0 helps boost your metabolism so you can maintain healthy cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Takes good care of red blood cells. Especially important for people as they age, who can develop more fragile cells, C15:0 provides support to red blood cells, which in turn provide oxygen to your tissues.
- Supports healthy liver function. As our cells age, they’re less able to rid themselves of toxins, which can result in cells that don’t function as well or function abnormally. This can result in diseases that affect our organs, like the liver. C15:0 supports liver health and vitality.
Because C15:0 works directly on a cellular level, it can give our bodies a fighting chance of keeping healthier longer.* C15:0 supports our cells foundational systems by:*
- Strengthening and supporting cell membranes. Strong cell walls keep our cells healthy and protected.
- Boosting our mitochondrial function. Those little powerhouse in our cells responsible for producing energy get tired and weak as we age, leaving us tired and weak. C15:0 promotes healthy mitochondrial function, giving us our energy back and helping us feel better.
- Regaining balanced immunity and healthy metabolism. When we get older, our cells become unbalanced; essentially, they lose their zen. C15:0 supports cellular balance which translates into healthier immune systems and proper metabolism.
Because our diets have moved away from dairy fats since the 1970’s, we’ve been missing out on this crucial fatty acid. It’s time to get it back. However, if you’re vegan, how can you be sure you’ll be able to get enough C15:0 in your diet?
How Can Vegans Get C15:0
It’s true that the best food-related sources of C15:0 are things like whole milk and butter. These foods, however, also contain much higher levels of even-chain saturated fats (like C16:0), which continue to be associated with poorer health.
Even if we were to reintroduce these foods to our diets, vegans would be left out of the picture completely. How can a vegan get an adequate daily dose of C15:0? Obviously, a supplement would be a good solution.
Because science supporting the benefits of C15:0 are still relatively new, there are few supplements available; in fact, there’s only one. Fatty15 is the only pure C15:0 supplement available to ensure your body gets enough of this fatty acid. Fortunately, it’s completely vegan. Fatty15 contains zero animal byproducts and only one ingredient; C15:0 (aka FA15, a pure powder form of C15:0). This supplement is:
- Allergen free. You don’t have to compromise your diet, or worry about any dietary allergens. Fatty15 is free from gluten, dairy, artificial colors, flavors, GMOs, soy, and oil. Even the most sensitive of systems can trust fatty15.
- Sustainable. From the supplement to the packaging, fatty15 is made to be Earth-friendly and sustainable. Fatty15 comes in a glass bottle, and you’ll only ever need one. Refill pouches are sent in recycled packaging so you can keep your new supply in the same, original glass bottle. Even the cap is made from bamboo, which is a highly sustainable plant that regrows quickly after it is harvested for use. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, too.
- Provides of all the awesome C15:0 benefits, but available to you in pure, powder form. All the good stuff, none of the animals. Vegans, rejoice.
As a vegan, you already take your health and wellness very seriously. As such, it’s vital to ensure that any gaps in your nutritional intake are being filled so you leave no parts of your healthcare to chance. Part of ensuring a healthy vegan diet is considering the use of C15:0 to help support your health on a cellular level.*
C15:0 is a virtual one-stop shop for vegan supplementation and can help give you the fighting chance you need to age on your own terms and stay healthier and more energized longer.* Adding C15:0 to your health care stack is a great step towards ensuring you can do the things you love as long as possible.*
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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