Although I am not a doctor, nutritionist or expert in the field of health, I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions concerning vitamins and supplements. With the exception of Vitamin B-12 supplements (which are absolutely mandatory if you are a vegan), my gut tells me that supplements and vitamins are not really necessary if you are eating properly and getting sufficient amounts of sunlight. But who wants to take a chance? I don’t. I don’t know the truth about the necessity of vitamin and mineral supplements, but I take them “just in case.”
Although I believe that I get adequate amounts of sunlight in the summer from playing tennis and taking walks, I’m not so sure about the fall and winter months. Therefore, I sometimes take these Vitamin Code Raw D3 supplements from the brand “Garden of Life” which I buy at Whole Foods. However, I only take these D3 supplements when I run out of my daily multivitamin which already contains 1000 IUs of Vitamin D. As stated below, I take Dr. Fuhrman’s “Gentle Care Formula” Dietary Supplement daily.
As far as Omega-3 supplements are concerned (many non-vegans supplement with fish oil), I try to eat healthy foods containing Omega-3s including ground flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds. However, I have in the past supplemented with this delicious Strawberry Banana Flax Oil from the brand “Barlean’s” which I also buy at Whole Foods. My teenage sons love the taste of this oil and they take 1 tablespoon per day.
Although my kids still supplement with the Barlean’s Flax Oil, I started taking supplements of algae (instead of the flax oil) for my extra boost of Omega-3. When I was at “The Seed: A Vegan Experience,” I heard lectures by many knowledgeable speakers stating that fish get their Omega-3 oils from eating algae (or plankton) from the bottom of the ocean, so taking algae supplements is better than fish oil. I also recall reading (but I’m not quite sure where or if the sources were credible) that the Omega-3s from algae are better absorbed by the body than flax oil. I recently started taking this plant source of Omega-3s called “Ovega-3″ which I also found at Whole Foods. I take one softgel tablet per day.
In addition to the supplements I already mentioned, I take 2 capsules daily of Dr. Fuhrman’s Vegan “Gentle Care Formula” Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement. Do they really help me to stay healthy? I have no idea, but I trust Dr. Fuhrman as much as any other manufacturer of vitamins (and they’re vegan) so I see no harm in taking them.
Although Dr. Fuhrman’s supplements contain 30 mcg of Vitamin B-12, I also take extra supplements of Vitamin B-12 a few times per week. I was using Whole Foods’ brand of sublingual B-12 (sublingual B-12 is supposedly better absorbed by the body than other forms), but I just started taking “Garden of Life’s” Vitamin Code Raw B-12 (vegan).
I was a little bit concerned that I would overdose on Vitamin B-12, so I researched the Internet which revealed that B-12 is safe and non-toxic. Therefore, I don’t think I’m overdoing it. I also drink non-dairy milks which are fortified with Vitamin B-12 and sprinkle my foods with “Red Star” Nutritional Yeast which is also fortified with Vitamin B-12. From what I’ve read, supplementing with Vitamin B-12 is essential for vegans. Although B-12 used to be found in nature in the soil, our modern hygienic society has stripped our soil of B-12; that’s why vegans need supplements for it. I strongly suggest that you check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s website for information about supplementing with Vitamin B-12. There is also a great article about Vitamin B-12 on the site Vegan Nutritionista.
Anyway, I hope this little peek into the supplements I use has been helpful to you. Once again, I am not a doctor, nutritionist or health expert and, therefore, I am not advising you as to what supplements you should take; that is between you and your doctor. Just thought I’d share mine.