7 Essential Nutrients You Can’t Get From Plants

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1. B12

One of the most important nutrient our bodies need to function properly is B12 and, unfortunately, vegans aren’t getting it from plant-based diets. “Vitamin B12 is important in maintaining appropriate brain functioning and blood flow throughout our bodies and is mainly found in animal products, which is why someone following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle may develop a deficiency,” explains Amanda Hostler, RD, a therapeutic nutrition specialist at Abbott in Houston, TX.

However, if you’re a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, you can get a proper amount of B12 from eggs and dairy products. Hostler also adds that vitamin B12 deficiency can manifest as the disease megaloblastic anemia, characterized by a low red blood cell count, with the red blood cells being larger than normal. So, those who follow a vegan diet should pay attention to the symptoms of B12 deficiency (tingling in hands and feet, depression, confusion, memory issues, or balance problems).

Talk to your doctor about vitamin B12 supplements or consider a type of marine algae, named nori seaweed. However, keep in mind that this algae doesn’t give you the proper amount on its own.

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