Optimum Nutrition Recommendations

Optimum Nutrition Recommendations

In today’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day Golden glow, and tomorrow’s, Produce, not pills to increase physical attractiveness, I review the new research suggesting the consumption of dark green leafy vegetables improves the healthy appearance of Caucasians* due to carotenoid deposition in the skin. Taking those same phytonutrients in pill form, though, doesn’t work. We should strive to get most of our nutrients from plants, not pills.

The balance of scientific evidence suggests that the healthiest way to eat is a vitamin B12-fortified diet of whole plant foods. For optimum nutrition, we should be sure to include in our daily diet not only an array of whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, and as many vegetables as we can eat, but also specifically dark green leafy vegetables, berries, and white (or green) tea.

Attention should also be paid to these nutrients:

Vitamin B12 (see also Which type of vitamin B12 is best)

  • At least 2,500 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin once each week, ideally as a chewable, sublingual, or liquid supplement
    • or at least 250 mcg daily of supplemental cyanocobalamin (you needn’t worry about taking too much)
    • or servings of B12-fortified foods three times a day, each containing at least 25% U.S. “Daily Value” on its label
  • Those over 65 years of age should take at least 1,000 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin every day.
  • Tip: If experiencing deficiency symptoms, the best test is a urine MMA level (not serum B12 level)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • 250 mg daily of pollutant free (yeast- or algae-derived) long-chain omega-3’s (EPA/DHA)

Vitamin D (daily recommendations for those in the Northern Hemisphere; D3 from animal or plant sources may be preferable to the D2 sourced from fungi)

  • Below approximately 30°latitude (south of Los Angeles/Dallas/Atlanta/Cairo)
    • 15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
    • or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
  • Between 30° latitude (sample cities above) & 40°latitude (Portland/Chicago/Boston/Rome/Beijing)
    • From February through November
      • 15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      • or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
    • From December through January
      • 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
  • Between 40° latitude (sample cities above) & 50°latitude (Edmonton/London/Berlin/Moscow)
    • From March through October
      • 15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      • or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
    • From November through February
      • 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
  • Above approximately 50°latitude (north of Edmonton/London/Berlin/Moscow)
    • From April through September (or even briefer above 60°latitude (Anchorage/Stockholm))
      • 15-30 minutes of midday sun (15 for those with lighter skin; 30 for those with darker skin)
      • or 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D
    • From October through March (or even longer above 60°latitude (Anchorage/Stockholm))
      • 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D


  • At least 600 mg daily via calcium-rich plant foods—preferably low-oxalate dark green leafy vegetables, which includes all greens except spinach, chard, and beet greens (all very healthy foods, but not good calcium sources due to their oxalate content).


  • For those who don’t eat seaweed  or use iodized salt, a 150 mcg daily supplement
    • The sea vegetable hijiki (hiziki) should not be eaten due to high arsenic levels
    • Kelp should be avoided as it tends to have too much iodine


  • All menstruating women should increase their absorption by combining foods rich in iron and vitamin C at meals and should get checked for iron-deficiency anemia every few years
  • Men should be checked for an iron overload disease before any attempt to increase intake


  • Northern Europeans may need to take a supplement or eat a daily Brazil nut

-Michael Greger, M.D.

* Due to the pervasive under-representation of traditionally marginalized groups in clinical research, comparable science across the skin color spectrum is not yet available.

Image credit: thebittenword.com / Flickr

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please leave any questions you may have about these recommendations and I’d be happy to try and answer them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dmschmidt David Schmidt

    My 11 yr old Daughter is currently being taught the MyPyramid and MyPlate systems of health in School. She is having a difficult time with the Teacher because as a Vegan, she strongly disagrees with a lot of what the Teacher is trying to impose on her. Can you offer any science and research to help back her up?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I’ve got a whole string of new videos queued up about the new MyPlate recommendations, so stay tuned. In the meanwhile, please feel free to check out all of my videos on plant-based diets and if her teacher has any questions or concerns maybe she could post them here!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dmschmidt David Schmidt

        Oh wonderful! I am really looking forwards to the MyPlate article/video.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.hnatiw Jill Hnatiw

    If what who is light skinned is out for more than 15-30 minutes in sunlight, can the Vitamin D be cumulative ? and I have heard different ideas on the use of sun screen and vitamin D absorption, or is there a different post on sun screen and vitamin D ?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Thank you for your question Jill. Sunlight-induced Vitamin D is indeed cumulative but the same wavelengths that produce D in our skin can also cause us to burn. Sunblock can delay sunburns, but also interferes with the vitamin D production. So the recommendations above are for those not wearing sunblock.

  • LouiseF

    For the Omega 3’s: Is flax seed yeast- or algae-derived DHA and/or EPA ?
    Thank you

  • Sujatha

    I’ve read that cooking spinach breaks down the oxalates and improves calcium absorption. Is that true?

  • Mike Quinoa

    Hi Dr. Greger.

    I saw you speak at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival on the weekend, and I have to say Thank You so much! The crowd was enthralled with your program, and we all learned so much from your indubitably entertaining style. How does it feel to be a “rock star” of nutrition (lol)? Hope to see you next year!

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Oh, you’re so sweet. I’m glad you made it in. I felt so bad about all those that were turned away at the door. Hopefully they’ll have a better venue next year!

  • mzleigh

    Dr. Greger–I have to second what Mike just said–you are the nutrition guru! I attended your presentation in Baltimore and found it both entertaining and informative.

    Someone on another post (can’t remember which one) asked if you would share a representative day or two of what you eat. I think that we would find that helpful. I am also raising my children vegan (just starting this summer). There are some good suggestions in the Vegan for Life book about nutrients for kids, but if you could share your thoughts on covering kids’ nutritional bases (or additional resources), I would appreciate that as well.

    Thanks, as always! Love the site!

  • voivoed

    Hi Dr. Greger,

    I asked this on the “Ask the Doctor” post but will repeat here:

    I have some questions about B12… is there any difference between taking B12 as cyanocobalamin versus taking methylcobalamin and dibencozide? Also, is the cyanide resulting from the body converting cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin harmful?


  • http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/ Bix

    Some very good, sensible nutrition advice here and elsewhere on your site. How refreshing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606393050 Linda Abbott

    i’m starting to feel like sticking to a vegan diet requires a doctorate in nutrition. i’ve got b12, vit d, and Omega 3 supplements but I stumbled on this article that says we can’t really get as much calcium or A from plants either. what do you think? http://www.veghealth.com/why-vegetarians-eat-fish-meat-vegan.php

  • cuisinegourmet

    Would you please post recommendations for pregnancy?

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  • danbrunell

    I noticed that you recommend cyanocobalamin, not methylcobalamin. Can you provide more details?

  • wickedchicken

    Spinach is a yay for antioxidants but a nay for calcium. Darn…how do we deal with this Spinach conundrum??? Any tips?

    Also just re; vitamin D [which i recognise as being oh so incredible]… there are 2 things I would like to mention. One. Have you see the research on obesity and vitamin D? One is in AJCN. Very interesting. Obese have significantly lower peak vitamin D level post sun exposure compared to normal weight individuals- despite the same amount of precursor in the skin. The problem is, it is sequestered in the fat cells rather than entering the blood. Less of a problem with oral vitamin D supps, peak levels were similar for the 2 groups. My point is, with the shocking rates of obesity and overweight in the western world, maybe it’s time we put more emphasis on the ol’ supps here and not mister sunshine. My second point is that skin cancer is the most common of ALL CANCERS. That is all i have to say. It’s just my opinion, but even to give people the knowledge that hey, if you are obese… take a supp. And if you are light skinned…take a supp. Just my opinion [until I rule the world!] :P

  • 7worships

    Can a deficiency in vitamin D cause hypertension? Do people who already have a diagnosis of hypertension need to take more than your 2000 IU recommendation? What about people diagnosed with hypertension who now have it under control with diet and exercise – what level of vitamin D do you recommend for them?

  • DrDons

    Hi 7worhips, I know of no study linking Vit D deficiency to hypertension. Current science seems to support going with the same recommendations for Vit D for those with and without hypertension. Vit D is an evolving, complicated and confusing area. Dr. Greger’s video helps provide a good context please see his video and the blog comments at
    http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/is-vitamin-d-the-new-vitamin-e/. Final comment is that for my patients who have normal pressures and are following a healthy whole foods plant based diet with exercise I consider them “normal” not “hypertension controlled with diet and exercise”. Elevated blood pressure is the normal response to the SAD… standard american diet. A study a number years ago showed that labeling patients as hypertensive compared to a control group with the same blood pressures lowered their quality of life and increased the days of work missed. Congratulations on your success.

  • Nicolas

    Hi Dr. Greger. I’m wondering, what is your understanding of the pros and cons of supplementing with lithium orotate (or some other non-psychiatric version – none of them at psychiatric dose levels)? I got thinking about it since you’ve included iodine, and the two of them have roles in up- and down-regulating the thyroid, and lithium seems to have some benefits that might prompt one to want to get some more of it (or any of it at all, should ones food sources somehow be lacking it, much like a lot of commercial soil has come to lack iodine over the years, thereby yielding iodine-poor produce).

  • BPCveg

    Hi Dr. Greger,
    My question concerns your recommendation of “250 to 500 mg daily of yeast- or algae-derived DHA and/or EPA”. I understand that one can get EPA from yeast and DHA from algae. Could you please provide more information on which of DHA or EPA is the preferred form to take and what concentrations is best? Thank you in advance for your response.

  • cobalamin

    I recommend these supplements below because they are EU regulated and also because they ship worldwide at a very economical prices.

    Vegan EPA/DHA: http://www.opti3omega.com/
    Vegan Vitamin D3: http://www.vitashine-d3.com/

    Great Vitamin B12 supplements below, they don’t cause Acne breakouts.

    Vitamin B12: http://www.devanutrition.com/vitamin_b12.html
    Vitamin B12: http://www.jarrow.com/product/58/Methyl_B_12

  • Guest

    What nutritional or vitamin supplement do you recommend?  I know there are different brands with varying absorptions. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.r.beck.3 Jason Robert Beck

    Dr. Greger
    There seem to be a lot of mixed recommendations on the
    necessity of DHA supplementation even among proponents of whole food vegan
    diets.  Other than B12 I do not take any supplements
    and believe in general that our bodies provide us what we need so long as we
    feed it a well balanced diet which in my case is  a whole foods vegan diet with 2 tablespoons of
    flax andor chia seeds per day.  In
    someone with an near optimum diet do you still recommend DHA supplementation
    and if so can you provide references to the data demonstrating that need.

    • M.Harris, RD, LD

       Hi Jason,
      While I certainly agree that your whole foods vegan lifestyle is optimal, I also believe in (and have seen) great value in certain supplements, for a number of reasons.  To answer your question, I do agree that DHA supplementation becomes more important as we age, because EPA (that you are getting from flax/chia) will not be retroconverted to DHA as efficiently.  This information was obtained from the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group in an article on essential fatty acids by Mark Messina (sorry no link to it though).

  • Gale

    Hi Dr. Greger,

    I am a runner and have always tested low in iron. I eat all the right vegetables but my ferritin level remains around 20 unless I supplement with iron. I also am vegan. My endrocrinologist told me years ago that certain Europeans has a tendency towards enermia? I think he said Yugoslavians?

    Are you still opposed to an iron supplement in runners who tend to be a bit low? I feel much better while running with my iron a bit higher. It makes a huge difference.

    • Toxins

      In regard to foods, all beans are rich sources of iron so you may want
      to include them regularly. Whole grains are also an excellent source as
      are dark green leafy greens.

      Iron absorption can be increased by, avoiding tea and coffee at
      meals (because of the tanins in them) and by including a source of vitamin C at meals (fruit and/or veggies).
      Calcium supplements taken at the same time as iron can inhibit its
      Also, including garlic or onions will increase iron and zinc absorption.

      • Gale

        Thanks Toxins. I am pretty good with all the things mentioned. I am thinking garlic in my smoothy! Man, that thing is turning into a blended salad! :-) I am going to need a spoon soon.

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  • debbie

    i have a very low d level, was told to take 10,000 u daily. i have had trouble with some formulas and now am taking 2000 iu of a liquid trying to build up. it worries me that im so low and having a hard time. the nature of my work prevents me from being able to get midday sun even though i live in florida. any advice is appreciated. i am allergic to shellfish and so i avoid those varieties never mind that i am plant strong as well.

  • CJ

    As for the sunshine exposure – is that full-body (ie total nudie) because the one day per week the sun comes out during winter I can stand doing my chest, arms, and face but not full-body.

    Thank you for providing this excellent resource. I am also a medical student trying to sift through nutritional evidence and maintain my own health.


  • BPCveg

    Dr. Greger:

    I am still very concerned about your recommendation of algae-oil DHA. I closely follow the work of Brenda Davis, who I am sure you are familiar with.

    In ‘Becoming Raw’ (2010), Davis and Melina argue on page 127-128:

    “DHA is the most highly unsaturated fat in the diet and also the most unstable (meaning it is easily oxidized by free radicals in the blood). Oxidized fats are bad news; they contribute to all sorts of disease processes, including cardiovascular disease. It’s possible that our bodies are smart enough not to bother making DHA when it’s not needed. In addition, it’s possible that when DHA is in our bloodstream, it’s rapidly transported to locations where it’s needed and incorporated into tissues, such as the brain and the retina of the eyes.”

    Overall, Davis and Melina have not endorsed algae supplements for the general population. Nor has the American Dietetic Association as per their 2009 review paper on vegetarian diets.  

    Furthermore, a recent study (Am J Clin Nutr 2010;92:1040–51) argued that despite having zero intake of DHA, vegans made comparable levels to omnivores.

    Dr. Greger you seem like a great guy, but I worry that you may have jumped on the bandwagon too soon with this one.

    I hope that you can provide us with a very clear rationale as to why a healthful vegan (plant-based diet, no-oils omega-6:omega-3 in the range of 2:1 to 4:1) should need to take this oil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marius.aglen Marius Aglen

    This shit is great, thanks a lot xD

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003280143255 Joe Smith

    no zinc mentioned here?

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  • char

    Hi Dr. Greger – what are the recommendation level for kids?

  • Paul

    Should omega-3 supplements be taken by men given the recent finding that fish oil pills increase the risk for prostate cancer?

    • drew

      Great question, I am also wondering

      • Tommasina

        Drew and Paul, Dr. Greger recommends 250 to 500 mg daily of yeast or algae (not fish-based) sources of DHA and/or EPA Omega-3’s above. Hope that helps!

  • David


    May God bless you and everyone with whom you are associated with – each and every day!!!!!!

  • Nolan Muck

    I see that your recommendation for B12 intake are 250 micrograms every day; however, everywhere I search says that the recommended daily intake ranges from about 2 micrograms to 6 micrograms. I am wondering if perhaps someone misread the unit symbol for micro- “µ” when in reality the source of data had pico- “p”? I could be mistaken, and if I am, then that means a VAST majority of people are probably B12 deficient. The B12 supplement that I take daily has 6 micrograms of B12, so if I am mistaken, I would greatly appreciate my correction.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nolan Muck

    • Toxins

      Dr. Greger explains this in great detail on several videos. This would be the first of the series of videos uncovering the b12 issue.

      • Nolan Muck

        Thank you for the link to the videos; however, I have a new question. If we re-absorb 99.9% of the vitamin B12 already inside of our system, that would mean if we have 5.5 mcg of B12 (the average between 4 and 7) in our system, then we only lose 0.0055 mcg of B12 daily, and if I can absorb 1.5-2.0 mcg + 1% of my daily supplement, I should be fine(and actually be slightly above the daily requirement) if I take a daily supplement of 6 mcg?

        • Toxins

          Well, not exactly.

          When we take a 500 mcg dose, we absorb 1.5 mcg through our receptor system and 1% of the rest. So 1.5 + .01(498.5) = 6.48 mcg, this falls into the 4-7 mcg per day range. We could also multiply the dose by 10, so 5000 mcg and take that weekly. It would average out to 7.3 mcg a day. The first section of our large intestine can absorb vitamin b12 so this is constantly recirculated allowing us to take weekly doses.

          250-500 mcg of vitamin B12 a day, or 2,500-5,000 mcg of B12 a week is all that is needed. Or you can take the more complicated route and eat something fortified with atleast 25% of you B12, three times a day 4-6 hours apart. 25% = 1.5 mcg

          • Nolan Muck

            So what you are implying is that we lose about 4-7 mcg of B12 everyday (the 0.01%). And that to replenish this we need to intake the amount lost? Also for the formula saying 1.5+1% of the amount of B12 ingested does that 1% intake even hold true at these high daily dosages, and at the even higher weekly doses? Also Dr. Greger does say that if you take too much B12 into your system, that your body will “pee” it out, so if your body registered one of the mega weekly doses, would it not just “pee” the rest out? Another thing, Dr. Greger says that the reason that we as humans only lose 0.01% daily is that our ancestors would sometimes get very very small amounts of B12, so would that not confirm what I stated in my previous comment?

          • Toxins
          • Nolan Muck

            Those resources are very informative, and now I do believe I have read or watched everything that Dr. Greger has about B12. However, my questions weren’t really answered, and I attempted a brief over view of some of the sources from the videos and found nothing in them that helped me either.

          • Toxins

            If I may backtrack and clarify, supplementing a single dose of 6mcg will not be sufficient for the day as you will only absorb 1.5 grams + 1% of 6. The rest will be excreted. I am unsure what specifically you are asking, perhaps you can restate your question in a different way?

          • drew

            What b12 do you recommend? I have found a few veg friendly brands on amazon, but all include a “natural” flavoring in the ingredients with no explanation of what that natural concoction is

          • Toxins

            I personally use twin lab 5,000 mcg weekly dose. I am unsure what the natural flavorings would be, but overall I don’t think my health will be seriously harmed by whatever it could be.

  • Isak E

    I’ve a hard time to find other sources reccomending such high amounts of B12. Most sources i find says none to few reported side effects of overdosing b12, but some report increased cancer risk and other bad things. For exemple: http://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/Side_Effects_of_Too_Much_Vitamin_B12

    Should I take my normal veggie pill with 15 mcg daily (higher then swedens reccomended amount) or should i take 500 mcg pills each day? Confused :S. Sources for your claims would be good.

    Thanks in advance

  • superape

    Dear Dr. Greger, can you tell me if calcium minimizes the absorption of
    iron? I seem to remember you said in one of your presentations it
    doesn’t matter if the sources are plant based but I´m not sure…
    This morning I had overnight oats (oats, soy milk & fruit) for breakfast so it made me wonder again…
    Also because there´s not only iron but calcium in oats as well. (Both minerals not mentioned on the packaging!)

    Thank you and I hope my English is ok.

    • Toxins

      Yes, calcium does inhibit absorption of iron but not to the point where it should be a dietary concern. A whole foods plant based diet will give you more iron then you would think. If you want to test to see how much of each nutrient you are getting, you can put it into cronometer which is the USDA nutrition database. Its like a food diary and it will give you the total nutrition profile of your meals.

      • superape

        Thanks a lot for your reply Toxins :)
        Yes, I’ve heard about cronometer before, never used it though but I will now. Thank you!

      • Guest

        And I already love it, wow! Thanks!

  • Diane

    Is there anything to the theory that eating foods in certain combinations helps us absorb more nutrients from them? For example, I have read that fruits should be consumed by themselves, never as part of a meal. Or that water or other liquids should not be consumed with a meal, but 10 to 15 minutes before or one hour after a meal.

    • Thea

      Diane: There is definitely something to the theory that eating foods in certain combinations is a good idea. For example, if you eat foods rich in vitamin C with foods rich in iron, you can increase the absorption of the iron.

      Dr. Greger talks about this and other food “synergy” options on this site. You might start your research here:


      However, just because the concept in general is valid doesn’t mean that everyone’s theories are valid. I’m not an expert, so I can’t say for sure. However, I am under the impression that the two examples you site are not valid – at least as stated. Especially the one about eating fruits separately.

    • Toxins

      There is 0 scientific evidence to suggest this. I have also seen this myth going around the net, it is untrue.

  • Bonnie A Strub

    Maybe you can explain why I don’t sunburn anymore. I always used to burn. Now, I can work at establishing new gardens in our East Texas summer sun for up to 6 hours and show no signs of sunburn. (I could probably stay out longer, but run out of time and need to get on to other things.) The only differences are a shift to a mostly whole plant diet… as free from GMO, herbicides and pesticides as possible. More and more of our food comes from our own and our neighbors’ gardens. We make sure beans and greens are a staple in our diet. This was the year of the musk melon (aka cantaloupe). Which of these changes could have made such a radical difference in the sunburn factor? Just curious, but very grateful too. I am a 68-year-old Caucasian female, if that makes a difference. After years of the rat-race, we are enjoying raising our own food and shopping far less.

  • http://www.animalliberationaction.org/ Brandon Becker

    How do you determine 150 mcg for iodine? Dr Furhman says 150 mcg, too, but dieticians Jack Norris and Ginny Messina say only 75 mcg every few days. Others like, Dr McDougall, don’t recommend supplementing anything other than B12. I don’t eat much salt and rarely eat seaweed. With conflicting advice, I don’t know what to do.

  • NewCamelot Thenewcamelot

    Hi Michael I have brought recently some 1000µg B12!” tablets as I couldn’t find any in the dosage you recommend in the UK. How many of these should I take weekly? Thanks for your amazing work btw :-)

    • Toxins

      When we take a 1000 mcg dose, we absorb 1.5 mcg through our receptor system and 1% of the rest. So 1.5 + .01(998.5) = 11.48 mcg, Divide this by 2 days and we get 5.74 mcg. This falls within the 4-7 mcg range. So 1000 mcg every 2 days would suffice.

      • NewCamelot Thenewcamelot

        Thanks for your help :-)

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      You would take tablets once weekly. One week take two tablets and the following week take three tablets which will average to 2500/week. Maybe take the odd number of pills (i.e. 3) on the first and third week of the month and the even number (i.e. 2) on week two and four. Hopefully 2500 ug tablets will be available in the future to make it easy. Of course you can occaisonally check your levels and if you have symptoms you should be seen by your health care provider.

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      You can review the series of video’s on Vitamin B12 in February 2012 for the details. You could alternate 3 tabs once a week with 2 tabs once a week. You can get your B12 levels checked occasionally and if having symptoms you should your regular health care provider.

      • NewCamelot Thenewcamelot

        Thanks for your help. No I don’t have any symptoms of B12 deficiency just trying to eat an optimum diet for health as advised by Doctor Greger. I am vegetarian but have recently reduced my intake of eggs and dairy and Doctor Gregger states even ovo lacto vegetarians are not getting enough B12 for optimum health even though they might not be deficient in B12.

    • JacquieRN

      Hello, you are responding to a post from Sept 2011. There is an updated presentation on recommendations found here from Feb 2012, along with comment string that maybe helpful to you: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-recommendation-change.

  • Karyn Scher

    Dr. Greger,

    I had a thought/question based on trying to integrate your findings into practical dietary changes…Do you have suggested menu plans somewhere? I’m struggling to find hearty sources of protein as entrees since we now know meat, eggs, chicken, cheese/milk products are bad, bad, bad!
    Karyn Scher

    • Thea


      Good luck on your path to eating healthy. I have some thoughts for you.

      1) Your assumption that you need “hearty sources of protein” is quite understandable given what we have been taught by our government and the food industry. However, it turns out, you simply do not need to focus on “protein” to eat a healthy diet. Here are two sources that will help you understand why this is so:


      and Dr. McDougall’s newsletter articles from December 2003 and April 2007:

      2) But that still may leave you with the question, “What does a healthy diet look like?” I recommend that you check out several sources from PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine):
      a) Power Plate
      b) The new 4 food groups

      c) 21 Day Kickstart Program – it is free and contains 21 days worth of meal plans and other great info and support

      With some minor differences, I believe that all of this information fits in with what Dr. Greger would recommend or approve of.

      You might also consider getting a good whole plant food based cookbook or two. Let me know if you would like some suggestions along those lines.

      Hope that helps.

  • Travis Allen Hoggatt

    Doc, you are literally a god-send and Im not saying this just because I have a question. Thanks You.

    I have heard that those deficient in Iodine may have trouble getting fluoride chlorine and bromine out of their system and that there are considerations like sodium and vitamin C levels. I was made to believe that it was too complicated to handle on my own…


    I hope you can clarify this. Thanks

  • Kartoffelmao


    Northern Europeans may need to take a supplement or eat a daily Brazil nut”

    Why do northern Europeans need extra selenium?

    • dogulas

      Because it’s not in the soil there or something. He mentioned it on one of those videos linked to I think.

  • Joanne

    Hi Dr Greger, I’m currently breastfeeding my son and I purchased 2,500 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin to make sure I had enough for my son and I…. two years ago I needed injections to bring my levels up. When I got Home the bottle said that pregnant and nursing mothers should not take the supplement… I’m confused…. Can I take it ot not?

    • dogulas

      Have you found an answer to your question? I’m curious now.
      Also, why is an injection necessary when levels are low? Does taking an oral supplement not do the trick?

      • Joanne

        Hi Douglas, no. No reply as yet. The injections were because I needed a fast boost of B12. Thanks for answering.

      • Joanne

        Hi Douglas, thanks for answering. No I haven’t found and answer to my question yet. As to the injections, the doctor said my B12 was so low it needed an urgent boost.

  • edv24

    Very good recommendations but did you forget about Zinc, copper, and magnesium.

  • Derrek

    If I eat 1-2 tbsp. of flax daily do I need to supplement with omega- 3’s?

    • Toxins

      Probably not, as long as you don’t eat a copious serving other nuts with it to throw off the omega 6:3 ratio.

  • Derrek

    I developed hypothyroidism. Brain is foggy and still a little tired. Will everything reset itself if I’m getting all the daily recommendations?

  • Derrek

    How much selenium per day?

  • Derrek

    Would about kelp if it is in a supplement? It is only 150 mcg. Is this ok?

  • monika

    I just want to thank you Dr. Greger! You are a sweetheart of a person and professional! I feel I can truly trust your recommendations because you are not trying to make money off of them! And you lead by example!!! If you are married with children I hope they take your info and example to heart and do the same! I wished mine did!

  • suman Noor

    Do you recommend fenugreek seeds to lower cholestrol?

  • edv24

    What does Michael Greger think about taking Nascent iodine?

  • Derrek

    What’s the RDA for omega 6? I get about 5 g per day.

    • Toxins

      It is important to focus on your omega 3 intake and mostly ignore you omega 6 intake. Omega 3 is harder to get, omega 6 is plentiful. You want a ratio of about 4:1 of omega 6:3 or lower.

  • Derrek

    Would about dha/epa? I eat 1 tbsp flax per day.

  • Derrek

    I’m vegan and have hypothyroidism. I’m tracking everything and getting over rads. Doctors think I’m deficient in minerals or not enough protein. I get brain fogs.

    How much EPA and DHA is recommended? Just trying to pinpoint evertything

    • Toxins

      Optimum total omega 3 intake is 1.6 grams for men. Be sure to eat 2 tbsp of ground flax.

  • Derrek

    I try to vary and not eat 2tbsp because then I’d be stuck eating 2 tbsp flax, and 1 brazil nut per day. I workout and am trying to put on some muscle and eat 80/10/10 so like to add 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds after working out.

    • Toxins

      Derrek, you are getting far too specific and your specificity is negligible. You can eat a meal of brown rice and veggies after exercise and it will still be sufficient protein to gain muscle. Protein needs match caloric needs. There is no reason to seek “protein rich” foods. Simply eat when you are hungry till you are full.

  • edv24

    what are good food sources of zinc and supplement forms of Zinc?

  • Derrek

    Why is the 80/10/10 diet superior? Not the high fruit diet. Any research? Did the longest living people eat this diet?

  • Derrek

    Would about vitamin E? I’m vegan and struggle getting enough on 80/10/10. Any advice? I don’t want to supplement with harmful vitamin E as you showed it isn’t good to supplement.

  • Vince

    Is there any particular reason flax seed is not suggested for omega-3?

    I’m also wondering if seaweeds are being contaminated due to pollution, as well as radioactivity depending on the origin (Japan, American coast). Would love if someone shared some insight. All I was able to find were blogs and unscientific stories.

  • Ken Damro

    Is it possible to get enough DHA / EPA from leafy greens and greens such as purslane? or as a vegan do I need to take an algae supplement?

  • Ken Damro

    Thanks Thea, purslane is a common weed that is loaded with omega 3’s (and grows wild in my garden and on my patio). I thought it had DHA-EPA,but upon farther reading I’ve found out it only has ALA to offer – though in good quantity. Yes, I’m familiar with the association of omega 6’s and 3’s and I never use olive oil, but these days it can be hard to avoid consuming too much omega 6. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.Thank God for algae oil.

    • Thea

      Ken: Thanks for the info about purslane. I learned something new. :-)

  • Mery D

    I find calcium and iron difficult to replenish at optimal levels with a vegan diet. Could you please enlighten me with more specific advice (e.g specific foods I could eat to get to DRA). Thank you!

    • Thea

      Mery D: I recommend that you get a hold of a book called, “Becoming Vegan – Express Edition” by RDs Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. It is a great reference book for your type of questions. Ie, when you want to know a healthy way to meet RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances) for certain nutrients. They have done a great deal of research. For a wide range of nutrients, you can find a ton of background information plus recommendations on foods to eat and how much. The book even has a set of meal plan examples. Good luck.

  • Dynamitee

    When Dr. Greger says 250mg of long-chain omega-3′s (EPA/DHA) does he then mean you have to take 250mg of EPA and 250mg of DHA, or does he mean you have to take 250mg of omega-3s containing EPA and DHA? :)

  • http://www.eatandbeatcancer.com/ Harriet Sugar Miller

    Has Dr. Greger updated these recommendtions anywhere? What’s the difference between the yeast and algae-derived DHA/EPA?

  • http://www.eatandbeatcancer.com/ Harriet Sugar Miller

    And for new converts to PBDs, how long can prior omnivores go before having to worry about B12? How long does your body maintain its stores?

  • aaa

    Do you recommend Krill oil over Fish oil? I heard it is good because of the asataxathin content