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likely to find one or more offerings of vegan-friendly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), omega-3 fatty acids that are typically sourced from fish. The vegan version is typically made from algae. You also can find plantbased alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which can be converted to DHA and EPA in the body. Many beauty supplements contain collagen, which usually comes from fish or land-based animals. Collagen in the body builds a support structure for skin and joints, but adding more to your system isn’t as easy as eating shark-fin soup—which a vegan wouldn’t do anyway! Look instead for a vegan product that combines ingredients such as plant-based amino acids, vitamin C, and polyphenols that help boost the

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body’s own collagen production. While some supplements are marked vegan, others aren’t, which means you need to get savvy about spotting them. When shopping for vitamin D, look for vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is sourced from exposing yeast or mushrooms to the sun. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) usually comes from sheep’s wool or fish, but some companies offer vegan D3 sourced from lichen. Check ingredient labels to be sure gelatin doesn’t appear in them. “It is easy to find vitamin D2 and vitamin B12 supplements that do not contain gelatin,” says Karen Smith, RD, senior dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC. But do vegans really need supplements? If you’re doing a whole-

foods, plant-based diet right, the answer might surprise you. “This diet can provide your body with every nutrient it needs,” Smith says. If there are holes in that diet, however, supplements can help fill the gaps. And there is a greater likelihood of vitamin B12 and D deficiencies among vegans. Check with your healthcare practitioner, and if you do need to supplement, rest assured knowing that you won’t have to sacrifice your commitment to a vegan lifestyle to maintain or improve your health. —Karen Asp “Calcium and Vitamin D” by Jack Norris, RD, www.VeganHealth.org, 10/13 ● Personal communication: Karen Smith ● “Vitamin D2 is as Effective as Vitamin D3 in Maintaining Circulating Concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D” by M.F. Holick et al., J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 3/08

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