The Best Vegan Vitamins and Minerals for a Health Boost

The Best Vegan Vitamins and Minerals for a Health Boost

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As a vegan, you’ll probably need more than your fingers and toes to count the number of times people ask you where you get your protein from. While the lack of understanding about a plant-based diet can cause some to incorrectly assume that vegans must surely be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, their concern isn’t entirely unwarranted.

Just like everyone else, regardless of their dietary preferences, those who follow a vegan lifestyle need to be aware of the foods they are consuming to ensure they are getting enough of ‘the good stuff’.

Vitamins and minerals, considered essential nutrients, play a vital role in performing hundreds of functions within our bodies. From converting food to energy, boosting your immune system and repairing cellular damage, plus a whole host of other tasks, vitamins and minerals are pivotal in our body working properly.

But in the modern day, where eating is often an afterthought, it can be difficult to ensure you are getting all the vitamins you need just from the food you eat. Thankfully, with the advent of supplements, you can easily top up on those vitamins you think are lacking from your diet.

To help to navigate the saturated market of supplements, I’ve created the following buyer’s guide for the best vegan vitamins and minerals available.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Vegan Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

The following are a few questions I ask when looking for the best vegan vitamins. I stand firmly by my beliefs when it comes to health, animals and the environment, and this buying guide has helped me choose better.

Some of the more obvious factors you need to consider when purchasing vitamins are price and user reviews. Ensure that the product is within a realistic budget, or you will not be able to sustain the expense for a long time. Taking reviews into account is also important as you want to be best informed before you buy the product, and not regret your purchase in retrospect.

Are the Ingredients Vegan?

Being on a vegan diet means that checking the ingredients becomes very important. Check that the source of the vitamin is plant-based and look for ‘suitable for vegans’ or certification insignia on the labels or in the product description.

Depending on your personal ethics, you may also want to check whether the product is manufactured at a facility that also handles dairy or other non-vegan ingredients.

Is the Supplement Cruelty-Free?

Just because a product has vegan ingredients does not mean that it is entirely cruelty-free. Ideally your vitamins will include ingredients that are ethically and sustainably sourced, and are never tested on animals.

What Are You Already Eating?

We all understand that vitamins and minerals are good for us, so we naturally want to make sure we are getting enough. Simply taking a pill, however, isn’t the silver bullet you’re looking for.

It’s important to consider your diet. Your body only needs small amounts of vitamins each day, which can typically be acquired through a healthy diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you do want to take a supplement, the dosage of the vitamin should be a close to the recommended daily intake of that vitamin as possible.

Prolonged over-consumption of vitamins, particularly fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which can be stored in the body, can result in harmful levels in the body and cause side effects.

If you think you’re low on a specific vitamin, consider what you are eating and try to boost your intake of foods that are high sources of that vitamin. Also research companion foods, that will help assist in the absorption of the vitamin you’re lacking.

The Best Vegan Vitamins and Minerals

Different vitamins serve different purposes. Depending on your diet, how you are feeling and the advice you’ve received from a medical or health professional, you may want to take a supplement to ensure you are getting appropriate amounts.

Some of the most common vitamins and minerals that vegans can be deficient in are B12, vitamin D, iodine, omega-3, calcium, iron and zinc, so I’ll now share my top picks of the best vegan vitamin and mineral supplements for each of these.

The Best B12 Supplement for Vegans

Vitamin B12 is a naturally occurring, water-soluble vitamin which is present in a variety of foods. Unfortunately, however, it occurs less frequently in plant foods, making vegetarians and those following a vegan diet more prone to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The daily recommended intake for vitamin B12 is approximately 2.4 mcg for adults and children over 14 years of age.

B12 is an important element for the proper formation of red blood cells, neurological function and DNA synthesis.

Doctor's Best Fully Active B12

Doctor’s Best Fully Active B12

Amount of B12: 1500 mcg
Serving Size: 1 veggie capsule

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My pick as the best vegan B12 supplement, Doctor’s Best Fully Active B12 offers a superior form of methylcobalamin vitamin B12, allowing your body to absorb the vitamin to the fullest. With one capsule a day, you will find yourself feeling more alert, your mood boosted and your mental well-being improved.

Why You’ll Love It
  • There are 60 capsules in a bottle, which means that you can consume the product for two whole months at a small price.
  • The capsules are non-GMO certified and are 100% gluten-free.
Why You May Not
  • It would be best to have a physician sign off on your daily intake or else you may feel side effects like anxiety and mood swings.

The Top Plant-Based Calcium Supplement

Calcium is a naturally occurring mineral that maintains skeletal health, enables blood clots and improves cardiovascular health. Most of the calcium in the body is in the bones, yet the body cannot produce calcium by itself. Every day the body loses calcium through various functions, so it is essential to include it in your diet.

While people typically associated calcium with dairy, it can be found in calcium-fortified soy products, soybeans and soynuts, leafy greens like bok choy, broccoli, collards and kale, beans, nuts and seeds.

Adults under the age of 50 require about 1,000 mg of calcium and as you age beyond 50, your intake should increase in order to preserve bone density.

Together Health Seaweed Calcium

Together Health Seaweed Calcium

Amount of Calcium: 384 mg
Serving Size: 2 capsules

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While most calcium supplements are made from limestone, Together Health calcium is sourced from seaweed, making it easier for the body to absorb. The supplements are easy to consume and the powder inside the capsule can be mixed with a beverage or taken along with a meal. They contain no additional flavours or preservatives and are devoid of most common allergens, like wheat, yeast, soy and gluten.

Why You’ll Love It
  • The supplements are much easier for the body to digest and absorb thanks to the plant-based source.
  • Other than calcium, you will also get 72 other trace marine minerals in the capsule.
Why You May Not
  • Side effects may include headaches.

The Best Vegan Vitamin D Supplement

Vitamin D is a naturally occurring, fat-soluble vitamin that is present in a few types of food and added to others. It is produced naturally when the ultraviolet rays of the sun are absorbed by the skin, setting in motion the synthesis of vitamin D.

Whether absorbed through sun exposure, diet or supplement, vitamin D needs to be converted into a form the body can use. There are two processes that take place in the liver and in the kidneys, which convert it into calcidiol and calcitriol respectively.

Vitamin D is extremely important for bone health as it allows the body to absorb calcium from the diet more effectively. Adults require approximately 15 mcg of vitamin D daily.

Now Foods Vitamin D

Now Foods Vitamin D

Amount of Vitamin D: 25 mcg
Serving Size: 1 veggie capsule

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Now Foods is a family-owned brand since 1968. The supplement has vitamin D2, or Ergocalciferol, a type of vegetable-based vitamin D that helps maintain a balance of the vitamin in the entire body. There are 120 non-GMO, vegan capsules in the bottle which help maintain bone strength and provide structural support. The capsules include rice flour, cellulose and magnesium stearate (vegetable source) and silica.

Why You’ll Love It
  • On a recommended dosage of one capsule a day, the bottle should last you for four long months.
  • The bottle is inexpensive and affordable.
Why You May Not
  • While the capsules do not include any animal products or other common allergens, they are manufactured in a GMP facility that also processes such ingredients for other products.

My Top Pick for a Plant-Based Iron Supplement

Iron is a naturally occurring element, most commonly found in lean meat and seafood. Among plant foods, iron is found in nuts, vegetables and beans.

Iron found in animals, or heme iron, has a higher bioavailability than non-heme iron, making it more difficult for vegetarians and vegans to maintain a balance of iron from just their natural diet. Close attention to foods consumed, or the use of a supplement, is important to ensure those not eating meat get enough iron.

Iron is important for red blood cell production, maintaining your energy levels and focus, and regulating gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and body temperature.

Healthy male adults are recommended to take 8 mg of iron, while premenopausal female adults are prescribed 18 mg and pregnant women should consume 27 mg of iron daily.

Solgar Gentle Iron

Solgar Gentle Iron

Amount of Iron: 25 mg
Serving Size: 1 capsule

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The iron in the Solgar supplements is in the form of a chelated iron bisglycinate. This unique formula makes them gentler on the stomach and optimal for enhanced iron absorption. They are non-constipating, unlike some iron supplements which cause gastrointestinal irritation and constipation.

Why You’ll Love It
  • The capsules are light on the stomach and do not make you feel sick.
  • Apart from being vegan, the capsules are also free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, sodium, artificial flavor, sweetener, preservatives and colours.
Why You May Not
  • The potential side effects include headaches, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

The Best Vegan Iodine Supplement

Iodine is a naturally occurring element that is found in some foods, commonly added to household salt and can be consumed through supplements. It is found naturally in food like seaweed, though the content is extremely variable, and non-vegan sources such as seafood, dairy and eggs.

Iodine is extremely important for healthy thyroid function. A balanced amount of iodine is important in all stages of life, starting from infancy – which is why breast milk is also rich in iodine. The recommended intake for iodine is approximately 150 mcg for adults and teenagers above the age of 14.

Innopure Super Sea Kelp

Innopure Super Sea Kelp

Amount of Iodine: 400 mg
Serving Size: 1 capsule daily

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The Innopure tablets use high-quality kelp and are manufactured in the UK, meeting the highest quality standards. One capsule a day, taken with food, helps maintain thyroid function and produce thyroid hormones. There are also no added preservatives or artificial sweeteners and it is free from gluten, soy, starch and lactose. You will find yourself feeling more alert and healthy with a balanced dose of iodine in your diet.

Why You’ll Love It
  • The product is certified by the Vegan Society and is Vegetarian Society approved.
  • There are 90 capsules per bottle, which is enough for three whole months.
Why You May Not
  • Any imbalance with iodine could also make you sick, with side effects including diarrhoea, nausea and dizziness. It’s best to consult a physician before taking these capsules.

The Top Plant-Based Zinc Supplement

Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral that is important for cellular metabolism, immune function, thyroid support and blood sugar stabilisation. In plant-based foods, zinc is commonly found in beans, nuts and whole grains.

Healthy adult males are recommended to take 11 mg of zinc, whereas healthy adult females are expected to consume at least 8 mg of zinc.

TrueVit Naturals Pure Zinc

TrueVit Naturals Pure Zinc

Amount of Zinc: 15 mg
Serving Size: 1 tablet

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The TrueVit zinc tablets are a one-a-day formula which are light on the stomach and help improve your immunity and boost cell production. The tablets are plant-based, ethically sourced and free from gluten, chemicals, gelatin, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, sodium, artificial flavours, sweeteners, preservatives, colours, peanuts, shellfish and fish. There are 180 tablets in a single bottle, which can be taken with a meal or even on an empty stomach.

Why You’ll Love It
  • A single container of the supplements can last you for six whole months.
  • The supplements are extremely gentle on the stomach and are easy to swallow.
Why You May Not
  • The label says the tablets are gluten-free but they do contain maltodextrin, which gives fuel to the debate about whether maltodextrin is really gluten-free.

The Best Vegan Omega-3

Omega-3 are a collection of fat molecules that are extremely important for cellular health. There are different types of fat molecules that are recognised as omega-3, which are most commonly found in animal and plant life. The human body does not produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally so it has to be obtained through the diet.

There are three main omega-3 fatty acids you require in your diet – ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – commonly found in fish oils, flax seeds and chia seeds, among other foods.

Omega-3 acids are required for maintaining cardiovascular health, managing blood pressure and other matters related to the heart. On average, healthy adults are expected to take approximately 250-500 mg combined EPA and DHA daily, which also helps with brain health.

Source Naturals Vegan Omega-3s

Source Naturals Vegan Omega-3s

Amount of Omega-3: 600 mg
Serving Size: 2 soft gels

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The Source Naturals Vegan Omega-3 soft gels claim to provide a more superior source of EPA and DHA than flaxseed oil and other vegetarian sources of omega-3s. These omega-3s are derived from algae and are a perfect vegetarian alternative to fish oil.

Why You’ll Love It
  • Omega-3s sourced from algal oil means no fishy smell and you protect the oceans from being overfished.
  • The EPA and DHA sourced from algal oil are more effective than flaxseed oil and other vegetarian alternatives.
Why You May Not
  • The soft gels contain soy so it is not suitable for those with a soy allergy.
  • With only 30 capsules in the bottle and the recommended dosage being two soft gels a day, you may go through a bottle within two weeks.

Feel Great with the Right Balance of Vitamins and Minerals

When you consume all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, you feel great and can function at your peak performance. Yet, no matter what kind of diet or lifestyle you follow, it can be difficult to always maintain a balance of the right vitamins and minerals simply from the foods you eat. Particularly as you grow older, you may realise your diet needs to be supplemented to help get everything you need to maintain good health.

As with any changes to your diet, it is important to seek professional advice before you get started. Speak with a doctor or other health professional, explaining your intentions and motivations for change. They’ll help guide you to make the changes safely, or possibly recognise other underlying issues as the cause of your health concerns.

One comment on “The Best Vegan Vitamins and Minerals for a Health Boost”

  • Jaimie Sian says:

    I agree with you that vitamin B12 is an important supplement for vegans and vegetarians. As B12 is rarely found in plant products, vegans have a higher risk of having a B12 deficiency. This can result in many difficult symptoms, such as fatigue and mood changes. Therefore, B12 supplements are definitely important. Thanks for the blog!

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