dietary recommendations

Image Credit: thebittenword.com / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Optimum Nutrition Recommendations

Updated 2/4/16

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. I go into specifics of the “Daily Dozen” foods I recommend in my latest book How Not to Die.

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 taken on an empty stomach
    • 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 (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

Calcium

  • 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).

Iodine

  • 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

Iron

  • 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

Selenium

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

-Michael Greger, M.D.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


309 responses to “Optimum Nutrition Recommendations

Commenting Etiquette

The intention of the comment section under each video and blog post is to allow all members to share their stories, questions, and feedback with others in a welcoming, engaging, and respectful environment. Off-topic comments are permitted, in hopes more experienced users may be able to point them to more relevant videos that may answer their questions. Vigorous debate of science is welcome so long as participants can disagree respectfully. Advertising products or services is not permitted.

To make NutritionFacts.org a place where people feel comfortable posting without feeling attacked, we have no tolerance for ad hominem attacks or comments that are racist, misogynist, homophobic, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate. Please help us to foster a community of mutual respect. Enforcement of these rules is done to the best of our ability on a case-by-case basis.

    1. Hello! Flax seeds have 2338 mg per tablespoon. Isn’t that enough in a day instead of the supplement? Or the difference is in the absorption of the fatty acids? I’m a medical doctor from Portugal. Would like to hear your opinion about it as here is difficult to find this supplements. Thank you so much!




      13
    2. Hello Dr Greger: Your good friend, Dr. Mercola, has just posted (Sept 17, 2016) an article entitled:

      The Case Against Veganism — Carefully Researched Book Spills the Beans — I respectfully think that you need to address this post as soon as possible, as many of your viewers are also viewers of Dr Mercola. Thanks. J. Bloom
      You can find it here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/25/veganism.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=artTest_B2&utm_campaign=20160917Z1&et_cid=DM116612&et_rid=1670745609




      10
    3. Hi, Dr. Greger!
      I know you recommend 250mg of DHA + EPA, but I was wondering… I have IBS and I’m also on the pill (a very strong one). Since I have poor circulation to begin with, what dosage would you recommend? I’m scared of taking too much.
      Also, if it’s an algae-derived supplement, does it contain iodine?
      Thank you!




      4
    4. Hello and thank you for specifically outlining the supplements that should be taken when following a WFPBNO diet. I would like to ask about zinc and vitamin K2. I read that those are recommended as well. ( Zinc 15-30 mg and Vitamin K2 25-50 ug or mcg). Could you please clarify? Also, how much iodized salt consumption is equivalent to the recommended daily intake of iodine?




      4
    5. Thank you for this evidence-based nutrition information!

      Regarding Vitamine B12, can you comment on cyanocobalamin versus methylcobalamin?

      Thanks again.




      5
      1. Hello Georgan,
        Thank you for your question. I’m a family physician with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer moderator for this website. Dr. Greger has done several videos on vitamin B-12.

        Here are two that discuss why it’s important to take B12 supplements, and also where in nature Vitamin B12 occurs:
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-supplements-worth-taking/
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/safest-source-of-b12/

        Here is the specific answer to your question, as to which type is best, by Dr. Greger, back in 11/2012:
        https://nutritionfacts.org/questions/which-type-of-b12-is-best/

        I hope this helps.




        4
    6. hello … i was wondering if cyanocobalamin as you recommend is a more unnatural source of b12… compared to methylcobalamin … this is because cyanocobalamin often tends to leech us of methyl donors that our body produces in contrast to methylcobalmin that supplies us with more methyl donors… as we understand methyl donors are necessary for methylation… please let me know if you recommend cyanocobalamin for a specific reason…




      1
      1. Hi Nimesha,

        My name is Dr Renae Thomas and I am one of the moderators. To the best of my knowledge, Dr Greger supports supplementation with cyanocobalamin as that is the type the majority of the research into B12 has used (with no adverse side effects documented) and it’s much cheaper and more readily available than other forms.

        For more from Dr Greger on B12, see his five-part series here-
        https://nutritionfacts.org/2011/08/30/3964/




        2
    7. You recommend 250mg of algae derived long chain omega-3’s (epa and dha). That’s great, but the only readily available supplements I can get include carrageenan or ascorbyl palmitate or something else. I don’t know the amount of these ingredients in these gelcaps. I had a bad experience. It could be correlation and not causation.

      I gave my dad algae based epa and dha with both of those other ingredients in the capsule (opti3). Within a few weeks my dad had blood in his stool and was frequenting the toilet often. He’s 81 and showing signs of dementia (incontinence, poor memory, poor executive function, anosmia). I stopped the gelcaps and now he’s not bleeding anymore, though he’s still incontinent.

      Why do they add these ingredients in the first place? Carrageenan is shown to induce inflammation and Is used for that purpose in medical science. Why add the palmitate ester when the biochemistry shows that it turns into palmitic acid, something that encourages atherosclerosis? Can’t they use something benign? Can’t they make an EPA/DHA product that’s free of ingredients with undesirable side-effects? I could look past the vegan issue if they could make the epa/dha product all good stuff and no bad stuff.




      2
      1. With mounting demand from well-informed seniors (and their loved ones) for proper nutrition, we might believe product marketers would be responsible and cautious in their formulations. Unfortunately, such marketers face no penalty for reckless, indifferent or even irresponsible actions, exploiting the naive trust desperate consumers place in them.

        Individual consumers must take the lead, exactly as you have– asking, probing, searching. The product which failed your father may have involved less research in its development than you have invested in seeking to isolate the problem (it may have caused). Which elevates forums like this one as a field for leads and even solutions.

        My family is also interested in an effective and safe algal-sourced DHA product, but some algal products have questions attached. Even if promising, many such products are also beyond the reach of a monthly household budget. Clearly, pressure is mounting for a cost-effective product without consumer issues.




        2
      2. I’m a nutritionist. Look at brands like Pure Encapsulations and Designs for Health. These brands are medical grade and do not add harmful fillers.




        1
        1. Pure Encapsulations and Designs for Health are both made from fish oil – exactly what we do not want to consume.
          Looking for algal made omega 3’s.
          thanks.




          0
      3. I take Deva Vegan and I was shocked to see all these ingredients. I have not had a bad reaction and once this bottle is finished I will not buy more. Personally I am just not going to take any of this anymore and just go back to having 3 tablespoons of flax or maybe I will try krill oil after I do some research. If you find any clean sources of vegan omega 3’s please post it.




        0
    8. Dr. Greger, just wondering why you recommend the 7th Edition of Dr. Spock and not 8th or 9th?

      Thanks! You’re the best!!!




      0
    9. Please can you tell me the best foods for PCOS and best foods for iron and potassium, I’m new to plant based and don’t know very much about what is best for these conditions. Thank you




      0
      1. Hello!

        I am a volunteer moderator who helps Dr. Greger answer questions posted to the site. Thanks for your question and for being part of our community!

        Dr. Greger did a deep dive on PCOS in February of this year. You may wish to view his video, Best Foods for PCOS here.

        Best of luck and let us know how things go for you!

        Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN
        Mindful Benefits




        1
    10. Dear Dr. Greger:

      Thank you for your life’s work. You are amazing and saving lives! I’m one week into being plant based no oil. I’m trying to find a vegan-friendly supplement online, but everyone I’ve seen contains either oil or xylitol or something else that you don’t want with the vitamin. Which brand do you recommend for B12, DHA, and Calcium/Magnesium?




      0
      1. Hey Mary, we don’t usually get into recommending specific brands – unless there are no other options. There are certain companies – Thorne Research and Pure Encapsulations are the only two I’m aware of – who produce supplements to which no binders, fillers, or excipients have been added. If you’re not sure of the product, call their Customer Service line and see if they can help. Thanks for your question!




        1
    11. Is there a daily minimum fat intake you would recommend? I have heard, if my fat intake is too low, I can get hormonal problems. I count all my calories and macros and I am currently switching to a plant-based diet. I do still use oil because it allows me to easily adjust my daily fat intake.

      I am:
      male
      183 cm
      2200 kcal/day
      82.5 kg
      sedentary lifestyle

      I currently eat
      240 g carbs per day
      150 g protein per day
      71 g fat per day

      I can easily reduce the fats by reducing the canola oil. How far should I reduce my total daily fat intake? Whatever value you tell me, it goes into my excel sheet and then that is how much I am eating.

      Is fat from canola oil worse than fat from whole peanuts? If so, why? Which step in processing is the exact problem?

      Can I get too many healthy fats, if I stay within my daily calories?
      I get that I should avoid saturated and trans fats. Is there a problem with getting too many healthy fats from canola oil (except obesity if it causes me to eat too many calories)?

      I am currently listening to your audiobook, and I love it! Good work and all the best in the future. If it turns out you are indeed right about this, the world is indebted to you.




      1
      1. Hello Matthais,

        Thank you for your question. I am a volunteer moderator who helps Dr. Greger answer questions posted to NutritionFacts. I am also a whole foods plant based dietitian nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Greger has done some videos on oils versus whole foods plant based sources of fats (such as nuts) to weigh in on the question: how much fat do we need? I recommend you view his video on Extra Virgin Olive Oil versus Nuts to bring yourself up to speed on his recommendations. Dr Greger ALWAYS recommends whole plant based foods over supplements, refined oils, etc. as a way of meeting our nutritional needs.

        As for what percentage of your diet you should be eating (carbs, fats, protein) that question is variable. I myself eat close to 80% of my calories in the form of whole food carbohydrates, with 10% protein and 10% fat. The fat comes (mostly) from whole plant foods, like nuts, as does the protein. Fruits and vegetables make up the difference! I do not have a hard and fast rule, however, since I’m not worried about my weight, and eat a wide variety of whole fresh plant based foods. I guess you could say I go by appetite and taste, and allow for the occasional indulgences.

        Dr. Greger has an amazing app you can use to keep track of your Daily Dozen – which you can download from the APP store. As Dr. G says, “some foods, though, have particular medicinal qualities; and so, I then center my recommendations around a Daily Dozen checklist of all the things I try to fit into my daily routine. So, for example, I recommend a quarter teaspoon of the spice turmeric a day, a tablespoon of ground flax seeds, berries every day, greens every day. I talk about the healthiest beverages, the healthiest sweeteners, how much exercise to get. The whole Daily Dozen list with recommended serving sizes is available as free apps for both Android and iPhone; just search for Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen.”

        If you use whole plant based sources of fats, you can then not worry about “adjusting” your caloric intake through the use of added oils, and since refined oils remain controversial for health, you can dodge that bullet. Or, you can eat like an Okinawan and maybe make it to 100!

        Thank you for being part of our community!

        Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN
        THE Mindful Nutritionist
        Scottsdale, AZ




        1
    12. Thank you for coming into my life through your book How Not to Die! I have chronic migraines – between 9-15 month. I tried ground ginger in place of my Imitrex and am thrilled with the result. However, I have weaned off my chronic migraine medicines, but still get them. The ginger helps when I get them, but what can I do preventatively? I really do not want to be on chronic meds. I am vegan and have given up most sugars except the occasional treat.




      1
    13. hello.. I am new to veganism and am experiencing tiredness. I live in the Caribbean so I don’t think I need vitamin d.. I am post menopausal so I don’t think I need the iron but would be grateful for your recommendation. I love how I am eating and how I feel inside.. I’m just soooooo tired.. thanks in advance.




      1
    14. What is your take on freeze dried (not dehydration) versions of the foods you have recommended. I am more likely to eat food as a freeze dried veggie snack throughout the day than the whole food version.

      I am particuallary interested in starting to eat freeze dried beets daily and purchase my own freeze dryer. They run around $2,500 so I want to make sure this is good investment before I leap in. I have read freeze dried foods retain close to all their nutrition.




      1
    15. Dr. Greger; I’ve recently seen a study (on webMD) which indicates that B12 supplementation increases the risk of cancer. Since I have been supplementing with B12 on your advice, I’m concerned about this. What are your thoughts?




      1
      1. Hey,

        yes, it’s safe to take a B12 supplement. Please note that more than 3,200 of the men involved in the study were current smokers, 139 of whom already had lunch cancer. Also the D’Ambrosio, of Dietetic Directions and spokesperson of Dietitians of Canada, said this: “The researcher I would say is a low-grade cohort study, and again we’re at no place to state that vitamin B12 or B6 causes lung cancer,” so don’t smoke and don’t exceed dose 20 miligrams of B6 and 55 micrograms of B12 per day and you should be fine :) High doses of B6 should be avoided anyway, since they could lead to nerve damage. So it may be similar to betacarotene. Betacarotene increase the risk of getting lung cancer if you are a smoker. Yet we don’t consider betacarotene to be dangerous.




        1
        1. The problem is that Dr. Greger recommends we take at least 250 mcg of B12 a day, and the research says more than 55 mcg of B12 a day already doubles your risk of lung cancer as a male, even if you are not a smoker.

          What are we supposed to do now? I seriously don’t know what to do regarding B12 anymore. I used to take 1000 mcg every other day (as 1000 mcg is the only dose available here), but now I’m confused. I’m not a smoker, but I am male.

          If I take only, say, 3 mcg a day (this is literally the only other alternative I could find for the 1000 mcg where I live), I guess it might not be enough? Unless I take those 3 mcg three times daily, but that also seems a little bizarre.




          2
      1. Urbanek Mike,

        I’d be more inclined to use an iodine supplement, not from kelp sources. You’re correct in terms of the amount of iodine if and only if it’s sold as a supplement, not as a food source.

        Also when you’re using kelp you get a multitude of additional minerals including some, such as radioactive materials, dependent on the source of the kelp….and other contaminants that will not be indicated on the label…….probably not the best choice.

        Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com




        0
        1. > I’d be more inclined to use an iodine supplement, not from kelp sources.
          Are there non-kelp iodine supplements?
          Excluding salt, of course.

          Regarding additional harmful minerals:
          This would be the case if kelp for supplements is really sourced from the sea. (1)
          Whereas, I heard that for supplement production kelp is farmed in a lab, therefore free from pollutants.
          This is what I heard from a drugstore employee, so not a reliable source of information.
          Would love to see some article on this.

          To find out whether particular supplement is produced from kelp growing in the sea versus kelp farmed in a lab, I think it’s best to ask the manufacturer.

          1: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fukushima-and-radioactivity-in-seafood/




          0
    16. I’m feeling really discouraged about the Omega 3 bad capsules issue. And my understanding is flax doesn’t do the job well enough. I do wish you would cheeky address this issue. I read numerous comments attempting to give an answer. But there seems not to be one.




      0
      1. Thanks for your question.

        Flaxseed can indeed help elevate omega-3 intake and although conversion from the fatty acid present in it (ALA) is not very efficient to EPA and DHA. 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day could do the job.

        Nevertheless, taking microalgae oil based supplements could be a viable alternative.

        Hope this answer helps.




        0
  1. 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?
    Thanks,
    David




    2
    1. 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!




      2
  2. 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 ?




    0
    1. 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.




      1
      1. I’m sure you are aware of Dr. Fuhrman. I read recently on his site that many commercially available sunblocks contain chemicals that can be harmful to us (I can’t remember if he suggested they were *as* harmful as the sun damage, or not). He also offers a sunblock product for sale. Do you have any opinion on the scientific truth of his claim about commercial sunblock products? Or is it just a marketing ploy?




        1
        1. Hi Scott, I just happened to see your question here and I would share my quintessential information source for sunscreens and all categories of personal products. http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/ The Environmental Working Group has been investigating , reporti g and rating products for years . I only use mineral sunscreens. happy reading!




          1
    1. Dr. Greger mentions the most important things we can do diet-wise is to drink 10 to 12 cups of water a day and reduce animal protein, reduce salt, and eat more vegetables and plant-based foods. Also I would mention that when you have healthy gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus that can help in breaking down the oxalates.
      Lactobacillus acidophilus




      0
  3. 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!




    1
    1. 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!




      0
  4. 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!




    1
      1. The article you linked too by Dr. Mangels recommends flouride suppliment for children. I have read numerous articles stating flouride was poisoness to our bodies. I cant remember the exact details. Can you comment on that?




        0
  5. 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?

    Thanks!




    0
  6. […] by Kristen Colello – healthful eating to look great, feel great. kristenshealthylife.blogspot.com'No Strawberries, Please' by Kristen Colello – healthful eating to look great, feel great. plugins/commission_underground/includes/images/aspectratio.png" […]




    0
  7. […] by Kristen Colello – healthful eating to look great, feel great. kristenshealthylife.blogspot.com'No Strawberries, Please' by Kristen Colello – healthful eating to look great, feel great. plugins/commission_underground/includes/images/aspectratio.png" […]




    0
  8. […] by Kristen Colello – healthful eating to look great, feel great. kristenshealthylife.blogspot.com'No Strawberries, Please' by Kristen Colello – healthful eating to look great, feel great. plugins/commission_underground/includes/images/aspectratio.png" […]




    0
  9. 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




    0
  10. 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?




    0
  11. 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.




    0
  12. 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).




    0
  13. 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.




    0
  14. 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.




    0
    1.  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).




      0
  15. 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.




    0
    1. 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
      absorption. 
      Also, including garlic or onions will increase iron and zinc absorption.




      0
      1. 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.




        0
  16. 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.




    0
  17. 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.

    Cheers.




    0
  18. 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.




    0
      1. 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!




        0
  19. 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




    0
      1. 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?




        0
        1. 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




          0
          1. 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?




            0
              1. 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.




                0
                1. 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?




                  0
          2. 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




            0
            1. 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.




              0
  20. 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




    0
  21. 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.




    0
    1. 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.
      http://cronometer.com/




      0
  22. 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.




    0
    1. 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:

      http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/06/28/fighting-inflammation-with-food-synergy/

      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.




      0
  23. 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.




    0
  24. 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.




    0
  25. 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 :-)




    0
    1. 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.




      0
    2. 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.




      0
    3. 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.




      0
      1. 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.




        0
  26. 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!
    Thanks,
    Karyn Scher




    0
    1. Karyn,

      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:

      http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html

      and Dr. McDougall’s newsletter articles from December 2003 and April 2007:
      http://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/newsletter/archives/

      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.




      0
  27. 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…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq3rQbCRJpQ

    I hope you can clarify this. Thanks




    0
  28. “Selenium

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

    Why do northern Europeans need extra selenium?




    0
  29. 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?




    0
    1. 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?




      0
      1. 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.




        0
  30. 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!




    0
    1. 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.




      0
  31. 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




    0
  32. 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.




    0
    1. 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.




      0
  33. 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.




    0
  34. 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.




    0
  35. 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?




    0
    1. Ken: I’ve never heard of purslane, but I do know that it is very possible to get all of the omega 3s you need from a vegan diet. BUT, the devil is in the details. To understand those details and see hard numbers on how greens and other foods like flax seed can get you the omega 3s that you need, I *highly* recommend the following talk by Jeff Novick: From Oil To Nuts. I’ve watched this talk multiple times and keep picking up new info. And I’ve shown it to many family and friends:
      http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Nuts-Essential-Facts-Oils/dp/B003UYAQIY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420838132&sr=8-1&keywords=from+oil+to+nuts+jeff

      As I said, the devil’s in the details, such as truly eating enough of the right kinds of foods and not eating the wrong kinds of foods. If you aren’t aware of or up to following those details yet, then I’m thinking that an algae supplement would be good insurance. In fact, supplementing with an algae-based DHA/EPA is one of the few supplements that Dr. Greger recommends:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

      Does that help?




      0
    2. Ken: I’ve never heard of purslane, but I do know that it is very possible to get all of the omega 3s you need from a vegan diet. BUT, the devil is in the details. To understand those details and see hard numbers on how greens and other foods like flax seed can get you the omega 3s that you need, I *highly* recommend the following talk by Jeff Novick: From Oil To Nuts. I’ve watched this talk multiple times and keep picking up new info. And I’ve shown it to many family and friends:
      http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Nuts-Essential-Facts-Oils/dp/B003UYAQIY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420838132&sr=8-1&keywords=from+oil+to+nuts+jeff

      As I said, the devil’s in the details, such as truly eating enough of the right kinds of foods and not eating the wrong kinds of foods. If you aren’t aware of or up to following those details yet, then I’m thinking that an algae supplement would be good insurance. In fact, supplementing with an algae-based DHA/EPA is one of the few supplements that Dr. Greger recommends:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

      Does that help?




      0
  36. 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.




    0
  37. 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!




    0
    1. 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.




      0
  38. 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? :)




    0
    1. Hi Harriet,

      Thanks for the great question! The amount of B12 stored in the liver is quite variable from person to person. For some people they have liver stores that can last several years but for others even a short period without B12 can cause trouble. So, for most of us, a supplement sooner, rather than later, is the best plan.




      0
  39. Hi,
    Vegan since 1994..fan of NF (and met Dr. G as a friend back in 1990s when he was student at CU in Ithaca) I’m wondering if you could clarify something for me about calcium (for a research project I’m doing, about which I hope to be able to share about in some weeks).

    Michael was interviewed by my friend Emily of Bite Size Vegan and in the series said that we need 600mg. That’s not my question,
    that’s what he really said (confirming longtime impression I had that
    “1000” was overkill) He said one does *not* want to go below that, but
    that’s what one really needs.

    (I do regularly read NF also but have not seen one on calcium
    specifically rec amounts in last 12 months on N so I assume it’s safe
    to go with the info he gave in a life video feed interview with Emily a
    few months ago…)

    Ok…except nutrition labels don’t give “mg” they give “percents” as you know! :-)

    What is their 100% (how many mg per day) is my question, part 1.

    From http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/

    it is about 1000 (with more for men and women 9-18 and for women over 51) but somewhere 1,000-1,300.

    Part
    2, based on part 1, is how should one adjust the “percent” on nutrition
    labels if one is aiming for 600mg (or maybe a bit above, but not
    much). Can you confirm this is correct:

    I assume 1,000 is
    their “100 percent” so I divide by 0.6 to get the actual percent out of
    600 (I know the math is right, that’s what my doctorate is in…I mean
    the nutrition :-) so for example if it says:

    “6% of calcium in one serving”

    then
    6% divided by 0.6 is 10% (which also makes sense looking at it another
    way, “6%” of 1,000 is 60mg, which is actually 10% of the 600mg one is
    aiming for)

    Anyway does this sound right?

    Or are they using 1,200 instead of 1,000mg as their “100%”?

    Or something more complicated?

    Just
    like the “last mile” of internet connection, the connection we have is
    only as fast as that last mile (or as fast as the slowest segment) and
    the best most amazing vegan advice works only if we can “translate”
    it..and as you can see this one single part of my research project I hope to create a web page about, is about translating so
    consumers, or human beings as I prefer to call them/us, can use the NF
    recommendations etc….thanks,
    Harel




    0
    1. The The American Dietetic Association recommends 500 mg of DHA/EPA per day, twice as high as your 250 mg. Is there a danger with going with the 500?




      0
    2. Great question! Reading a nutrition label can make your head swim, or at least it makes mine swim sometimes. ☺

      For your first question: The DV for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults and children aged 4 years and older and that is what the nutrition labels are using. So if a food has 33% of your DV it has about 330mg of calcium in it.

      For your second question: Yes, you are right on. The easiest way (I think) to figure out how many mg of calcium are in a food is multiply the %DV by 1000. If a food has 10% of the DV multiply 0.1 by 1000 and (viola!)- your food has 100mg of calcium.

      Let us know when you get your website done, I’d love to see it! Anything that makes nutrition information more accessible is great.




      0
  40. An article in Science News “How vitamin B12 makes pimples pop up” https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-vitamin-b12-makes-pimples-pop.
    As per Dr. Greger’s recommendations my wife and I, both 65, take 1000 mcg of B12 daily. We do notice more pimples it seems. We just thought it was part of getting older…Acne for the elderly. Is 1000 mcg daily REALLY necessary or would every other day be OK?
    We’re both WFPB no/lo SOS followers and Dr. Greger is one of our Gurus.

    Thanks




    0
    1. The acne is caused by the cyano part of the cyanocobalamin. Some people are more sensitive the the small amount of cyanide in the cyanocobalamin. Use methylcobalamin b12 instead and your problems should soon clear up. There should be some B12 supplements in your local grocery store that use methylcobalamin instead of the cyanocobalamin. Let me know if you do and if it works!




      0
  41. I’m a little confused about the selenium recommendation . . . why is it recommended that Northern Europeans should take a supplement or eat a brazil nut daily? Is this recommendation applicable to individuals living in North America? Thanks!




    0
    1. Hi Sara,

      Most people in the US get their selenium from meat since selenium is stored in muscles. However, plants certainly contain selenium as well. The amount of selenium in plants depends mostly on the amount of selenium in the soil and in the US, even in low selenium areas, we are almost always above the US RDA. In some areas of China and Northern Europe though the soil levels are low enough that vegans can be in trouble. So you should be fine if you’re in the US!




      0
  42. Hi Dr. Gregor, I was checking out recommended daily allowances for various minerals and vitamins and saw that adults get 1000 mg of calcium daily. Now this doesn’t concur with what you have written above for calcium. Could you explain, please? Thanks a lot. Heath




    0
    1. Heath: There is plenty of evidence that 500-600 is all we need. There are cultures who eat primarily whole plant foods and which exercise plenty and which do not get osteoporosis. The book, “Building Bone Vitality” by Lanou and Castleman is a real eye opener on the issue of calcium and bone health.

      Even Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, who are very much into following the RDAs acknowledge that “There is good evidence that intakes less than 525 increase risk.” From: Becoming Vegan, Express Edition. (Which means that over 525 is not an increase of risk – ***all else being equal***.) They also point out that getting enough calcium is about an intake balance. The total amount of calcium you get is less important than balancing how much comes in vs how much goes out. Diet and exercise affects this balance/flow.

      My point being: So, coming up with a single recommendation for large numbers of people is really hard. But the range between 500-600 seems to be relevant for people eating whole plant food based diet. (And truth in writing: Davis and Melina do say, “Until more definitive research is released, it’s a good idea to make sure you get the recommended [RDA]…” After reading the Building Bone Vitality book, I feel confident enough to go with the 600 range myself.




      0
  43. I have just recently discovered your site and I must say I am quite enthusiastic about it. I am unsure about where to get the basic information for a plant-based diet. I thought any non-animal food would be good, but I have since learned things like coconut milk or olive oil should be avoided. Do you have a book to help out the novice, laying out the less obvious things to avoid and other things to be sought out?
    Thanks, and great site!




    0
    1. Joanne: Welcome to NutritionFacts!

      Rumor is that Dr. Greger has a book coming out in December which should answer your questions. In the mean time, I think this page that you are commenting on is a great summary. Notice Dr. Greger is generally listing whole plant foods on this page, instead of highly processed foods like olive oil (or any oil, except maybe some algae DHA). So, the idea of “whole plant foods” (or as Jeff Novick puts it, “minimally processed plant foods”, which I find to be a helpful description) could be your guiding principle.

      There are some exceptions to the principle of only eating minimally processed plant foods. For example, Dr. Greger generally seems to promote cocoa powder (cacao beans with much of the fat removed). And various teas come out looking very good. But in general, if it is flour or oil or isolated __ protein, etc. Then that would be a plant food you would generally want to avoid.

      If you don’t want to wait until December (and who wants to wait?!), I believe that the free PCRM program called 21 Day Kickstart is very close to Dr. Greger’s recommendations. This program will hold your hand for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions. You might want to check it out to see example of what is in vs out.
      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)

      Hope this helps.




      0
  44. I might be reading this wrong but it seems like the cities and latitudes under the vitamin D recommendations don’t match up? Or maybe you just rounded down to the nearest 10? Just checking b/c I’m in Phoenix and was thinking I would be able to get by without a supplement year-round, but we are above 30 degrees latitude.




    0
  45. You’ve stated that the African diet is mainly plant-based and very high in fiber, which is why heart disease and diabetes are nearly unheard of in Africa. So how do they get their B12? Because without B12, we humans are subject to some pretty scary health issues.




    0
    1. Their diet is “mainly plant-based” so they do eat some animal foods. Unchlorinated stream or well water will likely also contain B12. Unwashed plants will also have B12. Herbivorous animals like elephants and gorillas need B12 from their diet and do not suffer from B12 deficiency. I believe that they obtain it mainly from bacteria in the soil on plants and in water.




      0
  46. This post is dated Sept. 2011. Can I assume that you review these recommendations intermittently? In other words, are these your current recommendations? If so, it might be a good idea to add the most current review date up top read the date of the post. Thank you for all of the amazing work that you do Dr. Greger.




    0
    1. Still valid! If the science changes he’ll change these recs :-) Good catch though I know it’s misleading to see Nut. Recs posted 2011.




      0
  47. Hallo, I’m vegan and I have found that I have magnesium (28,4), selenium (62,4) and zinc (3,5) deficiencies. I think I need to take supplements but I don’t know how much per day and for how long, maybe you can give me an advice please. Many thanks,Fleur




    0
  48. What do you think about the health value of low fat or zero fat cheeses? I realize they are certainly not a plant based food but I’m hopeful that the low fat content might move them closer to the healthy range. Thanks




    0
    1. David: It is a very reasonable question and one that is shared by others. Unfortunately (for those people who like dairy cheese), removing the fat just means that you have more of the lactose (sugar) and animal protein. And it does nothing to eliminate the many harmful contaminants and (I think) hormones found of dairy cheese.

      This site has many videos listing the problems with animal protein in general. And with the contaminants found in diary cheese. Here is the topic page for cheese. Not everything on this page will apply if you take out the fat from the cheese. But a great deal of this information would still apply I think:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cheese/

      Here is some information on animal protein in general:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/animal-protein/
      or check out this for a super good reason to skip the animal protein:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/diet-and-climate-change-cooking-up-a-storm/
      And the entire series on IGF-1 (linking animal protein to cancer) is a must-see. The beginning of the series starts here (and you just keep clicking ‘next video’ until you get to the end of the series, something about body building):
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/igf-1-as-one-stop-cancer-shop/

      And here is some information on lactose:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=lactose

      My take-home from all this is that fat-free cheese is about taking an extremely unhealthy product and making it just as unhealthy in different ways.

      Make sense? What do you think? Would you be interested in some ideas for getting rid of the dairy?




      0
  49. Hello!
    I became vegan about 8 months ago and have been noticing that my skin has been breaking out more. I was wondering if there is a vitamin I am lacking in my diet, or if there is one you suggest to take more of? Thanks so much for writhing what you do! Looking forward to your response!




    0
  50. Hi Dr. Greger! I saw you speak in El Paso and I have since finished reading your book (part 2). I’ve tried implementing the Daily Dozen checklist into my eating habits for the past week and I can’t meet them because I’m so full! So I calculated out the average calories that meeting those requirements would take and it was about 200 calories/day higher than my calculated basal metabolic rate (not counting exercise). This is great because it forces me to avoid junk foods… but I am concerned about long term weight gain. Any thoughts on this?




    0
    1. I will let you know my experience, I do eat his daily dozen and have lost weight, same with my wife. “Calories” is very loose concept, our body doesn’t work based on Calories. For eg, in one of videos Dr. G for nuts, even eating tons of nuts, none of the participant in the study gained any weight.




      0
  51. Hello! I was wondering if Dr Greger (or anyone else) has any thoughts about the need to supplement -choline- for people eating exclusively a plant based diet (vegans also) ?




    0
  52. Can you please list any supplements for depression and anxiety? also is a turmeric curcumin supplement fine to take everyday? I do not like eating turmeric. do u know any good brands or sites that sell it if so? i can’t have corn products.




    0
    1. Unknown: Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die, has an entire chapter about depression and mood disorders. I don’t remember recommendations to take specific supplements, but there is plenty of recommendations about a general diet. If the book doesn’t interest you, you can do a search on this site for depression and see what you come up with. I think you will find some interesting information. But in the end, I think the general recommendation will be to implement the diet you see here on this page. Good luck.




      0
  53. I couldn’t find any videos on this topic surprisingly, but a wonderful piece of advice would be knowing what specific line items to request when getting blood work done. Do they report things like omega 3 / omega 6 ratio? Do I have to ask specifically for vitamin D? Do I need to get fasting bloodwork, or non-fasting? I need a cheat-sheet to hand the doctor or lab.




    0
    1. Some of these are things that most docs do routinely and some are not. I think it’s a good idea to go in to the doctor with a list and inquire if he/she is planning to do any of these tests. If not I would request them. Most reasonable docs will go ahead and order them if you request them. If not then it may be time to start shopping for a new doc. There are tests for omega 3/omega 6 but a regular family practice doctor may be more reluctant to order those as some are not comfortable interpreting the results. A cardiologist should be quite comfortable interpreting them though. As a last resort, there are direct labs online such as anylabtestnow.com or directlabs.com who do labs direct to the consumer. I do recommend caution when using these labs though since you won’t have the benefit of having a doctor to help you interpret and make recommendations based on the results.




      0
  54. I believe for a person to obtain the proper amounts of nutrients ( c, d, b12, etc) you must determine the amount of the nutrient found in the blood by testing your blood. After you know the test results you can adjust your intake up or down. The problem with this is you have to get your doctor to approve your blood tests (NOT EASY). Another problem is knowing what the OPTIMAL blood level of the particular nutrient is. I believe research at University of California shows that 70 to 100 millimoles/decileter of vitamin d is optimal.




    0
  55. How do you get enough omega-6 if you eat no oil, HFPB? I add flaxseed to get enough omega-3 but frequently seem to be low in omega-6 according to cronometer.com.




    0
    1. Sarah: Are you eating whole grains? If you follow Dr. Greger’s recommendations, your diet would include 3 servings a day of whole grains (such as barley, brown rice, quinoa and millet). I recently looked up the omega 3 and omega 6 content of barley recently and there is a lot more 6 compared to 3. (You can see the fat content of a cup of barley on the following page. Just scroll down to the relevant section. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5678/2)

      Dr. Greger also recommends about 1 serving of nuts (1/4 cup whole nuts or 2 tablespoons nut butter) a day. Most nuts have WAY more omega 6 over omega 3.

      I think that including grains and nuts in your diet is a way to balance out the omega 3 and omega 6s ratios. It’s kind of funny that you are having trouble getting enough omega 6 since most people have the opposite problem. While no problem is good per say, it feels to me like you must really be on the right track.

      One question I have is: Why do you think you do not have enough omega 6? I know that cronometer measures nutrients in your diet, but I’m wondering if cronometer is specifically telling you that you are not getting enough omega 6? Or are you assuming so based on some kind of formula?




      0
      1. Hi Thea, if I can jump in and my situation might be different than Sarah’s but, some of us are wondering about not percent omega 6 but absolute amounts because a) following both Dr. Greger and others I am trying to eliminate or strongly cut down on extra virgin olive oil – the only oil I use -and to get from whole foods only b) in the 1990s I hurt my health living on a near-zero fat diet (my too high triglyc. and my too low HDL got better when I added vegan fats/oils and I know exercise helps too but we’re focusing on diet here) and c) I’m probably ok since I do enjoy raw almonds, but what amount of almonds per day (in grams, say) will get the minimum (not percent but absolute amount) to have enough mg of omega 6?

        That’s my main question but I also wonder out loud whether we need to emphasize nuts more loudly because if we are moving people away from adding any and all oils, those who eat vegan and eat nothing but grains, fruit, and veg and no nuts (and no seeds) I suspect may not get enough fat to avoid too-little fat (as I say, some may dispute that one can damage health from too-low fat but my 1990s experience suggests it’s not as impossible as some may think!) if one has no nuts, no seeds, and no oils, just veg/fruit/grains. Anyway is there a simple “X grams per day” of almonds (I’m allergic or dislike most other nuts) that will rise mg of omega 6’s (and hopefully, total fat) to above some (pretty low I admit) min threshold and up into the safe and even Health zone of enough of those good fats? Thanks!




        0
        1. harelb: I don’t know that I have a definitive answer for you, but I have some thoughts that may help.
          .
          First, note that 1 tablespoon of almonds has 1085 mg of omega 6. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3086/2 There are 4 tablespoons in 1/4 cup, Dr. Greger’s daily recommendation for nuts. So, 1/4 cup of almonds has 4340 mg of omega 6. Meanwhile, 1 cup of hulled barley (which is 2 out of the 3 servings) is 1838 mg omega 6. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5678/2
          .
          So, now your question is, how does all that stack up to how much omega 6 we need? I don’t know a definitive answer, but here is how I tried to puzzle out an answer for you: From what I remember (off the top of my head, which may be wrong), women need about 1.1 g (note: units in paragraph above are mg) of omega 3 a day. And if you will pardon the ratios for a moment, if I remember correctly, the ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 (depending on who you talk to) ranges between 1:1 and 1:4. This means that if you really need 1.1 g omega 3, then you need between 1.1 to 4.4 g omega 6. Even if you didn’t eat a single additional omega 6 morsel than the two foods listed in the paragraph above (1/4 cup almonds and one cup barley), that’s about 6.2 g omega 6, more than enough. All of which shows to me that it is easy to get enough omega 6 on a whole plant food diet, especially if one is following Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen.
          .
          I have another track to take to try to get at another part of your question, which talks about a “health zone” which I presume you mean an amount of fat that is above and separate from a minimum amount of fat. From what I have seen, I don’t think the majority of people’s experience mirrors your own, but of course I believe you when you talk about your experience. And I have seen a few others on NutritionFacts who report similar experiences with lower fat diets. Thus, I would suggest that there might be some play in how much fat a person needs in her/his diet. (Not as much play as the Atkins or paleo people would have us believe, but still some play.)
          .
          Dr. Greger does not recommend that people stress about macro nutrient percentages (I could probably find that page for you if you want), and I tend to agree. But to try to answer your question, let’s try to figure out what percentage of fat a healthy diet would include. Let’s start with the traditional Okinawan diet, a diet that has produced some of the healthiest people on the planet. There was a study of thousands of Okinawans. I don’t have the reference with me right now, but I can get it if you want. If memory serves, the Okinawan diet was less than 10% fat. People who have successfully been following (thriving on) a whole plant food diet on this site tend to report 10 to 15% fat in their diet when they track it through cronometer.com. Brenda Davis, a well respected RD and promoter of plant based diets and who once did a guest blog here on NutritionFacts, has proposed on page 60 of her book, Becoming Vegan, that vegan diets between 15 to 30% is a good goal. But depending on your situation, (such as dealing with obesity or some diseases), Brenda says you should aim for the low end of that range. And given that T2 diabetes is a disease of excess fat, my personal opinion is that 30% is way too high for most people. This gives you the idea of the “play”/range of fat that might be optimal for you. I think 10 to 20% is probably best for most people, the exact amount being best for a person depending on their particular situation.
          .
          Putting it all together: If you absolutely must put a number on how much omega 6 fat would be ideal for you (as opposed to focusing on whole foods as Dr. Greger and others recommend), you could figure it out this way: a) how many calories a day you think are good for you?, b) what percentage of fat you think is ideal (perhaps aim for 15%)? and then using cronometer. com, c) make sure that when you eat 15% fat in a whole plant food diet with no oils, the amount of omega 3 and 6 in the diet meets or exceeds the 1.1 and 4.4 g numbers listed above and which have appropriate ratios to each other. If so, then that amount of omega 6 would be the right amount for you.
          .
          Is this a more satisfying answer? What do you think of that logic?




          0
          1. What an extensive response, thank you
            Thea. I just want to clarify two things first..For one thing I don’t
            want to give false encouragement to the Adkins type so when you say you
            compare me to others who don’t do well on “lower fat diets” I think I
            *DO* well on what I’d call “lower fat” diets, just not on what I called
            near-zero or ultra-low. Maybe I should have clarified I’m a 20+ year
            vegan who eats mostly unprocessed and minimally processed foods, cooks
            home meals etc. So while I don’t want to completely discount people who
            say they don’t do well on “lower fat” diets, I’m not one of them.

            But
            vegan whole food minimally processed and throwing out the oils (if you
            don’t get to eat a half avocado or more many days a week) is indeed a
            very to ultra low diet depending on whether one skips nuts and seeds
            entirely or not…Back then I had much less to no nuts/seed and no oils
            either..so very very low oil/fats. I’d be happy to email you 19 blood
            test results from early 1990s to 2015…they bounce around a lot, yes,
            but still there’s a pretty clear before and after, that matches the very
            same 1-2 year time when I started adding avocado, olive oil, and later
            nuts, to my diet. It’s pretty stark…a “before” and an “after” are not
            hard to discern.”After” Trigly ranges 72 to 182 for example over 7 blood
            test 1999-2015 recorded in that text file right from lab printouts.

            While
            1994-1999 in 10 blood tests ranged from one “outlier” low for me of 111
            and one 191, and the rest (another 8 readings!) being in 300s, 400s,
            500s two in 570s, and one reading of 685 for triglyc…Compare that to
            the 7 blood tests 1999-2015 with the HIGH being 182..night and day.
            Don’t want to get this too long so won’t look against at HDL but recall
            also notable change. I have LDL and VLDL and total chol for many, but
            not all, and didn’t look carefully since those were not “bad” in the
            “before” period; issues were high trig. and low HDL…still today
            somewhat but far less so than my early days. How many other things have
            they cahnged recommendations sinc e1990s? a lot actually! Remember when
            they told us “monounsaturated” was “ok-ish” and “polyunsaturated” was
            “awesome! by far better!” ?

            It’s too bad this still isn’t
            automated so it takes fanatic record keeping typing it all in as I have,
            some day it will be automatically online one hopes (we’ve been promised
            this technology for many years) so without such dedicated habits
            someday everyone will be able to say: “Computer, show me the last 15
            years of HDL in a graph with key points labelled” and then start to
            cross reference with dietary changes.

            Second about ” If you absolutely must put a number on how much omega 6 fat would be
            ideal for you (as opposed to focusing on whole foods as Dr. Greger and
            others recommend)” I am absolutely wanting to know whole foods based just to know the amounts of whole foods…

            I’ve
            done detailed tedious hand calculations of 5 day averages for myself
            for protein, calcium and iron, and other than calcium where I decided to
            make changes, going by feel has been fine. I have been too busy or too
            “lazy” to do the same for fats, but I can tell you it’s low fat now and
            was crazy-low in early to mid 1990s. I have to find the time to hand
            measure now, and/or, find the time to do the whole cronometer
            thing..maybe someday..!

            Thanks to you we can do this
            calculation..since I needed still more conversion help from what I knew
            (number almonds, and grams) to info you kindly looked up (1/4 cups
            and/or tablespoons) but how does this look Thea:

            Using http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3085/2

            1
            cup how many grams? If we can trust that website the answer depends on
            form:For 1cup ground or sliced (95g and 92g) is a different answer from 1
            cup slivered (108g) and 1 cup whole:143g.

            Now Blue
            diamond natural almonds serving size says “1oz, 28g, about 24 nuts” and I
            have counted enough times to know that my average to be sated ranges
            16-24 almonds.

            1/4 cup would be 143/4 = 35.75grams by their estimate

            How many almonds? (35.75/28)*24 or about 30.64 almonds, a third of an almond shy of 31 almonds.

            That’s
            a lot to eat in a day…but if it gets over 4gram omega 6then getting
            1.1-4.4 grams isn’t too bad. That leaves mostly to worry about just

            a)
            you said you could be wrong about needing 1.1 grams of omega 3’s (I
            weigh about 135, 5’8″..though I did have unwanted weight loss down to
            close to 120 once..they ruled out cancer and I’m back to mid to upper
            130’s)

            b) That 1:1 to 1:4 ratio is pretty wide…but this isn’t to complain that it’s wide but to ask a question – could it be that 1:4 is closer to optimal for one level (X) of, say, omega 3’s and that 1:1 is closer to optimal for another level, Y, rather than “The Truth” being some unknown number in that range that applies to all (absolute) levels of either? Maybe if one fat level is on the higher end then one ratio will do, but if it’s at the lower end, a somewhat different ratio?

            That aside, your info was a great help to get me to the calculation I made above to get at least a sense in #almonds/day :-)




            0
            1. harelb: Thank you for your reply. It always makes me feel so good to know that I have helped someone!

              There are a few follow-ups I wanted to give you based on your reply to me.

              1) you wrote: “issues were high trig. and low HDLL…still today somewhat” I agree that a high trig number can be concerning, but I wouldn’t worry about a low HDL number. Low HDL is a natural progression of a healthy diet and not a good indicator or risk anyway. Dr. McDougall has a great article on this topic. Also, here is a recent study that addresses this topic: “Protective Effect of HDL Null if LDL Levels High: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol may not protect against heart disease if low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) levels remain high, according to a study published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Researchers monitored cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk for 3,590 participants from the Framingham Offspring Study. The authors conclude that high LDL and/or TG are more predictive of heart disease risk, regardless of HDL.”
              FROM: Bartlett J, Predazzi IM, Williams SM, et al. Is isolated low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol a cardiovascular disease risk factor? New insights from the Framingham Offspring Study. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. Published online May 10, 2016.

              2) you wrote: “If we can trust that website” If you look at the bottom of the Self Nutrition nutrition pages, they tell you the source of the data. I believe it is all or mostly from the USDA database that everyone uses. That doesn’t necessarily make it accurate. But I think it is as accurate as we can get.

              3) you wrote some question/concern about where I got the 1.1 grams for omega 3 number. I got it from what I remember from a talk from Jeff Novick (a famous RD) from a talk called: From Oil To Nuts (https://www.amazon.com/Oil-Nuts-Essential-Facts-Oils/dp/B003UYAQIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464819387&sr=8-1&keywords=from+nuts+to+oil ). I did some quick research and you can find a similar recommendation on this page: http://goodfoodproject.net/home/resources/what-the-experts-say/what-the-experts-say-oils/ says, ““According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids is 1.1 grams for women and 1.6 grams for men. This translates to between 1-3% of our daily calories or about ¼ to 1/3 of a teaspoon a day! Not very much at all and easy to attain with even the most basic plant food based diet.” Matthew Lederman, MD and Alona Pulde, MD” I don’t know who Mathew Lederman is nor how accurate the quote is, but I believe that these are the numbers that I got from Jeff’s talk.

              4) What is the correct ratio of omega 6 to 3? Could it depend on the situation? You raise a great question. I’m not an expert and haven’t done a extensive amount of research on this topic. However, I did a little research after seeing your question and came up with the following quote, which I found interesting and thought you might also:

              “Most of the studies used in the BMJ review do not address the omega-6–to–omega-3 ratio. There is evidence that a 4:1 ratio is required for maximum benefit for cardiovascular disease and less than 2:1 to have any effect on cancer. This is almost impossible to achieve with our diet today (Canadian guidelines are currently 6:1). An excellent book, Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Ratio: The Scientific Evidence, reviews this.5” from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1783729/

              Again, I hope these thoughts prove helpful. Best of luck to you!




              0
  56. My daughter just turned 12 months. So now we switch to cows dairy whole milk according to AAP guidelines. I’d like to give her a plant based milk instead. Do you recommend almond, or soy? She eats a well balanced diet, but I need a milk with protein, calcium, and fat. Thoughts? Thank you!




    0
    1. KELLY: The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) has some great info on raising healthy kids. Here is their main families page. Scroll down to the Nutrition section. http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm I particularly like this article: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.htm and this one: http://www.vrg.org/family/tips_for_young_vegans.php If you aren’t familiar with VRG, they are a very well respected and well researched source of information. I believe that Dr. Greger has also recommended that site before.
      .
      Another source of great information for raising healthy kids is the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) site. http://www.pcrm.org/solr/kids
      .
      To specifically address your question about non-dairy milks, almond or soy should work very well. But if you can help your daughter develop a taste for soy milk, that could be particularly beneficial at this age. NutritionFacts has a video around here somewhere which talks about how eating traditional soy products (traditional = products like soy milk and tofu rather than say fake meats) regularly at an early age is particularly beneficial in preventing breast cancer. (This is not the info I was looking for, but it is all I can find right now and is generally relevant: http://nutritionfacts.org/2014/09/18/can-eating-soy-prevent-breast-cancer/ ) And here is a video which specifically addresses the benefits of soy milk: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-effect-of-soy-on-precocious-puberty/
      .
      If GMOs are a concern for you, just get an organic soy milk. And if calcium is a concern for you, then get one fortified with calcium. NutritionFacts has another video that talks about how calcium from non-diary milks are absorbed by our bodies just as well as calcium from dairy milks – as long as you remember to shake the container. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/calcium-absorption-soy-milk-versus-cow-milk/
      .
      Does this help?




      0
  57. What should I eat to promote faster hair growth? What should I eat to improve my height without consuming cheese?
    thank you




    0
  58. At age age 64. taking once a week sublingual 2,500 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin, as I am now doing, appears sufficient.. My question is, should I switch to daily 1000mcg (ug) cyanocobalamin at age 65?




    0
    1. you could always get your blood tested before and then after changing the dose but why the worry? the excess is just pee’d out anyway like vit C.




      0
  59. Dr Greger: I’m currently listening to “How Not to Die.” Why am I listening? because my second embolic stroke has robbed me of a great deal of my eyesight. After the first stroke, in 2010, I had no side effects because the clot ended up in a part of my brain, the function of which, is so far unknown. My thinking said the reason the clot traveled the maze of vessels in my brain without being stopped is because my no-added-fat whole foods plant-based diet allowed my vessels to be clear.
    My vessels are clear, my lipids are 126 CHOL/90 TRIG/68 LDL/40 HDL, my hsCRP is 0.5, HOMO is 7.8. I walk 3-7 miles a day. You make it sound so easy, but I strictly follow the Esselstyn diet and have been low fat plant based since 1999, but I’ve had 3 TIAs that I know of and 2 embolic strokes. Do you have any other suggestions for me? I’m game for anything.
    You are definitely one of my heroes. I’ve appreciated many of your lectures at McDougall Advanced Study Week-ends. I’m very sad to be missing this upcoming one in September.
    Jill Princehouse
    oceanfrontcabin@seanet.com




    0
    1. since they are still taking patients, i think it would be in your best interest to make an appointment and a trip to visit either dr esselstyn or mcdougal without delay.

      im kind of in the same boat but need a plant based endocrinologist and probably will travel half the southern states to go to one i’ve decided on, about 950 miles.




      0
  60. Please help. So difficult to get through the options. What Brand of Omega 3 long chain should I take? Or if you hesitate to recommend a specific brand, maybe you can just tell me what brand you personally take, and then I can go from there. :)




    0
    1. Thanks for your question Louise.

      I do not think any registered health professional will specifically advise you on a certain brand but if you look for them in Amazon for example, there are lots of them:

      See here.

      Just make sure that these are in line with the recommend dose and are from an algae based source to avoid contamination issues (which is quite a problem in Fish Oils).

      Hope this answer helps.




      0
    2. Louise Comfort: One of our well respected forum participants did some research once and found out that the majority of algae-based omega 3 pills are all made in the same small number of facilities. In other words, it really doesn’t matter what brand you buy. So, get one that is in your price range and has a pill size that you like etc. And of course, as Darchite says, pay attention to the dose so that you are getting the amount that you want.
      .
      One other factor you may want to look out for is whether the pill contains only DHA or DHA and EPA. You can see on this page: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/ that Dr. Greger recommends getting a pill with both. I’ve seen some commercial brands in the past that only had the DHA.




      0
  61. Hello , I m diagnosed with hashimoto. Does boosting my immunity by eating or drinking certain food will make my case worse ? Every doctor I ask try to ignore the question while my problem is an immunity issue. Thank you




    0
  62. Dear Dr. Greger,
    Many thanks for your book “How Not to Die”!
    I started reading it right after it was delivered. In “Supplements” ( page 408) you recommend to buy cyanocobalamin
    type of Vitamin B12. While trying to find the right brand I encountered into many comments glorifying methylcobalamin.
    Do I miss something?
    Thank you in advance,




    0
    1. Hi Stella, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. I am glad you are enjoying “How Not to Die”. Methylcobalamin is under-researched, and one study shows that it did not reverse the vitamin B12 deficiency for at least one subject. This leads to concern over whether the methylcobalamin source of B12 is effective for only some people. Therefore, the science today currently suggests that cyanocobalamin is the most reliable source to date.




      0
      1. Michael and Raphael: If you review the videos on this site, I think you will see that Dr. Greger generally recommends the flaxseed because of the lignans it contains. Lignans are powerful nutrients for fighting cancer (and maybe some other health problems I don’t remember at the moment).

        Omega 3 is a different question. You can get some omega 3s from flaxseeds, but your body has to convert the type of omega 3 in flaxseeds to the kind that your body needs. There is a question about whether people can generally convert enough of the omega 3s in plants such as flaxseeds in order to maximize long term brain health. You might consider looking up the series of videos on NutritionFacts concerning DHA. Dr. Greger did recommend taking algae derived DHA supplements as his conclusion. However, he also lays out the evidence for that conclusion and there are people who think that the evidence is not strong enough to warrant taking the DHA or making the recommendation. Bottom Line: Those who want to error on the side of caution would take the DHA supplement. This is not the type of situation like B12, which is really a hard, firm recommendation. You might consider reading the comments under the DHA videos for some interesting perspectives.

        In terms of the question from the angle of “Can Dr. Greger clarify what he recommends?” The recommendations on this page have been confirmed recently. So, you can rely on what you see here as being what Dr. Greger currently recommends. You can also find these nutrition recommendations, along with additional details, in Dr. Greger’s recent book How Not To Die.

        Hope this helps.




        0
        1. Hello fellow readers:

          I have just spent over two hours reading all the comments/Q&A on this page here about Vitamin D3, B12 and algae based Omega-3 (DHA&EPA) supplement which seem to be the most essential ones a WFPB vegan should take while other recommended nutrients above can be mostly found in whole food.

          I used the word “essential” because I really don’t want to spend every day/week taking more than a dozen supplements if they are not absolutely necessary for “optimal” health according to Dr.Greger’s findings. After all, supplements are not whole food.

          While I completely understand about D3 and B12, I have yet to find anyone here could clearly answer the concern about the adverse health effect of algae based Omega-3 (DHA&EPA) supplements which contains ALSO “Carrageenan” which many findings indicate it is a bad stuff!

          Example: http://opti3omega.com (ingredients contain Carrageenan)

          Can any moderators helping Dr.Greger here probably address this concern which has been raised many times by readers here but have not been answered clearly?

          Should we still take the highly recommended Algae based Omega-3 (DHA&EPA) supplements REGARDLESS of the fact that most of these products containing “Carrageenan”?

          Another reader also cited this Example: https://www.nothingfishy.co/products/vegan-omega-3-dha-from-algae (Ingredients also contain other stuff than just Algae oil, stuff that I have no idea if it’s harmful or not)

          Why can’t Algae based Omega-3 supplements be made by JUST 100% Algae oil Omega-3 extract and skip the other stuff? This REALLY makes it difficult for me to decide whether I should take this supplement or not.

          Please confirm my understanding after literally hours of watching and reading here…..

          According to Dr.Greger’s dosage recommendation for the followings

          1. Take Vegan D3 every day as I’m not exposed to Sunlight on daily basis and I personally avoid Sunlight to prevent premature skin aging and risk of skin cancer and don’t wanna put Sunblock on my whole body every day. I put Sunblock on my face and mostly wear long sleeves or stay indoor

          2. Take Vegan B12 every week because the lack of animal product in my diet

          3. Take Algae based Omega-3 (DHA&EPA) supplements as the ALA converting into DHA&EPA from eating ground Flaxseeds is not enough and our ability to do that conversion will deteriorate as we age

          BUT please answer my concern about the ingredient – Carrageenan!

          Of course I have also learnt and understood that other than these 3 supplements, I need to have a balanced Whole Food Plant Based diet preferably with no refined oil doesn’t matter how extra virgin it is, no refined added sugar except Date sugar as natural whole food sweetener and best if diet is low fat and low sodium.

          I have spent many many hours the past couple of months reading all the information here as I’m really trying my best to convert to veganism for health, moral/ethical and environmental reasons, despite the fact that in a Chinese food culture here in Hong Kong where I live, it’s almost impossible if not extremely difficult to be vegan! Vegetarian is relatively easier as many here are buddists but vegan is very challenging given that 99% of restaurants here contain animal, diary and egg products. Any Chinese food eater would know.

          I really hope the mighty Dr.G or any Moderators with medical backgrounds here can CLEARLY help answer my concern above and confirm my understanding.

          For most of you reading from USA or Western countries, just so you know that we can’t even buy Spinach, Kale, Raw Salad green, Berries, Nuts, fresh herbs etc in my local wet market or chain supermarket. These are abundant in western food culture! I use the word ‘local’ because of course most of us ordinary HK folks don’t live in Central on HK island where most expats can afford to buy those stuff I mentioned above all imported from overseas and priced outrageously in Premium Supermarkets only located in mostly ‘expats areas’.

          I am using the Daily Dozen app and I’m really trying my very best here!

          One last question is about Honey, I know added sugar should be avoided while fructose from eating whole fruits is good. I know honey is a form of refined sugar but I’m asking particularly what I consider as the Super Honey – Raw Organic UMF certified New Zealand Manuka Honey produced in New Zealand.

          Anyone can provide scientific findings whether this particular form of Manuka Honey is good or bad for our health in a whole food plant based vegetarian diet?

          I know most vegans consider Honey as animal products but I have a deep interest in NZ made Manuka Honey which is scientifically proven to have health benefits so I wanna find out more of its effects on our health with regard to the “Sugar” content.

          Can anyone help please?

          It’s really not easy to change to WFPB vegan diet I feel as I need to educate myself with a LOT of information based on the latest science regarding Food and most of the time what I find out is on the contrary to what I used to be taught or believed in!

          Thank you so much for your attention!

          Trying my best!




          0
          1. Lots of good questions there. As Dr. G has not updated his carrageenan vid that I can see, I would imagine there is no human studies on it, so his vid still holds true as far as I know = avoid carrageenan.

            https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-carrageenan-safe/

            Instead of looking to algae, why not get your omega-3s from walnuts, chia and flax seed? I do.

            B12 makes me a little nervous with the new B12 lung cancer study that was just published, although I am no doubt being paranoid ascribing to one study like this. Still, its easy to get under the 55ug level studied. Also, don’t forget that you only need about 2.4ug/day for most people and can only absorb about 10ug/day. I buy liquid B12, put one drop in a bottle with 6 cups water and then drink 1 cup per day. I test my MMA, B12 and homocysteine several times per year so I’ll update if I have any issues.

            D3: the studies I’ve seen don’t seem to fully account for the benefit of sunlight vs supplemented D3. Sunlight seems somewhat more beneficial, so I put my swim trunks on and lay out in the Hawaiian sun almost every day for about 5 minutes per side. I’m fair skinned, and only have a slight tan from this. My D3 was very low until I started sunning. My D3 is now solidly in the normal range.

            Dr. Ben




            0
          2. CalvanVeganWannabe: I won’t be able to address all your questions in this one post, but I can address some of them.

            First, I’ll address an easy one, your concern about DHA supplements. Here is Dr. Greger’s bottom line on the topic of carrageenan from his latest video after looking at the science through 2013: “Similarly, I’d use potential concerns about carrageenan as additional motivation to avoid unhealthy foods. But, until we know more, I wouldn’t cut out more healthful foods—though I would suggest those with inflammatory bowel disease, or other gastrointestinal problems, try cutting out carrageenan, at least temporarily, to see if your symptoms improve.”

            If you watch the latest series of videos on the topic of DHA, you will see that Dr. Greger does think that DHA supplements are a healthy thing to do. So, bottom line is that whatever concern people might have for carrageenan, it’s not a proven health hazard and not a reason to avoid DHA supplements. (Also consider that there would be very little carrageenan in a pill. We don’t know what amounts are harmful and the “dose makes the poison.” My lay person’s opinion is that the amount in the shell of the pill is unlikely to matter.)

            Also consider the following: If you watch the video series on DHA, it appears (at least to me) that Dr. Greger’s recommendation for DHA supplements at all is based on being extra cautious and making general recommendations for the general public. In other words, the recommendation to take DHA supplements is not as strong/as strongly backed by science as the recommendation to take B12. You don’t have to take DHA supplements at all. If you are concerned, you can get your DHA levels tested to see if you might even need it. Even then, at most, DHA supplements are helpful only for very long term concerns as far as we can tell now. This means, while you are transitioning to a diet of whole plant foods, this is something you can worry about in the future. You don’t have to stress about it right now. (“Don’t stress the small stuff.”) Come back to this topic and think about it after you have made the bigger, immediate changes.

            If you decide that you want to supplement with DHA, and you want to avoid the carrageenan, I can happily share with you that the carrageenan is in the shell of the pill. So, buy a pill that has the flavored oil on the inside and just cut or bite the pill and suck out the oil. I know people who do this. It’s very do-able. While more expensive, another option is to get the DHA supplements that are not pills at all, but are liquid drops.

            I haven’t seen any other ingredients in the DHA supplements that are worth worrying about at the doses/amounts that are in the supplements. Bottom Line: other than *possibly* worrying about carrageenan, you can get whatever algae DHA supplement is convenient and cheapest for you if you decide to supplement at all.

            ————-

            You wrote about wanting to educate yourself as much as possible, and that this transition is difficult. I just wanted to share my admiration for the path you are walking. It *is* difficult and it can be scary when you have previously been taught different things. Also, I sympathize with the difficulties you are having being in a country that doesn’t have some of the foods that are staples in America, but which you can’t get or would have to go broke getting.

            Some thoughts for you to try to help: 1) It does get easier! Lots of people struggle to transition. Once they get over the learning curve, they report that it gets so much easier and that they are so happy that they made that transition.

            2) Don’t stress about nuts. If nuts and seeds are hard to get, just skip them. Jeff Novick, a well respected and knowledgeable plant based RD, has an excellent talk about nuts (and oils) http://jeffnovick.com/RD/From_Oil_To_Nuts.html . While Jeff says that nuts are healthy, the bottom line from his talk was that you certainly don’t have to eat them. And for people with weight problems, they are better off skipping the nuts. Dr. Greger disagrees on this point. But most of the plant based doctors I follow would agree with Jeff Novick and he uses a lot of research to back up his view. I felt Jeff’s research was better than Dr. Greger’s on this point.

            3) Don’t stress the small stuff. While a transition can be difficult, the topic/guidelines for eating healthy can be very easy. If the Daily Dozen is stressing you out, just do something simple like the PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) Power Plate. http://www.pcrm.org/sites/default/files/images/health/pplate/PowerPlategraphichirez.JPG The Power Plate is also an evidence-based system and is ridiculously easy. The goal is to generally fill your belly with about 1/2 starches (beans and intact grains) and 1/2 fruits and veggies. Aim to generally hit those ratios over the course of a day. Eat more starches if you are hungry. Eat more non-starchy fruits and veggies if you need to lose weight. After you get the very easy Power Plate down, you could transition to the Daily Dozen for a more refined option in the future.

            4) Substitutions. Don’t let your location be an excuse. :-) I’m not familiar with what’s available in your area, but if spinach and kale is hard to get a hold of, I’m guessing that there is *something* green the locals eat. Sea vegetables? Something??? Starches: Can’t get a potato? No problem, eat the rice. Pinto beans failing to appear on the shelves? No problem, eat the edamame. Fruit: Can’t find berries? Eat other fruit (lychees?) for now.

            A Suggestion: Please continue to post questions on this site if you think our community can help. I think your questions are great and I don’t mean to belittle your confusion and frustration in figuring out what to do. I’m just trying to address those feelings so that you feel more confident. Post your questions on the latest video page so that more people will see it. Try to keep each post to one topic/question so that people are more likely to read your post. Do you have any additional questions you would especially like me to answer?

            Best of luck to you!




            0
  63. Me essential tremor seems to have increased Allot after taking dha &
    epa algea oil supplements. Is their a connection ? is their harmane in alge oil ?




    0
  64. Hello! I love your videos and articles and often refer my patients to your site and your book.

    I wanted to ask you about probiotics and if you would add that to this list? If so, do you have a specific recommendation for these?

    Thank you for all your work!
    Christina Palmer




    0
    1. Christina-Glad you’re finding NutritionFacts.org helpful. Regarding probiotics, Dr. Greger has several videos about their use. Please check out “http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-the-common-cold-with-probiotics/” You’ll find several other videos on probiotics listed below this video.




      0
  65. I recently got a copy of How Not to Die and was just skimming through it. In the section on Alzheimer’s, you mention arterial plaque as a possible contributor. I recently read another article (or three) asserting that some in the medical field were beginning to conclude that it is related to (caused by?) insulin resistance, and calling it “type 3 diabetes” (and thus, more a result of sugar and refined carbs than about fats). Not that this this would alter your recommendations about how to eat in order to minimize the risk and/or abate the effects, but I was just wondering if you knew of any evidence to support this idea, or if it might have just been junk science aimed at promoting animal-based foods.




    0
    1. ScottTrimble: You wrote, “…beginning to conclude that it is related to (caused by?) insulin
      resistance, and calling it “type 3 diabetes” (and thus, more a result of
      sugar and refined carbs than about fats).”

      I’m with you right up until you blame insulin resistance on sugar and refined carbs. It turns out, insulin resistance is a problem of fats getting inside the cells. When that happens, the cell gets blocked up, and the insulin can’t do it’s job of getting the glucose into the cell. You will learn more about this phenomenon in How Not To Die, but you can learn more about it right now if you want with this NutritionFacts video: What Causes Diabetes http://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-causes-diabetes/

      Bottom Line: Eating sugar and refined carbs are not healthy, but they are not generally the cause of diabetes/insulin resistance either.

      So, I think this new understanding of Alzheimer’s, both from How Not To Die and from the other sources you are hearing, all goes together rather than being a contradiction or new problem for plant based diets. Make sense?




      0
      1. Yes, thanks. I will skip to the diabetes portion of How Not to Die to get the deeper explanation, and I’ll check out that video, too. Thanks again.




        0
  66. In a separate post, you provided a recommendation on exactly where and what to buy for a B12 supplement. Could you do the same for your “250 mg daily of pollutant free (yeast- or algae-derived) long-chain omega-3’s (EPA/DHA)” supplement recommendation? I have searched many online stores and am more confused than ever about which one to buy. Many thanks!




    0
      1. It’s from NutraBulk, but the link gives an error now. I would love to see another B12 product that ships to the whole world, because NutraBulk does not and all other products I have found have some kind of toxins :(




        0
  67. What to do with a baby when the time of breastfeeding is over. Ho much b12 is recommended to give in a supplement.
    I use 500mcg of spray every two days,and the wife uses it every day because she is breastfeeding the little one.
    (our baby is just 13 days old :) )




    0
    1. Berend: Good for you for thinking ahead! Congratulations on your 13 year old.
      .
      See if you can get your hands on a book that Dr. Greger recommends called Becoming Vegan, Express Edition. The book contains a chapter on specifics for feeding children. And at the back of the book is a chart of specific nutrients (including B12) that humans need at various ages. That should answer not only your B12 question, but any other nutrient questions for infants as well. Good luck.

      https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Vegan-Express-Plant-based-Nutrition/dp/1570672954/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479053007&sr=1-1&keywords=becoming+vegan+express




      0
    2. Hi Berend, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Ideally, babies should be exclusively breastfed for about 6 months (perhaps besides vitamin D supplementation). In the next 6 months, soft foods can be slowly introduced. At one year or later, depending on maternal preferences, babies can stop receiving breast milk and continue to be exposed to new foods. During this process, babies should be weaned off of the breast milk. I encourage you to check out the American Academy of Pediatrics for their recommendations and answers to FAQs here: https://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/faqsbreastfeeding.html

      Also, Dr. Greger’s current vitamin B12 recommendation based on the science is to take 2,500 mcg of cyanocobalamin once per week. To see more about vitamin B12, search the NutritionFacts.org website or check out this video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-recommendation-change/




      0
    1. I’d say this page is a reference for dr G supplements recommendation, so I’d say what you find here is the most recent info dr G could find, and in this sense, it is up to date. More on B12 can be found at http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cheapest-source-of-vitamin-b12/ . Regarding daily dose, even the page you referenced, says “recommendations for B12 intakes vary significantly from country to country”. I’m no expert, but it seems there are more opinions, dr G recommends 4-7 mcg/day absorbed B12 (but as you would see in the link I provided above, in order to absorb that quantity, you have to take a supplement containing a much bigger quantity of B12).




      0
  68. A whole plant based diet can create some deficiencies, and dr G listed in this article the nutrients we should pay attention to, and if the case, we should take some supplements.

    On the other side, in other videos I saw remarks about how useless, or even dangerous supplements can be, or that the nutrients from supplements may have the opposite effect of eating the same nutrients from food, and the fact that is very difficult for the producers to extract, put into a pill, and save the synergistic action of the nutrients that otherwise are found in natural form in food.

    Isn’t it suspect that the exact nutrients that may be deficient in a whole plant based diet raise no problem for the producers to put them into a pill, and taking that pill doesn’t cause any side effects, or any smaller effects comparing to the natural form of these nutrients?




    0
    1. Hi George, typically artificial vitamins in a pill form come in one chemical form which is vey unlike what nature provides us. When we get an overload of one chemical type while the cells may have receptors for multiple types of the particular vitamin it creates a relative defieiciency in the ones that are not provided. For this reason it is always more advantageous to ingest the nutrients in their natural, unprocessed, whole food form. The same can be said for B12 which is the main nutrient that vegans – strict vegans are warned to supplement as the human body can’t manufacture it on our own. B12 also comes in several forms that are absorbed in varying degrees depending upon the person and what they need. People with reduced stomach acid, those that make decreased amount of intrinsic factor – required for absorption and those that have had small bowel surgery will need a different form of the vitamin to get an adequate amount absorbed. One thing I find fascinating it that of all the B vitamins, of which excess is usually just excreted, B12 is actually stored. Typically a very strict vegan will run out of stored B12 in about 20 years. This, to me conforms with the method of eating that most indigenous peoples practiced wherein animal products were consumed very sparingly and more like a condiment than the manner seen in the standard American diet. Absent pathological problems like stomach or intestinal reasons for lack of B12 absorption one would probably get enough B12 eating what is now referred to in a flexitarian manner during your life. However, for strict vegans that ingest no animal products whatsoever, there will come a day when their reserves dwindle and become at risk for disease. At that point they will have to find the type of formulation that will effectively replace the deficit and a pill form may well not be the answer.




      0
  69. “At least 2,500 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin once each week, ideally as a chewable, sublingual, or liquid supplement taken on an empty stomach”

    What about capsules containing powdered B12? Is there any reason to suspect they don’t absorb as well as chewable, sublingual, or liquid B12?




    0
    1. nah, unless your the one in ?? who doesn’t absorb B12 correctly then don’t worry about it.

      next time you visit your doc have him add a B12 level to your bloodwork if worried since we have decades stored up in our bodies anyway:

      {{and that it usually takes ≈20 y for stores of the vitamin to become depleted.}}

      .




      0
    2. This is from the NIH: Dietary supplements

      In dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is usually present as cyanocobalamin [5], a form that the body readily converts to the active forms methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Dietary supplements can also contain methylcobalamin and other forms of vitamin B12.

      Existing evidence does not suggest any differences among forms with respect to absorption or bioavailability. However the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from dietary supplements is largely limited by the capacity of intrinsic factor. For example, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people [8].

      In addition to oral dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is available in sublingual preparations as tablets or lozenges. These preparations are frequently marketed as having superior bioavailability, although evidence suggests no difference in efficacy between oral and sublingual forms.

      If you’re interested in the full article, here’s the link: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/




      0
  70. As a 22 year old male that rarely eats animal products (aside from 1-4 servings of dairy once or twice a week, sometimes it’s hard to avoid), I’m now supplementing the following:
    -teaspoon of fresh ground flax seed every day
    -1000 mcg of B12 alternatingly 2 and 3 times a week
    -330mg of EPA+DHA a day
    -35 mcg of D3 a day

    As you can see, the numbers are slightly different from the recommendations as they are the closest I can get using the supplements available here, but I reckon they are in the ballpark, right?




    0
  71. Please update a recommendation for a B12 product that ships to all over the world. NutraBulk does not and other products I find have all some toxins.




    0
    1. Arin,
      Good question. Probiotics can certainly be helpful: Dr. G. has done videos discussing the benefits of probiotics for:
      1) Preventing the common cold
      2)Preventing and treating diarrhea

      However, probiotics are usually not necessary, if you eat a healthy diet with lots of natural fiber, which promotes the growth of a healthy gut flora. This is known as “prebiotics”. Here are a few videos by Dr. G about that topic:
      1) General video about prebiotics
      2) Video about “gut dysbiosis”

      So probiotics can be very useful in treating certain conditions such as acute diarrhea. But eating a fiber-rich diet will prevent you from getting sick in the first place. That is why Dr. G doesn’t recommend probiotics as a needed supplement for everybody. I hope this helps.




      0
  72. Hi!

    Regarding the selenium tip for northern europeans, it’s interesting to note that people at the technical university of Denmark runs its own database of foods and the nutrients they contain, and according to them a brazil nut contains 103 mcg per 100 grams of nuts, making it necessary to eat 10-12 nuts per day rather than 1. And when eating 10-12 nuts per day I get the impression that may lead to a selenium overdose if the quantity turns out to be more like 1917 mcg per 100 grams of nuts which Nutritiondata.com claims after all? So I guess supplementation is better?

    Mentioning possible toxicity: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/lutein-lycopene-and-selenium-pills/
    Nutritiondata on brazil nuts: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3091/2
    The Danish Techical University’s (DTU) food database on brazilnuts, which in danish are called “para nuts”: http://frida.fooddata.dk/ShowFood.php?foodid=692&1

    By the way I contacted DTU about the vast difference in reported values, and they claimed that it was equally likely that their own result was as accurate as the one Nutritiondata has (from USDA maybe?), being based on a similar number of measurements maybe?




    0
  73. I just went to a talk by a Cardiologist who referenced your website and gave a list of the best 20 foods for your heart. While I can glean the healthy and non healthy recommendations, I have not been able to find a concise list on the website (I found the list a helpful reminder). Does one exist? Thanks so much.




    0
  74. Dr. Greger and volunteer team,
    What are the current supplementation recommendations for children who are eating vegetarian and/or vegan?
    Thank you.




    0
  75. Hi Dr Greger,

    Thank you so much for your book, “How Not To Die”. I have been suffering from IBS for eight years; your book has changed my life, and I only finished reading it three weeks ago :)

    My question is regarding the Daily Dozen (cheers for the app, it’s very helpful). Re. recommended serving sizes, do these apply to everyone regardless of weight/height or are these an average? I am fairly slim (5’7, 115 pounds) and am finding it difficult to fit everything in!

    Thanks in advance,

    Viv (Australia)




    0
    1. Viv: Congratulations on the progress you have made so far!
      .
      To answer your question: It’s my understanding that the Daily Dozen is geared toward about a 2000 per day calorie diet – much like the recommendations that come out of the government. I think people are working on a way to present the Daily Dozen for those people who need to adjust the system for different calorie needs.
      .
      In the meantime, I suggest that you think of the Daily Dozen as a guide for 1) learning which foods are healthy and 2) understanding healthy ratios/proportions of those foods compared to each other. For example, the Daily Dozen recommends about 3 servings of whole grains and 3 servings of “other fruit” and 3 servings of beans. Those recommendations give you a sense to eat about the same amounts of those food categories over the course of a day. If your calories needs are higher or lower, you just adjust the serving sizes to meet your needs.
      .
      In other words, if you can’t eat all that food based on how Dr. Greger defines servings, you can still eat those food categories and in those general relative proportions. For example, suppose that you can take in 3/4 of the Daily Dozen worth of food. Then go ahead and eat about 3/4 of each serving in the Daily Dozen. Scale it all down a bit. It doesn’t have to be terribly mathematical. I’m just making a point that you could eat smaller serving sizes and still be following the principles of the Daily Dozen.
      .
      I would exclude some of the categories from this “shortening idea”. For example, you would probably still want to eat the recommended amounts of flaxseed and spices and do the same amount of exercise.
      .
      What do you think?




      0
  76. I have a friend who has terrible problems with food allergies. She would like to transition to a plant based diet but is allergic to legumes. This seems like an impossible situation for her. Is there anything that Dr Michael might recommend, any advice at all?




    0
    1. martyn ives: I forwarded your question to our volunteer medical moderators. We don’t have enough volunteers to answer every question, but at least your question is in the pile. In the meantime, I thought I would take a stab at answering. I’m just a lay volunteer, however so take the answer for what it’s worth.

      Dr. Greger’s meal plan is summarized by the Daily Dozen (which you can download as a free smart phone app or review here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3470450/Foods-eat-day-Dr-Michael-Greger-s-Daily-Dozen.html ) You will see that legumes are considered so important, they get on the list with 3 servings a day. However, there are still 9 other food categories on that list. I don’t see why your friend couldn’t eat more starchy foods from other categories to make up from the lack of legumes. Your friend might also review Dr. McDougall’s The Starch Solution diet/book for another way of looking at whole plant food based eating. I don’t think that formulation of the diet would specify beans. So, your friend could just leave those out.

      One other idea for you: You have to be careful with allergies, but I wonder if your friend is really allergic to *all* legumes? Maybe she is allergic to most, but maybe could tolerate say lentils or something. The point is, maybe she could experiment (again, you have to be careful with that and remember I’m not an expert) to see if she could safely eat some kind of legume in order to get that food sometimes. But if not, I don’t see why she couldn’t do a perfectly sound/safe/healthy diet and just skip the legumes.

      Make sense?




      0
  77. I would like to make a correction to one of the recommendations, namely regarding the selenium recommendation:
    I live in Finland (Northern Europe), and all fertilizers here have been fortified with selenium since 1985, solving the problem of selenium deficiencies in the population. Recommending people to eat brazil nuts/to take a supplement is not necessary in Finland, and in some cases might lead to an overdose of selenium. I’d recommend adding a note to this recommendation saying that eating a daily brazil nut/supplementing is not necessary in Finland. On average, people here already get more than the recommended daily amount.

    Source:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X14000662




    0
  78. Dr. Greger and volunteer team,

    I followed the discussion about Cyanocobalamine versus Methylcobalamin and saw that there is information about Cyanocobalamine stating that it is not found in nature and that it is bound to a cyanide molecule which is poisen. I do understand that the amount is not that high, but would like to know if due to these reasons Methylcobalamin would be a better choice?

    Thank you in advance and best wishes,
    Karina




    0
  79. Karina,

    First some a clarification, cyanocobalamin contains cobalt not cyanide as it metal molecule….huge difference….and did you know that it’s used for cyanide poisoning and FDA approved for this since 2006 ?

    My personal experience is the use of either methyl or hydroxy cobalamin, is preferable. One of the reasons we don’t use the cyano is the cobalt build up, over time, and most of the injectables on the market are complexed with preservatives.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




    0
  80. What are your thoughts on all oils, onion, garlic, chives, leeks, wheat, brussels sprouts and all foods that may people consider healthy but are acid and mucus forming for humans? I am of course referring to Professor Arnold Ehret’s recommendations and foods listed in his many books and also in Ragnar Berg’s Food Analysis tables. Thank you.




    0
    1. Hi, Mark. This is a big question with many answers, but I’ll try to be brief.
      Dr. Greger agrees that oils can be harmful to health. You can find out more here: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/ and here:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-clog-arteries/
      His opinions on onion and garlic may be found here:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/inhibiting-platelet-activation-with-garlic-and-onions/
      Chives and leeks have not really been covered here on NF, but they are allium family members, like garlic and onions, and are likely to have similar effects in the body.
      Wheat is covered here: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/gluten-free-diets-separating-the-wheat-from-the-chat/
      Brussels sprouts have not been specifically covered here on NF either, but they are members of the brassica family, which have numerous documented health benefits. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-broccoli-receptor-our-first-line-of-defense-2/
      I hope that helps!




      0
  81. Can anyone help me with a B12/B vitamin question? As an insurance policy, I sometimes like to take a whole foods B complex vitamin when busy and unsure I’m getting enough B vitamins. It has a tremendous amount of B12. Should I be worried about an imbalance or the B vitamins competing with one another? I’m guessing I wouldn’t have to worry about them competing with B vitamins found in my food throughout the day, even if it was the case with the complex vitamin, since it’s my understanding that we use and excrete B vitamins very quickly. But don’t we store B12 quite well? Dr. Greger says not to worry about getting too much, but then does that mean I don’t have to worry about it competing with other B vitamins?
    Oh how I wish we could just eat dirt and hangout in fruit bearing trees like the good ol’ days… sigh… simpler times.




    0
    1. Hi there S,

      Thanks for your question. I’m a volunteer for Dr. Greger, so hopefully you’ll find my response helpful.

      You should not need to worry about vitamin B12 competing with absorption of other B vitamins. They all use different receptors and are absorbed fairly easily by the body. As long as you have a good balance of whole plant foods in your diet and adequate caloric intake, I see no reason to take a supplement of any B vitamins except vitamin B12, which you should take if you are not consuming any animal products.

      But even if you do take the B-complex supplement, competition for absorption should not be an issue.




      1
  82. For those of us that have had our gallbladder removed, do we need additional supplementation to ensure adequate absorption of EFAs? Thank you!




    1
  83. Hello, I am very confused regarding the daily amount of Vitamin B12. Your recommendation is for 250mg (µg) per day. Here in the UK most of the Vitamin B complex supplements available show a tiny amount – typically 2.5mg – and this is shown as 100% NRV. This would mean taking 100 tablets a day to match your recommendation. This can’t be right… right? I hope you can clear this up for me and others.
    Many thanks




    0
  84. Hi Phil,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks for your question.

    Dr. Greger recommends 2,500 micrograms once per week or 100 micrograms daily. 2,500 micrograms is equal to 2.5 miligrams (mg). You should be able to find these supplements online or at a local supplement store for fairly cheap.

    I hope this helps to answer your question!




    0
    1. Hi Paul. I am one of the volunteer moderators here at NF.org. This link answers your question. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dangers-of-dietary-supplement-deregulation/. I think each company must be researched very thoroughly. More importantly, eating a balanced and varied diet will help us naturally meet all nutritional requirements. After all, the Okinawans achieved greater health and longevity the old fashioned way – a plant based diet and plenty of exercise. I doubt that they took supplements back in 1949, 1959, 1969, etc. If you do a video search, the “Living to 100” video is very informative.

      I can obtain all of my calcium through food alone. I use a free app every once in awhile to assess my routine. I suspect you can too :)




      1
      1. My calcium came back under and Vit D.
        Maybe its related to my Vit D why calcium is under.
        I can hear my bones clicking and feel very weak when moving so just feel really fragile.

        I hear a lot about K2 so thinking of getting along with D2.

        I just wish if i knew if selinum, zink etc was ok as that was only reason i was considering multivit.

        Do you take any supplements?




        0
  85. No need to be sorry! Yep, it’s me again- one of the volunteers. In the past, I have taken supplements. Loads of them. Three months later, I completely gave them all up. It seemed as if I were spending a ton of money with very few results. Absorption is an issue. Just because one swallows a pill doesn’t mean that the “good stuff” is actually being absorbed through one’s small intestine and into the bloodstream. In one of Dr. Greger’s comments, he talks about a vitamin B12 pill under the tongue. It’s easier to absorb that way. I concur. I’ve also done a bit of research. Other cultures probably had better access to some of their micronutrients (better food sources years ago- like fresh seaweed!), but most of us aren’t so lucky. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling fragile. Please consider whole foods first and then talk to a professional if need be. If our diet is balanced, then very few supplements should be required. My goal is to not need more than one. Good Luck !




    0
  86. I need to supplement D3 i heard the IU was wrong so does this mean Dr Gregger need to update his videos and is wrong?

    Please reply as i don’t know how to find out or read the studies. Any insigt from what you gather is helpful.

    Study 1 (Light Version)
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150317122458.htm

    Study (Peer-Review More Heavy Version)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210929/

    What is the recommended IU and is it correct




    0
  87. Based on Google link research(sic) I find:

    – Fish-based Omega-3 EPA/DHA are not sustainable, nor is their source, krill oil.

    – most vegetable sources such as seeds, contain mostly AHA which has very low efficiency of conversion to EPA/DHA

    – now comes the recommendations to use algal oil. The species Schizochytrium provides DHA and is available in expensive supplement form

    – EPA is not in the most often mentioned algal sources, and is stated to be available in “brown” algae.

    – search of the various usual sources of supplements turns up no products based on brown algae and being therefore high is EPA

    Can Dr. Gregor offer recommendations of brands that contain either or both EPA and DHA in algae sourced form?




    0
  88. Hello! I’ve been recently experiencing some pretty heavy brain fog. The feeling of not being able to think clearly, retrieve information, being mildly confused, and worst of all, being “Half here, half somewhere else” when around loved ones is really beating me up. I’ve never experienced this. I am a 6 foot 237lb plant-based man who exercises regularly. I generally struggle with low hunger, and my fiance strongly believes I don’t eat enough. I have a major issue with not being able to simply shove as much food in my mouth. Can brain fog be related to me switching from more grain-based foods and eating less frequently to a lower calorie diet of mostly fruits and vegetables with little grain?

    I am a huge lover of all of your work @ NutritionFacts.Org and I am eternally grateful for any direction/input on my situation.




    0
  89. Hey Kyle! So happy that you love the NutritionFacts.org site. I’m Crystal, a nutritionist and moderator with NutritionFacts.org, and I’ll do my best to help you.

    Your daily caloric needs should be roughly 3700 to maintain your current weight. You can calculate the exact calorie needs using an online calorie calculator. If you consume the exact calories or close to this amount, you should be eating enough, as long as you include a variety of plant-based foods.

    The brain fog can be a symptom of gluten sensitivity, zinc deficiency or hormonal blood sugar imbalances. Zinc deficiency is common in men eating vegan diets and zinc is essential for mental clarity. The key is to eat a balanced diet full of a variety of plant-based foods and make sure you are getting enough zinc.

    You might find this article interesting: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/2/347S.full




    0
  90. I’m in the UK, the daily recommendation is 10 mcg of vitamin B12. Im confused as to why why you recommend 250mcg. Is it 250mcg for a vegan diet or for everyone.
    Many thanks




    0
  91. Hi Elaine,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

    I can’t find anywhere that says that the recommendation in the UK is 10 mcg of vitamin B12. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but I couldn’t find any evidence for that. Dr. Greger’s recommendation is 2,500 mcg or cyanocobalamin-based vitamin b-12 once per week. A daily intake of 250 mcg is based on that fact that a small percentage of that dose will be absorbed, and there aren’t any worries about getting to much B-12, so better to be safe than sorry. This is especially true because some people have very poor absorption of vitamin B-12.

    I hope this helps answer your question!




    0
  92. Hello, thank you for all the work you, NutritionFacts.org, do. Your work has greatly benefitted me.

    I’m wondering how to respond to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that suggests a correlation between vitamin B supplements and lung cancer. Would you help me evaluate this article and implications it might have? (Long-Term, Supplemental, One-Carbon Metabolism–Related Vitamin B Use in Relation to Lung Cancer Risk in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) Cohort, http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2017.72.7735?journalCode=jco).




    0
  93. I was just looking at Dr. Greger’s video on Parkinson’s and Uric Acid, and doing a bit of research on kidney failure, and it seems confusing to keep track of all the different blood components that have to be in perfect balancein these and other conditions. So, it occurred to me that it would be really helpful to have a list of ideal ranges for various parameters measured in bloodwork, similar to the optimal nutrition recommendations.

    I don’t really expect tht to be a post o the site, as I’m sure Dr. Greger is way too busy for stuff like that nowadays, but does anyone have any resources that list optimal–as opposed to merely “normal”–reference ranges for bloodwork for those on WFPB?




    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This