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Vitamins for Vegetarians

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our The Nutri-Con Campaign page.

Q. Dear Umbra,

Hi. I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I am worried that due to my diet I may be lacking in omega 3 fatty acids. I was wondering if you could recommend a vegetarian-friendly omega-3 vitamin and also a daily multivitamin. I also wanted to make sure that vitamins aren't bad for the environment before I start buying them. Any help or guidance you could give would be greatly appreciated.



New York, NY 

A. Dearest nellatterb,

I am flattered that you've come to me for guidance. However, Grist's highly trained legal department (which really only consists of this yellow legal pad I just found) would like me to remind you that your friendly neighborhood Umbra is neither a doctor nor a nutritionist, and to consult the proper degree-wielding personnel (look for the ones deep in debt with beaming extended family members).

Now that's out of the way! So you're trying to eat a well-rounded, meatless-but-egg-and-dairy-inclusive diet. I've heard lovely things about cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D and those elusive omega-3s, but as it involves, you know, a fishy's liver, it's out. Fortunately, certain plant and nut oils also contain this nutritional gem. To wit, it reportedly "lowers triglycerides, reduces the risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease, slows the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques ('hardening of the arteries'), and lowers blood pressure slightly." So sayeth the Mayo Clinic.