Nutrients / Supplements for Vegetarians
If you are vegetarian, get your blood checked for levels of various vitamins (particularly for B12, B6, B9!, B3, D, A, C. E!), zinc, magnesium, copper, selenium, etc. and compensate for any deficiency you may be having. Sometimes we need to take some form / blend of probiotics for a while to maintain healthy gut flora. We should consider probiotics while travelling or while migrating to a different location!
A supplement is really helpful if you are deficient or have a digestive problem like leaky gut. Some supplements are categories as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). So learn about a supplement that you are advised. You should not take high doses of any supplement regularly for an extended period of time. Generally following dietary supplements / nutrients are required by most vegetarians.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, specially EPA and DHA.
- MethylCobalamin and/or Adenosylcobalamin (natural forms of B12). You may like to avoid Cyanocobalamin which is a cheap man-made form of B12.
- You may take Pyridoxal-5-phosphate and Pyridoxine (forms of B6) alternatively.
- Methylfolate (a form of B9 which is better for some people) -or- Folic Acid (stable man-made form of B9), generally if you don't eat lots of green vegetables regularly. But sometimes even if you eat lots of green vegetables, you may need to take it!
- Other B vitamins.
- Vitamin C, if you don't eat enough citrus fruits (like oranges, lemon, ...), peppers, strawberries, or broccoli for days.
- Zinc picolinate / Zinc citrate / Zinc gluconate.
- Magnesium Citrate.
- Vitamin D3 with some calcium, if you have Vit D deficiency or get very limited exposure to sun-light.
- Vitamin A (retinol).
Some people take common B vitamins like B3 (Niacin or nicotinamide), B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B5 (Pentatonic Acid), B6, B9, B12 and Biotin in the morning or with the lunch. Except B12, human body do not store B vitamins. There are advantages of taking Inositol before going to bed.
Eat lots of fruits, lemons, etc. to get vitamin C. You may take vitamin C along with vitamin B complex as these are water soluble vitamins and our body removes excess amount of these vitamins.
Occasionally take either Vitamin A or Vitamin E. Prefer wheat germ oil, almonds, etc. to get vitamin E instead of supplements.
You may take Zinc along with Magnesium before going to bed once or twice a week.
You should seriously consider Omega-3 fatty acids, specially EPA and DHA. If you can take fish oil in capsules, please consider that. These are very important for growing kids and teens. Regularly taking high doses of Omega-3 FA might increase chances of bleeding if you are taking blood thinners. High doses of Omega-3 FA might also reduce the immune system's activity! Some times immune system may be overactive so taking Omega-3 FA may be helpful! Take advice of a physician if you are a senior citizen or have any existing health issue. Ask your physician "Can I start taking fish oil capsules once or twice a week? If his/her answer is negative then ask another physician. People with mental health issues need to take fish oil capsules (EPA and DHA) daily for more than a year. Some people may be allergic to fish oil, in that case they may take flax seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, astaxanthin, regularly.
Vitamin K is generally safe in topical creams for the skin; it can help in a variety of skin conditions. If you are taking blood-thinners, you should avoid taking Vitamin K supplements.
Hinđūism and Diet
Hinđū/s should not eat non-veg marked Halāl. Halāl non-veg indicates cruelty to animals. Hinđūism does not mean vegetarianism. Hinđūism generally is very libral, but beef (particularly of cow's beef) is absolutely prohibited. Avoid eating any non-veg where beef is also served. We should not ask non-Hinđū/s not to eat beef.
People who are used to consume eggs, meats, poultry, fish and other non-vegetarian foods should not abruptly become vegetarian. Their body might start lacking essential nutrients. Eggs are cheap and natural way of getting multivitamins and other nutrients. Choose free range eggs. The godmen, priests, preachers, who blindly promote vegetarianism are doing more harm than good to ordinary Hinđū/s. I can see that some preachers like Baba Ramdev and Mata Amritanandamayi have done a lot of great social services. I only can request these influencers to understand what most medical experts say.
An egg without rooster is an unfertilized egg. An unfertilized eggs is not live. It can be eaten without harming any life. Its difficult for poor people to afford almonds, walnuts, ghee, ... daily. An occasional boiled egg can help them avoid lots of deficiencies.
Do Not Become Vegan
Now-a-days some people are trying to follow what is called a vegan diet. A typical vegan diet is pure vegetarian diet without milk, cheese (& other dairy products), and even honey! Vegans think that a plant-based diet lowers the chances of contracting certain diseases. They don't give importance to the fact that deficiency in certain nutrients caused by following a vegan diet may cause some other health issues.
Vegans stay away from meat, poultry, fish, etc. also because they don't want to kill animals for their food. They also want to protect the environment by avoiding industrial level breeding, etc. Ideals and philosophy behind veganism is great but in our opinion vegan diet should not be followed in any case.
What About Milk and Casein Intolerance!
Milk is white because of a protein group called casein. About 80% of all proteins in bovine milk is casein. About 20% to 45% of the proteins in human milk is casein. So human milk has less casein than cow milk. Very simple skin test can be performed at home to check for casein intolerance. Before going to bed put a drop of milk on your skin on inner side of wrist etc. Let it dry, wrap a handkerchief around the patch and then sleep. Check the spot in the morning; if there is any sign of inflammation like redness etc. consult with a health care provider for a regular test. If there is no visible sign of inflammation, repeat the test after a few days.
Dairy products specially plain milk should be avoided if one has casein allergy / intolerance! Curd, yogurt, kefir, butter and ghee may be consumed even if one cannot digest plain milk. Consuming small amount of pure ghee pretty regularly may provide certain health benefits to vegetarians even though it is pure fat! Properly fermented curd, yogurt and kefir are rich in probiotics, good for health gut.
Try These Supplements
You may experiment with supplements like Spirulina, Astaxanthin, Quercetin, Brāhmī, Ashwagan'đhā and Shilājīŧ. Learn about one of these at a time that too only if you have extra energy, time, etc. Don't buy all these supplements just because you can afford all these. First read a lot about one supplement to decide whether you 'really' require that; discuss with friendly and knowledgeable pharmacist / dietitian / nurse. Take advice of a doctor if you have a preexisting condition and/or taking medicines.
If you want to take Ashwagan'đhā regularly for -
- reducing OCD, anxiety, stress, depression;
- improving cognitive performance, memory, attention;
start with a light dose and experiment by avoiding it on holidays. Inform about the effects of taking it to your primary health professional.
Be careful with Shilājīŧ; only take a very small dose of it, occasionally.
You should not keep on stuffing yourself with nutrients blindly. Some of the nutrients can interact with other nutrients / medications. If you take more than one nutrient pretty regularly, you should keep a record or diary of it.
Read about minerals like zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron, etc.
Take copper only if your blood test indicates its deficiency. Some people take multi-vitamins / nutrients containing copper even when they are having copper overload. Take zinc to reduce copper overload. Seldom use copper bottles, that too only if the drinking water available to you is not properly filtered. Let the water remain in the copper bottle for at least 10-12 hrs before drinking it. Sometimes iron is required by those who don't eat lots of green vegetables (& don't eat red meat at all).
Maintain Blood Glucose (Sugar) Level
People with diabetes are sometimes called diabetics. Most people with diabetes do not object to the use of the label 'diabetic' to describe them, including myself.
Hypoglycemia is state resulting from low blood glucose (sugar) levels. Hypo mean low. It sometimes happens to diabetics; rarely blood glucose level of non-diabetics can also dip. Hunger (भूख), weakness (कमजोरी), clumsiness (बेढंगापन), shakiness (कंपन) or sweat (पसीना), trouble speaking (बोलने में समस्या), confusion (भ्रम), etc. are the symptoms of hypoglycemia. In rare cases low blood glucose levels may result in loss of consciousness (अचेत), seizures (मिर्गी जैसे झटके या दौरे), or even death (मौत). So do not fast for a long period of time if you have never done so and if no responsible person is around you.
Hyperglycaemia is the term for high blood glucose (sugar) levels. It's a very common problem for diabetics. Hyper means high.
The common symptoms of diabetes are:
- frequent urination
- increased thirst / dry mouth
- tiredness / feeling sick
- blurred vision
Other symptoms are:
- unintentional weight loss
- recurrent infections, such as:
- thrush (fungal infection)
- bladder infections
- skin infections
- abdomen pain
- breath/urine that smells fruity
If you think you have any of the above symptoms, consult some friendly physician and ask him/her whether you need to consult a diabetologist.
Search and read about how to control diabetes, if you are diabetic or may be having some symptoms of hyperglycaemia (prediabetes). Do not consume a lot of refined sweeteners or sugar in any case.
Dosage of Supplements for Mental Health Issues
People with mental health issues or digestive problems may need to take nutrients / supplements more than the recommended quantities. They should take advice of health care providers and read about nutrients from multiple sources before overdosing on it. Always start with a small dose and then increase it in small steps. After a while experiment with reducing it and avoiding it all-together. Share your experiences with friendly health care providers. Please recommend the page Nutrients / Supplements for Mental Health to everybody you know.
Learn the Nutritional Requirements Systems
You need to learn the system(s) used in your country and by various products to decide the doses of those dietary supplements / nutrients that you require. Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is the daily intake level of food and dietary supplement products; RDI values are used in large part of north America. Dietary Reference Values (DRV) is the nutritional requirements systems used in some European countries.
First draft of this document was uploaded On: 22 May 2021;
Recent revision was uploaded on: 23 Apr 2022;
Nutrients and physical work-outs are important not only for the physical health but also for the mental health. A lot of things that are good for our heart are also good for our brain!
If a person is having problem coping with stress; do not try to motivate him / her to take any kind of challenging job / project.