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Watch Out for These 4 Essential Nutrients

A vegan diet is not as difficult to follow as some nutritionists make it out to be. You don’t have to be endlessly obsessing over every vitamin or mineral you take in.

Consuming an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, greens, avocados, whole grains, and beans will ensure that you get everything that you need.

However, it’s also true that vegans are at risk of some specific deficiencies. Let’s review them:


Current scientific research has shown that B12 from most plant sources (such as spirulina, etc.) is an analog form that is not usable by the human body.

Therefore, I strongly recommend supplementing with B12 year-round.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are critical as they must come from food, and also get converted into other necessary fatty acids for brain function, such as DHA.

DHA is only found in animal foods such as fish. However, a healthy person can make the conversion from ALA (found in plants) to DHA.

To be safe, you can include a vegan DHA supplement in your diet. Around 200 to 300 mg. several times a week.

I prefer to regularly eat nuts and seeds rich in Omega-3, such as hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be found in some animal foods because it’s a fat soluble vitamin. It’s not necessary to obtain it from animal foods, however. A supplement can take care of the problem, as can adequate sunshine exposure.

The best thing to do is to get your vitamin D levels checked through a blood test and then supplement accordingly (or don’t, if your levels are adequate).


If you regularly eat sea vegetables or consume iodized salt, this may not be a problem for you. But if you avoid salt altogether or only use “natural” salts, then you may need a supplement, which is the only reliable source. Around 90 micrograms per day.


Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.