I’ve written before about the recommended supplements for vegans and vegetarians. Currently, I only think that omega 3s and vitamin B12 are required, but there might be place for some vitamin D if you live in the northern latitudes.
However, some folks might want the reassurance of a vegan multivitamin supplement and some of you might actually realize that you need to supplement with a specific vitamin or mineral because you’ve found out you might be mildly deficient in it.
If you’re new here and wondering what’s so special about vegetarian vitamins the most common difference is the vitamin D that is used. Most vitamin D that is used in vitamin supplements is known as vitamin D3 otherwise called cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol is most commonly obtained from fish or sheep’s wool (lanolin). Though there has lately become available a plant based (lichen) vitamin D3.
This is helpful because some evidence seems to suggest that vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is better absorbed and utilized than vitamin D2. Though currently this is under dispute especially at the level that most of us will be taking vitamin D supplements at. Around 1000 to 2000IU.
Vitamin D2 is a vegetarian and vegan source of the vitamin D as it is synthetic. Vitamin D2 is also known as ergocalciferol.
My best recommendation for vitamin D2 is to obtain it from the sun. As little as 15 minutes daily for most light skinned people in the summer months on the arms and face is more than enough to get all the vitamin D you need. So get out into the sun for 15 or so minutes daily in the warm summer and you should be able to produce enough to get you through the winter months. Many older folk though, might need to supplement.
Okay, so with all that preamble out of the way, let’s take a look at my favourite top 5 best vegetarian and vegan vitamins if you choose to supplement.
The first 3 are my favourite choices for vegetarian multivitamin supplement in order of preference. The last 2 are my top favourite for each of vitamin B12 and vitamin D2 if you choose just to supplement with those.
1. Top vegan multivitamin and mineral supplement
I’ve chosen Platinum Naturals VitaVegan as my top choice. Not sure if they are available in the US but here’s why I placed them first. They have a healthy dose of 1000IU of vitamin D2, sufficient B12 at 50mcg. Not too much vitamin A or vitamin E. Both of these have vitamins have been shown to be unhelpful in higher doses unless obtained naturally from foods.
This vegan multi is also lower in iron at 9mg so it is suitable for men, though if you’re going to take a multi every day as a man then I recommend Rainbow Light Just Once without iron.
As with most vegetarian vitamins that try to be all things to all vitamins and minerals, you’ll come up short in calcium. So if you need extra calcium I recommend Freeda Cal-Mint with 1040mg of calcium carbonate per 4 wafer serving.
2. Second best vegan multivitamin
This one is especially good for women as it has a robust 18mg of iron. Most of you will know these guys. I’m talking about DEVA’s Vegan Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement.
Not too much vitamin A or vitamin E. 400IU of vitamin D2 which is 100% of the RDA. Also contains a healthy dose of 100mcg of vitamin B12. A great choice for women especially, but men would do better with a low iron or iron free multi.
3. Bronze star for vegetarian vitamins and minerals
Freeda’s Quintabs-M vegetarian multivitamin and mineral supplement is a great option if none of the others are available. In fact, comparing my top 3 side by side, you can’t go wrong with any of them unless you’re a man in which case you should choose a lower or no iron multi.
This supplement contains 10mg of iron, is reasonably low in vitamins A and E. Contains 100% RDA (400IU) of vitamin D2 and a good dose of vitamin B12 (30mcg).
Any of the above vegetarian multivitamins and mineral supplements should cost you less than $30 or so for a bottle which is not unreasonable. However, as I’ve mentioned before, the best method to get your vitamins and minerals is through your wholefoods based, wide in variety plant foods diet.
My current favorite vegan vitamin B12
This Nature’s Bounty Sublingual Vitamin B12 2,500mcg is cheap and effective. Containing 2,500mcg of cyanocobalamin you only need to dissolve one lozenge under your tongue once a week to ensure adequate vitamin B12 levels. At 6 cents per lozenge taking one per week will only cost $3.12 per year. That is a very small amount for your vegan health.
EVERY VEGAN (everyone really) SHOULD BE TAKING A VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT!!!
Okay, some of you, most notably vegan and vegetarian smokers (naughty… kick the habit, you know you can), should take methylcobalamin. There is some evidence that cyanocobalamin is not as effectively used in smokers. You can read more about that here.
So to be safe, if you are a vegan smoker I recommend methylcobalamin as your B12 of choice and in particular I think Jarrow Formulas’ Methyl-B12 5,000mcg is the best option in these cases. At the current price on Amazon it will still only cost you less than $13 a year to supplement.
Methylcobalamin requires a more expensive process to manufacture the vitamin B12 hence the higher cost of this optional vitamin B12 form.
My current recommended vegetarian vitamin D2 choice
If you choose to supplement with vitamin D2 then I recommend DEVA’s Vegan Vitamin D 2,400IU. One a day will give you Dr. Greger’s recommended daily intake of vitamin D during the winter months.
That’s all from me for today. Stay plant strong. Eat your veggies so that you ideally do not have to supplement except for vitamin B12 and you will be well on your way to eternal health and longevity… okay, I mean, you’ll be as fit and as healthy as a vegan can be!