As a plant based eater, and someone who is working on improving their health, I take a range of supplements to help with that. I want to preface this by saying I am no medical professional and I do not claim my suggestions as medical advice. Please, please, please if you are unsure of anything I mentioned or have any questions please consult with your medical professional!
Vitamin D is an absolute MUST wherever you are. Thank you to the advancements of the intellectual enlightenment and of the modern world we are not longer outsiders. Meaning that we don’t spend NEARLY as much time outside as we used to and do not get access to the vitamin D needed for healthy bodily function. Your body naturally produces Vitamin D when your skin comes in contact with the sun, so not having regular contact puts you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D’s primary function is to maintain calcium levels in the body. The body needs calcium for bone strength, optimal muscle movement and nerve performance.
There are many well documented reasons why vitamin D is absolutely necessary for optimal health, and is linked as a main cause of a variety of illnesses and chronic conditions. I recently did routine blood work and I was surprised to find that Vitamin D tests were not covered by provincial insurance because it is ASSUMED that the entire population is deficient! This is probably because in Canada, we have a very long season of cold weather with overcast skies, and the sun rays we do experience are not strong enough to give us the optimal Vitamin D levels needed. In fact, there are some weeks where I do not go outside for days because it is just too cold to function.
There is AMPLE evidence that Vitamin D is linked to many symptoms and ailments (you can see here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/). I take a Vitamin D liquid drops by the brand GNA Naturals. I take about 5,000iu of the drops daily because I am quite deficient. However, the recommended dosage is 1-2,000iu/day. Vitamin D can also be found in some animal products like cow liver or cod, but since I am plant based I do not consume those options
One thing people may not know is that Vitamin K2 is essential to allowing the body to properly consume and absorb Vitamin D. It helps prevent calcification of the bone (essentially prevents plaque like build-up) and of soft tissues (like your brain). Calcification is the accumulation of calcium deposits in your body that can cause serious pain or side effects if left untreated. I take Vitamin K2 by Natural Factors but you can find supplements that contain both Vitamin D and K2 within a single pill.
Like Vitamin D, Vitamin B is a very important vitamin for optimal health function. It is most notable for those suffering with fatigue or energy depletion throughout the day through metabolic processes. Amongst other things, deficiency in Vitamin B12 is also known to cause symptoms that mimic neurological conditions such as numbness, tingling and vision issues. Vitamin B12 is also a concern for vegan and plant based eaters because vitamin B12 is normally found in animal based sources or in the soil, which are two sources of food that we do not consume. I use a B-Complex from the brand Sisu.
Probiotics have become a recent addition to my supplement collection because I noticed I have a difficult time getting fermented foods into my diet. I’ve also been on a quest to improve my overall gut health and probiotics are a natural decision to achieving that. I use the Renew Life Brand Probiotics for Women with over 50 million active strands. When looking for a probiotic supplement choose one (within your budget) with the highest number of active strands, for your specific needs (i.e for women), and one that is in a refrigerated section! We want active cultures people.
Magnesium is another big one for inflammation, circulation and nerve health, muscle function and overall energy. Fun fact: there are over several hundred peripheral nerves inside your body, so you might as well take care of them. Magnesium can be found in a lot of foods and is not a must to take but it is something that I have seen great benefits using (less muscle spasms which is what I was hoping it would do). Magnesium can be found especially in nuts and seeds for all of my vegans and plant based eaters.
Spirulina & Chlorella
This supplement came to me just out of pure interest of taking a “superfood” supplement. I try my best to get in as much greens as possible into my daily diet but an extra supplement of it doesn’t hurt. Some of the vitamins and minerals provided by the supplement are actually difficult to get entirely from a plant based diet. I take 4 capsules daily of the Praire Naturals blend of Spirulina & Chlorella blend.
Lions Mane came to me as I explored the world for medicinal mushrooms. The only mushrooms I ever knew about were portobello and cremini. However, mushrooms have a long standing reputation for being one of natures super healing foods. Lions Mane is a non psychedelic mushroom that is shown to cause neuro growth and repair in the brain and improve overall energy and cognitive function. It is a little bit on the expensive side but is a very high quality supplement with promising effects. I take the Purica Lions Mane.
Black Seed Oil
It is mentioned in the Quran that black seed oil can cure everything but death. What a claim right? I decided to take this supplement (the actual oil) because of the research backing its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Studies have shown that in rats with chronic or neurological issues that received IV’s of black seed oil have improved in their conditions. Plus a very ancient piece of text says so. (P.S this tastes horrible so be aware!)
Hope you found this post helpful. Please reach out to me if you have any other questions! xx