What Vitamin Should a Vegan Take?

If you are following a vegan diet, it is important to ensure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal health. One question that often arises is, “What vitamin should a vegan take?” Let’s explore the key vitamins that vegans need to pay attention to and how you can obtain them through plant-based sources.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential vitamins for vegans to consider. It plays a crucial role in maintaining nerve function, producing red blood cells, and synthesizing DNA. Since this vitamin is mainly found in animal products, vegans are at a higher risk of B12 deficiency. It is highly recommended to take a B12 supplement or consume fortified foods such as plant-based milk, breakfast cereals, or nutritional yeast to ensure adequate intake.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being. While sunlight is known as a primary source of vitamin D, it may be challenging for vegans, especially those living in areas with limited sun exposure, to get enough. Fortified plant-based milk, breakfast cereals, and mushrooms exposed to UV light can provide some vitamin D. However, it is advisable to consider a vitamin D supplement to meet your daily needs.


Iron is vital for oxygen transport, energy production, and immune function. Plant-based sources of iron, known as non-heme iron, are not as readily absorbed by the body as heme iron found in animal products. However, pairing iron-rich plant foods with vitamin C can enhance iron absorption. Good vegan sources of iron include lentils, spinach, tofu, quinoa, and fortified cereals. If needed, an iron supplement can help fulfill your iron requirements.


Calcium is crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as aiding in muscle function and nerve transmission. While cow’s milk is often associated with calcium, vegan sources can also provide this essential mineral. Some top plant-based calcium sources include fortified plant milk, tofu, tempeh, bok choy, kale, and almonds. If your diet does not supply sufficient calcium, you might need a calcium supplement to meet your needs.


Zinc is involved in various bodily functions such as immune support, protein synthesis, and wound healing. Plant-based sources of zinc include legumes (such as chickpeas and lentils), whole grains, nuts, and seeds. However, vegan diets may be lower in zinc compared to diets that include animal products. To ensure proper zinc intake, incorporate a variety of zinc-rich foods into your meals or consider a zinc supplement if necessary.

In conclusion, adopting a vegan diet can provide numerous health benefits, but it’s crucial to pay attention to certain essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and zinc are particularly important for vegans, as they may be more challenging to obtain solely from plant-based sources. By incorporating fortified foods, supplements, and a diverse range of plant foods, you can ensure you meet your nutritional needs and maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle.