8 Essential Nutrients Your Vegan Diet May Be Missing

Vegetarianism is the practice of eating a plant-based diet with an increasingly or decreasingly rigid list of allowed foods, with vegan the most-narrow. Research shows that vegetarians have a lower risk of overweight, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and a lower rate of type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians.

In fact, the closer someone follows a vegan diet, the more health benefits he or she will experience. But, it is also possible to experience nutrient deficiencies. Moreover, many of these nutrient deficiencies take years to appear, and by the time they do present themselves, damage to your body has already occurred.

The following is a list of 8 essential nutrients every vegan needs to ensure optimal health and well-being.

Vitamin B12. Because B12 is found exclusively in foods of animal origin—meat, fish, eggs and dairy, vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common problems vegans face. A B12 deficiency can take years to develop, but once the deficiency appears, the effects can be devastating. In severe cases, a vitamin B12deficiency may result in permanent nerve or neurological damage. Vegans should take a B12 supplement daily or regularly eat B12 fortified foods.

A general recommendation for adults is 2.4 micrograms of B12 per day. Foods commonly fortified with B12 include non-dairy milk, cereals, meat substitutes, energy bars, and nutritional yeast. Eat two servings per day of foods fortified with at least 2 to 3.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 each.

Iron. Vegans tend to have less iron stored in their bodies compared to