What supplements should vegans take?

What supplements should vegans take

What supplements should vegans take?

Do you ever feel like you’re lacking something in the vitamin and nutrition department? Do you think what supplements should vegans take? I eat a variety of foods – lentils, beans, nuts, fruit, veg and tofu to name but a few.

It’s a trade off

I know eating a vegan diet does often mean lacking in certain vitamins and minerals. This is a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the good of the animals, the planet and my health. And by health I mean I’ve never felt better since going vegan, I’ve lost weight and never looked so fit and healthy. Check out my before and after photos in the about me section.

What supplements should vegans take?

If you’re thinking of going vegan but need a starting point read this article on how to start going vegan.

So, whilst I know I’m lacking a few things here and there I feel my overall health is very good. So what supplements should vegans take?

This article is pretty long by the way, feel free to skip the science bit and go straight to the bottom to see what supplements should vegans take.

Why should vegans need to take supplements?

To save the planet!

Atlas of earth drawn on two hands

As much as it pains me to say, there are quite a few essential vitamins and minerals found in meat and meat products. Boo! I don’t want to bang on about this too much but I still think taking a few vegan supplements is a small price to pay for playing my part in stopping the cruelty that so many animals have to suffer. Plus there’s the environmental benefits, rearing cattle contributes to deforestation and the methane that cattle produce is terrible for the planet. For more information on the benefits of going vegan have a read of this.

What supplements are vegans lacking?

These are the main vitamins and minerals that us vegans could be lacking. I say could be because eating the right amount of some vegan foods could mean taking a supplement isn’t necessary. These are what supplements vegans should take.

Vitamin B12

Not getting enough vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, infertility and heart disease. It’s an essential vitamin that’s important for lots of different body processes including protein metabolism. Therefore this is definitely one for the list when considering what supplements vegans should take. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 adults should have is 2.4 micro grams. To give you an idea there’s about 2.1 micro grams in 100g of 5% mince (ground) beef, this is 87.5% of the daily recommended. Vegan foods do contain vitamin B12, but nowhere near as much.

Vegan foods containing vitamin B12

Good source of vitamin B12 - glass of soya milk, bowl of tofu and dried soy beans

There’s 0.1 micro grams in 100g of tempeh which is only 4% of the daily recommended. In soya milk there’s 0.38 micro grams per 100ml which is 15.8% of the recommended.

In conclusion it’s a little tricky to get enough vitamin B12 from vegan foods, however this is easily solved by taking a vegan supplement or eating something that is fortified with vitamin B12 like a nutritional yeast. More on what supplements vegans should take at the bottom of this article.

Vitamin D

Best source of vitamin D - sunshine

You may already know vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin. Having a vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle pain and depression. Vitamin D regulates how much is in our bodies to helps to keep our bones and teeth healthy.

Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3

There are two main types of vitamin D – vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Plant foods contain vitamin D2 and animal foods contain vitamin D3. We can get enough vitamin D3 by exposing our skin to the sun when it’s hot (not often in the UK!). Most of us get enough vitamin D3 in the summer months but are lacking during the winter months. The daily recommended vitamin D dosage for adults is 10 micro grams. Foods that contain vitamin D3 are fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel. A can of sardines contains about 4.4 mcg of vitamin D3 which is 44% of your daily recommended dose. Wild caught salmon contains around 24.7 mcg per 100g which is 247% of your daily recommended. Egg yolks and cod liver oil also contain vitamin D3.


Vegan foods containing vitamin D

Vegan foods such as mushrooms and soya products contain vitamin D. Foods like tofu, milk and yogurt. Soya milk contains around 0.75 micro grams per 100ml, this is 7.5% of the daily recommended, so not much compared to the animal products mentioned above. Soy yogurt is around the same at 0.75 micro grams. Good job we have mushrooms!

Mushrooms and vitamin D

Good source of vitamin D - mushrooms that have been exposed to the sun/uv light

Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms. Interestingly mushrooms act much like our skin does when exposed to sunlight or UV light. They actually produce vitamin D! Even after they’ve been harvested they can be exposed to the sun. So you can buy a pack of mushrooms, unwrap them, leave them in the hot sun (spring/ summer sun) for up to 60 minutes and they will produce vitamin D. Amazing! You can then eat them raw or cook them, cooking won’t remove any of the vitamin D the mushrooms have produced. This is why I love plants, they’re more clever than us humans a lot of the time. Scroll down the the bottom to see what supplements should vegans should.


Calcium is needed for nerve and heart function as well as bone growth and maintenance. The daily recommended amount of calcium for adults is 700 -1000mg. Many dairy foods such as milk and cheese contain calcium. Parmesan cheese contains around 331mg per 28g. This is around 33 – 50% of your daily recommended. Semi skimmed cow’s milk contains around 124mg per 100ml which is 12 – 18% of your daily recommended.

Foods that contain calcium

Good source of calcium - poppy seeds

Some vegan foods such as soya milk are fortified with calcium. Soya milk contains around 120mg per 100ml, almost as much as cow’s milk. Surprisingly, some foods like seeds, beans and tofu contain high levels of calcium.

There’s around 126mg of calcium in just 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, that’s 13 – 18% of your daily recommended. Tofu that’s been made with calcium sulphate could provide 683mg of calcium per 100g. This is 68 – 98% of your daily recommended. It’s quite possible to get enough calcium in a vegan diet to not need to supplement. However some foods that vegans may eat such as spinach, beans and grains contain acids that stop the absorption of calcium. So even if you’re eating a lot of calcium enriched foods you still might not be getting all the calcium you need. Further down this article you’ll get to see what supplements should vegans take, calcium being one of them.


Iodine helps to keep your metabolic rate healthy and helps to make thyroid hormones. The daily recommended amount of iodine for adults is 140 – 150 micro grams. Cod, cow’s milk and seaweed contains naturally occurring iodine. Semi skimmed cow’s milk contains around 31 micro grams per 100ml which is 21 – 22% of your daily recommended. There’s around 95 micro grams per 100g of cod which is 64 – 68% of your daily recommended.

Good source of iodine - vegan sushi using the seaweed nori


Vegan foods that contain iodine

The seaweed nori (used to make sushi rolls) contains 16 – 43 micro grams per gram, this is 11 – 30% of your daily recommended.

So there’s not as much iodine in seaweed than there is in cod and cow’s milk so us vegans may have an issue again with getting enough iodine in our diet. You’ll find my recommendation further down for what supplements should vegans take.


Iron is used in your body to make hemoglobin. This is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to all the different parts of your body. Iron is also used to make some hormones and having an iron deficiency can lead to anemia and fatigue (similar to vitamin B12 deficiency). The amount of iron we need depends on our sex and age. Adult men need 8.7mg per day and adult women need 14.8mg per day. The reason us ladies need more iron is because of our menstrual cycle. Sometimes it sucks being a girl but this does explain why sometimes when I go to give blood I can’t due to a low iron level at that particular time.

Animal foods that contain iron

Liver, shellfish and red meat all contain naturally occurring iron. Beef liver contains around 6.5mg of iron per 100g which is 75% of a man’s recommended daily intake and 44% of a woman’s. Red meat contains around 2.7mg per 100g which is 31% of a man’s daily recommended and 18% of a woman’s.


Vegan foods that contain iron

A good source of iron - Spinach

Vegan foods do contain iron also, spinach and lentils are both a great source of iron. Spinach contains 2.7mg of iron per 100g which is the same as red meat. If someone asked me what contained more iron out of red meat and spinach I definitely would have said red meat. Every day’s a school-day! Cooked red lentils contain 3.3mg of iron per 100g which is 38% of a man’s and 22% of a woman’s daily recommended intake.

So eating a balanced vegan diet full of legumes, greens such as spinach, grains like quinoa and seeds is likely to give both men and women enough iron to meet their daily requirement however this could be supplemented.

Can you take too much iron?

45mg per day is the daily upper limit of how much iron our bodies can cope with (for adult men and women), so it’s unlikely you would take too much if you took an iron supplement. Symptoms of having too much iron in your body are dizziness, fatigue and gray skin.

What supplements should vegans take

Here are my recommendations for what supplements should vegans take, I’ve split them into UK and US. And just so you know the rest of this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Full disclosure here.You will not pay more for any items purchased using these links (it just helps me to continue writing great content). Clicking on the links below will take you to the Amazon product pages. OK on with the best vegan supplements, I’ve broken it down into the best vegan multivitamin and then the individual supplements after.

Best vegan multivitamin supplement


Vegan Vitality vegan multivitamins & minerals – 6 months supply, 180 tablets

Best vegan multivitamin - vegan vitality

Multivitamins offer great value as it nearly always works out cheaper than buying the supplements individually. Vegan Vitality multivitamins contain a whopping 23 vitamins and minerals, this is loads more than a lot of others on the market. Some have half the amount of vitamins or less. I won’t go through every single vitamin but out of the ones mentioned in the article this is what you get:

  • Vitamin B12 – 50mcg. 2083% of the recommended daily.
  • Vitamin D3 – 20mcg. 200% of the recommended daily.
  • Calcium – 120mg. 12 – 17% of the recommended daily.
  • Iodine – 150mcg. 100 – 107% of the recommended daily.
  • Iron – 14mg. 161% of a man’s and 106% of a woman’s recommended daily.

To summarise you’re getting at least 100% for all except calcium. As long as you’re eating calcium rich foods such as seeds, soy foods like edamame beans and legumes it’s unlikely you’d have a calcium deficiency. However if you do you could always opt for the calcium supplement mentioned later on in this article.



You guys in the US seem to do things a bit differently in that you split your vegan multivitamins between men’s and women’s. Because of that I’ll split my recommendations into men’s and women’s.

For women

Naturelo whole food multivitamin for women – 1 month supply, 120 capsules (4 per day)

Best vegan multivitamin for women - Naturelo whole food multivitamin

Because this is a multivitamin it offers great value compared to buying the individual supplements. This is what you get in one serving (4 capsules):

  • Vitamin B12 – 6mcg. 250% of the recommended daily.
  • Vitamin D3 – 22mcg. 220% of the recommended daily.
  • Calcium – 355mg. 36 – 51% of the recommended daily
  • Iodine – 150 mcg. 100 – 107% of the recommended daily
  • Iron – 14 mg. 95% of the daily recommended for women

The Naturelo multivitamin contains at least 100% of your daily recommended for all except iron which is almost there at 95%, and Calcium at 36 – 51%. This is still a lot higher than some multivitamins available, some only contain 5-10% of the daily recommended calcium.


For men

Naturelo whole food multivitamin for men – 1 months supply, 120 capsules (4 per day)

Best vegan multivitamin for men - Naturelo whole food multivitamin

These are almost identical to the women’s one above but minus the iron, this is because men only need about half the amount of iron as women do. Therefore men are more likely to be able to get the iron they need from their diet. This is what you’re getting in each serving of 4 capsules:

  • Vitamin B12. 6mcg – 250% of the recommended daily.
  • Vitamin D3. 25mcg – 250% of the recommended daily.
  • Calcium. 190mg – 19 – 27% of the recommended daily.
  • Iodine. 150mcg – 100 – 107% of the recommended daily.
  • Iron. 0

You’re getting at least 100% of your daily recommended requirement with the exception of calcium and iron. If needed you could top up your calcium or if you’ve been advised to by your doctor. Have a look further down this article for the best vegan calcium supplement.

Best vegan vitamin B12 supplement


Nutravita vitamin B12 tablets – 500 micro grams per tablet. 1 years supply, 365 tablets

Best vegan vitamin B12 supplement - Nutrivita vitamin B12 tablets

Whilst 500 micro grams may seem like a lot more than the 2.4 micro grams recommended daily intake (208 times more to be precise), our bodies can only absorb about 10 micro grams per 500 micro grams we take as an oral supplement. When taking a B12 supplement a higher dose is needed.

The nutravita vitamin B12 supplement provides 500 micro grams per tablet which is a lot less than some other supplements available to buy. This makes nutravita cheaper however they do also sell a B12 supplement that contains 1000 micro grams per tablet, but this is likely to be too much for the average person to absorb plus it’s more expensive. However if you wanted to go with the higher dosage you can buy it here. There’s no evidence to suggest that taking a higher dosage is dangerous. Nutravita is a UK based company, all their products are manufactured and certified in the UK and the UK has one of the highest standards of manufacturing in the world. So by buying Nutrivita you’re supporting UK business.


  • Good value at 365 tablets
  • High standard of manufacturing
  • 1000 mcg is available if you want a higher dose


  • Contains less vitamin B12 than competitors
  • Only available in the UK



PlantFusion B12 vegan vitamin 500 mcg – 100 tablets

Best vegan vitamin B12 supplement - Plantfusion vitamin B12

PlantFusions products are proud to be 100% vegan. Their vegan vitamin B12 supplement is free from sugar, dairy, wheat gluten, eggs peanuts, soy, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. That’s quite the list! PlantFusion are environmentally conscious and they manufacturer their products in an environmentally responsible facility. Their facility also recycles and uses degradable packaging. Everything about PlantFusion says “we care about the planet” which I really like. You only get 100 tablets in the bottle which is about a 3 months supply. You can get this shipped to the UK but it’ll cost you just as much in shipping as the product itself!


  • Proud to be vegan
  • Environmentally friendly


  • Only 100 tablets per bottle
  • Expensive to ship to the UK

Best vegan vitamin D supplement

Most of the vitamin D supplements available to buy are D3. This is because vitamins D2 and D3 are absorbed differently in your body and it’s vitamin D3 that boosts your calcifediol levels more which is better for you. Also, for us vegans we’re more likely to be deficient in vitamin D3 (particularly in the winter months) because it occurs in animal products.


Pure and Essential Vegan Vitamin D3 – 25 mcg per tablet. 1 year supply, 365 tablets

Best vegan vitamin D3 supplement - Pure and essential vegan vitamin D3

The pure and essential vitamin D3 contains 365 tablets so you get a whole year’s supply in just one bottle which is great value. A lot of the other bottles which are a similar price or even more expensive only contain 4 months supply or 6 months supply. Each tablet contains 25mcg which is 250% of the daily recommended which is 10 mcg. The pure and essential vegan vitamin D3 supplement is made by Igennus Healthcare Nutrition who are based in Cambridge in the UK, by buying this supplement you’re supporting UK business. They’ve also lowered their carbon footprint by making small changes to their product packaging making them better for the environment.



  • Good value at 365 tablets in one bottle
  • Each tablet contains 250% of your daily recommended
  • Environmentally friendly packaging


  • Contains less vitamin D than some competitors
  • Only available in the UK



Naturelo Vitamin D3 – 62.5 mcg per tablet. 6 months supply, 180 tablets

Best vegan vitamin D3 supplement- Naturelo vitamin D3

Naturelo’s vitamin D3 tablets contain 62.5 mcg per tablet which is 625% of your daily recommended which is 10 mcg. So you do get a large dose of vitamin D3 in these tablets. Having more than 100 mcg per day could be harmful so even though these tablets are a high dose at 62.5 mcg they’re still well within the safe limit. You get 180 tablets per bottle which is a lot more than some other supplements available, so they’re really good value. Naturelo’s vitamin D supplements are non GMO, gluten, soy, dairy and nut free. And are free from preservatives and colourings.


  • Good value at 6 months supply
  • High dosage at 62.5 mcg per tablet


  • Only available in the US

Best vegan calcium supplement


Healthaid Calcium Complete – 800mg per 2 tablets. 2 months supply, 120 tablets

Best vegan calcium supplement - Healthaid calcium complete 800mg

With the Healthaid calcium complete supplement you take 2 tablets a day to get your 800mg of calcium. This is 80 – 114% of your daily 700 – 1000mg recommended. Whilst you do only get a 2-month supply this supplement is fairly cheap still. Healthaid’s products are free from wheat, corn, starch, soy, egg, dairy (lactose, casein), animal fats, gelatine, yeast, sugar, wax, preservatives, colourings, or artificial flavourings.


  • At least 80% of your recommended daily dosage
  • Extensive free from list


  • Only 2 months supply

There are other supplements available that are a combination of calcium and other vitamins like vitamin D3. Natures aid do a calcium, magnesium & vitamin D3 complex which is great value and you get at least 100% of your daily recommended for all three. If you’re in the UK you can buy that here.



Solgar chewable calcium wafers – 1000mg per 2 wafers. 2 months supply, 120 wafers

Best vegan calcium supplement - Solgar chewable calcium wafers

You’ll be getting 1000mg of calcium by taking two wafers per day which is 100 – 142% of your daily recommended. These are chewable so great for anyone who struggles to swallow tablets. Solgar use responsibly sourced ingredients and their glass bottles are recyclable.


  • At least 100% of your daily recommended dose
  • Chewable


  • Wafer might not be to everyone’s taste
  • Only 2 months supply

If you’d prefer a combination of vitamins Garden of life do a calcium, vitamins D3 & K2, and magnesium complex. You take 3 tablets per day, each one with a meal and you’ll get at least 100% of your daily recommended of calcium and vitamin D3. You can buy it here.

Best vegan iodine supplement


G&G organic kelp – 350 mcg per tablet. 4 months supply – 120 capsules

Best vegan iodine supplement - G&G organic kelp

Don’t be confused by the 500mg mentioned on the product page. Whilst you do get 500mg of kelp per capsule, each capsule contains 350 mcg of iodine which is 233 – 250% of the daily recommended. NHS UK state that taking up to 500 mcg (0.5mg) per day is unlikely to cause any harm and these capsules contain 150 mcg less. A lot of the competitor products only contain 60 or 90 capsules so these G&G capsules are really good value. G&G’s manufacturing facility in Sussex runs off green energy and their organic kelp capsules contain no unnecessary ingredients like binders or fillers.


  • At least 233% of your daily recommended (but not dangerous)
  • Good value
  • Environmentally conscious company


  • High dosage



Now kelp capsules – 325 mcg per capsule. 8.3 months supply, 250 capsules

Best vegan iodine supplement - Now kelp capsules

One capsule per day is taken with a meal and each one contains 325 mcg of iodine which is 216 – 232% of your daily recommended. Taking this amount of iodine per day isn’t harmful as it’s less than 500 mcg. The Now kelp capsules are great value as you get 250 capsules per bottle which is a lot more than the competitors 60 or 100 capsules. Now is a family owned USA based company and their manufacturing facility has an NPA A-rated GMP certification meaning it’s passed a stringent examination and testing process.


  • Great value at 250 capsules per bottle
  • You’re supporting US business


  • High dosage

Best vegan iron supplement


Weightworld iron tablets – 14mg per tablet. 1 year’s supply, 365 tablets

Best vegan iron supplement - Weightworld iron tablets

These tablets are great value as you get a whole year’s supply in one bottle. Each tablet contains 14mg which is 161% of the daily recommended for men (8.7mg) and 106% for women (14.8mg). So guys you might not need to take a supplement every day. There are stronger supplements available to buy, some are up to 20mg but I’m reluctant to recommend those as according to NHS UK anything over 17mg could be harmful. The national institute for health states our daily upper limit for iron intake is 45mg so there is mixed advice out there. If you went by the 45mg upper limit taking a 20mg supplement would be fine, I’d just rather err on the side of caution. Weightworld’s iron tablets are made in the UK and they are non GMO, carb & chemical free and are suitable for vegan and keto diets.


  • Great value at 1 year’s supply per bottle
  • Good dosage at 14mg, not too high
  • Made in the UK


  • Higher doses than 14mg are available from competitors



Solgar gentle iron – 20mg per capsule. 3 months supply, 90 capsules

Best vegan iron supplement - Solgar gentle iron

Whilst the Solgar iron capsules contain more iron than the Weightworld capsules above it’s still one of the lowest concentrations I could find available in the US. At 20mg per capsule this is 230% of a man’s daily recommended (8.7mg) and 135% of a woman’s (14.8mg). The Amazon product info does appear to be wrong as it says it’s 25mg per capsule but the bottle shows as 20mg as does the Solgar website. Amazon do their own brand of iron capsule that contains 18mg but at the time of writing it wasn’t in stock with no ETA. It’s available here if you want to check it out, it might be back in stock by the time you read this article.


  • Lower dosage than others available
  • Good value at 3 months supply


  • Conflicting product and product page information

So, now you know what supplements should vegans take.

This is by no means a complete list. There are other vitamins and minerals us vegans could be lacking but at least you have more of an understanding of what supplements should vegans take. The ones mentioned are just the main ones. I myself have been taking a vitamin B12 and iron complex but after doing the research for this article I’m going to buy the multivitamin because it’s more of a complete complex of what I feel I need. As with anything if you’re not sure you should be taking a certain supplement talk to your doctor first.

Did you enjoy this rather long article? Are you taking any supplements and have they improved your health? Do you think vegans are lacking in any other vitamins and minerals? Let me know by commenting below, I’d love to hear from you as always.

Until next time


10 thoughts on “What supplements should vegans take?

  • roprimixz
    November 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Hello There, 

    First off, This is an amazingly written article, Thanks for sharing this with us. I am not a Vegan but I learnt quite a number of things from this. So shocking to see Vegans lack so much in vitamins, never knew. I do not fancy ben a Vegan one bit. I would share this with a couple of my friends who are Vegans, they need to check these Supplements mentioned out.

    • Katie
      November 18, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      Hi there

      Thanks so much for commenting. Please do share it with your vegan friends, they might be unaware that they could be lacking some essential vitamins and minerals.


  • Sami
    December 15, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    When thinking about eating vegan, which I have not given serious thought to, I think that I have a huge gap of information missing.  I would have thought that What Supplements Should Vegans Take is a fake question. However, on reading through I see that in any kind of diet practice we will fall short of getting the full amount we need for a healthy body and life.  As I learn more about how this kind of eating is helping people heal their bodies of long term conditions, the better the whole things sounds to me.  Thanks for your information and how to make sure we are getting the supplements we need for healthy bodies. 

    As time passes and I become better armed with education to have a healthier body, I might be able to make better decisions on this eating plan than I do on the one I currently practice.  Thanks for your information. Sami

    • Katie
      December 16, 2020 at 6:55 am

      Hi Sami

      I’m really glad you found the article useful. That’s all I’m trying to do when I write them, give you the information and the facts and my hope is that some readers will be inspired to switch to a vegan diet themselves. I know not everyone will and that’s fine.

      Have a great Christmas


  • Aug
    January 23, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Oh, these look like some very good supplement for me to try to get into to be able to enjoy myself and have a healthy lifestyle as a began. This is definitely something that I should look into and try to go into because these supplement’s will really help me to surely be a good thing and I’m very good thing that I really like. I like that what you. Thanks for the information.

    • Katie
      January 24, 2021 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Aug

      Glad you liked the article and found it useful. 

      All the best


  • Sean
    January 26, 2021 at 12:06 am

    Hello there, thank you for sharing this wonderful information and I have been temy glad that there is some really good information online for all of us at see and make the best of and this is one very good information you have here for us all. These are some very hold supplements you have shared here and I’ll be glad to share with more people 

    • Katie
      January 26, 2021 at 8:04 am

      Hi Sean

      Thanks for commenting and glad you liked the article. Feel free to share it with anyone you think would be interested and if you or they have any questions about it or would like any further info just let me know.



  • Ann
    February 3, 2021 at 12:30 am

    I found this article very useful. And I know there are these essential vitamins and minerals found in meat that we need. I hadn’t paid attention to this and recently a doctor told me I was lacking Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. So I’ll start taking supplements. I felt it would be useful to share my experience.

    • Katie
      February 3, 2021 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Ann thanks for commenting. I’d love to be able to say vegans can get everything we need from plant based foods, but B12 is the one we all generally are deficient in. Taking a supplement (or eating foods fortified with B12) would certainly help. And vitamin D, we’ll get some soon hopefully when the sun comes out in spring!

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