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Let's talk about nutrition and essential supplements, and a special warning about the Omega 3

(13 Posts)
LiliesAndChocolate Sat 08-Jun-19 21:12:46

On this thread , I would like to open a discussion about nutrition deficiencies and how to avoid them on a vegan diet. My opening post is about an alarming data about omega 3 and I want to share my experience:

I eat a whole food plant based (WFPB) mainly for health reason, to slow down the number of tumours as I have NF1.

I did everything by the book. Informed my GP, bought and read nutrition books, had a dietician revised my diet, enter everything on 2 nutrition analysis apps (wholesome and cronometer) and have regular bloods to check for deficiencies.

I supplemented with B12 daily and iodine drops every other day as I don't eat a lot of salt.

And I thought I was fine, until I decided to have my omega 3 checked, after watching this video.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7KeRwdIH04

Omega 3 blood test is not covered by the pubic health system in Australia but a private blood test I had to pay for ($68, roughly 34 pounds) .

I eat over 800% of my ALA plant based omega 3, with 2 table spoons per day of grounded flaxseed+ 1 or 2 of chia seeds and walnuts. I was eating way over the required amount as I know the body struggles to convert ALA into EPA and DHA.

My blood test came back at 3.7 which put me at extremely high risk of accelerated brain shrinkage and cognitive decline and dementia. And I have noticed some memories issues, no big thing, but forgetting the capital of Lebanon for example or what I did on an recent outing. I put it down to lack of sleep, but now I have doubts.

Plant sources of omega 3 might not be enough to protect you. In my case, my body doesn't seem to convert at all the plant based ALA into EPA and DHA. I have now ordered algae based EPA and DHA .

My GP was extremely interested in my Omega 3 test as he had never seen it in decades of practice.

I want to recommend to everyone to have their omega 3 level tested. I don't know if the NHS covers it. If not, and you can't or don't want to pay for it, consider nonetheless to supplement. I have ordered the DEVA vegan sourced one but you have a lot more options in the UK than Australia.

I will retest my omega 3 in 3 months.

More on the topic can be watched here nutritionfacts.org/video/should-vegans-take-dha-to-preserve-brain-function/

Even a perfect diet is not sufficient.

Now I am interested in your stories, what types of supplements you take or any comments and opinions on nutrition on a vegan/plant based diet.

ppeatfruit Wed 12-Jun-19 10:10:17

Interesting, have you looked at the Blood Type way of eating? It obviously bases it's findings on our blood types, e.g. an O type would have more difficulty being entirely vegan\veggie than an A type.

noodlenosefraggle Wed 12-Jun-19 10:18:40

That's interesting about blood type. I'm an O as is my eldest DS. We have recently gone veggie and omega 3 was one thing I was concerned about. I tried vegetarianism 15 years ago but had to stop after a year as I kept fainting. I put that down to heavy periods which I no longer have but I may look into getting omega 3 especially into DS. I'll be sad if I have to force him to eat oily fish when it was his decision to go veggie

ppeatfruit Wed 12-Jun-19 11:27:31

Oh dear because O types, do well, with a smallish .twice weekly, amount of organic animal protein. e.g. The Atkins diet suits them.

The author Peter D'Adamo does mention ways round it though. I suppose it's difficult because veganism and vegetarianism is usually a moral choice.

RuffleCrow Wed 12-Jun-19 11:36:00

To be fair, I doubt the average omnivore has perfectly balanced ALA /DHA levels. They just wouldn't be aware. I am going to order some algae based tablets all the same though.

Minnie747 Wed 12-Jun-19 11:44:41

Yes I had a similar deficiency on blood tests (private) a couple of years ago. I decided to supplement thereafter. I’m a life long vege, with a preference for plant based eating (diary intolerance).

It’s interesting the blood type diets, I’ve not read much on them. Does anyone have any research on them?

ppeatfruit Wed 12-Jun-19 12:01:04

Well a lot of research is about genomes affecting our diets and health. *D'Adamo has done it too. I just go by my health which is almost perfect for someone of 67, I can't say that for the majority of my friends and relations many who are younger than me.

I don't call myself a vegan or veggie but because I'm an A type I don't eat cows' milk based dairy (if I can avoid it , I get hay fever symptoms if I eat some) or any deadly nightshade veg (which give me eczema and arthritis). I sometimes have steamed 'organic' salmon. It is worth looking at, a lot of criticism of it is based on fear, because if we all started taking it seriously we could be well. Think how many companies make vast amounts of income from ill health grin.

ppeatfruit Wed 12-Jun-19 12:10:06

Oh and our gut health is important, I take supplements for digestion, betaine and gentian which is fab to help sleep too.

Most algae is good for us, not carrageenan though!

Minnie747 Wed 12-Jun-19 16:58:26

Ppeatfruit thanks for your insight, I will definitely have a read up.

Oh yes it’s mind blowing, that the top 9 best selling drugs in the world are lifestyle disease meds. That is of course something created by lifestyle (I think sometime that just needs reiterating!).

I’m very into epigenetics etc too, in terms of how we can impact our health even with a genetic predisposition.

The gut health is also something I’ve been researching heavily, as I have IBS and numerous intolerances. And a history of fatigue and fog.

Thanks again for your replies!

LiliesAndChocolate Wed 12-Jun-19 21:46:17

When I changed my diet, I was only taking vitamin B12, because I wanted all the nutrients to come from diet, but then one by one, and blood test after blood test, I have started adding, a supplement here and another one there.
I have read Brenda Davis book, I use cronometer on computer and the wholesome app on phone, but getting every single minerals is quite hard.
Selenium is easy, a single brazil nut covers your need, well at least on paper, then if the body absorbs it is another matter.

Gut health is really something I am mindful of as I have a genetic disorder called NF1 and the immune system doesn't control abnormal cell growth properly, so not only do we get skin tumours but we also have a 60% lifelong risk of cancer with a very shitty prognosis.
I eat a lot of prebiotic veggies, which I have to say are quite hard to find in Australia, such as artichokes, witlof, and a lot of onion, garlic, leeks, ....

I have a plant based diet to try to boost good genes activation and control some of the cell pathways responsible for cell signalling.

I also follow a low calorie low protein diet and this means it is not always easy to get all the nutrients.
The most recent research shows that calcium supplements are actually cancer inducing as they promote precancerous polyps, so to get it from greens means eating bags and bags of them. I usually chunk them in the blender as it is easier to get the amount.

I now take B12 daily 1000, iodine drops every other day unless I have eaten seaweed, vitr D on rainy days if I haven been sitting in the sun, and now Omega 3 algae based as more effective than fish sourced

noodlenosefraggle Wed 12-Jun-19 22:38:28

I made chia seed raspberry jam today on the back of this thread grin

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Jun-19 10:44:07

You're welcome Minnie IIWY I would get the up to date Blood Type books or apps. One of the most helpful things in my encyclopedia of The Blood Type is the listings of supplements, some of which are an avoid for some people! So, my dh (B type) who thinks he's doing himself a favour by taking extra cinnamon in his coffee, because he read a load of info online about the benefits for everyone, is actually doing himself the opposite!! but it's good for A types grin

The way most food is produced nowadays, unless it's organic, makes supplements essential IMO. Even with organics as we get older we get more sensitive to the 'wrong' foods for us!

There are so many ingredients in vegan food that I can't eat , coconut and cashews and brazils. I'm lucky because I have the time to cook now so I have to!

You might be an O type non secretor , an awkward thing to be.

ppeatfruit Thu 13-Jun-19 10:48:19

noodle I use linseeds for omega 3 in my morning seasonal fruit smoothies which gives them a lovely jelly like consistency!

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