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At BeHumane, we are proud to bring you a natural, plant-based smoothie booster to assist you in optimising your intake of essential nutrients.

Essential nutrients

Essential nutrients are those which must be obtained through our diet and are essential for normal bodily functioning. Essential nutrients can be categorised as the following:

 - Vitamins e.g vitamin B12

 - Minerals e.g iodine

 - Fatty acids e.g omega-3 fatty acids

 - Some amino acids

Essential nutrition is different for all animal species. In the case of humans there are nine amino acids, two fatty acids, thirteen vitamins and fifteen minerals that are considered essential. Only one of these essential nutrients cannot be made naturally by plants, which is vitamin B12.

Research has shown that micro-nutrients of special concern to people following a whole-food plant-based diet include vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids. At BeHumane, we have developed a natural, plant-based, organic supplement to assist in meeting your daily vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 and iodine requirements. These nutrients are what I consider to be the most important nutrients to supplement a whole-food plant-based diet. They are in fact extremely important to consume regardless of diet.

Ref: 

  • Craig W.J. (2009). Health effects of vegan diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89, 1627-1633.
  • Krajcovicoa-Kudlackova M., Buckova K., Klimes L. & Sebokova E. (2003). Iodine Deficiency in Vegetarians and Vegans. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 47, 183-185.

 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential co-factor for the metabolism of every cell in the human body, particularly with regard to DNA synthesis. Eating a plant based diet means it is also absolutely essential to supplement the body with vitamin B12 with the recommended daily intake being 2.4mcg. The body can store up to 4 years worth of vitamin B12, so if you've recently converted to a plant based diet and your B12 is fine for now, your stores will eventually be depleted. Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria in the ground, which we would have naturally been exposed to through drinking from fresh water streams or pulling our vegetables directly from the soil. However, thanks to modern farming practices such as pesticide use and sanitising our water supply, these B12 producing bacteria are destroyed. This means that many people on a plant based diet do not receive sufficient B12 and research has shown that 26% of Australians have sub-clinical levels of vitamin B12. 

However, don't be fooled into thinking that you can get your B12 requirements naturally from meat either. The irony is, most cattle are deficient in B12 due to declining soil integrity secondary to intense over-farming practices and the fact that they are often grain fed. Thus a majority of the worlds vitamin B12 supplements are given directly to farmed animals. Therefore, whether you eat meat or plants, you are likely still getting your B12 requirements through a supplement. 

Our supplement is fortified with 100mcg of Cyanocobalamin. Yes, this means that it has a small amount of cyanide in the product. However, this form of B12 is physiologically the most stable and the most highly studied form of B12 in the literature. It is the form of B12 that doctors and dietitians recommend and the cyanide is in such minute concentrations that it has absolutely no effect on the body. For more information (including references) on why we have chosen the 100mcg dose of cyanocobalamin, visit our FAQ page on vitamin B12

Ref:

  • Moore E.M., Pasco J, A., Mander A., Sanders K.M., Carne R., Jenkins N., Black M., Schneider H.G., Ames D. & Watters D.A. (2014). The prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in a random sample from the Australian population. Journal of Investigational Biochemistry, 3, 95-100.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is used for calcium homeostasis. It is needed for strong bones, muscles and overall health. We have conveniently evolved to produce our own levels of vitamin D in the body through exposure to sunlight; however, we no longer run around naked and our sun exposure is often minimal. For this reason, we may need to rely on other sources of vitamin D in our diet. To assist in meeting your daily requirements of vitamin D, our formulation contains vitamin D3 from Lichen - see our FAQ section on Vitamin D for more information (including references) about Lichen and Vitamin D supplementation.

One of Australia's largest vitamin D studies conducted on 24,000 people over the age of 2 years found that up to 58% of Australians are deficient in the vitamin. Vitamin D3 supplementation has been shown to be superior to vitamin D2 in raising serum vitamin D levels in humans. Some mushrooms can make vitamin D2 when exposed to the sunlight; however, these need to be mushrooms that grow outside and most mushrooms from the supermarket are not exposed to sunlight. Lichen, on the other hand, is the only vegan source of vitamin D3 and is a safe and effective way of naturally increasing your serum vitamin D levels.

Ref:

  • Boyages S. & Bilinski K. (2012). Seasonal reduction in vitamin D level persists into spring in NSW Australia: implications for monitoring and replacement. Clinical Endocrinology, 77, 515-523.
  • Tripkovic L., Lambert H. Hart K. et al. (2012). Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Nutrition, 95, 1357-1364.

 

Iodine

Iodine is essential for thyroid function which has a number of roles including regulation of metabolism and the regulation of bone growth and neural development. Most people get their iodine from seafood because the oceans are a rich source of iodine. Interestingly, cow's milk has also previously been a source of iodine due to the fact that during sanitisation of the milk vats, iodine was used to kill bacteria in the tank which was then transferred into the milk during production. This practice is no longer common and therefore dairy is no longer a reliable source of iodine.

The best source of Iodine is sea vegetables, i.e. the dark green leafy vegetables of the sea. Sea vegetables are packed with trace minerals as they soak them up straight out of the sea water. The recommended daily intake is 150mcg/day but there is the potential for overdose and Iodine toxicity when intake exceeds > 1000mcg/day.

Our plant-based formula contains organic sea kelp from Canada with only small amounts of Iodine (approximately 100mcg) and is thus perfect to supplement a plant based diet. There are many other foods that contain iodine including bananas and potatoes, and it is also fortified in breads and salt, so we have only included 100mcg per serving in our formula to ensure there is no risk of overdosing.

Ref:

  • Storelli M.M. (2008). Potential human health risks from metals (Hg, Cd and Pb) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) via seafood consumption: Estimation of target hazard quotients (THQs) and toxic equivalents (TEQs). Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46, 2782-2788.

 

Omega 3's

There are only 2 fatty acids that are considered essential to the human diet: ALA (Alpha-Linolenic acid – omega-3 fatty acid) and LA (linolenic acid – omega-6 fatty acid). Now here’s the important part, DHA (Docosahexanaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) are not considered essential since they can be synthesised in the body.

ALA is a long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid consisting of an 18-carbon chain which can be converted to DHA (22-carbon chain) and EPA (20-carbon chain), which are also long chain fatty acids. Sanders et al. (2009) showed that vegans and vegetarians typically have lower levels of DHA and EPA but this has never been shown to be detrimental to their health. On the other hand, Saunders et al. (2013) showed absolutely no differences in the DHA and EPA levels between vegans and those who consume meat. The World Health Organisation recommends that we get 0.5% of our calories from long chain Omega-3 ALA which can then be converted to DHA and EPA. A study by Brenna et al. (2009) also showed that consuming a diet rich in ALA will significantly increase EPA and DHA levels in the blood.

We have included organic flaxseed meal combined with whole flaxseeds that are crushed during the mixing process in our supplement as they are a great source of ALA. One tablespoon of this supplement will meet your daily omega-3 requirements. To find out more about omega-3's please visit our FAQ's section on omega-3's.

Ref:

  • Sanders T. (2009). DHA status of vegetarians. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 81, 137-141
  • Saunders A.V., Davis B.C. & Garg M.L. (2013). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets. Medical Journal of Australia, 199, 5-45.
  • Brenna J.T., Salem Jr N., Sinclair A.J. & Cunnane S.C. (2009). Alpha-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in humans. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 80, 85-91.