When you tell someone you’re a vegan, and you often get panic. Oops, do you get all the nutrients? Do you have a whole cabinet full of nutritional supplements?
Do you need supplements as a vegan?
Food is the most important thing. If you only eat fries, burgers, and vegan mayo, you won’t get enough nutrients. That is not different whether you are vegan or not.
So definitely don’t eat junk food all day and then throw a box of pills in your body. Therefore it is important that you eat varied. By the way, I see that vegans generally eat much more vegetables than omnivores. So you already get a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fiber as a vegan.
The supplement which is always mentioned when talking about veganism is B12. B12 is something more and more people have a shortage of and those are not only vegans.
Some foods are enriched with B12, such as some soy milk and burgers. Since B12 is not found in plantbased but in animal food, it’s still wrong to think that you need meat. But actually meat is also enriched with B12, because the animals are often injected with it.
What also regularly occurs is an absorption problem of B12. When you take a B12 supplement and it still continues to give too low values, an injection might be necessary.
We never used to take supplements, so why should we do that now? There are some studies that show that our diet now contains fewer nutrients than it did years ago. This is partly due to environmental pollution, because of this the soil is becoming increasingly poorer. You should eat more to get the same amount of nutrients. But eating more is of course not the most healthy thing to do for your body and your energy level.
Source 1 – source 2
Furthermore, because of our hectic, busy life you build up a lot of tension which is very bad for your body. Because of your busy lifestyle you ;right also eat too much processed foods because it takes less time to prepare. Because of this it might be necessary to take a supplement.
You’re probably like me and don’t feel like writing down everything you eat in apps all day long to check the nutritional values you get every day. Moreover, one broccoli is not the other (organic or not, on which soil it was grown, …).
That is why you should get your blood tested regularly. This way you will find out whether you have shortages or not. If you do, make sure that you eat more products that contain these vitamins or minerals. To recover faster, the doctor can also recommend a supplement.
What is not vegan about a supplement?
Not all supplements are suitable for vegans. The capsule could be made of gelatin. The shine of a capsule can be caused by shellac, which comes from lice. The supplement itself could also contain lactose and the substance itself, like vitamin D3 and omega 3, could also come from animals. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegan alternatives.
Supplements for vegans
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Plantbased foods don’t contain B12 unless they are enriched with it. You often see this in plantbased milk and burgers, for example. A shortage of B12 can cause nerve damage and that’s, of course, something you don’t want. So if you are a vegan, it is recommended to use a B12 supplement.
The most absorbable are lozenges. Even better are sprays or drops which you just spray under your tongue.
The best way to get vitamin D is through the sun shining on your skin. This should be done on bare skin, so if you are completely wrapped up and if the sun is too low you will not get enough. Most people will have a vitamin D shortage during winter, because the lack of sun light.
So adding a supplement can help. Note that most vitamin D supplements are not vegan. Even if you see vitamin D3 in, for example, puff pastry or margarine, this is most likely from sheeps wool. D2 is plantbased but less absorbable than D3. Fortunately, vegan D3 supplements are also available.
Eating nuts and seeds with your meals is the best way to get Omega 3. You can easily do this by mixing these through your breakfast cereal or sprinkling it on a salad. Your body needs to convert these fatty acids into DHA and EPA to use. A shortage of these could be a reason for you to take a supplement.
Omega 3 supplements are often not vegan because they are made of fish or krill oil. By eating fish (oil) you also get a lot of harmful substances in your body. So if you don’t do it for the fish, do it for the earth or yourself. Vegan alternatives are based on algae oil.
390 mg DHA and 195 mg EPA
It is best to add iron as a supplement only when your doctor adviced it. Too much iron is not good either, so you are only supposed to add it if you have a lack of iron. You can get iron through your diet by eating a lot of leafy vegetables. Seaweed is also a good source. However, there may still be a shortage if your body does not absorb enough of it or, for example, if you lose a lot of blood during your period.
Iron is better absorbed if you combine it with vitamin C. So you can take that into account in your diet. This is also the reason that iron supplements often contain vitamin C aswell.
This one not only contains iron, but also vitamin C, vitamin B12 and folate.
Most people are brainwashed by commercials when it comes to milk. They tell you you need it and that it is very important for your bones. Calcium is indeed very important, and you can find this is in vegetables (broccoli), nuts and seeds, soybeans, quinoa, so you really don’t need milk to get your calcium. In addition, milk can have an acidifying effect, which is not good for your body.
When taking calcium supplements, you should check whether it contains animal vitamin D3 or not. D3 often comes along with calcium. Capsules made from gelatin are another thing to watch out for.
Proteins can easily be consumed as a vegan through your diet. Take a look at wich plant-based protein sources are available. But if you exercise intensive, a supplement of proteins can be very useful for your muscles to recover and strengthen. This is possible by adding vegan protein powders.
Magnesium is important for many physical functions, especially for your muscles, good sleep and relaxation. You can find it in green leafy vegetables, nuts, avocado, legumes, grains, etc.
Another good source is dark chocolate. Yumyum 😉 If you prefer not to have the sugar, it is best to choose pure cocoa powder or cocoa nibs. Pure cocoa powder is something I often put in my smoothie, along with frozen banana and plant-based milk and pure peanut butter.
As you notice, vegans often have a higher intake of magnesium through their diet. But it can still be useful to supplement these if you are very stressed or doing exercises.
Another way to get magnesium is to spray it directly on the skin through magnesium oil. This is ideal right before bed or after exercising.
It is often said that our guts are our second brain. A reason to take extra care of them. You get probiotics through food when you eat plant-based yogurt, but also through fermented food such as tempeh, miso, kombucha, …
If you don’t have enough healthy bacteria in your intestines or after you just had to take antibiotics, it is advisable to take a probiotic supplement.
Note that the supplement contains multiple strains of microorganisms and is gastric resistant. Otherwise, they will not end up in your intestines and that’s why you take it.
Fun fact: If you open a probiotic supplement, you can also use the powder to make your own vegan cheese.
If you eat varied, you normally get enough nutrients. But you may (at certain times) like to get some extra support. There are multiple multivitamins that are vegan, but these are made especially for vegans.
This multivitamin is specially made for kids. It contains vitamin A, C, D3, E, B6, B11, B12, biotin, pantothentic acid, iodine, zinc,
This multivitamin is specially made for vegan kids. It contains vitamin A, C, D2, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B11, B12, biotin and calcium.
This supplement contains vitamin A, C, D2, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B11, B12, biotin, B5, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum
This supplement contains vitamin A, C, D3, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B11, B12, biotin, choline, zinc, copper, chromium
Do vegans actually take supplements?
When I wrote this article I was very curious if what I had written corresponded to reality. Do people take these supplements every day or only sometimes? So I asked my followers on Instagram and Facebook. I got over 130 responses, thank you all very much.
Some people told me that they don’t take anything, either because they eat very varied food, their blood test results are good, they choose to eat foods which are enriched and some of them have never thought about it.
There are several reasons for those who do take supplements. Especially with B12, the reason is that we do not get it (enough) through nutrition and because of absorption problems. In the latter case, the supplements often do not help and therefore they need injections.
Other reasons to take supplements: on doctor’s advice, quick shortage due to illness, chronic deficiencies since they were a child, preventive (during corona), aging, detox, for rest and relaxation, doing a lot of sports, taking medicines that require supplementation.
There are 2 vitamins which stand out to the rest. These are …. drum roll… B12 and vitamin D. The big difference is that B12 is added every day and vitamin D, for some people always, but for the most only in the winter months. So most of them took it at the recommended times, vegan or not. Another reason to include this was because of night work.
Some said that they use supplements from the Solgar brand because they are in glasses instead of plastic jars.
For those who don’t like swallowing pills, they can choose gummies, liquid or spray from the brand Mary Ruth’s.
These are the vitamins my followers used the most.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Do you sometimes take supplements? You can leave your reaction at the bottom of this page to help others.