When it comes down to how to be a healthy vegetarian, lots of non meat eaters claim you get everything you need from a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet. Though that’s true, no one eats perfect all the time. So to make sure the basics are covered, what vitamins should vegetarians take?
Vegetarians should take B12, iron and fish oil. You can get these from a vegetarian diet, but it takes more effort and planning.
Whether you’re a longtime vegetarian like me, or whether you’re brand new, it’s always good to look into your options and make sure you’re getting everything you need. I talk to a lot of parents who worry about this when their kids stop eating meat. So I’m giving you the same advice I would give a good friend.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a scientist or a nutritionist. These are the supplements that have helped me, and the benefits as I understand them. I have, however, talked to several doctors about nutritional supplements throughout the years and I’ve done my research. If you need more information or have questions about your own specific diet, ask your doctor or meet with a dietician.
Vegetarian Iron Makes a Big Difference
I have never been anemic, but I have been concerned enough about it to have it tested several times over the years. Iron is more difficult to get as a vegetarian, but not impossible. You can get iron from spinach and a number of other sources. It’s easier, in my opinion, to get than some of the other things I’m going to talk about. Still, I take a vegetarian iron supplement every day. In the past when I was tested, I have come across as borderline low on iron at times, and it was definitely when I was not diligent about taking supplements every day.
The first probably six months I was vegetarian, I didn’t take any iron, and I was feeling very tired. My mom said, “You need to take iron!” I was SUPER stubborn and refused to take it UNTIL she told me it was causing the purple underage circles I was starting to develop. Yup she got me with vanity. I’ve been taking iron ever since. If I forget to take my iron, within a couple days I start to feel really low energy, and just really tired. I definitely can tell the difference.
The iron supplement I take: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MGOWYW/ref=as_li_tl?
Vitamin B Complex
B Complex is supplement that combines multiple B vitamins, including B12. This is important because you can pretty much only get B12 from primarily red meat. Clearly that’s not happening! The only other food source I know of is nutritional yeast, and I am just NOT a fan. B12 really affects your energy levels, probably more than iron because you can get iron from more vegetarian food sources. So if you’re feeling low on energy, amp up the B12. It definitely helps and actually, if you’re really deficient, you can get B12 injections. I got these at a weight loss center I went to briefly (on a Groupon, feel free to laugh), but I bet you could ask your doctor about them. They were amazing. My energy was sooo high when I was getting the B12 injections.
The B Complex I take: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F1HU3S/ref=as_li_tl?
Vegetarian Fish Oil
Fish oil helps you get your good fats but again, this goes back to my vanity. It helps with weight loss and also your skin and nails. There are many kinds available that are synthetic – NOT from fish. Keep reading for more info on how to find supplements that are vegan and vegetarian. Fish oil can also help lift your mood and decrease depression.
The vegan fish oil I take: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EVITLHE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01EVITLHE&linkCode=as2&tag=veggieliz-20&linkId=6a8615ea6b2b8cf10dccbd661af5094b
Hair Skin Nails Vitamin
It can be hard to get all the right nutrition for good hair, skin and nails, vegetarian or not. Your diet, genetics, water consumption, and more all play into this so I take these. Plus they come in vegan gummy form — how fun!
The vegan hair skin nails vitamins I take:
Which supplement do vegetarians need most?
The three supplements I suggested above are all very affordable, and they’re really all you need. But if money is tight and you have prioritize, I definitely say focus put B12 at the top of your list, followed by iron. In the meantime you get your iron from beans, tofu, spinach, potatoes, etc.
How to Find Vegetarian Supplements
There are all levels of vegetarianism, and I completely respect that. I’m fairly strict–I don’t wear leather, I don’t eat soup with animal broths, don’t do jello, reject caesar dressing, etc. I’m not perfect though, sometimes eating cheeses that aren’t 100 percent vegetarian. Oftentimes, with somewhat unregulated items like beauty products or supplements, I go vegan though because that way I’m sure.
So when you’re asking what vitamins should vegetarians take, there’s also the issue of what kind to take, ingredient wise. There are a few ways to find vegetarian supplements. The easiest BY FAR is online. You can find almost any type of vegan supplement on Amazon. Since the supplement world is so Wild West, I try to go with a brand I recognize or one that has great reviews. The ones I’m recommending to you here in this post I have used myself. There’s too much crazy stuff out there–I wouldn’t suggest one I’d never tried.
You can also, surprisingly, find vegan and vegetarian supplements at regular stores like Wal-Mart. Some of them are clearly marked vegetarian. Some, like this folic acid I’m taking, will indicate “plant source” for the main ingredient. Almost all supplements can have an animal or a synthetic source.
Being a Healthy Vegetarian
So to wrap up, what vitamins should vegetarians take? You really only need three supplements to round out your vegetarian diet – iron, B complex and hair, skin, nails. By far the easiest way to ensure you’re getting vegan or vegetarian vitamins online is through Amazon Prime — and they’ll be at your house within a day or two! Of course, supplements are just the beginning. You need to focus on getting enough protein, water, physical activity etc., but these supplements will get you started on being your healthiest vegetarian self!
This post includes affiliate links. I get a small commission if you purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you – thanks for supporting Veggie Every Day!