I met up with the founder of this impressive new supplement range, Dr Vegan and asked some FAQ’s about how, when and why we should be taking vitamins. There’s lot of really useful information here, so do make it down to the end and share with friends who you know would benefit from this info too. I can really recommend this range for their ingredients and price and it’s great to support an independent business.
What vitamins should we be taking as we approach winter?
- The most common vitamin deficiency during winter. Vitamin D regulates the immune system and inflammatory responses in the body. The immune cells require Vitamin D for their function and regulation, so a deficiency in Vitamin D can leave you vulnerable to infection.
- Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, so the reduction in raw foods we consume in the winter (and rise in cooked foods) reduces our intake of Vitamin C. Sugar also decreases the absorption of Vitamin C in the gut, so the typical increase in sugar consumed during the winter reduces Vitamin C levels. The body’s requirement of Vitamin C also increases in times of stress, which generally rises during darker months. Vitamin C is used as a free-radical scavenger by the immune cells. Immune cells release toxins to destroy bacteria, virally infected cells and debris in the body, and the immune cells use Vitamin C to protect themselves from their own toxins.
- Often overlooked but essential for the immune system – you can have too much Vitamin A and too little, so having a recommended level in a multi-vitamin formula is the best way of taking Vitamin A.
- Zinc is especially important in helping the immune system fight viruses. Zinc works in tandem with Copper, so taking them together in the form of a Daily Multivitamin – alongside Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Vitamin A is the most common approach.
- Are there vitamins you would recommend taking as we age and when do you recommend we start taking supplements?
There are a number of reasons supplements become more important with age…
- As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from foods
- We’re more likely to have built up deficiencies in some nutrients. For example, as we age our body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 declines.
- Natural changes in our bodies create greater deficiencies and risks, such as women during menopause and after menopause, and risks to bone density and strength.
- As we age, risks of health issues / conditions grow, such as heart disease, AMD (age related macular degeneration which impairs vision), memory loss due to less brain activity. Certain nutrients can help – and have been clinically shown to reduce risks of these conditions. Key supplements with age:
- A good Daily Multivitamin is always a great place to start, particularly with good levels of B Vitamins and Vitamin B12, and including Vitamin D, C, Zinc, Copper and other nutrients above.
- Omega 3 – for heart, vision and brain health
- Bone & Muscle Formula (or Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin K2)– particularly for women who lose bone density after menopause
- Others to consider:
- Eye health formula (such as our Screen Eyes) with carotenoids Lutein, Astaxanthin, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin – helping prevent AMD
- BacoMind® (Bacopa Monnieri) – clinically shown to improve cognitive function, memory recall and retention – and Ginkgo Biloba – helps the maintenance of good cognitive function. Both of these are in our Vegan Minds | Memory & Focus formula.
- What is the best time of day to take vitamins, are there some that work better in the morning or at night?
There aren’t hard or fast rules here – it can depend on the supplements and also what works best for the individual, convenience, and the supplement itself. For example
- Daily Multis, probiotics such as Gut Works, and energy vitamins are ideal at breakfast or during the day to fuel your day ahead.
- Omega 3, Debloat & Detox and bone & muscle formulas can be taken at any time, for example and are often split by customers, taking one capsule in the morning and one in the evening.
- Stress related vitamins such as Ashwagandha and Stay Calm can be taken both at night and day, but are commonly taken in the evenings to help lower cortisol (which otherwise inhibits sleep), for example, and helping provide a better night’s sleep and therefore more energy for the next day.
- Vegan Nights, our own sleep formula, is obviously better taken 1-2 hours before bedtime. However there can be subtle differences – for example, for some people they find taking Vegan Nights 30 minutes before bed most effective, for others 2 hours before bed is more effective.
- What different vitamins do you think women need to take to men?
There are a number of nutrients women need more than men due to their monthly cycle, during pregnancy and menopause, and after menopause. These include:
- Iron & Vitamin C (Iron should always be taken with Vitamin C to improve absorption) – for menstruating women and during menopause
- Folic Acid – during pregnancy (should be in a good Daily Multivitamin)
- Omega 3 – during pregnancy, menopause and as we age
- Magnesium – half of teenage girls are estimated to have too low magnesium. You can learn more here. Also helps relieve PMS symptoms, and vital for menopause for supporting hormone production.
- Bone & Muscle Support – as above, with Vitamin D and Calcium in particular to support bones
- Chaste Tree and botanicals to support PMS symptoms e.g. in our PMS Hero®
- Phytoestrogens (plant-based oestrogens) to help relieve symptoms of menopause e.g. in our MenoFriend
There are many more in our Women’s Health section here.
- Probiotics have become very popular, how do they help our gut stay healthy and what strains of bacteria should we be looking out for?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the body and are found in very large numbers in the gut. Our bodies are teaming with organisms ranging from bacteria, fungi and parasites which are kept in check by probiotics as they compete for space and produce substances that keep pathogenic organisms (organisms that causes disease) at bay. Prebiotics are the fibres that feed probiotics and keep them thriving. Different types of prebiotics encourage different types of probiotics, so it’s important to have the right prebiotics with probiotics in any probiotic supplements.
The gut is the engine room of our body, so gut health has so many implications on our daily wellbeing. As well as being essential for your immune health and keeping pathogens at bay, 70% of the chemicals in our brain originate from the gut, which is known as the gut-brain axis. If we don’t keep toxins in the gut at bay, they’re pushed out via our skin, causing redness, blotching and inflammation. And our gut produces serotonin, our ‘happy hormone’, which is also required for the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone – if our gut isn’t effective and producing sufficient serotonin, our sleep is affected.
Best probiotic strains to look out for:
strains are the best place to start – they’re the most clinically researched,
and the dominant form in the gut; they’re also hardy and survive well in
supplement form. They include…
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Plantarum
- Lactobacillus Casei
- Bifidobacterium – also very good and help with diarrhoea, constipation and other intestinal disorders
- Streptococcus – help us fight off unfriendly bacteria and digest food
- Inulin – an important prebiotic that helps feed probiotics in the gut.
- What inspired you to start making supplements and what are you plans for expanding in 2022?
We created DR.VEGAN for three main reasons:
- to provide more effective supplements, that were clean and free of any nasty additives or animal ingredients, and use only the highest quality ingredients, provided at more affordable prices. I was disillusioned that so many brands, including so-called ‘premium brands’ (including those I worked for), didn’t always use the best ingredients and included nasty additives that you wouldn’t choose to ingest if you knew about them.
- We’re passionate about waste and were equally disillusioned the supplement industry has done so little to minimise unnecessary waste, whether it be single use plastic bottles or heavy and unnecessary glass bottles being flown around the world.
- Finally the supplement industry does little to nothing to educate consumers on nutrition or help them understand their diet. Good health and wellbeing starts with your diet, and ‘supplements’ should be there to do just that – to supplement your diet, not replace it. We wanted to create a platform where consumers can learn about nutrition and easily understand their diet so they can make informed choices about the foods they eat and the supplements they may or may not need.
Going forward, we have exciting plans to launch important new formulas which our customers have told us they’re interested in and where we believe we can make a real difference. These include pregnancy, bone support, an enhanced sleep range, men’s health, and targeted supplements for the over 50s.