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Nutritional Deficiencies in Vegan Diet & Best Substitutes for It

A few studies indicated that people who follow vegan foods perhaps have to face depression, low energies, hormone disruptions, etc. Thus, they must alter their diet, focusing on some nutritional foods which can help them to meet the shortages of vitamins, proteins and minerals.

Anju M U
Nutrient Deficiencies in Vegan Food

A vegan diet contains vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits and foods made from plants. Vegan diet is good for heart health, weight loss and it also decreases the risk of chronic diseases as well as some types of cancer.

A few studies indicated that people who follow vegan foods perhaps have to face depression, low energies, hormone disruptions, etc. Thus, they must alter their diet, focusing on some nutritional foods which can help them to meet the shortages of vitamins, proteins, and minerals. In this article, we will discuss the deficiencies in the vegan diet and also foods that must be included. 

Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Vegan Food

1. Iron Deficiency

Vegan does have an iron deficiency that can lead to health conditions such as anemia, fatigue, and dizziness. The deficiency can be determined by undergoing a blood test. Consuming beans and other green vegetables which comprise vitamin C will help you meet the insufficiency.  

2. Vitamin D Deficiency

If the human body lacks Vitamin D in huge quantities, it causes decreased bone density. It also affects the thyroid glands' function, which in turn is responsible for body metabolism.  

It also plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium in the body and maintains bone density. A simple blood test will help you to find the level of vitamin D. For vegan, mushrooms and plant-based milk substitutes like soy milk can be consumed.

3. Omega- 3 Fatty Acids (DHA) Deficiency 

The presence of Omega-3 fatty acid aids the anti-inflammatory processes and it is capable of reducing the risk of heart and blood vessels diseases. The unsaturated fatty acid helps to control depression symptoms. 

The DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, which is essential for brain development and its function, is limited in the Vegan diet. Thus algal oil, brussels sprouts, and chia seeds are useful. 

4. Carnosine Deficiency  

As meats of turkey, chicken, beef, and pork, are the richest sources of carnosine, vegans have less carnosine in their muscles than non-vegetarians.    

Carnosine is a protein (antioxidant) kind, helps buffer the acidity in muscle tissue and is important for muscle function. It is also able to reduce muscle fatigue thereby improving physical performance. 

Unfortunately, there are no plants that provide Carnosine, but vegans can add multiple vegan beta-alanine supplements to their diet, in order to meet the shortage.

5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is essential for nervous system health. It increases the number of red blood cells in our body and the deficiency might turn to fatigue, tingling in the feet, or tips of the palm fingers. For, enough vitamin supplements, vegans can include nutritional yeast, plant-based meats, or fortified cereals in their food. 

6. Zinc Deficiency

Zinc is a critical mineral for humans as it performs immune system and metabolism functions. It has a significant effect on your sense of taste and smell.  

The nutrient can be found in beans, walnuts, cashew nuts, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, chia seeds, ground linseed, wholemeal bread, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa. Thus it has to be ensuring that your routine diet contains zinc-rich foods. 

It does not imply that every single person following the vegan routine has nutritional deficiencies. If your body requires these vitamins and minerals, talk to a doctor or nutritionist and will have a balanced diet according to it. 

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