Filling the Gaps in Vegan and Vegetarian Diets: How to Maximize Your Benefit from Strategic Animal Superfood Supplements

by Jon Sasmor RCPC (Mineral Guide, MinBalance LLC)
Updated December 22, 2023


How Plant-Based and Omnivore Diets Affected My Teeth

For most of my life, my teeth had seemed very healthy. Then, I was on a vegetarian diet for around four years (~2010-2014), followed by a vegan diet for the next four years (~2014-2018).

In August 2017, midway through vegan diet, my teeth still remained free of cavities. The dentist declared them to be in perfect shape, "a dentist's delight"!

By April 2019, shortly after I resumed eating animal foods, I went to the dentist again and learned that my four years of vegan diet (of whole foods) seemed to have left me cavities in 17 teeth!

I'm glad I stopped vegan diet when I did! Luckily, the cavities in 17 teeth were small "cosmetic" cavities in the surface enamel, and hadn't yet progressed deeper into the teeth.

As of November 2023, according the the dentist, the cavities in 17 teeth hadn't worsened at all in the preceding 4.5 years! And no new cavities had developed!

Vegan + Supplements = ???

I wish I could tell you a set of vegan and synthetic supplements to make a "vegan + supplements" diet work. However, synthetic supplements don't add up to Nature's complex combinations of nutrients in grassfed / regenerative / organic / wild-caught animal foods.

Nutrients in animal foods are found in the same animal forms we need and use. Sometimes we can convert from plant forms, but forcing our bodies to do all those conversions makes extra work all the time. And in the modern world, with all its stressors and stress-induced nutrient imbalances, it's highly unlikely we're making ALL those conversions effectively.

Vegetarians who eat eggs, dairy, shellfish, and/or fish may gain great nutritional advantage from these foods, compared with vegans. Still, many vegetarians may be falling short on certain nutrients found mainly in animal fats and flesh.

How Vegan or Vegetarian Were Native and Ancestral Diets?

Native peoples varied greatly in diet. For animal foods, native cultures may have eaten 1%, 2%, 5%, 50%, 70%, or 99%.

There were some mainly vegetarian native peoples. They may have eaten occasional animal food feasts. In all cases, their food probably was grown in richer, more microbially diverse, and less polluted soils than most soils today, and their lives had far less stress than we do today — including chemical, electromagnetic, and psychological stressors.

To my knowledge, no native peoples were wholly vegan, except in times of starvation. Long-lived peoples ate animal foods, at least occasionally, in small amounts; and in many cultures, in larger amounts, and more frequently.

So instead of synthetic supplements alone, if you are trying a plant-based diet, I recommend you follow the ancient idea of also including a small amount of animal food. In other words, add a small percent of your diet as supplemental animal superfoods, such as Activator Goo.

Activator Goo + Animal Superfoods: How to Get the Most Benefit from a Tiny Percentage of Animal Foods

In the time during which my teeth stopped developing further cavities, I've been eating Activator Goo. This mixture of animal superfoods contains the fat-soluble Activator vitamins that Dr. Weston A. Price DDS observed were needed for teeth and bones, as well as for general health.

Activator Goo contains the nutrients most needed by vegans and unavailable in a fully plant-based diet. Activator Goo contains these nutrients all in the specific forms that can be utilized by our bodies for methylaton, energy-making, calcium utilization, and many other functions.

The nutrients in Activator Goo also may be insufficient in many vegetarian diets, even if carefully planned.

So I suggest, 2-3 times per day, mixing approximately the following, to make Activator Goo:

  • 1/4 tsp Rosita cod liver oil
  • 1/4 tsp Walkabout emu oil
  • 1-3 capsules grassfed beef or lamb liver
  • 0.5 to 1 capsule grassfed beef or lamb kidney
  • 0.25 to 0.5 capsule kelp (only once per day, in morning)
  • 0.25 to 0.5 capsule Real Mushrooms Ergo+

For more information, please see: Activator Goo: A Modern Recipe Based on Dr. Weston A. Price's Famous Oil Mixture.

In addition to Activator Goo, please consider adding a few additional percent of responsibly raised animal superfoods to your diet, for vastly improved nutrient intake:

  • 3-4 pastured organic egg yolks per day, raw or runny soft-boiled
  • 2-4 cans per week of sustainably caught wild sardines, packed in olive oil or water, ~100g or 3.5 oz per can
  • 1-4 oz per day goat milk yogurt (if tolerated), from organic grassfed goats, ideally raw, and even better fermented at home with your own probiotics
  • 1-4 Tbsp per day of grassfed organic ghee or butter (which pairs well with Nutiva red palm oil as a topping melted on cooked vegetables)

Note that many of the animal superfoods above are within a lacto-ovo-pescetarian diet. A more permissive vegetarian diet vastly expands one's ability to take in needed animal forms of nutrients, compared with a vegan or more restrictive vegetarian diet.

Both plant and animal foods are emphasized in the Diet for Minerals presented on this website. Those so inclined may want to emphasize the plant foods. The lists above present the most important animal foods to eat as whole-food "supplements" to a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Nutrients Found in Activator Goo + Animal Superfoods, But Likely Missing from Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Activator Goo and the above animal superfoods contain nutrients almost certain to be missing in vegan diet, and very often short in vegetarian diet too: the retinol form of vitamin A, the MK4 form of vitamin K2, and the food-bound form of vitamin B12.

Many other nutrients may sometimes be short in vegan and vegetarian diets, and are included in Activator Goo and the above animal superfoods: vitamin B2, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine, creatine, carnitine, and more.

Interconnectedness of Nutrients: How Supplementing Certain Nutrients Causes Imbalances of Others

All nutrients are deeply interconnected. Dr. David Watts has described the minerals (and extending to vitamins, hormones, and neurological functions) as "a series of intermeshing gears".

As an example of the intricate interconnectedness of nutrients, Dr. Chris Masterjohn recently pointed out how at least 26 different nutrients are important to the methylation cycle.

Synthetic isolated nutrients usually seem to cause depletion or excess of other nutrients, because all nutrients are interrelated. Zinc, ascorbic acid, and vitamin D are examples of supplements many vegans and vegetarians take in larger than natural amounts, and the result is depleted bioavailable copper and potassium.

Because of the interrelationships among nutrients, you could get safer and more natural nutrition from 95% plant-based diet with 5% animal superfoods than 100% plant-based diet and synthetic supplements.

Synthetic supplements — especially in larger than nutritional amounts — often worsen imbalances and cause new imbalances.

Vegan + Supplements Revisited: Less Nutrition Than Omnivorous Whole Foods?

Myself, I tried adding back, as supplements, every missing link I could find for whole foods vegan diet, and I still couldn't maintain my health and energy as a vegan.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you a set of supplements to fill the gaps and maintain health on a vegan diet in general. That was the goal when I wrote the "Vegans and Methylation" article on the Vegan Troubleshooting website.

To my surprise and disappointment at the time, I discovered the complexity of nutrient conversions and interrelationships. Neither plant foods nor supplements provide the animal forms of nutrients that animal foods provide, in balanced, whole-food complexes with related nutrients.

If you'd like to start a consult based on personalized hair mineral and blood test results, then I could recommend personalized supplements for you, while still respecting your dietary preferences. On a personalized basis, we could find supplements to make a plant-based diet work better than without supplements — but I still openly believe that it won't work as well without a few percent animal foods.

Looking back now, I am much happier on an omnivorous diet than on a vegan or vegetarian diet. I still do take some supplements, mostly food-based ones, and I do find them helpful.

I don't think plant foods and synthetic chemicals can replace the nutritional components that native peoples gained from animal foods.

We hear widespread messaging that vegan diet plus supplements may be good for you and for the planet. But, in structure, vegan diet plus supplements may be compared with "enriched" processed food such as "enriched white flour": a manmade version of food or diet, stripped of many natural components with only some of them added back as isolated nutrients.

Our limit here is the present state of knowledge. We don't know every compound that's missing from vegan or vegetarian diet but present in traditional diets that persisted through centuries or millenia. And we also don't usually measure our ability to convert all the plant forms of nutrients to the animal forms we need. Our ability to convert likely is imperfect. These metabolic steps are a lot of work for the body, even for a body that's perfectly healthy and almost stress-free.

Save the Earth and Grow Your Health: Care for the Entire Food Chain

From my more recent view, the best way to maintain health and love the earth is to care for every step in the entire food chain. A regenerative or biodynamic farm might be among the best sources of food. To get happy mitochondria making lots of energy for you in your cells, look for happy soil, happy plants, happy animals, happy people, and happy microbial biomes!

Much of the bad news about animal foods comes from farming methods that omnivores should consider avoiding too, not just vegans or vegetarians.

Ideally, eat as much as possible from the best possible farming — regenerative, biodynamic, wild-caught and sustainably harvested, grass-fed and -finished, maybe home-grown, at least organic, etc.


The best supplement for a vegan or vegetarian diet is a small amount of responsible animal superfoods, including those found in the Activator Goo recipe.

Include at least a tiny bit of responsible animal superfoods in Activator Goo, and maybe a tiny bit more of other responsible animal superfoods, at least as much animal food as traditional peoples ate.