Be An Effective Vegan Advocate: Take a Calcium Supplement

Some recent research has shown that vegans have lower calcium intakes than omnivores and that they have a higher risk for bone fractures.

That’s bad news for vegans. It’s also bad news for farm animals. Anything that makes a vegan diet look inferior is likely to convince more people to eat animal foods.

So what can you do about that? Some vegans choose denial. They say a vegan diet is better for bone health and they cite old—usually outdated—research to prove it. Many vegans cling to the unproven belief that those who eat plant diets need less calcium. Theirs is a misguided effort to prove that vegan diets are better—and in the long run it risks health and creates bad PR for vegan diets.

Now, it may very well be true that calcium needs are lower for those who don’t consume animal products and it could also be true that the government’s calcium recommendations are higher than what most people need. But until we have definitive information about this, why take a chance? It makes better sense to err on the side of caution.

The issue here is not omnivore versus vegan diet. There are plenty of omnivores with inadequate calcium intakes and weak bones. And it is certainly easy to plan a vegan diet that provides plenty of calcium. Despite the title of this article, it certainly isn’t essential that you use supplements, either. You might choose to get all of your calcium from natural sources like leafy green veggies and beans. Or you can use fortified foods like soymilk, orange juice and calcium-set tofu. But if you aren’t getting enough, make up the difference with a supplement. It is always better for farm animals when vegans are healthy.

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5 Responses to Be An Effective Vegan Advocate: Take a Calcium Supplement

  1. Melaqueslim March 27, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    If you do decide to take a calcium supplement make sure you look into what you are buying. Many calcium supplements will not contain the right minerals to be absorbed properly and can do some damage. The following is the calcium supplement I am taking and it contains all the proper mineral you should have along with calcium

    AlgaeCal Plus Supplement Facts
    Serving Size: 4 Capsules
    Amount Per Serving %D.V.*
    Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 1600 IU 400%
    Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) 100 mcg **
    Calcium (from Algas Calcareas) 720 mg 72%
    Magnesium (from Algas Calcareas) 350 mg 54%
    Trace Minerals (from Algas Calcareas) 1464 mg **
    Boron (FruiteX B® Calcium Fructoborate) 3 mg **
    Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) 50 mg 80%

    goodluck and best of health to all.

    • fran February 2, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      Question – I thought D3 was not vegan; that only D2 is – am I wrong?
      Thanks much!

  2. Anonymous September 14, 2008 at 8:58 pm #

    Isn’t cholecalciferol an animal product? I thought ergocalciferol is the vegan form of Vitamin D.

  3. Ginny Messina September 19, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    Sorry to take so long to respond! Yes, cholecalciferol is an animal product. There are a number of multivitamin supplements that contain ergocalciferol.

  4. Bill November 21, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi Virginia,

    Was “some recent research” the EPIC Oxford study? I’ve recently posted a short podcast about it, including some advice about eating enough calcium.

    Verdant Reports: EPIC health study has mixed news for vegans – 5 minutes of internet radio talking to researcher Paul Appleby and dietician Marty Davey

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