Join Date: Oct 2014
Hello, I thought I already talked to you about this. but here is a quick recap.
Vegans do need to be informed and concerned about all kinds of nutrients. but based on some population studies - lots of people do. A significant number of Americans (who obviously can't be all vegans) are deficient in all kinds of things (including D, B12, iron, calcium, and fiber).
Regular check-ups are always a good idea - but I doubt if you need to make a special trip to the Doctor. I'm pretty sure unless you are symptomatic, you can wait for your next scheduled check-up. A standard blood test will check for all kinds of things, including iron. You may need to request the others.
I suggested CronOmeter in our last discussion. Its way more than a calorie counter. It tracks something like 20 vitamins and minerals ( i think Spark can only track 14). Plus it breaks down the protein, carb, and fat into its basic components. Another useful thing about CronOmeter is that it can generate and print a weekly summary. Something that could be a very useful tool when talking to a doctor about nutrition.
IMHO, B12 is given way more attention than it deserves. the mRDA is literally microscopic. And although it is important, our bodies are really good at recycling it and storing it. A 3 oz slice of liver contains months worth of B12. A bowl of clam chowder contains weeks worth. almost all multis contain a day's worth. Plant milks are almost all fortified. and many bakery items are, too. Between my multi and my daily soy milk, i average 150%
In the almost TMI category, there have been rumors that the FDA may increase the RDA of B12 from 2.4 mcg to 6 or even 10. If you spend a few minutes in the multivitamin aisle you will see that many multivitamin companies have already responded to the news, and now include way over 2.4 mcg in their vitamins. Deva Multi with minerals now has 100 mcgs. That's over 1000%.
Iron deficiency is common in among young women. Especially vegans. Non-Heme iron is less absorbable than the Heme Iron that is in animal-based foods. Plus some of the plants we eat actually inhibit iron absorption. So its a good idea to go over 100% of the RDA of iron. Iron can be toxic in large quantities, plus many people (like myself) do not deal well with too much excess iron in their diets. So many multis don't include iron. That Deva vitamin and minerals I just mentioned don't have any iron.
I get almost 100% of the RDA of iron with diet alone. Then my Deva Tiny Tablets only contain 50% which puts me well over 100% and my stools don't become like rocks. (one of the signs of taking too much iron is black, rock hard stools).
Anyway, just another reason to monitor your nutrition with CronOmeter. You might want to take a multi without iron and then choose an iron supplement that is Just the right size for you. Perhaps with the advice of your doctor - just bring along your CronOmeter summary sheet.
While we are on the subject of vitamins and minerals. Women need more calcium than men. and although there are plenty of good plant sources for calcium (and plant milks are fortified), you should be aware of it. I would ask your doctor for a recommendation for Vitamin D. most people probably should take a supplement.
I probably already have moved into the "hey, is this guy an advertisement for CronOmeter category"? but one last thing. CronOmeter also shows you your daily intake of the building blocks (amino acids) of protein. I think in general, vegans who buy into "complete protein myth" pay it too much attention. but it is kind of cool to see. And a couple of the amino acids can be overlooked.
So I've been vegetarian for 4/5 years now started when I was 12 but never even thought about b12 and iron and all that. I'm 16 (going on 17) and my brother brought up b12 and iron and I was like oh my gosh am I getting those? And I've officially went vegan a few days ago, and now the question is, do I need to vist my doctor to check for low iron and b12 and do I need to take vitamins for it? Low Iron already runs in my family because we're part Russian so I dont know what to do..
I agree with Mr. H's recommendation to try using a nutrition tracker (like Cronometer.com), to see if your diet is missing anything.
Have you thought about taking a vegan-specific multivitamin? Vegan-specific multivitamins usually include vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, and sometimes iron - these nutrients are good for vegans to pay attention to. Amazon Canada has some vegan multivitamins:
This one is "for kids", but teens and adults can take it, too. It's chewable berry flavored, and it does contain iron. It contains more vitamins/minerals than the Amazon site shows.
Here is a complete list of the vitamins/minerals in the kids vegan tablet above: https://www.vitacost.com/veglife-veg...60-chewables-1
|anemia , b12 , iorn|