Low Energy Vegan – Can Vitamins Cause Deficiencies?

Vegan woman low in energy. Could supplements actually be causing deficiencies?

exhausted woman
Love your website! I take lots of supplements and have been a non-dairy vegan for a year–was a semi-vegetarian before that (no beef or pork for decades).

But I am really low in energy lately. Could my supplements actually be causing deficiencies? – A.R.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice:

Thank you, A.R! This may be more than you wanted to know, but here goes:

First the disclaimer: The following is not intended as medical or nutritional advice. If you suspect that you have nutritional deficiencies, get blood tests to verify, and don’t self-medicate with supplements.

I know this sounds like a cop-out, but… it depends on the supplements. And on your needs. If you’re taking a multi-vitamin, then typically it could have too much of some and not enough of other nutrients.

According to a variety of studies and expert opinions, the most essential nutrients for everybody, and the most likely to not be enough, especially for vegetarians and vegans, are Vit. B12, Vit. D, folic acid, enzymes, trace minerals (zinc, magnesium etc), Omega 3, calcium and iron.

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With everything except B12 & Vit D, you can generally get enough in your food, provided you eat lots of foods rich in those nutrients (including raw foods) – green veggies, legumes, dried fruit, avocados, whole grains, nuts and seeds (esp gr flax seeds & oil, chia seeds in any form, pumpkin seeds, walnuts).

If you drink RO or filtered water, add trace mineral drops like Concentrace, as those are stripped out along with the impurities.

To make sure of getting enough Vit D: In the summer, you should get sun on most of your body daily for an appriopriate amount of time (for you). In the winter, if you live in a northern climate where sun is scarce, you should take a supplement – the one I like best is in liquid form, which I just add to water or tea.

To make sure of getting enough B12: All vegans, vegetarians and everybody over 50 should take a B12 supplement (methylcobalamin sub-lingual suggested) at least a few times a week – daily if you’re deficient. That’s in addition to eating foods which have B12 naturally occuring or added.

Please go get deficiency testing to see what you’re missing.

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Here are articles with more info on the above topics:
Omega 3 for Vegetarians and Vegans
Iron and Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarians, Are You Getting Enough Vit. B12?
Is Your Brain B12 Deficient?
Vit. D Questions & Answers
Vit. D, Not Just The Sunshine Vitamin
Water, Elixer of Life

Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

Medical Disclaimer: Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and responsibility. I do not claim to be a health care professional, dietitian, or nutritionist. Savvy Vegetarian does not treat, or recommend treatment, for any illness or health condition – Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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