Vegan Supplements for Pregnancy & Little Ones!

I often get asked what supplements I use for myself while pregnant and breastfeeding, and what supplements I use for my children- so I thought I would make a post to share with you all about what products we use/I recommend and how often we use them. I hope this can give a little insight and reassurance about how safe and healthy a plant based diet is for all ages and life stages from pregnancy, through birth, into adulthood. We don’t use supplements BECAUSE we are vegan, our diets are extremely healthy compared to the standard American diet, and I have no concerns about myself or my children meeting our nutritional requirements. Many believe that a plant based diet is insufficient for growing babies and children, and nursing/pregnant mothers- but this is false. We use supplements because I am a firm believer that any diet could use an extra boost, regardless of what diet it is. I am not a physician, and I recommend speaking to your or your child’s doctor if you have any health concerns or questions, this is just what works for myself and my children.

Supplements for children:

 

* B12 (cobalamin)

recommended brand- Garden of Life myKind Organics B12 spray – made from organic whole foods & non-GMO)
You can buy here.

B12 is essential, and is hard to obtain naturally in a vegan diet. Supplementation is necessary for all stages of life including children! Methylcobalamin is the preferred type of B12 to supplement with. Most B12 supplements are 500 mcg, for children you can use the adult sprays and just reduce the frequency of use. (For my children ages 1 & 3 I give them each half a spray every other day or two) If breastfeeding, as long as the mother is supplementing with B12, infant will not need to supplement until weaned.

* Vitamin D

recommended brand- Vibrant Nutraceuticals plant based Vitamin D3 (200 IU, flavored for kids)
You can buy here.

Vitamin D is obtained from sunlight. Unless your child is getting adequate exposure to sunlight (15+ minutes a day, 3+ times a week) a supplement is usually necessary, especially during winters months. Vitamin D is lacking in both vegan and omnivorous diets. There are two types of vitamin D- D2 and D3. *Most* D3 is animal derived, from sheep wool (lanolin), but there are plant based versions derived from lichen (most will say made from vitashine.) Some studies have shown D3 is better absorbed by the body than D2, so plant based D3 is preferable. Vtiamin D is not passed well through breastmilk, so supplementation for breastfed (and most formula fed) infants should begin before 6 months of age. You can spray this directly in the mouth or on the nipple before a feeding. 400 IU is the recommended daily value of Vitamin D for children. (If using the Vitamin D supplement mentioned above, two sprays per day is recommended.)

* DHA & EPA

recommended brands- Deva Vegan Liquid DHA-EPA
You can buy here.

Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA+EPA Purity
You can buy here.
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to proper brain and eye development, and especially important in the first two years of life. ALA is easily obtained from food sources (like walnuts and flax seeds) but DHA & EPA are better obtained by supplementation. While breastfeeding it is recommended for the mother to take a supplement and supplement the infant once weaned. Dosage varies by brand, but most are given daily. (For the DEVA brand, my 3 year old takes 7 drops daily in water, smoothie, or other drink. My 1 year old gets 4 drops daily.)

* Multivitamins

recommended brand- Dr. Fuhrman’s Pixie Vites Chewables – made from whole foods, no extra icky ingredients! (the powder form is not yet vegan!)
You can buy here.

Multivitamins are NOT 100% necessary, it is personal choice whether to supplement individually with certain vitamins or to use a multivitamin. Multivitamins contain Vitamin D and B12, so if you choose to use one, you do not need to supplement additionally with B12 and Vitamin D. If using a multi, DHA supplementation is still recommended. Most multis are taken once daily. For picky eaters or just for piece of mind, multivitamins are great to have as an “insurance” that your child is getting all of the nutrition they need.

* Probiotics

recommended brands- Vibrant Nutraceuticals KidsLac – sour apple, vegan probiotic for children
You can buy here.

*edit* Garden of Life Raw Kids Probiotic is also vegan! I have emailed the company myself to ask, it is labeled “vegetarian” on their website- they claim this is only because it has not been certified, but that it is 100% vegan!

Probiotics are not absolutely necessary, but are helpful in easing digestive issues, strengthening the natural immune system, and avoiding digestive upset by balancing the bacteria in the digestive tract. These are taken once daily (or more if needed), mixed with food or drink.

Supplements during pregnancy (& breastfeeding!):

IMG_20150502_193136

* Prenatal multivitamin

recommended brands- Garden of Life myKind Organics Prenatal multi – made from whole foods, organic, non-GMO, stomach soothing blend for nausea
You can buy here.

Dr. Fuhrman Gentle Prenatal – made from whole foods, no synthetic folic acid (read more on Dr. Fuhrman’s website about why to avoid this)
You can buy here.

Prenatal vitamins are helpful for women to achieve proper nutrition during pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding, especially when dealing with food aversions and morning sickness. Look for prenatal multivitamins that are free from synthetic folic acid (instead look for folate from whole foods, or folate through diet alone) and are made from whole foods, with no unnecessary extra ingredients. Most are taken 1-3 times daily, with or without food. If not taking a prenatal multivitamin, B12 supplementation is recommended.

* DHA & EPA

recommended brands- Deva Vegan Liquid DHA-EPA
You can buy here.

Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA+EPA Purity
You can buy here.

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to proper brain and eye development. ALA is easily obtained from food sources (like walnuts and flax seeds) but DHA & EPA are better obtained by supplementation. This is important for development while pregnant. While breastfeeding it is recommended for the mother to take a supplement and supplement the infant once weaned. Dosage varies by brand, but most are given daily. (For the DEVA brand, I take 14 drops daily mixed in water.)

Supplements to boost immune systems naturally:

IMG_20150909_100501

Vitamin C

recommended brand- Pure Synergy Pure Radiance C Powder (100% natural vitamin C from berries)
You can buy here.

* Elderberry Syrup

recommended brand- Nature’s Way Organic Sambucus for Kids
You can buy here.

Other/Superfoods:

* Barley Grass Juice Powder

recommended brand- Pure Synergy Barley Grass Juice Powder
You can buy here.

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