7 Nutrients That You Can’t Get from Plants

Here are 7 nutrients commonly lacking in vegetarian and vegan diets.

1. Vitamin B12 is found in animal and fortified foods, as well as in small amounts in certain types of seaweed. People following a vegan diet should supplement with a vegan vitamin B12 supplement.

2. Creatine is a bioactive compound that’s lacking in plant-based diets. It plays an important role in brain and muscle function.

3. Carnosine is a nutrient found only in animal-derived foods. It’s important for muscle function. Beta-alanine supplements increase the levels of carnosine in muscles.

4. Cholecalciferol (D3) is a type of vitamin D found in animal-sourced foods, especially fatty fish, and it’s more effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D than the plant form of vitamin D2. 

5. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish and fish oil. It’s also present in microalgae, which are a suitable dietary source for vegetarians and vegans.

6. Meat, especially red meat, contains a type of iron called heme iron, which is much better absorbed than non-heme iron from plant foods.

7. Taurine is a sulfur compound that has several functions in your body. It’s found naturally in only animal-based foods but is also available in synthetic supplement form.

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