The Best Vitamins Formulated For Vegans and Plant-Based Eaters
Whether you’re a plant-based-eating novice or a vegan veteran, it is possible—and extremely plausible—you’re missing out on key nutrients. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), nine out of ten Americans are lacking one or more key dietary nutrients. Even athletes whose job it is to get optimal nutrition and have access to professional dietary advice had at least two or more nutrient deficiencies according to an International Society of Sports Nutrition study.
Vegan and plant-based diets in particular are at-risk for some specific deficiencies since they miss out on nutrients commonly derived from animal sources. B12 for example is one of those critical nutrients. B12 is produced by bacteria living in soil; the soil is then eaten by animals thus the B12 makes it into bodies of animal-consuming humans. “The only reliable source of B12 comes from animal products and supplements,” says Alex Caspero, a registered dietitian and founder of Plant-Based Juniors. “Everyone on a plant-based diet needs to take B12. While B12 is found in fortified foods, the amount isn't reliable and therefore supplementation is the best source of B12,” Caspero stresses. And, B12 is not only missing in vegan diets. Studies have shown nearly 40 percent of the population suffers from B12 deficiencies.
Caspero also says DHA is important especially for certain populations. “Not everyone needs DHA, though supplementation is recommended for all pregnant and breastfeeding women.”
Caspero points to the importance of ALA, one of the Omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy brains and heart health. ALA is the plant-based version of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be converted to DHA and EPA. You hear a lot about omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish, but there are in fact effective vegetarian sources. Vegetarian sources of omega-3’s you May find in supplements are typically derived from algae.
Vitamin D is also an important nutrient to supplement especially since studies have shown that 42 percent of the US population is Vitamin D deficient. While many plant-based kinds of milk are fortified with Vitamin D, and there are whole-food food sources, like mushrooms, still you might not be reaching your recommended daily intake.
Choosing a supplement to fit your needs
There is an overwhelming abundance of supplement options on the market today. For vegans, you’ll want to make sure the product is cruelty-free (not tested on animals) and ingredients only include non-animal sources. You would be surprised to learn how many vitamin brands use animal-derived ingredients. For example, gelatin, commonly found in vitamins, is typically derived from animal collagen. So read the labels or simply find a dedicated vegan brand.
Here at The Beet, we’ve tracked down some of the best 100 percent vegan supplements. No matter what format you like—gummies, powders, etc.—the below list will have you covered.
1. Future Kind
Future Kind recently came onto the scene with a line of clean and simplified supplements formulated specifically for vegans and plant-based diets. Their “Essential For Vegans" supplement is just that: A blend of B12 (16,000% of your daily value), D3 and omega-3 oils. They come in little easy-to-swallow softgels that are pleasant on the palette. They are one of the only supplement brands to use 100 percent recycled and recyclable packaging; they also donate a percentage of sales to the Where Pigs Fly nonprofit. Future Kind proves that eco-friendly less-is-more supplements are possible and effective.
You can purchase Future Kind via their website, here.
2. MaryRuth Organics
With a large selection of vitamins in many different forms (gummies, gels, liquids, etc.) MaryRuth’s offers a mix of all sorts of supplements. Their gummies for adults and kids should be at the top of your buy list. MaryRuth Organics also goes beyond multivitamins and offers other supplements like vegan collagen boosting gummies—said to support collagen growth for healthy nails, skin, hair and joints—and immune health products.
Find MaryRuth’s on Amazon, in stores and on their website.
Drink your vitamins...and other good-for-you greens. That’s what Root’d had in mind when they created a nutritional powder packed with probiotics, super greens and electrolytes. They say that their science-based formula provides maximum nutrient absorption. Products are sugar-free and specifically formulated for women, men and pregnant women. While their powder has a powerful kick of a “greens” taste, it’s a perfect way to power up your day.
Find Root’d on their website, rootd.com