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February 10, 2012 / vitashine

German study suggests Vitamin D deficiency as high as 89% in older population

A German study has found Vitamin D deficiency as high as 89% in older aldults with a staggering 64% found to be severely deficient in the vitamin:-—$800700870.php

The study of vitamin D levels in 1500 seniors is of particular interest as it is this demographic who are particularly associated with bone fracture risk, a problem vitamin D is know to help with reducing,


February 9, 2012 / vitashine

Canadians suggest Vitamin D to reduce Healthcare budget

A Canadian MP has suggested to parliament that the healthcare costs of the country can be decreased dramatically simply by supplementing diets with Vitamin D:-

Lunney the Canadian MP pointed to a July, 2009 study published in The Annals of Epidemiology which states that raising the amount of Vitamin D in North Americans would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, saving over $14 billion per year in Canada alone.

He said Vitamin D is best known for its role in calcium metabolism affecting muscle and bone health, noting B.C.’s largest health region, Fraser Health, is the first in Canada to initiate Vitamin D supplementation to all seniors in residential care to reduce the risk of falls and fracture.  In B.C., he added, falls in seniors cost the health care system $200 million per year.

A major study undertaken by Statistics Canada found 60 to 70 per cent of Canadians have less than ideal levels of Vitamin D.


February 7, 2012 / vitashine

Vitamin D associated with reduced Depression in Children

A study completed by UK Bristol University has concluded that Vitamin D helps combat depression in children:-

The comprehensive study of over 2,700 children since the 1990’s found a link between low vitamin D and depression, for full details of the study:-

This study is one of many suggesting a link between low vitamin D and depression.

February 6, 2012 / vitashine

New Distribution Partner in India- Fullife Pvt Limited

We are very pleased to announce that Vitashine will be distributed in the Indian market by our new partners Fullife Pvt.

Following a successful trip to Mumbai in January to finalize arrangements, Fullife will begin sales development of Vitashine products with immediate effect.  All trade enquiries can be made directly to Fullife or via ourselves at

The Fullife team are shown below:-

The Fullife Team

The Fullife Team

Welcome aboard and thank you for your support we look forward to developing the Indian market together!

December 18, 2011 / vitashine

78% of people in UEA Deficient in Vitamin D

A study by American University of Beirut Medical Centre has found that 78 per cent of the UAE population suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, despite the abundance of sunshine, will be highlighted at an upcoming summit in Dubai.

The eighth Middle East Orthopedics Conference taking place at Arab Health Exhibition & Congress from January 23 to 26 will also address issues around orthopedics in the neonate, adolescent, senior patient, back patient and athlete as well as innovations.

Reports from the American University of Beirut Medical Centre have concluded that the MEA region has the highest incidence of osteoporosis in the world, while UAE-based studies from the Emirates Osteoporosis Society (EOS) across Emiratis and expatriates show that one third of people in the UAE over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis.

The society confirms that lack of the essential vitamin in this part of the world can be as a result of limited sun exposure due to local cultural practices and the high outdoor temperatures, conservative clothing, urbanization, darker skin pigmentation, smoking, obesity, diet and prolonged breast feeding without supplements, high caffeine and carbonated consumption, as well as a lack of vitamin D fortification in common foods.

“Vitamin D deficiency is a critical concern in the Middle East and the prevalence of osteoporosis in the UAE and across the region demonstrates a clear need for change. In highlighting the issue during the conference, we aim to improve both awareness and education and highlight the disease as a national health priority alongside obesity and diabetes,” said Dr Mario Skugor of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College, who be hosting a session at the meeting.

December 17, 2011 / vitashine

Vitamin D Essential for Pregnant and Breast Feeding Mums

We have known for a while that mums need additional nutrients and can be specifically deficient in Vitamin D but a UK Coroner has now written to the Health Secretary to stress just how important vitamin D is for unborn or young children.

Reported in the Telegraph paper just this week, it follows the tragic death of a 3 month boy whose untimely death was attributed to a lack of vitamin D and spurred the appointed coroner to raise concern to the highest levels within UK government, writing directly to the UK Health Secretary on how a lack of Vitamin D played an intrinsic part in the unfortunate death.

Vitamin D is not just a vitamin supplement it is essential for life.


December 11, 2011 / vitashine

Making the change to a vegan diet as a bodybuilder or strength athlete

Thank you to our friends at for this guest post, keep up the great work!

For many people the hardest time is making the transition from a vegetarian or a meat-eating bodybuilder or strength athlete to a vegan one.  The issues are mainly that you don’t know what to eat, calorie density & some factors that may be of special significance to an athlete that may not be quite so important to the general public.

Stage 1: Get prepared

OK, so you want to be vegan.  That is great, but you do need to find some food you actually like & fits your nutritional needs before you actually make the switch.  My suggestion is to buy some cook books & find some foods that are higher in protein & you like.  I’d suggest you aim at finding around 9 or 10 recipes you like.  They can be as simple as grilled tofu, some green leafy veggies & quinoa, to as complicated as you like, just find a selection of recipes you like.  While you’re at it, if you have been using an animal-based protein powder then you might want to try out some protein powders made from plant products; some good ones are pea, rice or hemp protein powders.  Soya is ok as well, but you might well be using some soya products like tofu, tempeh & possibly soya milk at times, so I’ve found better results just by using a different source of protein for your powders, so you get some different amino acid ratios into your body.  If you do a lot of protein in powder form I do suggest you invest in some form of ‘green’ product to add to it, I don’t care if it’s greens plus, beyond greens, spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass powder, or you just throw some mixed greens in a blender & add those to the shake.  You get a LOT of benefit by simply adding something green to your shake & it takes seconds to add a scoop in with the protein powder, so just do it.

Next up actually calculate your daily calorific needs.  So many people, even those in the bodybuilding/strength field have no idea how much they actually eat!  A vegan diet will on average tend to be less calorifically dense than a meat eating or even a veggie one, so this means you often have to eat more to maintain your size & strength.  If you’re carrying too much fat this will mean you could lose that fat by eating as much in volume as you used to, which can making losing fat super easy, but if your goal is size & strength gains then you may have to increase the volume you eat (be especially aware of ‘replacement foods’ for example soya milk has less calories- carbs & fat, similar protein, than skimmed milk).  So, ideally you should write down what you eat for a few days (include everything with calories so drinks & food), then work out your diet from there.  At first aim to roughly copy your calorie intake, but using plant foods, so unless your diet is bad to start with copy the amount of protein, carbs & fats that you get while on your present diet (approximately) from there you can play around a bit if you want to lose fat, add muscle mass, exercise harder etc.

If you are totally new to training or really have no idea how much you should be eating here are some very basic guidelines to give you a starting point;

To maintain:




















To lose fat (while training):











6g/Kg men

11/Kg wom

2.7g/lb men

5g/lb wom








To add muscle mass:


















These are just starting guidelines & you will probably need to tweak the amounts up or down depending upon your goals.  Also these do not represent dieting for bodybuilding contest or making weight in a weight class.  These are for a more balanced time, losing or gaining at a reasonable pace.

Lastly, do not just replace your present eating habits with ‘fake’ versions, so do not just buy veggie steak to replace steak, soya milk to replace milk.  There is a world of cuisine out there, much of it can be modified to fit into a bodybuilding/strength athletes eating protocols, things like legumes, unusual grains like quinoa & amaranth, nuts (yes nuts!  They are awesome & won’t make you fat unless you go crazy with them), so try out some dishes from around the world, if necessary modify them, try water to sauté your food instead of using oil, or marinate & grill your tofu instead of frying it.  Play around & you’ll soon find a whole herd of food ideas that you like.

Stage 2: Things to watch out for

So, you now know how to eat, some ideas about what to eat.  Next up we need to look at things to watch out for.  Eating too few calories is covered above, so we’ll ignore that & move straight onto the main concerns you may have when you start a vegan diet.

Firstly we’ll look at B12, some people argue you used to get B12 from soil left on food, others claim it could be from insects hidden in the plants you eat.  It really doesn’t matter from our point of view.  Study after study has shown that vegans tend to be low in vitamin B12, so my advice to you is to simply get a multi vitamin pill that contains it & take that every day.  Yes, there are fortified foods, yes, you may get enough that way, but why worry?  As an athlete you dare not risk even sub-optimal levels as B12 affects a lot of things like strength, co-ordination etc.  I recommend everyone take a multi every day anyway, so why not one with the B12 you need in it anyway?  I recommend this for all athletes whether vegan, veggie or meat eaters as anyone can suffer from low B12, even a slight stomach upset (or no symptoms at all) can cause B12 to not be absorbed, so it’s just not worth the risk in my mind.

Next up we have EFA’s.  Let’s look at the facts here, most vegans get a shed load of omega-6 essential fatty acids, but unless they plan they do not get a whole load of omega-3 fatty acids.  I have athletes that have an ALA source of omega-3 essential fatty acids every morning with their breakfast.  This can be flax (linseed) ground, walnuts or hemp seeds.  You only need about a tablespoon or two (depending upon your size).  I suggest you either sprinkle them on your breakfast, add them to a shake or just eat them.  This increases your ALA levels & allows some to be converted to DHA/EPA.  Some studies do suggest that this conversion isn’t all that efficient & most athletes are often in a chronic state of inflammation (that’s a side effect of training, if you train hard you will have some inflammation), so I also suggest that later in the day (anytime later) the athlete take a DHA/EPA pill or 2.  Both ALA & DHA have been shown to reduce inflammation through different pathways, so having both is like getting double the benefit of just having one or the other, for athletes wanting to train hard again & again this kind of recovery plan is vital.  Also remember that essential fatty acids are involved in hormone production, cell repair & regeneration, nervous system recovery & brain health so is taking them really so much of a hassle?  As a side note even to meat eating clients I do not recommend fish oil as your source of DHA/EPA as fish concentrate contaminants in their fat cells.  I recommend DHA/EPA from an algae source as the algae is at the bottom of the food chain so it has very little contamination & is your best chance of taking a healthy oil without the health risks.

Next up we have vitamin D.  This vitamin isn’t just good for bones & teeth, but it’s great for your immune system.  I always have my athletes take vitamin D as it keeps them training throughout the winter without the usual colds & sickness that many people suffer from.  There has been studies that suggest that it can also affect muscle growth & strength, but to be honest I haven’t seen that.  Up until recently I have used vitamin D2 with all my athletes who avoided animal products, all vitamin D3 was from animal sources & so not suitable for them to use.  Vitamin D3 is identical to the vitamin D you make inside you, vitamin D2 is very, very close, but made by plants like mushrooms & others.  Recently there has been a vitamin D3 suitable for vegans to use.  I have tried it myself, but as it’s been such a short time I can’t tell you if it is any more effective than vitamin D2 – once we go through the winter & I get a few athletes on it, then we can compare those on D2 to those on D3 & at least have some form of comparison.  The research out there is split, some say vitamin D3 is better, others say not, none says that vitamin D2 is better though.  So in my view it is worth trying out just to see if sickness is less, which would mean that you could train more consistently & so get better gains.  Obviously if you live in the tropics & are reading this just get out in the sun & forget about vitamin D supplementation until you get very old (old people can have a hard time making vitamin D)!

Other than that drink a lot of water, eat green leafy veggies several times a day, be aware of your approximate calories you are taking in, take a multi (with vitamin B12 in it), have your EFAs everyday & take vitamin D if you need to & train damn hard in a progressive manner.  You don’t really need to know that much more.  Do all that & you’ll grow like a weed on a vegan diet!

Conclusion: Final points to remember

Yes, it is a little more tricky being a vegan bodybuilder or strength athlete.  You may need to pack food, phoning ahead to an eatery may mean the difference between a limp salad & a gourmet delight.  So, planning is your best friend.  Think ahead about where you will be eating, if there’s no where suitable then pack your own (picnics are cool).  Have things like bars, or unmixed shakes, even a small bag of nuts (not roasted go for raw, unsalted nuts if you can) with you when you travel just in case you get stuck & unable to feed when you need to.  Many places do bean dishes, tofu, or other higher protein meals that could be just the thing when you want to eat out.  In fact many vegan higher protein meals can have less calories of fat than many meat meals so with some consideration you could do even better than on your present diet.  But it is up to you to pre-plan, think ahead & predict issues before they arrive.  It is a little tougher, but it is rewarding, as the you can achieve your size or strength goals with a greater chance of being healthy into old age, not only that but your friends will be awestruck that you’ve managed to do it all without injuring a single animal!

About the author:  Pete Ryan is a clinical nutritionist, massage therapist & personal trainer.  He runs the Vegan Bodybuilding website, a site dedicated to helping athletes who chose a plant-based diet achieve their goals.  For more information go to or email him at

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