Stay Healthy on a Vegan Diet with These Essential Supplements

Posted on: 5 September 2017

The vegan lifestyle has really taken off recently, with numbers of people choosing to go plant-based growing at a rapid rate. Whether they're vegan for ethical or purely health reasons, proponents often tout the medical benefits of ditching meat and dairy, but it's important to take care with your nutrition if you're vegan.

While most necessary nutrients can be found in plant foods, the problem is that many people eat a fairly limited diet that doesn't include everything they need. Although this can be an issue for anyone, vegan or not, on a plant-based diet it can mean you're missing out on some extremely important nutrients.

By adding some supplements to your diet, you can stay healthy without having to worry about all the finer details of everything you eat. These are the main things you should take regularly.

Vitamin B12

Of all the supplements a vegan should take, this is considered by many to be the most important. Although there are occasional claims that a few plant foods can supply it, it's generally accepted that this isn't the case, making it the only vitamin not available from plants.

Some foods are fortified with added B12, such as spreads, cereals, and vegan milk and meat substitutes. However, it's recommended that you take a supplement as well to make sure you get enough.

A B12 deficiency can take years to develop, but when it does, you can experience a range of symptoms including fatigue, anaemia, digestive issues and even loss of vision.


Although vegans can get enough iron from leafy greens and beans, plenty of people don't eat enough of them. Omnivores get more iron from meat, so they're less likely to be deficient. If you do develop a deficiency, it will often lead to anaemia.


Everyone is told from a young age how important dairy is for obtaining calcium. Although it has a few functions in the body, the most prominent are keeping bones and teeth strong. Tofu, some beans and some green vegetables are good sources of calcium, and plant milks are often fortified with it. If there aren't enough of these sources in your diet, you should strongly consider supplementing.


These fatty acids help brain and heart function, and they're an essential part of any diet. Oily fish are the go-to foods for omnivores, while vegans can get them from walnuts and some oils and seeds. If you struggle to include their in your daily meals and opt to take a supplement instead, make sure it's not from animal sources.


Although it's only found in milk due to contamination, this is nevertheless where most omnivores get enough iodine. It's quite difficult to get from plant sources except for seaweed, as it depends strongly on the soil vegetables are grown in and how thoroughly they're washed before purchase. Without enough iodine, you'll compromise the health of your cells, and taking a supplement is about as important as it is with B12.