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Vitamin D, B12, Iron

Vitamin D, B12, Iron

Being on a plant-based diet provides the greatest nutritional benefits from vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, fiber- rich carbs, and healthy fats.  However, there are three legitimate concerns people have brought up about eating a plant- based diet that can be easily solved.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria and is mostly found in animal food products as a result of animal bacteria symbiosis. Because a plant-based diet does not include animal food products, you become vulnerable to B12 deficiency. So, how do you fix this?

A vitamin B12 supplement can be taken daily in a capsule. The commonly recommended adult dose is 25-100mcg, which can also be taken in liquid, or sublingual form or periodically via injection. Increasing your intake of B-12 fortified grains and unsweetened whole- grain breakfast cereals also provide your body with sufficient amounts of vitamin B12. 

The second concern is not getting enough Vitamin D. The most important thing to note is that Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, but a hormone. The active form of this hormone is made in all animals, including humans, when sunlight touches the skin. This means that dairy is not the only source of Vitamin D. Even though a plant-based diet does not include dairy products, there are better and healthier alternatives to provide your body with vitamin D. 

An easy fix is to increase the amount of sun exposure. Being in the sun for only 15 minutes when your shadow is shorter than your body exposes your body to UV light, which does a better job of raising serum vitamin D levels than supplements. Supplements are another source of vitamin D. You can make sure you have enough vitamin D by taking vitamin D3 supplements.

Many of the fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), and whole grains at the heart of plant-based diet offer tremendous health benefits. 


The third concern is not getting enough iron. This concern has no merit. People who eat plant- based are actually at no greater risk of developing iron deficiency or anemia than individuals who eat meat. The biggest benefit actually comes from the type of iron that comes from plants.

The unique iron found in plants is called nonheme. Nonheme iron has actually been associated with lower risk of heart disease. The iron from animal products is called heme. Heme iron has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. 

Research supports the fact that plant- based iron is the best choice. For example, research has associated heme iron to a 16 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes for every milligram of heme iron consumed. Other studies show upwards of a 12% increased risk of cancer for every milligram consumed. 

The healthiest sources of nonheme iron include whole grains:

  • The healthiest sources of nonheme iron include whole grains:

  • Seeds

  • Nuts 

  • Kidney Beans 

  • Black Beans 

  • Spinach 

  • Raisins 

  • Dried Fruit

  • Cashews 

  • Cabbage 

  • Tomato Juice 

  • Lentils 

Eating a plant-based diet increases your intake of fiber, healthy proteins and micronutrients, including antioxidants and essential minerals.

Plants, Plants and More Plants