How Does Iron Deficiency Affect Athletic Performance?

two women doing press ups

Diet is one of the most vital elements of an athlete’s lifestyle, bringing a huge influence to bear on their well-being both in and out of competition, and the results they can achieve. Any micronutrient deficiency, such as high iron turnover can lead to poor results.

On the face of it, many people outside the sports nutrition sphere may consider protein to be the most important nutrient because it is so well marketed. On the flip side, iron is given little to no consideration, yet many athletes and people suffer a deficiency which can lead to a performance loss.

In this article we shall cover the following points:

  • Why would an athlete be iron deficient?
  • Importance of iron
  • Performance implications
  • Fatigue
  • Heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Final Note

Iron and Athletes

Optimal nutritional intake has been considered important for decades, with leaner and more muscle-bound athletes achieving better results and longer careers. With the advent of sports science as a discipline all of its own, however, diet has come under the microscope to an extent we had never seen before.

Professionals will eat to a certain schedule, from a specific menu, and use selected supplements to get the maximum level of performance from their bodies. 

While the typical “civilian” will have little in common with the professional sportsman or woman, we are all human. Some health conditions that affect people in general are also part of life for top athletes.

There are and have been professional soccer players who are asthmatic, NFL players with colitis, golfers with arthritis. The existence of a health problem, even one that affects you from birth, is not necessarily a bar to becoming a professional sports star.

At the same time, it would be irresponsible to deny that it complicates the process of reaching a higher level, and needs to be managed in order to stay there. When, for example, your health issue causes an iron deficiency, it is something to be addressed.

Why would an athlete have an iron deficiency?

air force marathon runners

An iron deficiency can result from any one of many different causes, with a primary relevant example being a condition such as Celiac disease, which prevents nutrients from being as well-absorbed as one would prefer.1

In the case of female athletes, there is the added consideration of cyclical blood loss as a result of menstruation.2

Furthermore, endurance athletes in general are susceptible to an iron deficiency due to an increase of need and a lack of dietary intake.3

Any athlete suffering from a condition such as endometriosis could very well experience anemia as a result of their blood loss, with iron deficiency leading to a long potential list of problems.4

Why is iron important to an athlete?

Iron is, not to put too fine a point on it, important to all of us. Our body uses it to create hemoglobin, which plays a vital part in transporting oxygen throughout the body. It also creates myoglobin, which delivers oxygen to the muscles.5

Without iron, we will very quickly experience fatigue, and we will also struggle to recover from any kind of muscle injury.6

For an athlete, this is of course all the more important – when they are training, they place their bodies under huge amounts of stress. Recovery periods are essential in athletics, which makes iron all the more important.7

This is just one part of why athletes have their diets mapped out for them by coaches and nutritionists.8 The right foods, and potentially supplements, have to be taken in the right amounts to ensure that an athlete can get the maximum benefit from their training.

One wrong step in the process can undo a great deal of progress, and be the difference between a winning performance and a “DNF” in the heats. As we look through the various aspects of iron’s importance to an athlete, we will underline just why it matters both in and out of competition.

Sports science and how it affects performance

starting blocks

While it would be an exaggeration to suggest that diet never mattered to the sports professionals of yesteryear, it’s certainly fair to say that it has never mattered as much as it does now.

Every sports club that can afford one has at least one nutritionist, usually a team of them. It doesn’t just matter what an athlete eats, but also when they eat it and how much of it.9

There will be different diet schedules for when the athlete is in competition, when they are off-season, when they are rehabbing an injury, and when they have a shorter turnaround than usual (such as during a major tournament). 

Even an amateur sports enthusiast will now, knowing the pivotal importance of matters such as metabolism rates and iron turnover, approach their diet in a more serious way, and will acknowledge that rates of absorption for some nutrients can be less than stellar.

Iron is one of those nutrients, whether or not the athlete has a health issue causing malabsorption. The results of deficiency in iron are a very serious matter for athletes both professional and amateur, as we’ll see now.10


As we’ve covered, a lack of iron in the body results in an insufficient level of hemoglobin and myoglobin, both of which are responsible for transporting oxygen to areas of the body that will need it.

Oxygen is what makes everything happen in the body; we talk about the importance of blood supply with regard to health, but what really matters is the oxygen that the blood is carrying. If your body is low on oxygen, and your heart is pushing less of it out to the various destinations around the body, you’re going to feel tired.11

Fatigue is detrimental to athletic performance for plenty of reasons, one of which is the undeniable fact that it simply decreases your ability to move at speed.

Furthermore, it affects you mentally, leading you to make poorer decisions (such as passing the ball to the wrong player or jumping too soon at a hurdle). It affects your technique in a negative way, which can lead not only to errors but also to injuries; watch a rugby player tackling the right way, and then the wrong way and you’ll see the difference – the latter can lead to a broken neck or traumatic brain injury.

Increased heart rate/shortness of breath

When the body cannot get myoglobin and hemoglobin around the body at the speed it needs to, the signal goes up that there is something wrong.

The brain essentially issues an emergency call for more oxygen, the heart starts pumping harder and faster than before, and the lungs start fighting to get more breaths in. In the panic, breath becomes shorter and more ragged, ironically getting less oxygen to the places it needs to go.12

An increased heart rate is bad news in general – it places you at risk of a cardiac event, and has all sorts of additional effects that are less than ideal at the best of times, but seriously inconvenient when attempting to play in a sports match or run a race. Along with shortness of breath, the effects also include lightheadedness, brain fog, chest pain, and fainting.


exhausted athlete

Perhaps a better word here would be “lassitude”, but to keep it simple, weakness will do. There are times in sport when you need to find a great deal of power, quickly.13

From the weightlifter going for a clean lift, to a distance runner kicking into the final bend, the importance of a surge of power at just the right time is essential. With an iron deficiency, one of the biggest problems is that you will go for that surge of power, and find it simply isn’t there. It’s often met with the body and brain’s realization that the power has gone, which is what leads to some athletes sinking to the ground mid-competition.

Furthermore, iron deficiency can cause an increased likelihood of cramp developing, particularly in the lower legs.14

You’ll often see it when watching a football match that has gone into extra time, or a tennis contest that has gone beyond the 6-6 stage in the final set. Players have done what they can, what they need to do, to be match-ready, but when the match takes more out of them than expected, they are more at risk of cramps. If you have an iron deficiency, this can occur much sooner than the fifth set.


When your body is dealing with a demand that it struggles to cope with, it is common to feel deeply thirsty. This is because muscles depend on water to become energized, recover adequately which will give you an extra degree of power and strength.15

If you’ve ever been on the verge of sleeping during the day, it’s a better idea to drink water than coffee – the former will give your body what it needs in a more sustainable way. After a tiring sports match, you may well reach for a bottle of water, because your body is crying out for hydration.

You may even reach for ice chips, as they provide an extra level of cooling on top of the re-energizing effect of the water. Here we have an additional tip that’s worth remembering: if you find yourself really craving ice chips, then it may well be a sign of an iron deficiency.16

The reason for this association is unclear, but the desire to chew ice (pagophagia) is medically understood to be a clear sign of iron deficiency – so if it is something you experience on a regular basis, make sure to get your levels checked.

Final Note

All in all, an iron deficiency can do a great deal of damage to a promising sports career, or put an end to your enthusiasm for amateur athletics. This why we include iron in our Military Muscle testosterone booster.

Getting to grips with the issue as soon as possible can allow you to make the changes that you need to keep going.

mil-tech pharma supplements


















Supplements Needed For Vegans

capsules on a table

The health benefits of veganism are many and varied, and making the decision to cut meat-derived products out of your diet will pay off in ways beyond the ethical, however, vegans may suffer from some nutrient deficiences by not eating animal products and may need supplements.

It has been reported by the National Institute of Health that while evidence is limited, a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with various health benefits.1

In this article we shall cover the following points:

  • Health benefits
  • Supplementing your diet
  • B12
  • Omega-3
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Final Note

Health Benefits of Vegan

Without animal products on your plate, your risk of heart disease reduces massively, and you become much less at-risk from various cancers. A paper published by the Nutrients Journal also notes that a vegan diet’s various mechanisms support fat loss, and when you add that to the ethical principles of veganism, it’s not hard to see the attraction.2

With that said, making the switch from a meat-eating diet to veganism does come with a few challenges, as any substantial change in lifestyle inevitably will. If your body is used to a certain nutritional profile, then changing that profile is going to have consequences – that much is inevitable.

While the long-term benefits appear obvious, there is a realistic chance that you’ll find the change difficult, as you come to terms with the relative absence of certain nutrients which are more plentiful in a diet that contains meat.3

As a result, it becomes a question of how you replace those nutrients, and for many vegans, this means finding the right dietary supplements.

Supplementing your vegan diet

spinach and kale

There are plenty of reasons people use dietary supplements. For some, it is a matter of necessity – various health conditions can mean that they don’t absorb the nutrients they do eat, and need to find a way to replace those.

For others, it may be that they have a dietary intolerance that prevents them from eating foods that contain certain nutrients – for example, people with lactose intolerance will need to find an alternative source of calcium. Naturally, if you are eating a meat-free diet, those nutrients you originally gained from the meat will need to be replaced, thus the benefits of a dietary supplement are clear. 

If you find the initial transition to a vegan diet to be difficult, then there is a greater likelihood of slipping from your initial decision. As we’ve noted above, the genuine health benefits of vegan eating are substantial, so replacing the nutrients you may be missing becomes a matter of self-care.

Therefore it is important to understand what you can do about those “missed” nutrients, and in this overview, we will look at the nutrients you can replace with a simple regime of supplements. All of the below are commonly available and will ease your switch to vegan eating.

Vitamin B12

Of all the vitamins required to support the human body and its processes, B vitamins are among the most important, and may be the single group most fundamental to health.4

Among the B vitamins that have been studied, B12 may have the greatest role to play. Processes such as the metabolizing of protein and production of red blood cells are hugely dependent on a healthy level of vitamin B12; so, too, is the functioning of your body’s nervous system. Becoming pregnant, and carrying a healthy baby to term, also relies on this vitamin.

While the vitamin can be found in organic veg such as mushrooms and spirulina (if those are grown in B12-rich soils), there is little in the way of evidence to show that consumption of those foods is enough to promote sufficient levels in the human body.

Supplementing the vitamin in the form of cyanocobalamin tablets up to 100mg a day will benefit anyone following a vegan diet as it has been identified that a lack of B12 can nullify any benefits otherwise associated with a plant-based intake.5

It is worth speaking to a doctor to potentially get your levels checked in advance.


There are two things the average person knows about Omega-3 fatty acids. Firstly, they are beneficial for brain health, offering excellent support for people who struggle with depression and ADHD.6

Secondly, they are prevalent in fish such as salmon and sardines. To get the optimum level of Omega-3 from a vegan diet is not so simple – while there are versions of the compound in soybeans, chia seeds and walnuts among other options, the signs are that they are not sufficient to provide the bodily levels that protect against depression, brain fog and potentially breast cancer.

To get the best benefit from Omega-3, supplementation is essential on a vegan diet. You’re looking for a product with high levels of EPA and DHA, as these are the compounds that deliver the greatest benefits for ongoing good health. The Vegan Society also recommends a daily dose of 250mg as they acknowledge those following a vegan diet barely consume any of these vital fats.7


Low dietary levels of iodine have a surprisingly far-reaching set of effects, starting with the fact that people not getting enough in their diet are prone to thyroid malfunction.8

There is a link between a non-functioning thyroid and obesity.9 You’ll gain weight, have low energy levels, be more prone to depression and forgetfulness. During pregnancy, low iodine levels can have a negative effect on a child’s ability to learn, and the effect can be irreversible. 

Iodised salt is one way of getting the compound in your system, and eating certain types of seaweed can also work. Aside from those, the only dietary sources are fish and dairy products10 – or to take a supplement. 150 micrograms a day should be enough for people on average, although pregnant women are advised to take more – around 220 – while those who are breastfeeding should up the dosage to 290mg a day.

Vitamin D

sunshine over sea, beach and grass

It would be easier to list the bodily processes that aren’t harmed by a deficiency in vitamin D, but to take the broadest possible explanation of its importance: your mood, memory, muscle growth, and immune function all depend on reasonable levels.11

The good news for vegans is that they don’t lose out much in comparison to meat-eaters when it comes to dietary levels of vitamin D. The bad news is that meat-eaters also get low levels of vitamin D from food. While there are some foods that contain a certain level, your main source is likely to be sunlight. Unfortunately, either climate with low sunlight or the concern of skin cancers restricts people’s exposure to the needed UVB radiation.

What this means is that everyone should be supplementing vitamin D especially in the winter months, and that includes vegans, since one of the vitamin’s functions is to ensure the effective metabolism of other nutrients.12

Vitamins D2 and D3 are essential supplements – especially as gaining the requisite amount of vitamin D through sunlight require you to expose your skin, without sunscreen, to direct sunlight. You can read more about vegan vitamin D supplements, here.


Many people, perhaps motivated by the crude stereotype of a vegan diet as being insufficient for gaining strength, are reluctant to adopt the diet fully. That this impression exists is due in no small part to the fact that meat is a primary dietary source of iron. Iron boosts your immune function and protects against fatigue – and heme iron, which is found only in meat, is more readily absorbed by the body.13

You can gain some (non-heme) iron in your diet from pulses, nuts and dried fruits as well as cruciferous veg – but the most important thing is to speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing fatigue after becoming vegan.

Athletes, particularly female athletes are at the most risk of iron deficiency which can hinder performance.14

Before supplementing, you will benefit from knowing where your ferritin and hemoglobin levels are. If they’re low, supplements will help – but if they’re already high, raising them higher can actually do more harm than good.


man doing bicep curls in the gym

Though foods don’t tend to be sold on the basis of their provision of high levels of zinc, the fact is that this nutrient is pretty pivotal in terms of overall body health.

An absence of zinc in your diet can lead to hair loss, delayed wound healing, diarrhea, low levels of testosterone, and even erectile dysfunction.15 16 This is why we include zinc in both of our products which you can read about, here.

In concert with protein, it has a major part to play in wellness in the long term, including with regards to cell regeneration and immune function. It can be found in whole grains, tofu, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The last three on that list will be particularly well-absorbed in the body if they are soaked overnight before consumption. 

In order to ensure that you are getting enough zinc, particularly if you aren’t fond of the foods on the list above, it is worth supplementing with zinc citrate or zinc gluconate compound. Approximately 10mg a day will be enough, although lactating mothers could benefit from more, in the range of 15mg if supplements can be found in that amount.


Although the vital element that is calcium can be found in a list of vegetables that includes Bok choy, broccoli, chickpeas, and kale, the truth is that even the most assiduous vegan will struggle to get the amount that an omnivore will be able to consume.

There are arguments that vegans don’t need as much calcium, as one of its dietary roles is balancing out the acidity that a carnivorous diet can cause, but studies do show that if you are not getting the RDA of 525mg of calcium a day, you will be at increased risk of bone fractures compared to those who are.17

In truth, it is extremely difficult to eat anywhere near to that amount of calcium without having dairy products in your diet, so if you are committed to making a vegan diet work, calcium is a fundamental supplement for you to take. Along with a diet rich in vegan sources of the nutrient, this will help you avoid the worst aspects of calcium deficiency, such as reduced bone density.

Final note regarding supplements for vegans

All of the above nutrients are easily found in supplement form, and there are few risks involved in taking supplements unless otherwise indicated. However, we would recommend speaking with a doctor before making a substantial change in your diet such as switching to veganism. They, better than we ever can, will know your specific medical situation and how it may affect the benefits of diet and supplements.

mil-tech pharma supplements



















Benefits of Dietary Supplements

person holding a supplement capsule

Dietary supplements are rising in popularity due to the multitude of health benefits they can provide. They are becoming a staple in many diets across the world. 1

Due to the hundreds of dietary supplements that exist, it can be overwhelming finding which may work for you. Or, it can be confusing which to take for the best benefits. Thus, this article will cover everything you need to know in regards to the benefits of dietary supplements. Plus, the best dietary supplements and ingredients for the benefits.

We shall cover the following details in this article:

  • Dietary supplements definition
  • Improve sleep
  • Cognition
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Bowel health
  • Metabolism
  • Healing
  • Inflammation
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Energy
  • Final note

Dietary Supplements Definition

man holding protein shaker

First, let’s begin with what dietary supplements are and how they work.

Dietary supplements are consumable products that can replace or increase the nutrients in your diet. These can be taken in a variety of ways including capsules, gummies, pills, drinks, and tablets. These are to be taken in addition to your usual diet, or as a replacement for a lacking nutrient. Athletes and people, in general, should always take a ‘food first approach to nutrition. 2

For instance, if you eat a plant-based diet, you will eliminate meat, poultry, and dairy products from your diet. Eliminating fish can reduce the amount of omega-3 fatty acids your body receives. The body needs omega-3’s to reduce inflammation and inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease and arthritis. 3

Therefore, to prevent the risk of developing these diseases, you will need to consume omega-3’s another way, such as through taking supplements.

Replacing nutrients is just one of the many benefits of dietary supplements. People of most ages and all lifestyles can consume dietary supplements to reap the benefits. If you wonder if and how they can benefit you, here is more on the benefits of dietary supplements.

Improve sleep

Several dietary supplements can be consumed to improve sleep. No matter if you suffer from insomnia or irregular sleeping patterns, using chamomile or melatonin supplements can help relax the mind and the body and aid you to sleep better.

For instance, melatonin is a natural hormone that your body produces to promote sleep. It works to tell your body it is time to sleep by regulating your sleep-wake cycle.4

Your body can be deprived of melatonin due to a lack of sun exposure or melatonin-rich foods, such as fish, eggs, milk, and goji berries. If you lack these melatonin-boosting ingredients or lifestyle habits, you may have a poor sleeping pattern. Thus, a dietary supplement can improve sleep and the sleep-wake cycle.

Treat mental health issues

woman looking down

Many herbal dietary supplements can help treat and manage mental health issues. Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can be caused due to a non-nutritious diet. As an example, eating lots of fatty and sugary foods often found in a western diet is associated with a high risk of depression.5

It is important to maintain a nutritious diet to reduce the development of such issues. Yet, these issues can be further prevented through dietary supplements. For instance, Ashwagandha is a plant-derived nutrient that has been used for centuries to treat anxiety.

It is often taken as capsules to help manage and reduce stress and anxiety-related symptoms. Its active ingredients can decrease cortisol levels, which can improve and sustain a better quality of life.6

A happier mood can eliminate the symptoms of depression. When taken consistently, this mood and a reduced feeling of depressive symptoms may be able to be maintained.

Lower cholesterol

Diet is a big part of heart health. If your diet lacks nutrients that regulate heart health, you could be faced with high cholesterol, heart disease, and artery issues.

Dietary supplements that are profound for their heart health benefits include foods associated with a Mediterranean-type diet.7 When a person integrates these dietary choices into their nutrition or uses dietary supplements including vitamins and minerals sourced from these foods, their cholesterol levels can reduce or maintain at a healthy level. If your diet restricts or consumes a small number of such nutrients, supplements can be a good substitute.

Promote regular bowel movements

Irregular bowel movements can be a cause of a poor diet or lifestyle routine, or due to medical conditions. If you suffer from irregular bowels, you may benefit from consuming dietary supplements.

If your diet lacks fiber, you should increase your fiber intake and consider fibrous supplements. Fiber-rich supplements can help regulate bowel movement, whether you suffer from diarrhea or constipation.8

Proper nutrition along with maintaining hydration and some supplements can help aid digestion, for an improved digestive cycle.

Stimulate metabolism

woman eating healthy food

Speaking of the regulation of nutrient breakdown, slow metabolism is a common issue. A slow metabolism can be caused by skipping meals, medical conditions, hormone imbalances, age, and even sleep.9 Your metabolism can be improved by a healthy and balanced diet, as well as taking dietary supplements. To stimulate and maintain a good metabolism, it is beneficial to consider both.

Dietary supplements that contain caffeine and green tea have some scientific backing that shows they can stimulate metabolism and kickstart nutrient and fat burning.10 This can prevent the risk of weight gain, depleting muscles, and poor sleep.

Heal the skin

Dietary supplements provide more benefits than just the inside of the body and the mind. They can also help improve the skin. It can be easy to develop skin issues with a poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle habits.11 Thus, eliminating bad habits, eating a good diet, and taking supplements can help significantly improve the skin.

Healthy skin is better at healing and preventing skin issues, such as acne or dermatitis. Fish oil, vitamin D, collagen, and vitamin A12 are just a few dietary supplements that can help improve the skin’s health.

Reduces inflammation

Reducing inflammation is important for many bodily functions. It can help with reducing skin issues, treating inflammatory joint diseases, heart conditions, and neurogenerative diseases just to name a few.

Dietary supplements can help reduce inflammation throughout the body to avoid, treat, or manage health conditions. These include vitamin E, omega-3, vitamin K, and vitamin D. 13 Although these dietary ingredients can be found in foods, they may be restricted for certain people, in the case of vitamin D people may not get enough sun and it has limited availability in foods. Or, a person may wish to double their intake of the ingredients to enhance the effects. Thus, taking a dietary supplement to attain this benefit is ideal.

Avoid nutrient deficiencies

healthy foods

One of the key reasons to take dietary supplements is to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Many eating and lifestyle choices can mean certain food groups are eliminated from diets. A vegan, for example, eliminate all meat and fish produce from their diets. Meat and fish are rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and more, which are needed to prevent health conditions and maintain good health. A such a person on a plant-based diet may which to include a B12, iron, and zinc supplement in their diet.14

Omega-3’s are a common nutrient that vegetarian or vegan diets lack. Omega-3’s are an essential nutrient for reducing inflammation, improving mood, increasing energy, and enhancing the oxygen supply within the body.15 Thus, taking omega-3 dietary supplements can help a person attain these benefits without having to reintroduce the food sources into the diet, which could go against their lifestyle choices. Therefore, unless you keep a close eye on your intake as a vegan, we strongly recommend that you take a number of supplements to keep your health in check.

Restore energy, reduce fatigue and improve cognition

A lack of energy can have negative effects on the mind and body. It can cause depression, a lack of motivation to exercise, and reduce productivity. It can also cause an increase in fat storage, which can cause weight gain and potentially heart conditions. To avoid a lack of energy, the body must consume certain nutrients.

B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C are just a few dietary nutrients that are essential for increased energy. If your diet lacks that, or you need an extra boost of energy, you can benefit from taking dietary supplements with these micronutrients.16

However, let’s not forget the macronutrients that provide our main sources of energy, these are carbohydrates, fats and protein. As a result, many functional foods geared towards sports include protein bars and electrolyte drinks or gels which can help improve the performance of an athlete.17

Final Note

As you can see, there is an abundance of health benefits that dietary supplements can offer. From reducing inflammatory diseases to treating mental health issues, consumers can attain a variety of benefits depending on which supplement they choose to take.

If you wish to obtain several health benefits but do not wish to consume lots of daily supplements, there are combined supplements that contain multiple ingredients. For instance, a sports supplement can often contain other vitamins, such as A, C, and E, which can offer the consumer to attain the following benefits – healthy bones, prevent the risk of heart disease, and treatment for skin issues.

Before consuming supplements, it is important to assess your health. Certain medications or medical conditions can contraindicate with certain vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes. Instead of improving your overall health and attaining the benefits, consuming supplements could worsen your health. Thus, be careful before taking supplements and ensure they are safe for you to take.

Most dietary supplements should be taken on a full stomach. Taking supplements on an empty stomach can increase the risk of side effects. The most common side effects are mild and include nausea, stomach cramps, weakness, toilet troubles, and bloating. If these side effects occur and persist, it is best to stop taking the supplements and seek medical help. However, side effects are not overly common and most people are safe to consume dietary supplements that contain natural ingredients.

If you are looking to improve your health and reap the benefits certain supplements can offer, then you can benefit from taking such ingredients.

mil-tech pharma supplements



















What are dietary supplements?

hand holding supplement pills

The popularity of dietary supplements is exponentially growing. Some are used for weight loss, others are used for health aids or an easy way to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Thus, many people question whether they need dietary supplements to increase their nutrient intake or to assist with good health. Especially those who are lacking certain food sources in their diets.

If you want to find out more about dietary supplements, keep reading…

In this article we shall cover the following points:

  • What are dietary supplements used for?
  • How do dietary supplements work?
  • The main reasons for taking supplements
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Is it worth taking supplements?

What Are Dietary Supplements used for?

blue capsule

Dietary supplements are a way to supplement a nutrient into your diet via a capsule, tablet, pill, or liquid form. Other variations of supplements include infused consumable products, such as gummies, energy bars, and drinks.

The most common way to take supplements is through capsules, which contain nutrients that are often extracted from certain food sources. These can either be derived from multiple food sources or just one. For instance, you can consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements, or omega-3 fatty acid supplements combined with B12.

Using a combination of food sources in supplements helps the user attain both nutrients in one capsule. However, it can reduce the dose of each nutrient. Thus, if you aim to take a high dosage of one nutrient, a single nutrient supplement may provide the best benefits.

Unlike vitamins, dietary supplements also contain botanicals, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and many other beneficial ingredients for good health. [1]

As much as vitamins are beneficial for your growth, energy levels, and bone strength, the body also needs the additional ingredients that dietary supplements provide.

For instance, botanicals are essential for improved immune health, which can slow aging and maintain cardiovascular strength. Thus, taking dietary supplements is a great way to attain all of the essentials your body needs in one product. [2]

How Do Dietary Supplements Work?

After taking a dietary supplement, the ingredients will locate and target the places in the body that they benefit and improve the function.

For instance, vitamin D is one of the most popular dietary supplements. Taking vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium better and strengthens the bones. [3]

When taken, the supplement product (whichever you choose) will pass from the bloodstream and directly into the liver. In the liver is where the magic occurs. Vitamin D converts in calcitriol in the liver and is then released back into the bloodstream and from there, the benefits occur.

Most users of dietary supplements do not simply use them to make up for what they are missing. But, they use them to boost their health, which is a healthy mindset to have. Yet, dietary supplements are very beneficial for those with nutrient deficiencies.

If you have a nutrient deficiency, dietary supplements are one of the best ways to attain the missing nutrients and other ingredients without changing your diet. For instance, if you eat a plant-based diet you may lack omega-3 fatty acids as these come from fatty fish, which is a food vegans eliminate. Thus, taking omega-3 fatty acids dietary supplements will help a vegan attain the nutrient without having to add it back into their diet.

Dietary supplements are a powerful way to maintain your diet and lifestyle choices and not have to suffer a nutrient deficiency. Nutrient deficiencies can cause a multitude of health issues, from reduced athletic performance, digestion problems to skin disorders. [4]

The Main Reasons For Taking Dietary Supplements

man and woman jogging by a river

Aside from nutrient deficiencies being one of the main reasons to take dietary supplements, there are other reasons people choose to consume them.

In an ideal world, the body can get enough sleep, food, and hydration naturally. Yet, it is not always easily attainable. You may follow a certain diet (a vegan or calorie-restrictive diet) or have a lifestyle that does not allow the body to have enough hydration or sleep.

Alternatively, where you live may mean that you don’t get adequate nutrition. For instance those living in the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere can easily become vitamin D deficienct, as such a supplement is recommended by health organizations. [5]

Thus, dietary supplements are powerful for many reasons.

Nutrient absorption

Nutrient absorption naturally decreases as you age. Lacking the capability to absorb nutrients is unpreventable yet can be made better with dietary supplements. [6]

When the body starts to find it difficult to break down nutrients and therefore absorb them, dietary supplements that contain digestive enzymes help break down essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and more. Thus, supplements can help restore the nutrient absorption balance.

Exercise increases the need for nutrients

If you exercise regularly, your body is more likely to need more nutrients and energy. When you work out, through cardiovascular and/or weight or body training, your body uses up the nutrients within your body.

After your body has used up the stored nutrients, you will need to replace them. As exercise uses up the nutrients within your body faster than a routine without exercise, you will need to replenish those nutrients much quicker.

Consuming dietary supplements after exercise will help restore energy levels and also help with recovery, especially muscle recovery. For instance, consuming protein-enriched supplements, such as whey, will help repair worked muscles. Female athletes are particularly susceptible to suffering from an iron deficiency which should be monitored. [7]

Not only can dietary supplements help recover your body after exercise, but it is also essential to maintain energy levels and nutrient stores in the body. [8]

Avoid harmful chemicals

Environmental factors can have a significant impact on our bodies needing extra vitamins and minerals. Pollution can cause our bodies to consume harmful toxins, which will cause our body to require these nutrients that dietary supplements can provide. For instance, antioxidant-rich supplements have the potential fight off toxins and restore our immune health. [9]

Moreover, we can also consume harmful chemicals through the foods we consume. Pesticides and herbicides are often sprayed onto our foods, which can attack our digestive and immune systems. Thus, taking dietary supplements can help protect and restore these systems.

Improves overall health

Disease prevention is crucial to prevent expensive health issues and taking daily dietary supplements can help avoid those bank-busting trips to the healthcare providers, particularly if you fall within a group that is susceptible to dietary deficiencies. [10]

Alongside dietary supplements, it is important and recommended to maintain regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet to attain and sustain good health.

As you can see, there are many benefits alongside avoiding nutrient deficiencies for taking dietary supplements. As well as preventing nutrient deficiencies, which can cause an array of health complications, dietary supplements can benefit exercise, improve your digestive and immune system, and optimize your nutrient absorption. [11]

Are There Any Side Effects Of Dietary Supplements?

As many healthcare products, such as medications, can cause side effects you may wonder if there are any side effects of dietary supplements.

Supplements can cause more side effects if taken on an empty stomach. This is due to a lack of food for the supplement’s ingredients to work with. The supplement will be more difficult to breakdown and therefore could cause the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Skin rashes
  • Weakness
  • Toilet troubles
  • Bloating
  • Cramps

The side effects will vary depending on the ingredients with the supplements. For instance, some ingredients may cause little to no side effects. Whereas others may can more.

Also, some ingredients may interact with other medications or medical conditions. For instance, if you suffer from kidney issues, taking vitamin C could increase the risk of kidney stones. [12]

Thus, it is important to avoid taking certain dietary supplements if you have allergies, medical conditions, or are taking contradicting medications.

Is It Worth Taking Dietary Supplements?

couple hiking

If you are wondering whether you will benefit from taking dietary supplements, then you should take a look at the information to provide in this article and work out your preferences. Take a look at your diet and lifestyle routine.

Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies relate to vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and folate. [13]

Therefore, if you lack certain nutrients due to diet preferences or choices, you may want to consider replacing those with dietary supplements to avoid deficiencies.

Physical Activity Levels

Or, if you exercise regularly and often feel depleted in energy, then supplements could replenish that energy. There is a multitude of benefits to taking dietary supplements for your exercise habits. If you regularly attend the gym and partake in high-intensity activity, dietary supplements can help repair muscles, increase energy for better performance, and replace the used nutrients for the day.

You must remember to maintain a healthy balanced diet alongside taking supplements. Although supplements can replace nutrients efficiently, the body cannot achieve the same synergistic energy from supplements as you can from natural food sources.

To provide your body with the nutrients it needs, avoid health problems, and preserve your body’s natural functions, dietary supplements are a great option.


Dietary supplements can hinder natural bodily functions if taken in exceedingly high doses. Thus, to ensure you maintain good health and do not compromise your health, always stick to the recommended dosage requirements for the given supplement.

Nutrition and a healthy body and mind are essential. Thus, taking dietary supplements can help you attain good health and prevent you from developing medical conditions and complications.

End Note

Before taking dietary supplements, it may be worth talking to a specialist to see what supplements you may be lacking or could benefit from taking. This will depend on your current diet and lifestyle. Everyones recommended dietary supplements will be different, so sticking to your own choices and recommendations will be best to attain optimal health.

mil-tech pharma ltd supplements















Can Vitamin D3 be Vegan?

jug of colored capsules

As a vegan, there are certain supplements that you will need to add to your diet to ensure that you are getting all of the essential vitamins necessary for your health, such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and vitamin D.

While there are vitamin D supplements available widely, many people will feel that they are unnecessary because the body can create vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. This is why it is known as the sunshine vitamin. 3 However, there are different strains of vitamin D, and both vitamin D2 and D3 are available from certain foods.

Vitamin D is an important vitamin for our bodies as it supports the regulation of healthy bones, muscle, supports the immune system, and can contribute to a healthy metabolism. It works by controlling the amount of calcium and phosphate is absorbed by the body. 2

Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan nutrition plan may need to add vitamin D3 into their diets, as without it, their bone health can suffer. 4 To maintain your vegan diet, it is important to understand what vitamins are essential to your health and whether you can get it naturally from the food you consume.

This is going to be a guide to vitamin D3 for people who wish to follow a vegan lifestyle, where we will provide all the information necessary to help you maintain your dietary plans while also supporting bone health, muscle growth, and your overall wellbeing.

What Is Vitamin D?

There are two types of vitamin D which is why it can be difficult to determine what kind you need and how it can work for vegans. Vitamin D2 is always vegan as it is made by plants and is known as ergocalciferol. However, for vegans, vitamin D3 is not as simple as it is mainly found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Thus, why food sources of D3 are not generally considered vegan.

Vitamin D3 is the kind of vitamin D that the body can naturally create when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but depending on the environment you live in, you might not be getting enough this way. So few of the global population get enough vitamin D that it is considered a major public health issue. 5 This is why it is often recommended to adults and children, whether they are vegan or not, to take vitamin D supplements during the winter months to increase their vitamin D levels when there is not a lot of exposure to sunlight. 6

Some natural sources of vitamin D3 can be vegan, as this vitamin can also be found in a vegan-friendly fungus called lichen, but vitamin D is more easily obtained through meat, fish, and other non-plant-based foods. This is why it is likely that those who are vegan will need to take something else to provide the necessary vitamin D supplementation for their body.

The two versions of vitamin D interact with the body in different ways due to the hormones they create. Vitamin D3 supplements create cholecalciferol which helps with bone health and provides the additional health benefits which we have already mentioned. Vitamin D2 can be just as important, but as this can be found in plant-based food products, it is not as much of a concern for vegans.

Do I Need To Take Vitamin D?

There are some clear signs of vitamin D deficiency that you should be aware of, as this will be an indicator that you need to start using a vitamin D supplement or increase your vitamin D intake through your diet.

While the majority of vitamin D can be created in the body and is available through some vegan foods, those who stick solely to plant-based diets are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency than those who eat animal products, as such vegans need to take a supplement. 7 Vitamin D deficiency is also more likely to occur during the winter months when people are less exposed to sunshine. However, even those suffering from a vitamin D deficiency may not notice any initial symptoms. 8

If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, the following symptoms show that you have a deficiency and need to increase your intake:

• Aches in the bones and joints
• An impaired immune system with a greater risk of infections
• Constipation
• Growth issues
• Gum disease

While it is not always so clear that the body is lacking in vitamin D, these are some of the issues that can arise when you are not getting the right amount of vitamins in your diet. Cholecalciferol, which comes from vitamin D, is vital for the health of the body, and vegans may need to improve their vitamin D intake through supplements.

Is Vitamin D3 Vegan?

As we have mentioned, there are two types of vitamin D – vitamin D2 is always vegan, as this vitamin can be found in plants. However, vitamin D3 is more commonly found in meat, fatty fish, dairy, and eggs which can mean that vegans do not get the necessary levels of vitamin D intake from their diet alone, this is why D3 isn’t commonly known as being suitable for vegan diets.

Vitamin D can also be created in the body through sun exposure, which is why vitamin D supplements are recommended to be taken by vegans and non-vegans during the winter months. In this time, exposure to sunshine drastically decreases, which reduces the amount of vitamin D and can impact the muscles and bones.

However, as vitamin D3 comes mainly from foods that are not suitable for vegans, it is suggested that people who follow a plant-based diet need to take a daily vitamin D supplement. Supplements are a great way to increase the levels of certain nutrients that cannot be found in our diet.

Not all vitamin D supplements are made the same way, and as a vegan, you need to be very careful about what you put into your body. There are some natural, vegan-friendly sources that can increase the vitamin D status of the body, which is ideal for those on plant-based diets. However, there are also vegan vitamin D3 supplements available if you know what to look for, although the manufacturing process tends to be more expensive to produce vegan D3.

To know whether a vitamin D supplement is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, we need to look into how the supplement was synthesized.

In most cases, in order to synthesize vitamin D3 supplementation requires a precursor which is obtained from sheep wool oil, meaning it is not suitable for vegans. In this process, a supplement made from cholecalciferol is derived from lanolin. Lanolin is extracted from sheep’s wool, and any supplement that contains this process is not suitable for plant-based diets.

There are newer processes to creating vitamin D supplements that can make them suitable for people who are vegan or vegetarian.

Usually, a vitamin D3 supplement that has been made chemically should be suitable for vegans as it will still contain good levels of cholecalciferol, which is vital for health but has been made manually in a lab. As it is not extracted from natural sources of vitamin D3, which is usually found in animal products, this kind of vitamin D supplement is suitable for those on meat-free diets.

There are some other forms of creating vegan vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 through microbial fermentation. This process of creating vitamin D in a supplement works through bacteria, fungi like lichen, and yeast which is also suitable for plant-based diets.

To ensure that the supplements you are taking are completely suitable for vegan dietary requirements, you might have to contact the manufacturer or look into the manufacturing process used to extract vitamin D. You can also look into whether the vegetarian society has supported the supplement as a suitable form of calcium and nutrients for vegan diets.

How To Get Vegan Vitamin D3

Some brands offer a vegan vitamin D3 supplement, such as our own Military Muscle whereas our Fertiligy product uses D2. These are both completely safe for vegan and vegetarian diets. The types of vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 have been obtained from plant sources, such as lichen and fungi.

Following the demand for vegan supplements 9, it is likely that there will be more choices for vegan people in the future as other brands follow suit.

Supplements are a way to increase vitamin D absorption in the body, prevention of muscle weakness and other health issues. Usually, this vitamin is found in foods such as oily fish, meat, and eggs which is why those who are vegan require an additional intake.

While some plant-based foods have a good vitamin D3 content, many vegans will likely need to get their nutrients in the form of a supplement to obtain the recommended daily intake of 200iu.

However, it is not just as simple as checking that your supplement includes a vegan version of vitamin D, you also need to clarify whether the supplement comes in the form of a capsule, and if so, is it gelatin or not?

If it is gelatin this means the product isn’t vegan-friendly (even if the source of vitamin D is). A plant-based and vegan-friendly alternative to look out for is HPMC, also known as Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose.

The HPMC capsule acts and looks exactly like a gelatin capsule but is produced from a vegetable source. While some supplements may be sprays or drops, a product that includes multiple nutrients such as those from Mil-Tech Pharma are often in capsule form. You can read more about vegan capsules, here.

To help you maintain your health and improve your daily intake of vitamin D3, we are going to share some natural and vegan sources of vitamin D.


As we have mentioned, vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it can be created naturally through exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet-B or UVB rays from the sunshine can provide enough vitamin D for most people, as long as you are being exposed to it.

Vitamin D is created in the body through the absorption of UVB rays by the skin, and it is recommended for most people to get at least 30 minutes of sun exposure a day to 20-30% of their body. 10 However, while the natural absorption of sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D for vegans, it does come with some issues.

This is a way to get vitamin D if you are living in a location with a lot of sunlight, which is why many people are required to use vitamin D supplements in the winter. Likewise, too much exposure to sunshine can increase the risk of skin cancer. If you are going to be exposing your skin to the sunshine to get the nutrients necessary, make sure you are protected.
This means adding a layer of sun cream to the skin before it is exposed to sunlight. You can also cover the skin using clothing to prevent sunburn.

Vegan Food

Vitamin D usually comes from food sources such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy – which is also an excellent source of calcium, which is also required for healthy bones. However, some plant-based food sources can be used to increase the intake of vitamin D.

As a vegan, you need to be careful about the kind of food you consume to maintain your diet and ensure you are getting the right nutrients, but there are still some good options available. Vitamin D3 can be found in some simple, everyday food sources, including some breakfast cereals, mushrooms, fortified orange juice. However, vegan food sources are limited.

Calcium-rich foods such as kale, broccoli, and collard greens are another great way to increase your vegan vitamin D3 intake and experience the benefits of this vitamin. It has also been reported that one of the best sources of vegan vitamin D3 and calcium is found in rice milk.

Various recipes can be found online that can inspire you to add more vitamin D3 products into your diet. Recipes are a great form of content for vegans and vegetarians as they can help you come up with new, fun, and tasty meals that are also very healthy.


Perhaps one of the best ways to get vitamin D3 into your vegan lifestyle is to use a supplement. As we have mentioned, our brands specialize specifically in vegan supplements where the nutrients come from lichen or fungi meaning they are completely plant-based.

You can find more information regarding the contents of a vitamin D supplement to ensure this is a suitable form of supplementation for your vegan lifestyle. Supplements that are derived from lichen and other plant-based products are best for vegans, as usually the process of synthesizing vitamin D relies on sheep wool.

It is very easy to buy and use one of our recommended vegan vitamin D supplements online. Simply select the product you want to buy through our product page, add it to the basket, and pay. All orders are processed quickly, come with free shipping, and you will be able to start to get the benefits of supplements from a vegan-friendly source.

Final Notes

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for your health and wellbeing. Increasing vitamin D can come with various benefits to your bones and muscles, which is why all people should make sure they are getting enough, whether they are vegan or not.

To ensure that you are maintaining your vegan lifestyle, there is certain information you need to obtain before using a supplement. A vegan vitamin D3 supplement will have come from plants or been chemically made, which is not the process that all brands use.

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for your health, and you can increase it easily using the methods in this article.

For more content like this, consult the menu on your browser. Share this content on social media using the links.

mil-tech pharma supplements