Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What kind of nutritional supplements should vegetarians take?"
I am a 27 year old female who is switching to vegetarian. What supplements should I buy?
A vegetarian diet can be a great dietary change that can help people lose weight, prevent heart disease, and in general become healthier. I applaud your decision, and also am happy that you are thinking about the downsides to such a diet. The vast majority of vegetarians do not have any issues with vitamin or mineral deficiencies that need supplementation. This depends somewhat on what type of vegetarian you plan on being. People that are vegetarians, but still consume eggs, milk and fish, rarely ever develop a vitamin deficiency because of diet. People that choose a vegan diet without these elements are also usually okay, but can develop certain deficiencies. For example, vitamin B12 is only found in animal products. While vegans are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, they do not tend to have any problems because of bacteria (that contain the vitamin) that are consumed on most vegetables they eat. Since you are a female, iron deficiency is another possible problem. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can review your diet plan and make suggestions that may help you stay healthy. If there are any concerns, your doctor can recommend a multivitamin pill, or other dietary supplement that may help.
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