There are many vegan powerlifting supplements on the market and many are being marketed as all important. Below you can find a list of the needed and proven supplements for Vegans. Below you can find my list of Vegan supplements that are needed for optimal performance in sports and or for optimal health. These supplements can also be used by not vegans and non athletes unless specified otherwise.
Why use Vegan Powerlifting Supplements?
If you care about animals or the state of our ecosystem you have to choose veganism. That being said why use supplements at all? Having optimum levels of vitamins increases your training recovery and makes you grow much faster. Non athletes will enjoy feeling healthier, more awake, energetic and happier.
Multi-vitamins are the staple of vegan supplements. To my knowledge there are 3 vegan multivitamins brands.
Deva Vegan Multivitamin (International)
Orthica Vegetarian Multi (Dutch Market)
VegVit Multivitamin (Europe market maybe international)
The vitamin contents with all 3 are fairly similar. Each of them also add some greens or super foods to the mix.
Only Vegvit uses vitamin D3 and not D2 like the others. Research seems to indicate that D3 is used much more efficiently in the body that D2.
Protein is the second most important of vegan supplements. There are many vegan protein options available on the market.
Soy it the low cost solution but I prefer not to eat soy as it has an ill reputation (contains estrogen) and is considered an allergen.
Sunwarrior (raw vegan) is the best on the market for the simple reason they have been able to create a raw vegan protein supplement. Downside is that it’s expensive (€50 / kg).
LSP Rice Pro is a German brand that offers low cost supplements that are often vegan. Their rice protein is the cheapest vegan option on the market (I buy mine from amazon.de). It’s a good product as long as you do not buy a flavor other than neutral (they contain an artificial sweetener).
The most known and respected vegan protein supplement is Vega one. It contains multiple sources of organic plant protein, greens and even omega 3 & 6. Only downside is that it’s very expensive (€75 / kg). At 2.5 kg per month for 50 grams of protein per day this would total €150 / month. If this is too expensive you could always make your own by buying all ingredients separately and going for non organic. With some smart shopping I’ve been able to push it down to €45 / month.
Most neutral tasting protein powders taste bad so it’s advised to mix it with something. Personally I always blend it with ripe bananas and water.
Creatine is the third most important of vegan supplements. All creatine is vegan because it is made of cyanamide and sarcosinate. If you’ve read the previous two links you’ll understand that is very important that you buy pure creatine. Creapure is a manufacturer of creatine that promises a 99.95% creatine. My best advise it to go for a brand that uses creatine from Creapure. Creatine is ideal to be used in strength sports for added strength, endurance and recovery but is also used in football & cycling. Most people tend to take on 2 to 5 kg of water due to water retention associated with creatine. The added body weight makes it even better for strength sports. Ideally creatine is used 30 min before starting to exercise. Creatine has not been clinically tested on children and pregnant woman so I’d stay away from it. Creatine is the most studied and documented supplement (with protein) and no negative side effects have been noted. The standard daily intake advice is 5 grams to be consumed daily with no need to cycle. I however have an other opinion.
As you can see in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-xDEhEggpg vegans and meat eaters respond differently to creatine supplementation. The important part to take away is that vegans respond to creatine supplmentation because they do not get any from foods (meat) and thus they produce it themselves. If a vegan would take a creatine supplement every day the natural creatine production would stop and bring creatine levels back down. Wat I do is only take creatine on training days. The way I know if this works is because I always get a higher body temperature from creatine except when I take it every day.
Vegan Omega 3 & 6
You can find Omega 3 & 6 nuts and seed with the highest concentration per gram in hemp seed, Chia seeds and flax seeds. Omega is important for it’s anti-inflammatory function which helps you recover more quickly after an intense training. The only vegan omega supplement in pill form I know is http://opti3omega.com/ the same company that produces Vegvit. The better alternative is always whole food like chia seeds.
Vegan Vitamin D3
D3 is an vitamin most people are lacking and most certainly during the winter months. Unless you live in a sunny climate and spend at least an hour per day in the sun without a sunscreen chances are you are not getting enough vitamin D. There are two kinds of vitamin D namely D2 and D3. All D3 with exception of Vegvit’s multivitamin and Vitashine come from animals sources. D2 comes from a fungus/yeast-derived product. A healthy daily dose of vitamin D is 800 IU and 400 IU for children (-18 years). Vitamin D is stored in the liver and is not excreted from the body. This means an overdose is possible but unlikely as the upper level is 4000 IU per day for everyone 9 years and up. This means you have to go above 4000 IU per day everyday for several months before it get’s toxic. A weekly dose of 5000 IU will suffice for adults and 2500 IU for children 9 years and up. Smaller children and babies preferably get a daily dose of 400 IU rather than one big dose a week. Lack of vitamin D has a deep impact on muscle growth and mood among other things. A note of caution: it’s always good to have a regular (1 to 2 times per year) blood test to know where you stand and how to supplement.
B12 is a bacteria that can be found in the soil (dirt). The high presence of B12 in meat is due to the fact that cows, chickens,… eat some dirt when they eat, hence their meat contains B12. The take away is that eating some dirt (sand) with your vegetables will improve your B12 intake. Many omnivores, vegans and breastfeeding babies suffer from a B12 deficiency (best way to know is to have a blood test). Supplementation is advisable especially for athletes and breastfeeding mothers (if the mother is supplemented the baby will also get B12). Nice thing about B12 is you can get no overdose. Just like vitamin C excess B12 is excreted. To my knowledge there a two brands that offer vegan B12 are http://www.jarrow.com and http://www.solgar.com/. Any dossage will do as long as it exceeds the daily recommended dosage of 5mcg.
Beatjuice boost athletic performance. I’d like to give you the run down but this video series explains it all http://nutritionfacts.org/video/veg-table-dietary-nitrate-scoring-method/.
Fenugreek seems to increase strength and muscle mass significantly and boosts testosterone levels. http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/04/23/increasing-muscle-strength-with-fenugreek/ & http://examine.com/supplements/fenugreek/. I have to try it out myself and I’m curious what added benefits it will give. Vegan fenugreek can be found at http://www.solgar.com/. Fenugreek is vegan but capsules are often gelatin.
Leafy Greens & vegetables
Leafy greens (spinach, celery, red cabbage, brocolli and sprouts) aren’t supplements per se but adding them to your daily diet or your smoothy will make a whole lot of difference.
It has to be noted that supplements are there to supplement your daily food intake and are not an excuses to eat fat and / or processed food.