Finding the best multivitamin to support an athletic lifestyle can be tough at the best of times, never mind when you’re restricted by a vegan diet. While it might seem easy (tons of vitamins like vitamin C come from plants after all), many multivitamins use animal by-products such as gelatine in their production, which is a big no-no for vegans.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of supplement brands that produce 100% vegan multivitamins for all the plant-based athletes out there. While there are too many to easily list here, there are dozens of multivitamins on the market, all striving to be recognised as the best vegan multivitamin.
Whether you’ve recently adopted a vegan diet or have been avoiding cheese since Chuck Norris was on TV, concerns about getting enough vitamins and minerals through your diet are nothing new. Even though vegetarians and omnivores will happily claim that you can’t get your recommended levels of essential nutrients on a vegan diet alone, reaching for a multivitamin might not be the quick fix you think it is…
Despite their cure-all reputation, multivitamins are the definition of “jack of all trades, master of none,” because they contain lots of vitamins, but rarely the right ones for your specific health needs. The best vegan multivitamins should be tailored to the unique dietary requirements of the vegan diet to help you get all the essential nutrients you need, but most aren’t unfortunately.
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As with any question on nutrition and supplements, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and you should always tailor your supplement use to your specific needs. While vegans are more likely to be deficient in nutrients like calcium, generic multivitamins won’t help to address these issues, so you should try to find supplements for your specific vitamin deficiencies if any.
However, if you can find multivitamins tailored to vegan dietary needs (one rich in vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3s for example), then that could be an excellent way to maintain healthy levels of your essential nutrients. And if you can find some of the best vegan multivitamins with all the essential nutrients that are hard to find in a plant-based diet, recommended doses for multivitamins tend to only be one or two pills a day, so you won’t have to take too many pills anyway.
While we recommend that you consult your doctor before self-medicating with vitamins, there are some vitamins and minerals that cannot be obtained from plant food alone, making it essential for vegans to supplement with these nutrients. Experts have recognised that vegan diets are likely to be lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and iodine, among others, so you should look for these nutrients in vegan multivitamins:
Related: If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, why not read our blog about how to diagnose a potential vitamin D deficiency and restore your levels today?
Because it’s very difficult to get your recommended daily intake of essential nutrients through a plant-based diet alone, many vegans supplement their diets with multivitamins and enriched foods. Not everyone can afford to eat kombu seaweed every day to get their iodine levels up and the best way to lead a healthy vegan lifestyle is with plenty of exercise, a balanced diet and the right multivitamins for your nutritional needs, which is why we’ve suggested our favourites below:
Unfortunately for all the vegans reading this, it is very difficult to reach your daily recommended intake of essential nutrients on a plant-based diet alone, so multivitamins and supplements are generally recommended. This goes double for any vegan athletes, as rigorous exercise routines will strain your body and require lots of nutrients to recover.
While we firmly believe that the best way to stay healthy is with regular exercise and a balanced diet of whole foods, vegans may need to balance things out with a multivitamin or two as well. Hopefully, this article helped to explain the different nutritional needs of vegans as well as including some good recommendations on the best vegan multivitamins for athletes as well as us regular folk.