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Do vegans really need to take tablets to stay healthy? Viva!’s Dr Justine Butler finds out…

According to some ‘health’ writers, vegan diets are deficient in vital nutrients. Are we doomed to pop supplement pills? The truth is that a healthy vegan diet containing fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, pulses such as peas, beans and lentils and nuts and seeds, along with a source of vitamins B12 and D, can provide all you need for good health.


B12 is produced naturally by bacteria that live in the soil and, traditionally, people and animals would have both got it from eating unwashed plants. Food production is now so sanitised that there’s not a trace of B12 left and most farmed animals no longer eat from the ground so they, too, are given B12 supplements. This makes recommendations to eat meat for B12 somewhat invalid. Do you need a B12 supplement? Yes – whether vegan or not, it would be wise for everyone to pay attention to B12 as the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey says that low levels are not uncommon, especially in people over 50. The reason older people tend to be deficient is because absorption declines with age and food sources on their own may not be sufficient. Some studies suggest that vegans have lower levels of vitamin B12, but many of these studies measure only food intake and fail to include supplements – so the full picture is still unclear.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Vegan Food & Living Magazine - Easter - April 2020
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About Vegan Food & Living Magazine

In this issue you will find 75 plant-based recipes including fun and delicious Easter recipes. You will also find easy 5 ingredient recipes for quick midweek meals and 3 easy ways to cook jackfruit. This months nutrition SOS will help you thrive on a gluten-free vegan diet, guide you on how to stimulate muscle growth and answer your important questions about taking supplements. Philip Mansbridge tackles the subjects of how veganism impacts climate change, learn how to make snacks count by boosting your nutrition, and create your own herbal first aid kit!