Nutrient Deficiencies That Vegans Face

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It has become very fashionably correct to become vegan these days. Many leading celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Natalie Portman and Amitabh Bachchan are vegetarians. Several health freaks are following suit. But is turning to a vegan always the healthiest thing to do? Are there absolutely no down sides of vegetarianism?

Actually there are certain nutrient deficiencies that vegan commonly face. While vegetarianism is a healthy lifestyle choice, it comes with some health risks. Vegans face nutrient deficiencies that are not seen among non-vegetarians. There are some nutrient groups that are available only in non-vegetarian foods.

For examples, vegans face a nutrient deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids very often. This is because an average vegan diet does provide the necessary supplements required for omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Moreover, vegans also face iron and zinc deficiency. This is because there are less vegan sources of these nutrients.

Here are some nutrient deficiencies that vegans need to watch out for.



Most people depend on milk and milk products to get sufficient calcium. But vegans do not eat dairy products so they need to eat enough green veggies.



Vegetarians do not get complete proteins. Vegans lack the proteins that can be gotten from milk, eggs and meat.



There are very few vegan sources zinc. And men require zinc in substantial amounts to maintain hormonal balance. Try having pumpkin seeds to cover up for eggs.



Iron is richly available in meat and eggs. But vegans have to depend on fruits and vegetables to get iron. A slightly imbalanced diet can make them deficient in iron.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There is only one known vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids and that is flaxseed oil. So if you do not eat fish, have flaxseed in your diet.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can be found in some cereals and whole grains. However, it is not found in a very large proportion, thus does not suffice.



Taurine is mainly present in meat and thus the only way to replace it is through nutrition supplements or seaweeds.



Fish oil contains EPA and DHA which are heart healthy cholesterol. The only way to get them is by having algae oil.



Creatine is a nutrient that speeds up the process of building muscles and makes you stronger. You can survive without enough creatine, but you cannot compete in athletics without it.

Read more about: nutrition, health
Story first published: Friday, May 24, 2013, 13:13 [IST]
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