There is strong scientific support for reducing the animal products in our diet for improved health. Due to this, there has been a rise in popularity for following a vegetarian or vegan diet. A vegetarian diet removes some animal products from the diet but may still include nutrient-rich fish, dairy and eggs. A vegan diet however removes ALL products of animal origin, including animal by-products, such as honey. Although there are some great health benefits to moving towards a more plant-based diet, there’s no doubt that without adequate supplementation, nutrient deficiencies among vegans are common and can have quite serious consequences.
A vegan diet is typically abundant in wholegrains, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables and therefore higher in fibre, magnesium, folate, vitamins E and C and many phytochemicals. It’s also lower in potentially harmful saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Vegans are usually leaner, have lower risk of cardiovascular disease including lower cholesterol and blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
However as nutrient-rich and health beneficial a vegan diet can be, there are some nutrients that simply cannot be found in plant-based foods and must be supplemented in a vegan diet. NuZest Good Green Stuff contains all the major nutrients commonly deficient in a vegan diet. As everyone’s nutritional requirements are different, a serving of Good Green Stuff may not provide you with all you need but it will certainly help towards supplementing a healthy balanced vegan diet. If you have dietary concerns or more complex health issues, have a blood test to determine if there are any specific nutrient deficiencies that require targeting.
Here are common nutrients that are deficient in a vegan diet and how you can find them in Good Green Stuff:
Calcium – To this date, the greatest and richest source of calcium is from dairy foods. The recommendation is 3 servings per day for strong bones and teeth. Although this is still a controversial topic, studies have shown long-term vegan women had a lower total intake of dietary calcium and therefore a higher risk of bone loss and fractures later in life.
Calcium is found in several forms from several ingredients in Good Green Stuff; spirulina, red marine algae and in smaller doses from papaya, goji berries, broccoli sprout powder.
Iron – The most readily absorbable and richest source comes from red meat products in the form on haem iron. Plant sources like green leafy vegetables also contain iron but is in a more difficult to absorb form called non-haem iron, which is the reason why many vegans deficient. An iron deficiency can cause extreme lethargy, difficulty concentrating, shortness or breath and dizziness.
Good Green Stuff provides its iron from sources such as spinach leaf powder, goji berries, beetroot powder, spirulina and papaya.
Omega-3 fatty acids – Oily fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna and trout are the greatest sources of essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These precious nutrients are important for neurological, cardiovascular and eye health – to name a few. However some pant products such as micro-algae, flaxseeds and blackcurrant extract found in Good Green Stuff can provide some omega-3 fatty acids. These sources contain lower concentrations and conversion rates but nonetheless at a level that can provide sufficient omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 – The richest source is from red meat products found bound to protein foods, so a deficiency in vegans is very common. Low vitamin B12 levels can cause serious neurological and psychiatric symptoms; major mood disturbances and can affect coordination and concentration.
Good Green Stuff contains methylcoalamin, an active for of vitamin B12 that can be used in the methylation pathway in the body, a pathway that governs normal detoxification of the body as well as ensure levels of homocysteine stay low – high levels are linked with cardiovascular issue
Vitamin D – The greatest source of vitamin D is from the sun. Geographical location, cultural dress, dark skin, the elderly and those who regularly use sunscreen are factors that therefore determine vitamin D levels. We can obtain some vitamin D from the diet but vegans were found to have the lowest intake, a quarter of that of omnivores. A vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of some cancers as well as increased risk of osteoporosis.
Good Green Stuff contains the active form, vitamin D3 known as cholecalciferol, the same form that is metabolised in our skin from the sun. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it needs fat available for optimum absorption, which is why Good Green Stuff also contains sunflower lecithin.
Zinc – Phytates found in grains and other plant foods bind to zinc and decrease it’s bioavailability so the zinc vegans do actually get from their diet is often not well absorbed. Zinc is essential at all stages of reproduction from fertility to conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s involved in accessing fuel for the body, making DNA, maintaining pH in the body, maintaining structural integrity for bone, nails, hair, skin as well as for vision and cognitive function.
The zinc in Good Green Stuff is in the form of zinc gluconate, a highly soluble form of zinc for maximum absorption when mixed with liquids.
Information sourced from: Craig, W. J. (2009). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Health Effects of Vegan Diets. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full