The Evidence-Based Trio: 3 Nutrients Every Plant Eater Needs

We constantly get questions about what supplements to take if you’re on a plant-based diet, which supplements we take, and why. This is definitely an important and widespread question, and we’ll definitely do a more in depth What’s The Deal style episode on some more supplements and the supplement industry in general, but we wanted to focus on the three primary nutrients of concern for the plant-based population — collectively known as the evidence-based trio —due to their stature and importance in the scientific literature. The science is pretty clear that anyone on a plant-based diet, even if you eat a super healthy one, should be supplementing with these three nutrients due to their physiological importance but also the fact that they are very very difficult to get in sufficient amounts in the plant kingdom. So if you’re curious about what supplements to take on a plant-based diet, these are the Big Three that are pretty much non negotiable. In this episode we go through the data and the science behind them and why they are so important.

Full disclosure: this episode is a collaboration between us and Lightdrop, the new company that Jackson has started working for that produces the product Complement, which is a supplement of these three nutrients. We believe strongly in the science behind the product and use it every day. They are supporting us through the sale of each bottle you buy, and we’re more than happy to spread the word on Complement, which is a vegan product created by vegans which is important in helping the plant-based community thrive. We’re thrilled to announce a very special offer for the listeners of this show: get the evidence-based trio in one, easy to use, and high quality spot with Complement for only $1 per day. Save 10% on the lifetime of your subscription by visiting and use discount code TFF at checkout. Legit.

For all relevant data and resources regarding the information presented in this episode, check out the show notes below to go further down the science rabbit hole to learn more. We just didn’t have time to cover everything! Disclaimer: we’re not medical doctors and the information in this podcast and others is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical treatment or treat or cure any disease. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any significant lifestyle changes.

Thank you so so much to our 111 (as of writing this post) Patrons. We’re nearly a quarter of the way to our 2018 goal, and have been blown away by the support of our Patreon crew. You guys are killing it and playing an integral role in the future of TFF’s mission success and investing in the future of the plant-based movement. Learn more about the exclusive perks (like gaining early access to our latest merchandise) by visiting our Patreon page.

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Okay everyone. Enjoy the show, and take control of your health and ensure your dialed with these nutrients of concern. PEACE!

-Jackson and Aaron

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Show Notes


  2. Herbert V. Staging vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) status in vegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May;59(5 Suppl):1213S-1222S.
  3. Herrmann W, Schorr H, Obeid R, Geisel J. Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jul;78(1):131-6.
  4. Messina M, Messina V. The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc., 1996.
  5. Davis JR, Goldenring J, Lubin B. Nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency in infants. Am J Dis Child. 1981(Jun);135:566-7.
  6. Lloyd-Wright Z, Allen N, Key TJ, Sanders TB. How prevalent is vitamin B12 deficiency among British vegetarians and vegans? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. 2001(Jul):174A.
  7. Hokin BD, Butler T. Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B-12) status in Seventh-day Adventist ministers in Australia. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):576S-578S.
  8. Crane MG, Sample C, Patchett S, Register UD. “Vitamin B12 studies in total vegetarians (vegans). Journal of Nutritional Medicine.1994;4:419-430.

Vitamin D

  1. Vitamin D Deficiency. John H. LeeJames H. O’KeefeDavid BellDonald D. HensrudMichael F.Holick
  2. Outila, T. A., KÄRKKÄINEN, M. U. M., SEPPÄNEN, R. H., & Lamberg-Allardt, C. J. E. (2000). Dietary intake of vitamin D in premenopausal, healthy vegans was insufficient to maintain concentrations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and intact parathyroid hormone within normal ranges during the winter in Finland. Journal of the American Dietetic Association100(4), 434-441.
  3. Armas, L. A., Hollis, B. W., & Heaney, R. P. (2004). Vitamin D2 is much less effective than vitamin D3 in humans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism89(11), 5387-5391.
  4. Trang, H. M., Cole, D. E., Rubin, L. A., Pierratos, A., Siu, S., & Vieth, R. (1998). Evidence that vitamin D3 increases serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D more efficiently than does vitamin D2. The American journal of clinical nutrition68(4), 854-858.
  5. Chan, J., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., & Fraser, G. E. (2009). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of vegetarians, partial vegetarians, and nonvegetarians: the Adventist Health Study-2. The American journal of clinical nutrition89(5), 1686S-1692S.
  6. Heaney, R. P., Armas, L. A., Shary, J. R., Bell, N. H., Binkley, N., & Hollis, B. W. (2008). 25-Hydroxylation of vitamin D3: relation to circulating vitamin D3 under various input conditions. The American journal of clinical nutrition87(6), 1738-1742.


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