Ultimate Guide to the Best Vegan Multivitamins
One of the most daunting aspects of veganism has to be nutrition. There is so much conflicting information out there. Do vegans get enough protein? Is B12 essential? Where do vegans get their calcium? Vegans lack Vitamin A? And the questions go on and on and on.
The truth is very simple. A vegan should eat a healthy and well-balanced diet with a multivitamin.
At this point, meat-eaters will point and shout, “ahhhh, you see! Vegans can’t get all the nutrients they need from plants hahaha!”.
This is actually untrue. A vegan can get everything they need from plant foods. It’s just a lot more complicated, that’s all.
Those nutrients that are more difficult to get can easily be attained with a simple multivitamin. And remember, most people in the world are deficient in some nutrients. A typical modern western diet just doesn’t give us everything we need for optimal health.
Not to mention that stress, too much caffeine, sugar, fast food, and poor soil health also contribute to poor nutrient absorption.
Here are the top 5 vegan multivitamins money can buy.
The Best Vegan Multivitamins
VEG 1 is brought to us by The Vegan Society, the oldest (and most knowledgeable) vegan society in the world. In fact, they invented the real vegan definition that we all live by.
This vegan multivitamin is the most affordable and reliable vegan supplement on the market. The Vegan Society is a charity and not driven by big profit margins (this isn’t big pharma!).
VEG 1 was designed by people with vegan interests at heart. There are no compromises here, just an excellent and highly effective supplement.
VEG 1 includes the four essential nutrients that vegans struggle to get the most, B12, iodine, vitamin D, and selenium. It comes in two flavors, orange, and blackcurrant. Here is the full profile for each tablet:
- Vitamin B2 (1.6mg – 114%)
- Vitamin B6 (2mg – 143%)
- Vitamin B12 (25µg – 1,000%)
- Vitamin D3 (20µg – 400%)
- Folic Acid (200µg – 100%)
- Iodine (150µg – 100%)
- Selenium (60µg – 109%)
You need to take one a day, and as long as you eat a healthy and well-balanced vegan diet, you will not have to worry about your nutrition ever again.
VEG 1 is also incredibly cheap. The Vegan Society has made this possible through its industry connections, bulk buying, and eco-packaging materials.
NutriGenesis® has been designed to boost your overall health and push your body to “peak performance.” The supplement supplies 100%+ of your RDA for 17 essential nutrients. It has been designed to make up for any nutrients not being acquired in your regular diet.
This supplement is not made specifically for vegans but is safe for vegans. Performance Lab has superior bioengineering skills that make this supplement super absorbent, so your body gets the most out of each capsule.
Each capsule is GMP certified and is free from allergens, banned substances, gluten, soy, synthetic additives, caffeine, and GMOs. They have formulated a separate NutriGenesis® supplement for both men and women with the best dosages for each.
Biolux has formulated a special whole foods multivitamin that includes all the essential vitamins plus spirulina. It is suitable for both men and women and has been designed to support multiple systems, including your respiratory and digestive health.
Reviews of this product state an increase in energy and satisfaction with the convenience of needing just one supplement.
It is made with extracted whole foods to help boost bioavailability (the proportion of the substance which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so can have an active effect.)
Each capsule gives you a healthy dose of Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E accompanied with organic fruit, vegetables, mushroom, herb, green, and whole-food blend.
You will also get a shot of minerals including plant-based calcium, magnesium, selenium & zinc. There are no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sugar, milk, lactose, gluten, wheat, or soy.
Vegan Essentials is a one-a-day solution to all your vegan nutrient needs. Each capsule has been carefully formulated to provide over 30+ essential nutrients to support a healthy vegan lifestyle.
It has been engineered to support your muscles, bones, hair, nails, and brain function. Vegan Essentials comes as a powder that can be mixed with your drink and has ultra-absorption rates.
Each capsule gives you a healthy dose of vitamin B12, vegan omega 3-6-9, plant-sourced vitamin D3, iron, and zinc. It even includes a small energy boost to fight fatigue.
All ingredients are sustainably sourced 100% recycled packaging.
Rainbow Light is a highly credible and well-respected provider of plant-based nutritional supplements. Just Once is a simple solution to any vegan’s dietary needs. Each capsule has been specially formulated to provide vegans with any nutritional shortfalls.
You only need one of these capsules a day, and each contains only what you need. It’s a highly effective and high-quality plant-based supplement that includes no non-essential fillers. Just Once is also much more affordable than other vegan supplements on the market.
Those with allergies needn’t worry, Just Once contains NO gluten, wheat, milk, peanuts, soy, eggs, fish, or shellfish.
7 Ingredients to Look For in Vegan Multivitamins
Read also: Best Vegan Vitamin B12 Supplement
Of all the nutrients that get talked about within the vegan community, B12 is the most popular. B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body cannot produce naturally.
It is found in animal foods such as meat, milk, egg, fish, and shellfish. This makes getting B12 a problem for vegans who avoid all animal products.
So, what is a vegan to do?
Thankfully, you can buy a very simple and affordable B12 supplement or a multivitamin (like the ones above) that contains B12.
Our bodies need B12 because it plays a vital role in the normal function of our nerve cells. It is also crucial for red blood formation and DNA synthesis.
Most adults require around 2.4 mcg of B12 per day. This is higher for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
2. Vitamin D
Read more about Vitamin D here: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is unlike any other vitamin out there. It is a steroid hormone that is only produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. This is why people living in sunny parts of the world generally have much better levels of Vitamin D than those living in colder regions.
Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin.”
The problem with vitamin D is that often, you cannot get enough of it through sunlight alone. And those living in colder regions of the world have much more difficulty getting the sunny vitamin. Past research has discovered as much as 41% of Americans have vitamin D deficiency.
The issue for vegans is that vitamin D is only found in a handful of sources, including cod, salmon, tuna, sardines, beef liver, and eggs. Therefore, regular exposure to sunlight, fortified foods, and supplementation are the best ways for vegans to acquire vitamin D.
Vitamin D fortified foods include soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, cereals, and orange juice.
Omega-3 (DHA and EPA) Fatty Acids
Read more about Omega-3 in our article: “The Ultimate Guide to the Best Vegan Omega-3 Supplements in 2021“.
Omega-3 is a complicated issue for vegans. Both Omega 3, 6, and 9 are essential fats that provide many health benefits.
Studies have shown that Omega-3s can reduce inflammation, support healthy brain function, decrease blood triglycerides, and reduce the risk of developing dementia.
The problem is, the best sources of Omega-3 are found in salmon, trout, and tuna. There are three types of Omega-3, including ALA, DHA, and EPA. Vegans find ALA quite easily through plant foods.
However, attaining DHA and EPA is much more difficult. There is a theory that getting enough ALA supports the production of healthy levels of DHA and EPA. This theory is not concrete, and more research is still required.
It’s essential then that vegans acquire healthy levels of DHA or EPA through Algal oil. This oil is derived from algae and is the best source of DHA and EPA for vegans. You will want to aim for about 300-900 mcg of combined DHA and EPA per day.
Read more here: A Simple Guide to the Best Calcium Supplements for Vegans
Calcium is essential for a healthy body. It plays a vital role in keeping your bones and teeth healthy. A lack of calcium can lead to severe conditions later in life, such as osteoporosis.
Calcium is also crucial for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, blood pressure regulation, and blood clotting. So, you will want to make sure you’re getting enough.
Thankfully, calcium isn’t too difficult to come across on a vegan diet. Soy products, including tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all high in calcium.
Beans, peas, lentils, almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, amaranth, teff, seaweed, spinach, bok choy, collard greens, raw figs, and fortified foods also contain high levels of calcium.
The recommended daily intake of calcium for adults is around 1000 mcg per day. This isn’t always easy to get through your three meals. Therefore, a vegan multivitamin with calcium is a good choice.
Read more here: Your Simple Guide To The Best Vegan Iron Supplements
Iron is an essential mineral that helps your body to make new DNA and red blood cells. It also promotes the healthy transport of oxygen in your blood.
Iron deficiency can be dangerous and develop into anemia with symptoms like fatigue and a weak immune system. Men and post-menopausal women require 8 mcg of calcium per day. Adult women need 18mcg per day, and pregnant women should aim for 27 mcg per day.
Iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. You will only find heme iron in animal meat and non-heme iron in plant foods.
Vegans need to ensure that they are getting plenty of non-heme iron in their diet. You should focus on:
- Cruciferous vegetables.
- Beans and peas.
- Dried fruit.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Iron-fortified foods: cereals, enriched bread, and some plant milk.
Combining these iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C will boost your absorption of iron. Using cast iron pots when cooking can also help boost your iron levels.
Supplementation of iron is usually not necessary for men as long as they are incorporating iron-rich foods in their diet. Women (except women that are post-menopausal) on a vegan diet should consider a multivitamin with iron.
The best way to check if you need to supplement iron is to go get tested by a health practitioner. They can advise you best on iron supplementation.
Zinc is essential for the optimal function of your metabolism, repairing cells, and immune function.
Your body requires 8-11 mcg per day for adults. Pregnant and lactating women need 11-13 mcg per day.
Zinc levels in plant foods tend to be low, and there are only a few that have high amounts of this mineral. Try to focus on including these foods into your diet and eat plenty of them.
- Whole grains.
- Wheat germ.
- Sprouted bread.
- Nuts and seeds.
To help increase the absorption of zinc, you can soak your nuts, seeds, and legumes in water overnight before consuming them. This helps reduce the phytate content. Research suggests phytates block your absorption of zinc and other nutrients.
You should also focus on eating protein-rich foods and fermented foods (such as tempeh, miso, and kimchi) to further boost absorption.
Supplementation of zinc will help ensure you get your RDA and allow you to spend less time focusing on zinc-rich foods and soaking techniques.
5 Ingredients to Avoid in Vegan Multivitamins
These ingredients are not vegan, always make sure you thoroughly read the label of any supplement and look out for the vegan logo or a clear statement like “100% vegan.”
- Gelatin Capsules – made from collagen (boiled down animal bones and ligaments)
- Whey and Casein – Derived from cow’s milk
- Vitamin D3 Made from Lanolin – Derived from sheep’s wool)
- Animal-Derived B12
- Fish-based Omega-3s
Is It Necessary for Vegans to Take Multivitamins?
A well-balanced, healthy, varied, and wholesome vegan diet packs all the nutrients you need. All except vitamin B12, which can only be sourced from animal foods such as meat, milk, egg, fish, and shellfish. Vegans are advised to supplement B12 at the very least.
However, not everyone has the time, money, or access to enough high-quality foods to eat a large and varied vegan diet. The fact is, most of us can’t or lack the enthusiasm to follow such a comprehensive diet. This is where supplementation can be useful.
In fact, most people in the world don’t eat a diet that caters to all their nutritional needs. Due to factory farming and soil deterioration, our foods simply don’t have the same nutritional quality as they once did.
We also have nutrient absorption issues caused by stress, too much caffeine, sugar, and fast foods.
So, if you think you’re super healthy by eating a typical western diet, you are probably wrong and missing some crucial nutrients. As mentioned, B12 is essential for the human body. But just because you’re eating meat does not mean you’re getting enough B12.
One study in the USA found that nearly 40% of the population were “flirting with marginal vitamin B12 status.” Why? Because of poor absorption rates of B12 from meat. Fortified cereals were much more useful for raising levels of B12.
At the end of the day, our modern diets simply don’t provide us with enough quality nutrition. Many of us don’t have access to quality foods. Therefore, to play it safe, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin on a vegan diet.
What Are Vegans Deficient In?
As previously stated, vegans that eat a well-planned vegan diet should have no issues with nutrition. However, most vegans do not follow a well-planned diet.
Studies have shown vegans are at a higher risk of having inadequate levels of
One simple way to avoid deficiencies in these essential nutrients is to avoid processed vegan foods and focus on nutrient-rich plant foods. You should also focus on specific foods for key nutrients such as:
|Fortified Foods||Cereals, plant milk, orange juice, vegan cheese, and nutritional yeast.||Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.|
|Fermenting & Sprouting Foods||Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables, kombucha, and miso.||Increase the absorption of iron and zinc.|
|Omega-3 Foods||Chia, hemp, flaxseeds, walnuts, and soybeans or take an algae supplement.||Long-chain omega-3s DHA and EPA|
|Iodized Foods||Iodized salt||Iodine|
Incorporate the above foods into your vegan diet, and you can’t go wrong. Vegans may be susceptible to some nutrient deficiencies, but all can be found in various nutrient-rich plant-foods and fortified foods.
What about vegan supplements for teens and children?
Vegan nutrition is very similar to that of an adult vegan. Make sure you are eating a well-planned, healthy, and varied vegan diet. Incorporate fortified foods into your diet, and take a quality vegan multivitamin each day.
For teenage girls, focus on adding some extra vitamin C to your diet. This will help to increase iron absorption in your body.
Should vegan men and women supplement differently?
Pre-menopausal women should focus on getting enough iron and increasing iron absorption. If a woman is pregnant or lactating, they will require slightly different levels of nutrients. The Vegan Society offers a thorough guide for those women here.
Men should make sure they are not taking too much iron, they only need 8 mcg per day. You will find most vegan supplements have a unique formulation for men and women. There is usually very little difference except that the men’s supplements are iron-free.