Yes, I do! In this post I will share with you which ones , which ones not, and why.
I am a breastfeeding mother and whatever I eat and drink is not only important to me but also to my daughter. I eat a very healthy diet and I get almost all I need from food. However, there are two nutrients that I cannot get sufficiently from food, while breastfeeding, these are vitamin B12 and the fatty acids DHA and EPA. And there are a few things that I just want to make sure I get enough off, such as iodine.
I do not take many supplements, and I am almost sure that I take a lot less than many of you. I know that it is common to take something like a multivitamin in many households. However, I do not like to take them myself. This is simply because our bodies can easily be disturbed by getting too much of one extracted vitamin. Vitamins in vegetables and fruits always come together with other nutrients, fibre, proteins and fats and the interaction of all those nutrients is what makes a food a healthy food. It is not the vitamin itself. It is all of those phytonutrients. Vitamin A and vitamin E in a extracted version as found in multivitamins, are even related to cancer growth.
Moreover, I do not take any calcium or iron supplements which I know many vegans do. I do not have any reason to take them and since especially too much iron is also related to cancer growth, I even find it dangerous to take them. As with vitamins it can be very disturbing to our bodies to receive huge amounts of a micronutrient such as iron and as with everything that the body gets too much off, it needs somehow to get rid of it. Getting rid of something that there is too much of in our bodies, always causes harm.
I am eating a plant based diet since more than three years now. I had a vegan pregnancy too. I check my blood around once a year, during pregnancy more often. My blood results have always been perfect. Even during pregnancy I had perfect iron levels. However, I am eating very, very healthy. So this post is not saying that you should not take supplements and I am not giving any recommendations to you. For those who are not eating very healthy, it can be very recommendable to take more supplements than I do.
I take DHA and EPA since I am breastfeeding. I take iodine from algaes. I take vitamin B12 (which is a must for everyone who is not eating animals products) and I eat a variety of superfoods, such as spelt grass.
But lets have a look at each of them in detail.
DHA and EPA
Omega-3 DHA + EPA fatty acids are mainly found in oily fish, but if you eat little to no fish it is difficult to take in enough of them. You can find these two fatty acids in the form of ALA in flax seeds, walnuts and other nuts and seeds. However, not everybody is actually able to transform the ALA fatty acids found in these foods into DHA and EPA fatty acids. Before pregnancy I did not care too much about that and just had my flaxseeds every day. Since pregnancy and especially now that I am breastfeeding I do supplement DHA and EPA. You can find more about the advantages of getting sufficient DHA and EPA here .
I do not like to take any fish oil capsules because 1. they are not vegan and 2. they are extremely contaminated with hazardous substances such as dioxins and PCBs, and I personally do not want to eat a whole lot of mercury and dioxins just to get my DHA. This is why I supplement with algae oil. I use the capsules from Testa because I do not like the taste of the oil. Testa Omega-3 is made from algae and is a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative for fish or fish oil capsules.
Vitamin B12 is THE vitamin that every vegan should supplement. Animals are getting vitamin B12 supplements and when you kill and eat them, you are able to resorb the vitamin B12 that the animal was fed. When you want to take the shortcut which is, by the way, also saving the anmials life, you can just take the supplement yourself instead of giving it to the animal that you eat later on.
There are a million ways to supplement vitamin B12. I usually use B12 drops and just add a drop every morning in the green smoothie I make for me and my family. Like that I can make sure everyone is always getting enough. Drops are a very easy way to supplement vitamin B12. However, there are even more comfortable ways, like the SANTE dental med toothpaste and mouthwash. It contains vitamin B12 which can be absorbed by the body via the mucous membranes of the mouth. You can find out more about the toothpaste here.
In Germany, iodine is added into most salts to make sure the Germans are getting their daily dosis. However, I rarely ever eat salt and when I eat salt and never ever eat any chemical salt but always natural one without added iodine. This is why I like to add some algaes on a daily basis to my meals. I sprinkle them over my salad, my pasta or my bread every day for lunch. I use around a teaspoon daily, which is exactly the amount one should eat in a day.Too much iodine can be as harmful as too much iron or too much vitamin A.
Algaes are among the most most nutrient dense foods on the planet so it is not only for the iodine that it is worth adding them to your menu.
Superfoods such as spelt grass
I love to add foods into my diet which are extremely nutrient dense. I personally think this is an easy way to make sure I get all the nutrients I need. Eating superfoods is just like an “insurance” for getting all I need without taking any extracted vitamins. When I eat barley grass or spelt grass powder, I do not eat an extracted vitamin but I eat the whole plant (in powered form) with all of its macro and micronutrients.
Spelt grass became one of my favorite superfoods lately. I have made a post about barley grass last year and you can have a look at the benefits of it here. Spelt grass is similar to barley grass. However, it seems to be even more nutrient sense. It contains beta carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B12, B17, C, E, and K and a whole lot of natural calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, selenium, and zinc.
Spelt grass is not a real supplement, however, I wanted to include it here because it is one of the things I eat every day to make sure I get all the nutrients I need – as I do with the supplements I take.
Wow, this is a long post. However, I still feel like there is SO much more to say about supplements and the amount of micro nutrients you need in a day. If you are interested in the topic, make sure to let me know in the comments 🙂
Also, I am very curious about if you take supplements and if you do so, which ones!?