What is the Best Multivitamin for Vegans & Vegetarians?
As a vegetarian or vegan, you may worry that you aren’t getting all of the nutrients that your body needs. Although it’s certainly possible to eat a balanced and complete diet while excluding meat and/or other animal products, it can be more challenging.
Adding a multivitamin to your daily routine can help cover all of your nutritional bases, giving you peace of mind. I’ve put together this list to help you pick the best multivitamin for vegetarians.
Types of Vegetarian Diet
Most of us know that a vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat, however, there are various other categories which come under the “vegetarian” umbrella with slightly different health needs.
These include: lacto vegetarian (doesn’t eat meat or eggs but consumes dairy), ovo vegetarian (no meat or dairy but does eat eggs) and vegan (avoids animal products altogether including eggs, dairy and honey).
There are many different reasons people choose to become a vegetarian. Some of these reasons include health concerns, food safety concerns, religion, environmental, and animal rights. A balanced vegetarian diet can help such conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Who Needs a Multivitamin for Vegetarians?
As I mentioned above, a vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t mean for certain that you’ll be deficient in any nutrients. However, the more restrictive you are, the more difficult it becomes to meet the recommended daily allowance of all vitamins and minerals.
The average adult needs around 1500 to 2500 calories per day. You must make sure that your calories are coming from a variety of whole food sources for the best results.
I think we all know vegetarians who are overweight or otherwise unhealthy who would be more likely to snack on a bag of potato chips rather than a plate of raw veggies. Depending on the type of vegetarian or vegan you are, some of vital nutrients may be lacking in your diet.
This link gives some good pointers for healthy vegetarian recipe.
Which Vitamins to Look For?
When most of us think of iron-rich food, red meat is probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, if you abstain from meat there are plenty of other iron sources for you to consider such as lentils, spinach, tofu and pumpkin seeds.
The type of iron found in non-animal sources (non-haem iron) is not as easily absorbed as that from meat (haem iron) so you can still end up deficient with the best efforts (source). Iron supplements are especially important for women of menstruating age who lose blood every month.
It’s easy for vegetarians to get vitamin C from fruit and vegetables (orange, pineapple, strawberry, etc) so there’s no need to worry about this. However, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron so a good multivitamin will contain both.
Again, most of us associate calcium with animal products - i.e. dairy. It can be particularly difficult for vegans to get the correct amount of calcium although it is also found in almonds, brazil nuts and leafy greens like collard greens and kale (source)
Iodine is used by the thyroid and is essential for its proper function. Table salt may provide your daily allowance but not all brands are iodized (source)
Do you know what are the herbal remedies for thyroid health?
Vitamin D is important for bone health, along with calcium. Sunlight is a great source but the highest concentrations are found in fish and eggs. Luckily, many vegetarian-safe products are also fortified with vitamin D such as juices and non-dairy milks.
Zinc is involved in immune function, among other things. Again, it is found in highest quantities in meat and seafood but you can also get it from legumes, nuts and spinach (source).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fish. They are important for heart and cognative health (source). Look for non-fish derived omega-3 when choosing a vegetarian multivitamin.
Some people are of the opinion that multivitamins are not necessary. For those with special nutritional needs, such as vegetarians or vegans, that theory is certainly arguable. Work, travel, and a busy life may get in the way of preparing nutritionally complete meals and restaurant meals are usually high in flavour but seriously lacking in vitamins and minerals.
In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry - you won’t do any harm with a multivitamin and you might just avoid serious health outcomes.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Multivitamin for Vegetarians
Many multivitamin capsules are made from gelatin which is an animal product usually derived from pork. Vegetarians will need to look for products marked “suitable for vegetarians/vegans” to avoid this.
If you have a long term illness or take any prescriptions, make sure to check with your doctor before starting to take a multivitamin as many components can cause serious interactions. Of course this applies to everyone, not just vegetarians.
Try to choose a multivitamin that requires once-daily dosing as more frequent obligations are easily forgotten. You need to take your multivitamin every day to see the best results! If you have trouble swallowing large tablets, look for a liquid or chewable formulation.
This may be one of the most complete multivitamin products on the market. It is a liquid formula with 40 antioxidants, 25 vitamins and minerals, ten amino acids and 14 green foods. It is formulated with all natural phytonutrient whole foods.
Not surprisingly, with all those ingredients the potency requires it be taken with food. There are some who take a half a dose in the morning and the other half in the evening.
Most people say the taste is not particularly good while others say it is awful. Fans of the product have discovered the best way to take it is to mix it with juice or water or to put it in a smoothie. The results are very impressive if you can figure out how to fit it into your routine you can expect more energy and some have even made claims it has helped with their chronic pain.
- Very complete phytonutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and green foods
- Liquid formula makes it more assimilable
- Customers report relief of chronic pain
- Unpleasant taste
- High potency- some people need to cut the dose in half and take it twice a day
BodSmith comes in liquid form which instantly makes it more easily absorbed. The improved absorption is especially advantageous for those with digestion issues. It is made with vegetable, fruit, and Chinese herb phyto-foods. It also has a special herbal formula for liver detoxification and cardio health.
It is a soy free formula, particularly important for those with soy allergies or thyroid concerns. This product has many happy customers who claim everything from more energy to an improved quality of life. It has a pleasant cherry taste, and the liquid formula makes it more digestible. Many people who have nausea and other stomach problems with tablets can take liquid vitamins.
- Liquid formula is easy to absorb and digest
- Whole phyto-foods including herbal blend for detoxification and cardio health
- Pleasant taste
- Does not contain super green foods
This multivitamin is specially formulated for vegetarians and vegans. It is 100% organic and 100% animal free. It has 100% of the daily requirement of B complex and vitamin D and also significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, important antioxidants.
It comes in a very tiny pill form that customers find easy to swallow and easy on the stomach. It can be taken any time of the day with or without food. One thing to note about this formula is that it does not contain iron. If you are someone who does not need extra iron, this would be an advantage. However, there are many vegetarians who should add iron to their diet so this is not
- 100% organic and animal free
- Small pill – easy to swallow
- Easy to digest
- Does not contain iron
- Does not contain additional property blends
This product may be ideal for athletes and very physically active people. It is a whole food formula with significant amounts of B-complex and antioxidants A, C, and E. It has a Chinese herbal blend of ginseng, rhidiola, and maca, formulated for energy. Along with selenium, it also contains grapeseed extract which is vital for muscle recovery.
There is a concern for some regarding the amount of ginseng. Some people lower the dose to avoid the “ginseng jitters”. The Ginseng component may not be a good choice for people with hypertension. There is also some concern about the sale of New Chapter to Proctor and Gamble. Some people believe this will compromise the quality.
- Whole food formula has antioxidants and B-complex
- Herbal property blend for athletes
- Ginseng content not suitable for those with hypertension
- Tablet form is difficult for some to swallow and digest
- Controversy surrounding the sale to Proctor and Gamble
For those have difficulty swallowing pills and don’t like the inconvenience or the taste of liquids; this may be a good choice. This product is an adult gummy. It is marketed as a vegetarian formula, but for those who are hard-core regarding no animal products, it may not be ideal. The vitamin D is made with a material that is extracted from sheep’s wool.
It has the essential B complex and antioxidant vitamins, and vitamin D, but falls short on other property blends. It has been found to be very digestible.
- Gummies are easier for some to eat and digest
- Has essential antioxidants, vitamin D, and B-complex
- Falls short on herbal property blends
- Vitamin D composition is extracted from sheep’ wool- not animal free
Overall, I think that Nature’s Way Alive product is the best multivitamin for vegetarians. It has the most complete nutrient profile and delivers excellent results - as long as you can get past the taste and potency. However, if you are someone who should not be adding iron, the Deva Vegan product may be a better choice for you.