What Supplements Should Vegans Take?

Vegans follow a plant-based diet that excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. While this dietary choice offers numerous health benefits, it is important for vegans to pay attention to certain nutrients that may be lacking in their diets. To ensure optimal health, vegans should consider taking specific supplements in addition to their plant-based diets.

Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is mainly found in animal-based foods. Since vegans exclude these foods from their diet, it is crucial for them to supplement this vitamin. Vitamin B12 helps in the production of red blood cells and plays a vital role in the functioning of the nervous system. Vegans can opt for B12 fortified foods such as plant-based milk, cereals, and nutritional yeast. Additionally, B12 supplements are readily available in the form of tablets, sprays, or injections.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that contribute to heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation. While they are primarily found in fish, vegans can obtain omega-3s from plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. However, the conversion of plant-based omega-3s into a usable form by the body is inefficient. Therefore, it is advisable for vegans to consider supplementing with algae-based omega-3 supplements to meet their daily requirements.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, plays a crucial role in bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. Since vitamin D is primarily synthesized in the body through exposure to sunlight, it may be challenging for vegans who live in areas with limited sunlight to obtain adequate levels. To ensure sufficient vitamin D levels, vegans can take supplements that contain vitamin D3 derived from lichens or mushrooms.


Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, supporting nerve function, and aiding in muscle contraction. While dairy products are known as a rich source of calcium, vegans can obtain this mineral from plant-based sources such as tofu, fortified plant-based milk, kale, broccoli, and almonds. However, it is recommended for vegans, particularly those at risk of calcium deficiency, to consider calcium supplements to meet their daily requirements.


Iron is vital for the production of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Although iron can be obtained from plant-based sources like beans, fortified cereals, and spinach, the absorption of iron from these sources is less efficient compared to animal-based sources. Therefore, vegans should focus on consuming iron-rich foods along with foods high in vitamin C, which enhances iron absorption. If necessary, vegans may also consider taking iron supplements to ensure they meet their iron needs.

In conclusion, while a well-planned vegan diet can provide all the necessary nutrients, there are certain supplements that vegans should consider. Vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, and iron are important supplements for vegans to support their general health and wellbeing. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine specific supplementation needs based on individual requirements.