There are now lab blood testing panels that are designed specifically for vegans.
Direct-to-consumer lab testing company Healthlabs.com has developed a full lab testing panel for people who don’t eat animal products. The panel—called the Vegan Nutritional Maintenance Panel—helps to determine whether vegans are getting all the necessary nutrients.
The panel—which ranges in prices between $149 and $399—tests for 11 nutrient deficiencies those following a plant-based diet may have. These include vitamin B-12, calcium, folic acid, iron, and zinc, as well as a complete blood count.
Healthlabs.com also offers lab testing for those who are interested in going plant-based. The test, Should You Be Vegan, determines which animal products people are allergic to, such as clams, gelatine, eggs, and cheese.
Nutrient Deficiencies On A Vegan Diet
Nutrient imbalances in diets are always possible whether people are vegan or non-vegan. Those that follow a vegan diet usually get enough fiber and micronutrients in their diets.
Due to the fact they don’t eat animal products, vegans typically also consume less saturated fat and cholesterol. But, regardless of diet, there are certain nutrients that people may have trouble getting. These include iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, omega-3’s, and zinc.
“There are numerous advantages to a vegan diet including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Unfortunately, there can still be some vulnerabilities when it comes to receiving certain nutrients,” Healthlabs.com reads.
It continues: “Please note that in exception to B12, there’s no nutrient you can’t get from a vegan lifestyle. However, it’s imperative to understand which vitamins typically go unaddressed so you can meet all of your body’s nutritional needs.”
Plant-Based Foods That Pack A Powerful Punch
There are a number of plant-based foods that are highly nutritious.
Dark, leafy greens like kale and collard greens are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, the latter of which the body is able to produce naturally, but only after being exposed to sunlight. There are a number of other plant-based foods that contain vitamin D like shiitake and portobello mushrooms.
Legumes, as well as nuts and seeds are packed with iron and zinc. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are terrific sources of omega 3’s, while vitamin B12 can be obtained through fortified foods or by taking supplements.