5 Nutrients You Cannot Get From Plants

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table full of fruit, vegetable and meat

I know that eating a more plant-based diet is one of the best choices to make if you are ready for a change.

I have changed my life to eating more veggies and fruits and cut down on meat for a while now and feel pretty good.

But when I eat meat it is grass-fed and finished beef and naturally raised pork and chicken that I sometimes buy online in stores like the Butcher Box I reviewed here.

There are discussions going on about if you should eat meat or not. I like my meat and think that they fit in a good diet that contains more vegetables and fruit and a little high-quality meat.

I tried to read a ton of blogs and forum threads about this question and to add to the discussion I found 6 nutrients you can’t get from plants.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B12 is also known as Cobalamin and it basically is a nutrient that is helping develop red blood cells and help maintain normal levels of brain function and nerves.

Studies have shown without a doubt that you need to use supplements if you are on a strict vegetarian diet to avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency.

There are signs that you could have a vitamin B-12 deficiency and they can include the following.

  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Neurologic problems
  • Weakness

When you are on a strict vegan diet you should make sure to add either a supplement or add more food with a higher content of Vitamin B12.

You can eat more soy products, cereals, bread, and meat substitutes.

One of the best vitamin B12’s I can recommend is Japanese seaweed. This is a good source but by itself not enough.

Nori seaweed


Creatine is produced by your liver and is not an essential nutrient you have to add to your diet.

Creatine is mostly stored on muscles but also in our brain and is because its ability to be available as an energy source for your muscles it is one of the most used supplement by bodybuilders and people who work out a lot.

It is however shown that vegetarians tend to have a lower amount of creatine in their muscles.

Again it is known that creatine is only found in animal tissue you have to add it to your list of supplements when you are on a strictly plant-based diet.


Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is one of the vitamins we really need every day for many reasons.

Since vitamin D3 is also called the sunshine vitamin since you can get it from sunshine. Your skin will absorb sunlight and turn it into vitamin D3.

I have to tell a little more about the 2 types of vitamin D there are.

  • Vitamin D2: officially called ergocalciferol is found in plants.
  • Vitamin D3: officially called cholecalciferol and found in animal-based food.

Vitamin D3 helps more to increase the ability to absorb vitamins

Fatty fish, egg yolk, cod liver oil and foods like milk or cereals are the best sources of vitamin D3.


Heme Iron

There are two types of iron and although we find iron also in plants the Heme iron is only found in meat and especially in read meat.

Heme iron is better absorbed than the none heme iron which is mostly found in plants.

Some plants contain phytic acids and this can even make it harder to absorb non-heme iron.

This is one of the reasons that people who are on a raw food diet have more chances of becoming anemic.

This iron deficiency can be avoided when you are on a plant-based diet by plan your diet very well and use food that contains a higher doss of heme iron.

heme iron supplement


Taurine is found in a lot of parts of your body including your brain, kidneys, and your heart.

Although not an essential nutrient you must have in your diet it is shown that vegans have lower levels of taurin than people who also eat meats.

More study has to be done to fully understand the role Taurine plays in a thing like muscle building, salt formation and even as an antioxidant.

taurine supplement

My Take Away

glass on table with multivitamin and weights

I am sure that a well planned vegetarian diet is very healthy and like I mentioned I have shifted to eating more vegetables and fruit and cut down on meat.

After reading a lot of articles, forum posts and information on several websites (look at the sources below) I think that if you do not eat meats you should have a look at some supplements to make sure you do not end up with some type of deficiency.

I also believe however that there are nutrients in animal meats and dairy that we also need. The meat just has to be high quality and natural meat.

This is a reason for me not just trying to find as many organic vegetables and fruits as I can find and afford.




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