By Rachael Link, MS, RD
Just as important as picking the right foods on a vegan diet is selecting the right supplements. In fact, including a few of the best supplements for vegans as part of your routine can ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to support a healthy you.
However, there are a plethora of products out there, which can make it challenging to figure out which supplements are right for you and how to get started.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at a few of the best supplements for vegans and how to incorporate them into your routine.
Vegan Diet vs. Plant-Based
Vegan and plant-based diets have both been hailed for their health benefits in recent years. However, while there are several similarities between the two eating patterns, there are also some differences as well.
Vegan diets involve eliminating all animal products from the diet, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products and honey. Even foods and supplements that contain animal-based ingredients should be excluded altogether on a strict vegan diet.
Plant-based diets, on the other hand, focus on eating plant foods, such as fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. However, plant-based eating plans may not necessarily eliminate all animal products altogether and may still include moderate amounts of meat, fish and poultry.
Both diets encourage the consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods, which have been linked to a long list of benefits. Not only can these ingredients supply a variety of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but they may also help support several aspects of health.
Vegan diets have been associated with a number of powerful health benefits. In fact, some studies suggest that vegans and vegetarians may have a better overall diet quality and a higher intake of several key nutrients, including fiber, magnesium and vitamin C.
Here are a few other potential benefits of a vegan diet.
1. Supports a Healthy Weight
Studies show that vegans and vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and may have a healthier weight than meat-eaters. Not only that, but vegan diets are also typically lower in saturated fat and calories, plus higher in fiber to help keep you feeling full between meals.
2. Promotes Healthy Blood Sugar (already in the healthy range)
Research has found that switching to a meat-free diet may be associated with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels over time. Following a vegan or vegetarian diet may also be an effective tool to help promote healthy blood sugar levels and healthy insulin levels.
3. Supports Heart Health
Vegan diets may also support cardiovascular health, while also promoting healthy levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. What’s more, vegan and vegetarian diets have also been shown to promote healthy blood pressure levels, which is another important factor for overall heart health.
What Might Be Missing in the Vegan Diet
Vegan diets exclude any animal products from the diet, including meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs and honey. For this reason, it can be difficult to meet your daily needs for specific nutrients without proper planning.
In particular, research suggests that vegan diets may be lacking in some of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin B12
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Vegan supplements are often recommended to help round out the diet and ensure that your nutritional needs are being met.
Top 9 Supplements for Vegans
Adding a few vitamins and minerals to your diet can be especially beneficial if you’re following a plant-based or vegan diet. Here are a few of the best supplements for vegans:
1. Plant Protein
Getting enough protein in your diet can be a challenge, especially if you’re eliminating animal products as part of a vegan diet.
Our new line of Plant Protein+ supplements is a vegan protein powder — in chocolate, vanilla and berry flavors — that offers 15 grams of protein per serving, along with a blend of organic seeds and botanicals. Benefits include support for healthy body composition, fat metabolism, increased muscle recovery, sexual function, a positive mindset and much more.
Often considered one of the best supplements for vegans, supergreen blends can help you squeeze more nutrient-dense greens into your diet with minimal effort required.
Organic SuperGreens, in particular, features ingredients like beetroot juice, spirulina and alfalfa grass powder and can help support detoxification, healthy weight management and a healthy immune system.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Vegan or not, there’s a good chance you may not be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Taking a vegan omega-3 supplement is an easy option to help meet your omega-3 needs.
Algal oil is one of the most common vegan omega-3 supplements on the market. It is often favored over other types because it provides DHA and EPA, both of which can be absorbed and used by the body more easily.
Adding a vegan multivitamin to your routine is an easy way to fill any gaps in your diet and bump up your intake of an array of important vitamins and minerals.
5. Vitamin B12
Because vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal sources and fortified foods, finding a vegan B12 supplement is key.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is found naturally in few food sources and is actually produced by the skin cells in response to sunlight. If you don’t regularly get sun exposure, this is one of the top vegan vitamins that you should consider adding to your routine.
Although calcium is abundant in a number of nuts, seeds and veggies, many people rely on dairy products to meet their needs for this important mineral. For vegans, supplementation is another option that can help ensure that you’re getting enough calcium in your diet.
Iron is found mostly in meat, fish and poultry, which makes finding the best vegan iron supplement is a must if you’re switching to a plant-based diet.
Many vegans struggle to get enough zinc in their diet, which is one reason why this important mineral is often considered one of the best supplements for vegans.
Ancient Nutrients - Zinc + Probiotics packs in 20 mg of enzyme-activated zinc paired with 2 billion CFUs of probiotics and is designed to support healthy digestion and a healthy immune defense.
When shopping for supplements, be sure to check customer reviews carefully and purchase from high-quality vegan supplement brands whenever possible.
It’s also important to check the ingredients list. While many supplements can be included on a plant-based diet, some may contain added ingredients from animal sources, which may not be suitable for strict vegans.
Additionally, always consult with your healthcare provider before starting supplementation. They may also recommend additional supplements based on your specific needs, such as a vitamin K or vegan iodine supplement. Plus, they may be able to make specific recommendations for products, such as the best B12 supplements for vegans or the best vegan multivitamin for athletes.
Finally, keep in mind that supplements should not be used to replace a healthy diet. Instead, use a few of the best supplements for vegans to complement a well-rounded diet rich in nutritious, plant-based foods.
- Supplements can be a beneficial addition to a vegan diet and can help ensure that you’re meeting your needs for specific nutrients.
- Some of the best vitamin supplements for vegans include multivitamins, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, protein powder and supergreens.
- These products can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle and can help round out your diet to support a healthy you.
Rachael Link, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian based in New York City. She completed her undergraduate degree in Dietetics at the University of Central Missouri and later received her Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Rachael is passionate about plant-based nutrition and enjoys providing easy-to-understand information to readers looking to support their health.