Blood work: a term that might make some of us shudder in fear and wince at the mere thought of needles, but an important topic for vegans to discuss nonetheless. In fact, vegans and to a smaller extent, vegetarians are at risk of developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies if they take their nutritional intake for granted and fail to supplement adequately. What exactly should you supplement for as a vegan? Well, the list of nutrients that are harder to get on a plant-based diet is not as long as you might think. Aiming to get the majority of your essential vitamins and minerals from a whole foods-centered, nutritionally balanced vegan diet while supplementing omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 with a premium quality vegan multivitamin will likely ensure optimal blood test results. If you are unsure of what vegan test to request from your doctor, how vegan testing works, and how to interpret your results, this is the article for you! The main reason why you should consider taking these vegan-focused blood tests is the same reason why all other blood tests are done: they are the only surefire way to assess your general state of health.
Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets : Perhaps one of the most common, and most important tests, a CBC provides an overview of key markers, like red and white blood cells. Vegans are need to find alternative sources of these nutrients, and poorly planned vegan diets may provide insufficient amounts of the following nutrients: Beneficial Omega 3 fats Diets that do not include fish, eggs, or sea vegetables seaweeds generally lack the beneficial Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA, which are important for optimal nervous system, cardiovascular, eye and joint health. Hi Cesar, please check the links below where you should be able to find a plant-based doctor in LA who can assist you. Ferritin Test While the TIBC tests for iron levels in the blood, the ferritin test helps assess how good the iron stores in your body. Studies have consistently reported that well-planned vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium folate, vitamins A, C and E, and phytochemicals beneficial plant compounds. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of zinc, some of the best being pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. It used to be abundant in the food supply. But, regardless of diet, there are certain nutrients that people may have trouble getting. Hyman believes standard blood tests are not sufficient to provide a true picture of overall health. Vitamin D Vitamin D, and particularly vitamin D3, is another essential vitamin that is definitely harder to get on a plant-based diet, even though deficiencies can be detected across the meat-eating population as well. Goods news is that, according to the findings of the famous EPIC-Oxford study, vegans were found to have the highest levels of circulating folate when compared to omnivores and vegetarians. May 10,
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All these variables can contribute to different potential deficiencies or areas of concern in a medical checkup. Because of this, your first step ideally is to form a relationship with a doctor who can get to know you, your lifestyle, medical and family history. Do note that certain results of medical tests could be misleading trying to interpret on your own as opposed to what it may actually indicate. For example, the levels of nutrients in your blood are not always indicative of the quantities obtained from your diet. Calcium is a prime example, as normal levels of this in the blood may not actually indicate sufficient dietary intake. This is because calcium is so important to homeostasis and your body will maintain a sufficient level even when dietary intake is insufficient. How does it replenish calcium in blood? When forced to, your body will draw calcium from your bones. This means that besides testing for adequate levels in the blood, your doctor may also need to take a look at other factors such as your dietary sources and other potential indicators.