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4 Key Nutrients Every Vegan Desperately Needs

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Vegans, like meat-eaters are not immune from deficiencies. To thrive on a vegan diet four key nutrients are required. Avoiding these nutrients results in similar diseases as your meat-eating counterparts. Learning to divert vegan deficiency risks is the responsibility of every vegan.


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Vegan Deficiency Risks Are Real

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns of the risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies in vegetarians and vegans and according to a new review of research, people who follow a vegan lifestyle may increase their risk of developing hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke if they are lacking four key nutrients. That's the conclusion of a review of dozens of articles published on the biochemistry of vegetarianism during the past 30 years. The article appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Vegan Diet Requires Balance

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In the review, meat-eaters are known for having a significantly higher combination of cardiovascular risk factors than vegetarians. Lower-risk vegans, however, may not be immune to vegan deficiency risks. Their diets tend to be lacking in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.

While a balanced vegetarian diet can provide enough protein, this isn't always the case when it comes to fat and fatty acids. As a result, vegans can tend to have elevated blood levels of homocysteine and decreased levels of HDL, the "good" form of cholesterol. Both are known risk factors for heart disease.

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Four Key Nutrients For Vegans

Te review concludes that there is a strong scientific basis for vegetarians and vegans to increase their dietary omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 to help contend with those risks. Good sources of omega-3s include plant-based sources such as flax or a vegan supplement that includes EPA & DHA, walnuts and other nuts. Good sources of vitamin B12 include those that contain methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, as well as, spirulina for iron and a quality ionic zinc supplement, which are more nourishing and bioavailable than those in animal products.