Black VEGANS: 5 Must Have Supplements

Plant based diets are essential for Black people.

A Vegan Lifestyle can be amazing!

But I’m not gonna sugar coat it… Vegan diets are not perfect.

Life with NO ANIMAL products means you will miss out on some essentials.

I’m about to share with you 5 supplements every Black Vegan must have and why they are MANDATORY.

Ready?

 

  1. Vitamin B-12 (a.k.a cobalamin) Is A Must

 

So you heard of this one, huh?

Vitamin B-12 is responsible for red blood cell production and keeps your nervous system healthy.

If you are Vegan, you either take a supplement or suffer the consequences.

What happens to people when they don’t get enough B-12?

People with B-12 deficiencies will suffer from nerve damage, dementia, poor memory, confusion and depression. All Bad.1

And…Vitamin B-12 deficiency can elevate your amino acid “homocysteine”.

Studies have indicated a link between elevated levels of homocysteine and Alzheimer’s disease. All bad.2

No animals, plants or fungi can create B-12…

Only bacteria can.

Vitamin B-12 is made by tiny microorganisms that collect inside the guts of insects and animals.

These microorganisms also produce B-12 in the soil that plants grow in.

So theoretically… if you never washed your vegetables, you could get B-12 from the dirt left on your Kale.

Here are the ways to get Vitamin B-12:

Eat insects. Eat animals. Eat humans. Eat the Dirt On Your Veggies. Or Eat a Supplement.

You’re Vegan and non-nasty, right?

So Supplements.

B-12 supplements are created by collecting bacteria and extracting the B-12 from their fermentation.

Since your body’s ability to absorb B-12 decreases as you age,

you need to know the right dose and amount for your age today.3

Here’s what you need according to the National Institutes of Health:

 

Life Stage Recommended Amount

Birth to 6 months 0.4 mcg

Infants 7–12 months 0.5 mcg

Children 1–3 years 0.9 mcg

Children 4–8 years 1.2 mcg

Children 9–13 years 1.8 mcg

Teens 14–18 years 2.4 mcg

Adults 2.4 mcg

Pregnant women 2.6 mcg

Breastfeeding women 2.8 mcg

 

If you’re Black, not on Vitamin B-12 supplements right now AND you’re a Vegan…I hope you love eating dirt and spiders…your nervous systems gonna need ‘em.

 

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Probably everyone knows that you need the right fats in your diet.

You need Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Specifically, you need DHA (a.k.a. docosahexaeoic acid) & EPA (a.k.a. eicospentaenoic acid).

Here’s the deal:. 

Omega 3s like DHA fatty acids CAN BE made in the body.

That’s great.

But too many bad fats from olive & vegetable oil create Omega 6 imbalances.

High Omega 6 levels interfere with the synthesis of Omega 3 DHA in your body.4

Without DHA, the body cannot stop inflammation, prevent blood clotting or regulate immune function.

People who run low on Omega 3s run the risk of heart disease, depression, stroke, skin diseases, and autoimmune disease.5

EPA increases blood flow to the brain using tiny messengers in your nervous system.

DHA increases membrane fluidity, encouraging the growth of brain cells (neurons) and protecting the brain from neural degeneration.6 

Studies have shown that people with blood plasma DHA levels in the top 75% of values had a 47% lower chance risk of developing dementia as those in the bottom quartile.7

Literally, people with Alzehimer’s have lower levels of DHA in the frontal membrane than Alzheimer-Free Folks.8

That’s a big deal.

Additionally, a two-year study found that DHA and EPA supplements improves your memory.9

Over a 6 month period, participants ate 1 gram of DHA per day or a placebo.

People who ate DHA supplements improved their cognitive reaction times AND their episodic & working memories.10

Vegans who don’t get enough EPA and DHA are at risk.

A study of over 800 suicides found that the likelihood of suicide was 62% higher in people with low levels of DHA.

And…

Each standard deviation below the mean…meant a 14% increase in the risk of suicide.11

Isn’t it interesting that researchers have found that DHA and EPA supplements greater than 60% in dose range of 200 to 2000mg are effective in alleviating depression.12

Powerful stuff, indeed.

Think you’re getting enough Omega 3’s just with nuts and flaxseeds?

I wouldn’t be keepin it 100 if I didn’t let you know…

Nuts and seeds are a great source of Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Typically, ALA can convert to EPA…then EPA converts to DHA.

But…

The problem is not everyone converts ALA to EPA to DHA the same.

In a study of 165 non-supplemented vegans, 27% had a serious deficiency and 8.5% had a severe deficiency late in life.

Each of these folks were at risk of disease and depression just by missing an important ingredient in their diets.13

What’s more…if you love OLIVE OIL OR VEGETABLE OIL… BE CONCSIOUS.

Fats from Olive & Vegetable Oil make Omega 6 fatty acids.

High Omega 6 levels interfere with the synthesis of Omega 3 DHA in your body.

The higher the omega 6 levels and the lower the omega 3’s, the higher the chance for heart disease, diabetes, and illness.14

Without DHA, the body cannot stop inflammation, prevent blood clotting or regulate immune function.

Recipes for some good ‘ol heart disease.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of Vegans who love them French Fries.

They dig the unhealthy fats.

Fine.

They just need to make sure they are taking the appropriate amount of Omega 3s in order to balance out their Omega 6 levels.

BOTTOM LINE:

Every Vegan needs to have an Omega 3- DHA and EPA supplement.

Medical scholars suggest we intake 200 mg of Omega 3s with at least 100 mg of DHA.15

If you’re a vegan, you probably don’t want to take fish oils.

 

So use Algae Oils instead.

They are a little more expensive but they get the job done.

Look for ones that say 300mg and up.

You’ll be fine.

 

  1. Zinc

Zinc is a natural metal.

Everyone needs zinc to fight infection.

But zinc helps the body heal wounds, maintain healthy cells, & regulates your sense of taste and smell.

A zinc deficiency leads to: frequent infections, hair loss, longer lasting colds and infections, skin sores, slow growth in children, and a poor appetite.16

And…

Fellas, you need Zinc to help you fight against prostate cancer, especially as you age and your cells lose their durability.17

Check it out: Enough Zinc is already in plant foods.

The problem is that our bodies don’t absorb zinc readily from plant foods compared with animal foods.18

This is because zinc rich plant foods have too many phytates which reduce our ability to absorb zinc.19

Turns out that cooking and soaking plant foods can turn off some phytates and increase the bioavailability of tons of nutrients, but even then, research demonstrates that some zinc supplementation remains important.20

People on vegan and vegetarian diets need 50% more zinc than non-vegans.21

So how much to get?

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Zinc [2]

Age

Male

Female

Pregnancy

Lactation

0–6 months

2 mg*

2 mg*

  

7–12 months

3 mg

3 mg

  

1–3 years

3 mg

3 mg

  

4–8 years

5 mg

5 mg

  

9–13 years

8 mg

8 mg

  

14–18 years

11 mg

9 mg

12 mg

13 mg

19+ years

11 mg

8 mg

11 mg

12 mg

You can achieve this with a zinc supplement. They are super-duper inexpensive.

 

  1. Iodine

The body does not make Iodine.

Iodine helps produce thyroid hormones.

Iodine deficiency means you can’t make enough thyroid hormones. 

Iodine deficiency can lead to an enlarged thyroid (goitre), difficulty losing weight, increase your risk of thyroid cancer, prevent ovulation and create infertility.22

Iodine deficiency in pregnant mothers can lead to mental retardation in infants.23

In children, lack of Iodine can lead to cretinism, a disease that causes physical and mental stagnation.

All bad.

 

So what foods provide iodine?

Since Iodine is concentrated in our oceans, sea foods and sea weeds have the highest supply of it.

In the modern world, salt is usually enriched with Iodine.  

So if you’re using a lot of iodized salt…you’re good.

But then, you’re asking for a different set of problems.

To get Iodine: You can also use Sea Kelp, but just a 1/10 teaspoon is all you need.24

Any more, and you risk having too much iodine.

Iodine overload also throws your thyroid out of whack and you can get the same problems as if you were iodine deficient.25

Can’t get your hands on Sea Kelp?

Then you need a supplement.

But How much?

See the chart from the National Institutes of Health.

Adults need about 150 micrograms a day.

 

 

 

Life Stage

Recommended Amount

Birth to 6 months

110 mcg

Infants 7–12 months

130 mcg

Children 1–8 years

90 mcg

Children 9–13 years

120 mcg

Teens 14–18 years

150 mcg

Adults

150 mcg

Pregnant women

220 mcg

Breastfeeding women

290 mcg

 

 

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is so important to humans…it’s the reason we have White people.

I’m not joking.

When humans moved out of Africa 200,000 years ago, humans had dark brown skin. We still do.

But as climates cooled, lighter skin helped humans absorb more Vitamin D from the sun.26

(In some ways, Vitamin D is the reason Black Health HQ exists, but that’s another topic for another day.)

Vitamin D is made by your beautiful skin when the sun touches it.

Just reflect on that for a moment…

We actually get nutrients directly from the sun! No eating necessary.

Our bodies are truly intelligent.

Vitamin D is responsible for increasing your intestinal ability to absorb calcium and helps your cells build dense bone.27

Research even indicates that Vitamin D supplementation can help prevent Type 1 diabetes.

As it turns out, 1,25(OH)2D, one hormonally active metabolite of Vitamin D, regulates over 200 genes including the ones that influence cell death (apostosis) and immune modulation.28 

Milk has been fortified with Vitamin D since the 1930s in an effort to reduce rickets.

Also, Vitamin D has been shown to positively impact cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, certain forms of cancer and infections.29

One study found that doubling Vitamin D resulted in a 20-23% drop in the likelihood of dying over a 13 year period.30

It’s that serious.

It is estimated that around 1 billion people are Vitamin D deficient on Earth.

For Black people, one Boston study found that 52% of Black residents were Vitamin D deficient.31
Crazy.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with schizophrenia, depression, wheezing and asthmas.32

Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to frequent illness, fatigue, bone and back pain, bone loss, bone fractures, and muscle pain.33  

But can I just restate something: You Can Eat Sunlight!

You could potentially save yourself from disease JUST by STANDING IN SUNLIGHT!

And…

You cannot overdose on Vitamin D from sunlight as the sun will breakdown excess buildup.34

 

But the problem is…

It’s difficult to get all the Vitamin D you need from the sun unless you are laying outside naked each day, in direct sunlight.35

If, however, it is winter time or you spend your time with clothes on or you are in an office most days…you’re gonna need a supplement. 

But How much do you need?

Some research says that adults only need about 400 IU daily.36

I would rather trust someone who has treated actual patients, though…so I’ll go with Dr. Furhman’s 2000 IU daily requirement.

This dose is recommended to hit the ideal range for 25-hydroxy vitamin D on the blood test.37

Again, a Vitamin D supplement can do this for you.

 

 Warning:

Everyone needs each of the vitamins I have suggested. Period.

Please be sure to take each of these supplements as standalone supplements, though.

Don’t run out and get a “multivitamin” to “cover all your bases”.

Multivitamins give you too much of the wrong things like Vitamin E, Iron and Copper and have terrible health consequences.

Always use supplements to help you meet your goals, not as a Band-Aid for bad nutrition.

Have your blood test done and ask your doctor for your B12, Omega 3, Zinc, Iodine, & Vitamin D levels.

You’ll be glad you asked.

 

Let me know if you could want supplements. I can get a supplement package together and get something out to you if you need it.

Hit the comments or message section and I’ll put something together for you.

 Notes:

  1. Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Consumers.”National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements (February 17, 2016). https://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer.pdf.
  2. Hooshmand, B., Stockholms universitet, Centrum för forskning om äldre och åldrande (ARC), (tills m KI), and Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten. “Homocysteine and Holotranscobalamin and the Risk of Alzheimer Disease: A Longitudinal Study.” Neurology75, no. 16 (2010): 1408-1414.)
  3. Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Consumers.”National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements (February 17, 2016). https://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer.pdf.
  4. Fuhrman, Joel.Eat To Live: The amazing nutrient-rich program for fast and sustained weight loss. New York: Little Brown, 2011.
  5. Simopoulos, Artemis P. “The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases.” Experimental Biology and Medicine233, no. 6 (2008): 674-688. Miyake, Yoshihiro, Keiko Tanaka, Hitomi Okubo, Satoshi Sasaki, and Masashi Arakawa. “Dietary Meat and Fat Intake and Prevalence of Rhinoconjunctivitis in Pregnant Japanese Women: Baseline Data from the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study.”Nutrition Journal11, no. 1 (2012): 19-19. Koch, C., S. Dolle, M. Metzger, C. Rasche, H. Jungclas, R. Ruhl, H. Renz, and M. Worm. “Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Supplementation in Atopic Eczema: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial.” British Journal of Dermatology 158, no. 4 (2008): 786-792. Appleton, Katherine M., Hannah M. Sallis, Rachel Perry, Andrew R. Ness, and Rachel Churchill. “[Omega]-3 Fatty Acids for Major Depressive Disorder in Adults: An Abridged Cochrane Review.” BMJ Open 6, no. 3 (2016).
  6. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
  7. Schaefer, Ernst J., Vanina Bongard, Alexa S. Beiser, Stefania Lamon-Fava, Sander J. Robins, Rhoda Au, Katherine L. Tucker, David J. Kyle, Peter W. F. Wilson, and Philip A. Wolf. “Plasma Phosphatidylcholine Docosahexaenoic Acid Content and Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer Disease: The Framingham Heart Study.” Archives of Neurology63, no. 11 (2006): 1545-1550.)
  8. Söderberg, M., C. Edlund, K. Kristensson, and G. Dallner. “Fatty Acid Composition of Brain Phospholipids in Aging and in Alzheimer’s Disease.” Lipids26, no. 6 (1991): 421
  9. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
  10. Stonehouse, Welma, Cathryn A. Conlon, John Podd, Stephen R. Hill, Anne M. Minihane, Crystal Haskell, and David Kennedy. “DHA Supplementation Improved both Memory and Reaction Time in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition97, no. 5 (2013): 1134-1143.
  11. Lewis, Michael D., Joseph R. Hibbeln, Jeremiah E. Johnson, Yu Hong Lin, Duk Y. Hyun, and James D. Loewke. “Suicide Deaths of Active-Duty US Military and Omega-3 Fatty-Acid Status: A Case-Control Comparison.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry72, no. 12 (2011): 1585.
  12. Sublette, M. Elizabeth, Steven P. Ellis, Amy L. Geant, and J. John Mann. “Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) in Clinical Trials in Depression.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry72, no. 12 (2011): 1577.
  13. Sarter, B., KS Kelsey, TA Schwartz, and WS Harris. “Blood Docosahexaenoic Acid and Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Vegans: Associations with Age and Gender and Effects of an Algal-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement.” Clinical Nutrition34, no. 2 (2015): 212-218.
  14. Fuhrman, Joel.Eat To Live: The amazing nutrient-rich program for fast and sustained weight loss. New York: Little Brown, 2011.
  15. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
  16. “Zinc in Diet.”New York Times, October 30, 2017.
  17. Gonzalez, Alejandro, Ulrike Peters, Johanna W. Lampe, and Emily White. “Zinc Intake from Supplements and Diet and Prostate Cancer.” Nutrition and Cancer61, no. 2 (2009): 206-215.
  18. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
  19. Hunt, Janet R. “Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc, and Other Trace Minerals from Vegetarian Diets.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition78, no. 3 Suppl (2003): 633S. Tupe, Rama and Shashi A. Chiplonkar. “Diet Patterns of Lactovegetarian Adolescent Girls: Need for Devising Recipes with High Zinc Bioavailability.” Nutrition 26, no. 4 (2010): 390-398.
  20. Tupe, Rama and Shashi A. Chiplonkar. “Diet Patterns of Lactovegetarian Adolescent Girls: Need for Devising Recipes with High Zinc Bioavailability.” Nutrition26, no. 4 (2010): 390-398. & Hotz, Christine and Rosalind S. Gibson. “Traditional Food-Processing and Preparation Practices to Enhance the Bioavailability of Micronutrients in Plant-Based Diets.” The Journal of Nutrition 137, no. 4 (2007): 1097.
  21. de Bortoli, Maritsa Carla and Silvia Maria Franciscato Cozzolino. “Zinc and Selenium Nutritional Status in Vegetarians.” Biological Trace Element Research 127, no. 3 (2009): 228-233.
  22. Axe, Dr. “The Iodine Deficiency Epidemic — How to Reverse It for Your Health.” Dr. Axe. October 30, 2009. https://draxe.com/iodine-deficiency/.Furhman, end of dieting)
  23. American Thyroid Association. “Iodine Deficiency.” October 30, 2009. https://www.thyroid.org/iodine-deficiency/.
  24. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
  25. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements (February 17, 2016). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-Consumer/
  26. Evolution and Prehistory; the Human Challenge, 8th Ed. Vol. 22. Portland: Ringgold, Inc, 2007.
  27. Dusso, Adriana S., Alex J. Brown, and Eduardo Slatopolsky. “vitamin d.” American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology289, no. 1 (2005): 8-28.
  28. Hyppönen, E. “Vitamin D and Increasing Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes-Evidence for an Association?” Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism12, no. 9 (2010): 737-743.
  29. Holick, Michael F. “Vitamin D Deficiency.” The New England Journal of Medicine357, no. 3 (2007): 266-281.
  30. Tomson, J., J. Emberson, M. Hill, A. Gordon, J. Armitage, M. Shipley, R. Collins, and R. Clarke. “Vitamin D and Risk of Death from Vascular and Non-Vascular Causes in the Whitehall Study and Meta-Analyses of 12 000 Deaths.” European Heart Journal34, no. 18 (2013): 1365-1374.
  31. Gordon CM,DePeter KC, Feldman HA, Grace E, Emans SJ. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among healthy adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2004;158:531-537.
  32. Holick, Michael F. “Vitamin D Deficiency.” The New England Journal of Medicine357, no. 3 (2007): 266-281.
  33. Health Line. “8 signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.” October 30, 2009. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#section2.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#section2
  34. Holick, Michael F. “Vitamin D Deficiency.” The New England Journal of Medicine357, no. 3 (2007): 266-281.
  35. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.
  36. Holick, Michael F. “Vitamin D Deficiency.” The New England Journal of Medicine357, no. 3 (2007): 266-281.
  37. Fuhrman, Joel.The End of Dieting. New York: HarperOne, 2014.

 

 Article by Black Health HQ