A Guide to Choosing the Best Vegan Multivitamin
Being a first time vegan can feel overwhelming at the start of your journey. You're often bombarded with terms like "gluten-free", "organic whole foods", "sugar-free", "vegetable blend", and so many more -- the majority of which you didn't have to think about before. Plus, there are a number of lifestyle changes you'll need to commit to.
“Transitioning to a vegan diet can be difficult if much of your diet consists of animal products like meat and dairy. Most people find success in changing to a vegan lifestyle by making small, gradual changes over time. Like starting with one meatless meal per week,” says Kristen Carli, a plant based dietitian.
One common concern about being on a plant based diet is whether it provides all the vitamins and minerals one needs to stay healthy. While a plant-based diet provides a plethora of health and environmental benefits, there are still a few important things you need to keep in mind.
Enter vegan multivitamins. There are plenty out there that claim they are the best vegan multivitamin in the market. However, it's always important to do your due diligence in ensuring you are getting a quality product for your investment. It's also crucial that your vegan multivitamin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals that will best supplement your vegan diet.
What Are Vegan Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are the most popular form of food supplement around. However, some are made vegan while others are not.
In its simplest terms, vegan vitamins are made with absolutely no animal products or other non-vegan ingredients. They are made with natural ingredients and are loaded with vitamins and minerals that can help bridge nutritional gaps.
It is, however, important to remember that not all vegan supplements are created equal. Some are made of better quality ingredients than others.
A quality vegan vitamin DOES NOT:
Have artificial flavors
Exceed a person’s RDA
Skip quality and safety testing
Do Vegans Need Supplements?
While a well-planned, balanced vegan diet might keep you going steadily day to day, there's a massive difference between surviving and thriving. Numerous signs that you're not getting the most out of your plant based include:
Lack of energy or focus
Changes in bowel function
Negative changes in mental and emotional health
Hair loss or disruption to skin
Weak immune system
Some essential vitamins and minerals can only be found in animal products. That being said, eating plant-based foods may not always mean your body is receiving sufficient trace minerals or nutrients for you to live your best life possible. Moreover, it's critical to keep your plant-based diets nutrient-varied. This means eating a wide variety of whole foods, organic fruits and vegetables, and loading up on fortified foods. You may also want to include green or red vegetable powders in your diet.
A healthy diet can be meatless. However, vegans need to make sure they're getting enough essential nutrients. In fact, it's more common among vegans to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B12, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc.
To counteract such deficiency, it's highly advisable for vegans to take supplements. These vegan multivitamins may help bridge nutritional gaps and ensure better health.
3 reasons Why Vegan Multivitamin Supplements are Highly Recommended
Getting all the amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, folic acid, and Vitamin B1 you need in your mineral supplements you need can be difficult. Finding a whole food multivitamin can help keep vegans healthy. Which is why we recommend finding one.
You May Not Be Getting Enough Nutrients in Your Vegan Diet
There are various reasons why vegans may not get enough vitamins and minerals from their diet. Farming and animal-raising have changed tremendously. Food and supplement manufacturing are also a far cry from how it was before. This has resulted in current foods that are now less nutrient-dense. Even for vegans, some food choices may not always be the same because of how they were farmed, made or processed.
It's not just industrialization that has changed the way we eat. Some people may have certain conditions that impair them from readily absorbing nutrients in their bodies. Moreover, certain medications, particularly for acid reflux, can also prevent people from receiving enough vitamins and minerals.
A healthy diet is dependent on the dietary choices we make. It’s just about how much we eat. It’s also about whatwe eat. Factor in other elements such as lack of sleep and living in a fast-paced environment, we may not always have the time to eat well or enough.
Multivitamins are both popular and helpful because they supplement what we lack in our diets. It helps us tick off the boxes on our journey to better health, and allows us not to miss out on nutrients vital to us.
You may be missing out on certain health benefits
When you bridge nutritional gaps with supplements, there are so many great benefits. Getting the proper dosage of essential vitamins every day supports your body in many ways.
Just like other quality multivitamins out there, certified vegan multivitamins come with tons of benefits. Since they are packed with essential nutrients, they can be considered your safety net in your fight for:
Stronger immune system
Healthier nervous system
Stronger bones, teeth and muscles
Better stress management
Prevention of chronic diseases
Bridging nutritional gaps
You must keep in mind the importance of eating well and supplementing right
It's always a matter of balance. Nutritional supplements exist to aid your diet, even if you're already consuming a variety of plant based whole foods. What you may be lacking, vegan multivitamins can help make up for.
On the flip side, it's also important to remember that your vegan multivitamin cannot make up for a poor diet. A balanced diet is still key. At the end of the day, what you eat and take go hand in hand to promote healthy metabolism, a strong immune system, a healthy nervous system, and healthy digestion.
Overall, pairing your plant based diet with a healthy lifestyle empowers your health tremendously.
How Do You Choose The Best Vegan Multivitamins?
A vegan multivitamin comes in different forms: capsules, pills, powder, gummies, and even sprays. Each is made and manufactured differently. At the same time, each of us live differently, practice varying lifestyles and may have specific dietary needs that others don't.
Choosing the best vegan multivitamins differs from one person to the next. Although it is helpful to be guided by a few factors before purchasing your own.
Here are simple steps to take:
Look for essential nutrients
First and foremost, your vegan multivitamin should contain the right amount of multiple vitamins and minerals critical to your optimum health. Since vegans miss out on certain nutrients that are present in only animal products, multivitamins can play a key role in filling in the gaps.
There are specific nutrients vegans need to boost their overall health, which we will discuss further as you read along. The great thing is there are tons of vegan supplements made responsibly that are rich in these nutrients. It's just a matter of pairing it with a well balanced plant based diet.
Learn how they’re made, and what’s in them
When choosing a supplement, look for high quality vegan multivitamins that come with bioactive and bioavailable ingredients. This means they are formulated to be better absorbed in your body and not cause harm, unlike synthetic nutrients. You may want to look for a vegan multivitamin that comes with only the most natural and organic ingredients. Fillers and artificial flavors aren't going to provide any additional benefits on your road to better health.
When it comes to dose, not exceeding your RDA on vitamins and minerals are crucial. A trusted vegan multivitamin is one that provides an optimum level of nutrients, not the minimum. Moreover, part of keeping your dosage to the right amount is being conscious of what you eat.
Avoid certain ingredients
When choosing the best vegan multivitamins, it's imperative to know which ingredients you should avoid. These extra ingredients are often called "excipients", which are non-ingredients that are used in manufacturing. Knowing what to look for also prevents you from digesting unnecessary compounds in your body.
Below are two ingredients you need to watch out for:
Flavorings and preservatives
Support ethical and sustainable packaging
Part of selecting a vegan multivitamin is considering packaging. A big part of leading a vegan lifestyle is staying true to lessening our impact on the environment. Luckily, there are plenty of ethical and sustainable packaging solutions that are earth-friendly.
Here are some examples:
Certified biodegradable plastic pouches
Look up the credibility and trustworthiness of makers
“The supplement industry is loosely regulated by the FDA, so you may not always be getting what the manufacturer says is in the product,” says Kristen Carli, plant based dietitian. That being said, you want to consider the credibility of the vegan multivitamin brand you're looking at. Third-party tested and lab verified supplements are more likely to contain exactly what’s on the label. Take the time to do your research, read trustworthy reviews and study which ones you resonate with the most.
What Are The Important Vitamins And Minerals Vegan Need?
The best vegan multivitamins contain essential nutrients vegans need to thrive. This way, your body is able to continue functioning optimally and maintain a strong immune system.
In your quest to find the best vegan multivitamins, you must be aware of the essential vitamins and minerals vegans need. Here's a rundown of key nutrients to look for.
B vitamins are crucial for normal brain function and a sound nervous system. Furthermore, B vitamins may help prevent depression and anxiety and help us alleviate stress.
Vitamin B12 is one form of Vitamin B that helps reduce fatigue and keep us energized from one task to the next. It's also responsible for producing healthy red blood cells.
Unlike other water-soluble vitamins, B vitamins can be stored in the body for long periods of time. . That's why it's important to take the correct dose of B vitamins to prevent vitamin toxicity. An excess of B vitamins is rare but possible. Excess is usually excreted by our bodies through urination.
Many vegans are deficient in B vitamins, particularly B12 because it is found only in animal products like meat and dairy.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency may not show right away. Some symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, numbness, poor balance, and memory trouble. Over time, lack of vitamin B12 can cause pernicious anemia.
Our bodies need Vitamin D for healthy skin, hair, bones, teeth, muscles as well as our bodily functions. We mostly get it when we are exposed to the sun. However, there are times when our busy schedules hinder us from finding time under the sun. Moreover, some places don't always have the sunniest of days. This is why it's crucial to supplement, especially for vegans.
Aside from the sun, fortified foods or mushrooms, there are not many naturally occurring vegan sources of Vitamin D. Most vegans benefit from a dietary supplement, particularly in winter months and if your schedule doesn't permit you from being exposed enough to the sun.
When it comes to vegan food, you may want to watch out for food labeling on certain items you're buying off the store. If they are fortified foods labeled with "D2", that's vegan. However, if these foods are labeled only with "Vitamin D", particularly cereals, it's most likely they contain D3, which is usually derived from animals.
In your quest for the best vegan multivitamin, it's best to understand that there are two types of Vitamin D supplements: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is almost always vegan friendly. D3 is often extracted from animal products. However, there are some forms that are obtained from fungi or algae. Experts recommend D3 more often because it is more easily absorbed in the body.
Similar to other vegan vitamins, taking too much can cause potential health problems.. Excess in Vitamin D can do more harm than good, so it's always best to be within your limits when it comes to vitamin intake.
Another important vitamin for vegans or non-vegans is Vitamin C. It supports growth and repair of tissues and it's responsible for producing collagen: an important protein for skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Moreover, Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which helps prevent DNA damage.
Signs of Vitamin C deficiency include but are all not limited to bleeding gums, dry and splitting hair, scaly skin and easy bruising.
The great thing about this vitamin is it's readily available in plant foods. You can load up on it through eating blackcurrants, oranges, red and green pepper, kale, papaya, and strawberries, and other organic fruits. Vitamin C is also largely present in hardy greens like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, and spinach.
Choosing a dietary supplement rich in it is also a good option to balance with your diet. Most vegan multivitamins available on the market include Vitamin C.
Vitamin Ehelps prevent coronary heart disease, boosts the immune system, promotes better eye health and lowers your risk of cancer. It's also responsible for improving the health of your skin, which is why a lot of cosmetic products contain it.
There are tons of vegan-friendly food sources rich in Vitamin E including but not limited to different nuts and seeds, avocado, butternut squash, canned tomatoes, wheat germ, mango, broccoli, spinach, kale, and chickpeas.
Iron is another one of the necessary vitamins and minerals vegans need to thrive. It helps transport oxygen to red blood cells. There are plant foods rich in it but we are less able to absorb them readily in our body. When consuming plant sources of iron, they are best absorbed with vitamin C.
Vegans and vegetarians often have a lower iron store since iron is most richly found in animals. However, you don't have to fret since a low iron store doesn't necessarily mean you are anemic.
When it comes to your diet, some of the best vegan friendly foods rich in it are legumes, organic vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. The key is not how much iron-rich foods you consume. It's about how much of it you can absorb. This is where taking a vegan multivitamin rich in iron can help. They're often combined with folic acid, which is vital to keeping your blood healthy.
Same as other vitamins and minerals, consuming too much iron can also be harmful . So watch out and be mindful of how much you're putting into your body.
Calcium supports strong bones and teeth. It's also instrumental in muscle and heart function.
Calcium is available in non-vegan food like most dairy and eggs. It is also available in plant foods like some grains, certain nuts and seeds, some organic fruit, seaweed and green leafy vegetables. However, it's usually bound to another compound, which makes it more difficult to absorb in the body.
Those who are on vegan diets usually have a lower bone density than meat eaters, which puts them at a greater risk for fractures. That's why taking a vegan multivitamin rich in Calcium is another way to ensure your body is absorbing sufficient amounts of it.
Another nutrient to consider when finding the best vegan multivitamins is Zinc. It helps in almost all vital functions of your body. It's necessary for protein formation, promotes collagen formation, as well as boosts your immune system.
Similar to other minerals and vitamins, Zinc can be found in vegan sources like fermented soya, nuts, some grains and other organic whole foods. However, it could be difficult to absorb in your body. Consider taking vegan multivitamins rich in it so you're getting enough.
We need Iodine to help normalize our thyroid function and to help regulate the energy we use for our daily tasks. A healthy varied plant based diet that includes seaweed and/or iodized salt used sparingly will fulfill your nutritional requirements. Arame, wakame, and nori are all excellent sources of it too, whereas kelp is high in Iodine and should be used cautiously.
Keep in mind that the amount of Iodine in plants is dependent on the quantity present in the soil where they are grown. Other plant-based sources for it are whole foods like whole grains, green beans, courgettes, kale, spring greens, watercress, strawberries and organic potatoes with skin on.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are nutrients that help support healthy body. They're important to the structural integrity of every cell wall. They're also an energy source and assist in maintaining appropriate functioning of your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system.
Two important ones -- EPA and DHA -- are largely found in fish while ALA is found in plant sources like seeds and nuts. If you don't consume enough Omega 3s, signs of deficiency won't show until after a year or two.
Finding The Best Vegan Multivitamins
A holistic vegan diet is made up of nutrient-varied food choices that ensure you're getting the most of what your body needs. Keep in mind that the majority of plant-based sources of some vitamins and minerals are not as easily absorbed as animal sources. This may make it harder for vegans to absorb nutrients properly. You may want to consider supplementing to fill any nutritional gaps. . It's also wise to be properly guided by a doctor or registered dietitian in your journey to becoming the healthiest version of yourself.
There are countless options for vegan friendly multivitamins out there. It's a matter of knowing what to look for, where to look and what you need.
The importance of talking to your doctor before supplementing
Health needs and goals as well as a healthy lifestyle vary from one person to the next. Before you start taking vegan multivitamins, it's advisable to speak with your doctor first.
The most common practice is to perform a blood test to check for any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. This can help you avoid nutrient deficiencies or vitamin toxicity. Furthermore, a visit to a registered dietitian will also give you a clearer picture on how to best apply and supplement your vegan diet.
First Day Vegan Multivitamins
First Day vegan daily multivitamins are some of the best vegan multivitamins out in the market. Our gummies are packed with essential nutrients made from organic fruits and vegetables, critical to supporting your overall health. Furthermore, our gummies are made from vegan-friendly ingredients, are gluten free while being packed ethically and sustainably. They're also made and manufactured with the guidance of research and industry experts.
Kristen Carli, MS, RD
Kristen Carli is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. She graduated from University of Arizona with a BA in psychology and then received a BS in dietetics from Arizona State University. After completion of the dietetic internship, she continued her education by receiving a MS in Human Nutrition from University of Western States. Having a passion for nutrition communication, she has been featured in InStyle, Bustle, Livestrong, The List, MyFitnessPal and many others. Kristen was selected to act as a Produce for Better Health Foundation Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador in Action, helping to promote the health benefits and importance of consuming fruits and vegetables. You can find her reading, running, and exploring new restaurants with her husband. She also runs Mostly Green, a blog where she develops and shares simple plant-based recipes.