- Vegans can get a lot of the nutrients they need from plant-based sources, but for some essentials, like Omega-3 & vitamin B12, it can be tough.
- Some traditional multivitamins often use a lot of ingredients that aren’t vegan—and they aren’t always up front about it.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—no matter how healthy you eat, or what kind of diet you follow, all of us are lacking in certain essential nutrients. Food gives you a lot—both nutrients-wise, and deliciousness-wise. But supplementing with a good vitamin is still a must-do—especially for alternative diets like veganism, where there aren’t a lot of plant-based sources for certain nutrients our bodies need.
But what kinds of vitamins do vegans need? And is there a multivitamin made for vegans? We’ll answer the first question in the next paragraph, and, spoiler alert: the answer to the second question is a big ol’ yes.
What kinds of vitamins do vegans need?
Vegans can get a lot of the nutrients they need from plant-based sources, but for some essentials, it can be tough. One example is vitamin B12, which supports brain function, nerve function, and energy. Thing is, vitamin B12 is naturally found in meat, fish, eggs and milk—obviously all no-no’s for vegans. There aren’t any known plant-based sources rich in vitamin B12, but vegans can get some of what they need through fortified foods like nutritional yeast. That being said—you’re probably not going to pile on the nutritional yeast all day, every day, so supplementing with a vegan multivitamin is ideal.
In cases like B12, a vegan multivitamin can give you a bioidentical version of the nutrient. “Bioidentical” means that a version made in a lab is molecularly identical to the same nutrient found in nature. So, with something like vitamin B12, the bioidentical version used in a vegan vitamin can deliver exactly what you need—minus the animal source. Good news, right?
Another super important nutrient that can be hard for vegans to get from food is Omega-3 DHA. Getting Omega-3 fatty acids helps support brain health and heart health—but the primary source of Omega-3 DHA is fish. (“No, thanks,” said vegans everywhere.) For plant-based peeps, even finding a vegan-friendly Omega-3 supplement can be hard, since most use fish oil.
But certain vegan-friendly multivitamins, like Ritual’s Essential for Women, have found a way to get you those Omega-3 fatty acids without harming any fish in the process. Here’s the science: Fish get their Omega-3 DHA from eating microalgae—so by using algae oil instead of fish oil in our Essential for Women multivitamin, we’re cutting out the middle man, and getting you a source of Omega-3 DHA that’s also friendly for vegans. Everyone wins, especially the 750 anchovies that are saved per bottle of vitamins.
What you should look for when choosing a vegan vitamin brand.
If you’re in the market for a vegan multivitamin, label-reading is crucial. Some traditional multivitamins often use a lot of ingredients that aren’t vegan—and they aren’t always exactly up front about it. Things like sheep’s wool, cow hooves and bones, and shellac (also known as beetle poop) are all common (and just the tip of the iceberg in terms of shady ingredients in some traditional multivitamins). But sources and additives are rarely clearly called out on vitamin bottles, so be sure to look for a vitamin that clearly states that it’s vegan-friendly on the packaging.
We get it: finding a multivitamin that fits your unique nutritional needs and your values can be tough. But it’s worth mentioning that Ritual was founded by a vegan—and even more than that,it was founded on the belief that women should know exactly what’s going into their vitamin, and their bodies. That’s why Essential for Women is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten and allergen free, and gives you nutrients you need in clean, traceable forms—no extras or questionable additives. Because everyone, whatever their diet, deserves a vitamin that has their back (and brain, and heart, and bones, and blood…).