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nobody

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I have only been vegan since February, 2015. From then until a couple months ago, I was only taking 1 or 2 B12 supplements per week, if that. I was influenced by a lot of the whole food, plant based vegan advice you get from films like Forks Over Knives. In early 2016, after a re-watching of FoK, I started making an attempt to spend some time out in the sun every day, in order to allow my body to generate some vitamin D. And I would take an occasional vegan D3 supplement if I had not had any sun for a few days. At a certain point I became aware of the nutrient K2 and started taking a vegan form of those, derived from natto once in a while too.

Then I read this article. Now I view those 2.7 years as my time spent in La La Land and take a sublingual B12 every day without fail. Sometimes I even take two, one in the evening and one at night. I take vegan D3 every day, unless I get a lot of sun that day, which would never happen because I live too far up north. I take a capsule of iodine every day, and always use iodized salt for cooking rather than sea salt or other kinds of salt. I also have some more bottles of supplements in my arsenal which I don't take every day. These include vegan DHA & EPA, the aforementioned vegan K2, and these vegan cal-mag multivitamins which have large amounts of calcium and magnesium and smaller amounts of B12, K2, iodine and other nutrients. I couldn't find supplements that were just calcium at the store I shop at for supplements.

Also, another thing I started doing after getting on this supplement kick, is eating unsulphured blackstrap molasses several times per week. I make a lot of dishes that consist of some kind of rice or grain blend with roasted vegetables, or roasted potatoes with other roasted vegetables, especially with roasted onions, and I know this sounds weird but I drizzle a small amount of blackstrap molasses on my food as a condiment, along with other condiments, such as Earth Balance spread, and this Cajun seasoning I like called Slap Ya Mama. When you use the blackstrap molasses in small amounts with other condiments and seasonings, you don't really taste it at all. If you eat it alone it tastes like black licorice. But the reason I try to eat a lot of it is that it has high amounts of calcium and iron in it, as well as a bunch of other nutrients. It's really good for you. If I remember correctly, you absorb iron more easily if it is taken with a source of vitamin c, and onions have tons of vitamin C, more than in oranges, so having the blackstrap molasses with roasted onions is a really good thing.

Here are some things I learned:

mcg is an abbreviation of microgram
mg is an abbreviation milligram

know the difference!

That article I linked to says to take 90 micrograms of iodine per day. The bottle of iodine supplements I bought is "12.5mg" in each capsule. So the first day I took 3 of them, thinking that I was only taking 1/3 of what VeganRD recommends, but actually I was taking like 75,000 times the recommended daily amount.

K2 is an important nutrient that is not found in vegan diets. Most vegans don't worry about it and even VeganRD doesn't mention it. There is a lot of K1 in dark leafy greens and your body can make its own K2 from K1, but not everyone's body the same ability to manufacture K2 from K1 and so that's why I take K2 once in a while, about twice per week.

D3 is much better than D2, but almost all D3 sold is derived from wool. There is one brand I know of that makes vegan D3, but you have to go to a vitamin store to get it, or get it online. Basically, with all supplements, if it doesn't say vegan on the bottle, it isn't vegan because that is a very good marketing claim for supplement companies and if it is vegan, they say so.

All of the supplements I take, except for the sublingual B12, have to be taken right after you eat. I don't know why that is, but they do. I think it helps with absorption.

Getting back to Forks over Knives, the nutritionists in that film, who also appear in many other vegan documentaries, could all be described as 'anti-supplement' and they even make rather light of the need for B12. They say for example that vitamin D supplements are dangerous, or that the effects of taking them are not fully understood, and that you should go out and get some sun every day instead of taking supplements. There is probably some truth to that, so, I just take one D3 capsule per day, even though the bottle says to take 2 per day. But I live in a place where we get severely cold winters and I just cannot expose enough of my skin in that cold to get any sun, so I have to take the supplements.

Also, lest anyone think that going back to an omnivore diet would be better than taking vegan supplements, let me say this, there are antioxidants in tobacco, but that doesn't make it good for you. When you eat meat, dairy, eggs, etc. sure, you are getting a lot of needed nutrients, but you are getting a load of saturated fat and cholesterol, which increases your risk for heart disease by a bunch. If it is processed meat, such as bacon, deli meat, hot dogs or pepperoni, you are increasing your chance of getting colon cancer by a high percentage, I believe it is 18%. If you eat red meat, you are also increasing your cancer risk. If it is non-organic meat, you are getting all of the pesticides used in the production of the feed crop that those animals ate, due to bio-accumulation, but unlike non-organic produce, the pesticides cannot be washed off.

Also, if you do feel that eating animals is necessary, and that supplements are bad for you or too much work, maybe you should take up eating crickets. Crickets are animals, are very nutritious and can be farmed 'humanely' by yourself in an aquarium in your bed room. There are also companies that farm crickets for human consumption and will sell them to you by mail order freeze dried or baked into cookies etc. I say this because the sentience of insects isn't as definite as that of higher animals routinely eaten and they are better suited to cramped conditions. However, I do not believe this is necessary, at all. It is just that if people are going to eat animals, I believe it is better if they eat insects rather than cows, pigs, dogs, chickens, cats, fish etc. It may seem strange to a westerner that I included dogs and cats in there but their consumption is more common in the east. It would seem strange to someone from India that I included cows in there, because to an Indian, eating a cow is just like eating a dog or cat.
 
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Satchitananda

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Thanks for this post. I was a vegetarian for about 13 years and never really thought about supplements, but I ate a lot of cheese and fortified milk substitutes, so was probably always OK (also lived in Florida for a lot of those years). I've been mainly pescatarian for the past 4 years, but am now trying to transition to vegan - many driving forces, but mainly environmental reasons. Because of environmental reasons I am trying to stay away from milk substitutes except what I make homemade, so am trying to monitor my calcium intake as well as other supplements. I haven't looked into calcium supplements yet and have gotten my calcium up to about 900 mg with whole foods alone at a 1600 cal/day intake, so am nearly there. I just ordered Dulse flakes that have 130% DV of iodine in them and also a vegan multivitamin that has B12 and D3, along with omega 3 EPA and DHA from algae. I hadn't thought of K2, so I will look into that. Trying to limit my supplements, as much as possible, but at the same time you got to make sure you stay healthy. I would suggest looking to algae flakes to supplement your iodine in a whole food way, algae has a whole lot of health benefits and may be one of the things that help the blue zone folk in Japan. The multivitamin I found is by Future Kind and made specifically for vegans, as there are a lot of extra stuff in multivitamins that most people don't actually need. Cheers!
Om shanti shanti shanti.
Ian
 

Satchitananda

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After some quick researching I found that sauerkraut has about 2.75 mcg of vit K2 per half cup. Recommended DI is 10-40. But that's one place you can start getting more. Other fermented stuff including Kombucha also has K2, although trying to figure out how much exactly. Sauerkraut also has a fair amount of calcium too.
 

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Because of environmental reasons I am trying to stay away from milk substitutes except what I make homemade, so am trying to monitor my calcium intake as well as other supplements.
Om shanti shanti shanti.
Ian

Milk substitutes are typically made from soybeans, rice, oats, almonds, or hempseeds.

Almonds and rice are water-intensive crops, but there's nothing wrong with organic soybeans, oats, or hemp, is there?
.
 

Satchitananda

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You are right. The non nut milks like soy hemp oat and peas have a pretty low impact on water and carbon emissions especially when compared to dairy. For me trying to avoid even those is more about the waste material produced by manufacturing and bottling and distributing these products. I suppose it's a small thing especially if using a product that is bottled in cardboard based containers, but if im just using it to add to tea and coffee and don't need it as a nutritional thing then I'm trying to oust it.
 

Satchitananda

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I'd also like to point out even almond milk is a much lower water and carbon impact compared to dairy so still way better choice for the planet.
 

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Good read, thank you for writing all that up.

I completely agree. I don't take quite as many supplements as you, but I do think there's a lot of mistrust towards the vitamin industry which can be dangerous.

For instance I have Multiple Sclerosis, which is almost always accompanied by vitamin D deficiency. I've lived in sunny Arizona, Hawaii, or Texas my whole life, so I always got plenty of sun. But my body wasn't processing the sun light properly and I was still very deficient. If I don't take Vitamin D3 supplements I will be deficient and I could relapse.

I should take DHA/EPA. I like the IWI brand but I hate that I have to get it online. 😑 And it's expensive.

I've been taking iodine and biotin after I experienced some hair thinning and I realized how little iodine I was getting. It's very important. It's easy to get from kelp powder though, it's just important to remember. And I always use ionized salt.

If anyone is using Chronometer, you do have to turn on Iodine in the settings, it's not primarily included for some reason.
 

Thundergleep

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After some quick researching I found that sauerkraut has about 2.75 mcg of vit K2 per half cup. Recommended DI is 10-40. But that's one place you can start getting more. Other fermented stuff including Kombucha also has K2, although trying to figure out how much exactly. Sauerkraut also has a fair amount of calcium too.
If. I hate this. They say Kombucha is super high in B vitamins, K2, and other nutrients, but non of the brands have specific numbers. It's so annoying! Imagine if Cinnamon Toast Crunch just said "high in vitamins" on the nutrition label! Can we have some numbers please??! 🙄🙄🙄
 

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If anyone is using Chronometer, you do have to turn on Iodine in the settings, it's not primarily included for some reason.
I think the reason that CronOmeter does not have iodine turned on as a default is because it really has no idea how much iodine you are getting from fresh fruits and vegetables. So the info CronOmeter gets is sketchy and it prefers not to provide you with a questionable number.

If your vegetables and fruit are grown near the ocean you are probably getting a lot of iodine. Even if you live inland - your fruits and veggies may come from the coast.

Processed food may have a lot of sodium but most of the time they don't use iodized salt.

In some countries, they don't use iodized salt. Here in the US iodized salt is the norm.

If you don't eat much-processed food it isn't a bad idea to use iodized salt
 
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silva

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Good read, thank you for writing all that up.

I completely agree. I don't take quite as many supplements as you, but I do think there's a lot of mistrust towards the vitamin industry which can be dangerous.

For instance I have Multiple Sclerosis, which is almost always accompanied by vitamin D deficiency. I've lived in sunny Arizona, Hawaii, or Texas my whole life, so I always got plenty of sun. But my body wasn't processing the sun light properly and I was still very deficient. If I don't take Vitamin D3 supplements I will be deficient and I could relapse.

I should take DHA/EPA. I like the IWI brand but I hate that I have to get it online. 😑 And it's expensive.

I've been taking iodine and biotin after I experienced some hair thinning and I realized how little iodine I was getting. It's very important. It's easy to get from kelp powder though, it's just important to remember. And I always use ionized salt.

If anyone is using Chronometer, you do have to turn on Iodine in the settings, it's not primarily included for some reason.
I was found deficient in D, after YEARS of seeing different doctors about bone pain in my feet and ankles. Not just pain, but at times they would seize and I couldn't move for a time, regardless of pain! I was sent for cat scans, specialists, told to wear a brace, get orthotics. I finally called to question why I didn't see my D level on my usual bloodwork--I was told it was fine (after being asked about getting sun, and taking D2). I was NEVER tested for D. A megadose course and subsequent doses of 2500 IU I came in just at the low end of normal after a year. I then started 5000 IU a day. Vitamin D fixed it 🙄. I've been taking the lanolin form of D3, as I'm really afraid to screw it up again. D2 did NOTHING, and vegan D3 in those doses is pretty expensive. I've even found cheaper forms of D3 were useless (CVS brand)

Anyway. I take B12 in the cyano version and algae DHA/EPA--I do get both from amazon. I find DHA is tremendously helpful! I never ate any kind of sea foods, and probably just don't convert well, as I always focused on proper omega 3-6-9

Dr Greger is specific on iodine--particularly since salt of all kinds is red light--and higher amounts of cruciferous appartently inhibit iodine absorption. He doesn't recommend kelp, and has links to that--
 

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Mostly it's pregnant women who are susceptible to an iodine deficiency. Maybe mostly in countries that don't iodize their salt.

Sodium is an important micronutrient.

Average Americans do eat way too much, and too much sodium is linked to high blood pressure.

But you can also eat too little salt.

The MRDA of salt is about 500 mg a day. Sodium is an electrolyte and plays a role in many metabolic functions.

If you don't have high blood pressure there may be no benefit to eating a low sodium diet.

Most Americans get their sodium from processed food. and it's a good idea to limit those anyway.

Mostly the salt in processed food doesn't contain iodine.

So... if you don't eat processed foods it isn't a bad idea to add a little iodized salt to your food.


 

Thundergleep

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Dr Greger is specific on iodine--particularly since salt of all kinds is red light--and higher amounts of cruciferous appartently inhibit iodine absorption. He doesn't recommend kelp, and has links to that--
I know you have to be careful with kelp powder so you don't get iodine toxicity, that's why I only use it once a month or so. But Micheal Gregor has also said to eat Nori sheets everyday, which I just don't think is realistic. It's something I wasn't pleased to see left off the daily dozen, considering how many stories you see about vegans experiencing hair loss (a clear sign something is wrong). It would be really easy to blame veganizum and start eating fish again, which would fix the problem and "confirm" that you needed fish to be healthy.

I was plant-based for about 3 years before I noticed hair loss. I still have a thin spot at my widows peak. I wish I had paid more mind to iodine in the first place, but I was just following the daily dozen.
 

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I don't add extra salt to food and my main sources of sodium come from things like canned salsa, seitan, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso and I average about 1400-1500 mg sodium daily and wouldn't want to add table salt to that just for iodine. I get mine from a teaspoon of dulse sea weed daily. I don't understand why sea weed would be discouraged as it is one of the many things contributing to the health of blue zones in Japan so even before I became vegan I was trying to eat (edit: seaweed) everyday anyways.
 
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silva

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I know you have to be careful with kelp powder so you don't get iodine toxicity, that's why I only use it once a month or so. But Micheal Gregor has also said to eat Nori sheets everyday, which I just don't think is realistic. It's something I wasn't pleased to see left off the daily dozen, considering how many stories you see about vegans experiencing hair loss (a clear sign something is wrong). It would be really easy to blame veganizum and start eating fish again, which would fix the problem and "confirm" that you needed fish to be healthy.

I was plant-based for about 3 years before I noticed hair loss. I still have a thin spot at my widows peak. I wish I had paid more mind to iodine in the first place, but I was just following the daily dozen.
I'm finding more and more people I know have thyroid conditions! No veg'ns irl though, but hair loss does seem like a common question when people go plant based. Nothing I ever experienced.
I never was a seafood eater of any type, and when I started algae dha I found a noticable difference!

I do eat iodine salt, and on occasion those sea weed snacks-the seasoned salty ones. Gregers advocating no salt is one thing I just can't get on board with. I did quit salt once and had detrimental effects, namely my BP plummeted
 
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I’m a terrible runner but I haven’t noticed much of a difference switching to a mostly plant-based diet. I think the bottom line is that food is food. There is nothing nutritionally magic about a vegan diet either positively or negatively. Many people likely notice a benefit because they’re now paying closer attention to their diet and veganism tends to push you away from processed and calorie-dense foods.
 
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Lou

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Nutritionally speaking you can eat a very good diet by going vegan or not.

But saying "food is food" is sort of naive or ignorant.

Not all calories are created equal.
 
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silva

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I’m a terrible runner but I haven’t noticed much of a difference switching to a mostly plant-based diet. I think the bottom line is that food is food. There is nothing nutritionally magic about a vegan diet either positively or negatively. Many people likely notice a benefit because they’re now paying closer attention to their diet and veganism tends to push you away from processed and calorie-dense foods.
If you mean no 'food is food', as in your diet can be healthy or unhealthy regardless of animal products, I so agree! There are some things that do make a plant based diet better, like no dietary cholesterol. I hate the generalities of 'a vegan diet is healthy' as much as people feeling they get what need from animal products!
Nutritionally speaking you can eat a very good diet by going vegan or not.

But saying "food is food" is sort of naive or ignorant.

Not all calories are created equal.
I didn't think that's what was meant, but you right of course!
 
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If you mean no 'food is food', as in your diet can be healthy or unhealthy regardless of animal products, I so agree! There are some things that do make a plant based diet better, like no dietary cholesterol. I hate the generalities of 'a vegan diet is healthy' as much as people feeling they get what need from animal products!

Ah, I see. I agree wholeheartedly.
 

NYC Gardener

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I'm finding more and more people I know have thyroid conditions! No veg'ns irl though, but hair loss does seem like a common question when people go plant based. Nothing I ever experienced.
I never was a seafood eater of any type, and when I started algae dha I found a noticable difference!

I do eat iodine salt, and on occasion those sea weed snacks-the seasoned salty ones. Gregers advocating no salt is one thing I just can't get on board with. I did quit salt once and had detrimental effects, namely my BP plummeted

That’s interesting. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I always heard that salt was unhealthy. So I used tamari (soy sauce) instead, or just went for other flavors. Then I got thyroid cysts. The doctor said they’re usually genetic, but I have to wonder if I was deficient in iodine.

I bet a lot of people are making the same mistake - skipping table salt, eating a lot of soy, missing out on iodine.

I now take a multi that includes it. The salt they sell in my neighborhood isn’t even iodized. (A lot of our markets import from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, so we have brands from there instead of American ones.)