October 11, 2011

Should vegans take vitamins?

Just remember to always look for vegan vitamins, and make sure your partner takes as many vitamins as you do. And share the housework! (Sexist ad, I know, but typical for the time period.)

Seriously, there's a lot of discussion about whether or not a well-balanced diet provides enough vitamins and minerals without the need for supplements. Vegan diets, especially, are subject to scrutiny. After much reading and research, I made the decision long ago to take vitamins. I take a vegan multivitamin and mineral tablet without iron, vitamin D2 tablet, and calcium tablets, which also contain C, D2, K, MK-7, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, boron. Every two or three days I take a methyl B-12 chewable tablet. Occasionally I get inspired by something I've read to take something else like silica or CoQ10, but usually I give it up fairly quickly and just go back to my standard regimen. Do you take supplements?

Here's a new report on research concerning multivitamins and increased mortality in older women. It's sure hard to know what research to trust and what the best plan is.


  1. Great topic! I did a lot of reading before deciding on the following, daily:
    1 womens multivitamin
    1 calcium supplement, which includes magnesium and Vit D

    In addition, I was taking one 3,000 mcg sublingual B12 supplement weekly, but I guess it was not enough because my B12 began to slowly decrease and now I'm getting B12 shots every two weeks for the next six weeks. Will reassess how much I need to take after that.

    Anything for the animals! :)

  2. This is too funny - I just went through this whole debate and research on the exact same thing! I just ordered a vegan multi, that include 100mg B12 (recommended amt for vegans) & a vegan calcium/mag/vit D supplement. I'm with you on the debate, but finally decided (after watching Food Matters this weekend) that is was worth giving it a try.

  3. the only vegans I know who don't take vitamins either don't last long as vegans, then blame veganism for making them sick, or are strict raw foodists and time will tell what happens to them. all the research I do says to take at least vitamin D and b-12. so i do.

  4. I absolutely do. Ideally, if you plan your diet correctly, you shouldn't have to. But let's be realistic about it. There's no way I can get 100% RDA of everything--and I have been know to drink green juices. I think vitamins are a good idea--esp for vitamin D (if you live in a sun-challenged city like me), b-12, calcium and iron.

  5. I take about the same as you. Prenatal, calcium plus vit. d and magnesium (I think that's all that's in it w/o looking.), methyl B12 a few times a week. I also take wheatgrass pills occasionally, especially if I didn't have a very green day. And not every day but occasionally I buy it - the vegan Floradix iron. I don't know if that one is necessary, though, because I've never been low on iron in blood tests.

    And I think that my husband and I would both agree that we are particularly attracted to one another when we see each other working hard. Not that he expects a clean house or anything, thank goodness.

  6. I take vitamins too, I know I eat well but I am sure every now and then I miss out on things.

  7. JL,
    I'm probably taking about the same amount of B12 that you did — 1,000mcg a few times a week. I think I'll get my levels checked next time I have a physical.

    I take extra B12 in a separate tablet. See JL's comment, above.

    I'm with you.

    Urban Vegan,
    I agree. I try to eat well, but it does seem impossible to cover all the bases.

    Being pregnant, you have to be especially careful about getting all the nutrients you need, though your daily food intake sure looks exemplary. :)

    I'm surprised that all the comments so far have been pro-vitamin. I thought for sure a bunch of people would be anti-supplements.

  8. Hi Everyone,
    This is a great topic for me as I am newly vegan...I would love to know what brand of vegan vitamins y'all are taking. I'm lost when it comes to choosing supplements. Thanks for the help. Blessings, Cyndy

  9. Men who work hard are even cuter! :)I do B12 and a veggie multivitamin daily.

    I also do a green smoothie daily which I assume gives me enough calcium although I guess I really should go do the math. :)

  10. I take a B12 spray almost every day and did take a multi as well as magnesium & calcium, but I haven't been taking those lately. I go back & forth with how I feel about them.

  11. Good topic, and another fun/horrific ad from the elder days...my $.02--I have taken a Vitamin B Stress Tab (100mg) twice a day for several years now; it is unbelievable how this has calmed me down, to the point where I'm figuring I was deficient in one of the Bs (not B12; I'm getting that through fortified soy milk, etc.). And now I do take some other vitamins as well, but mostly rely on my excellent varied vegan diet to see me through! So far, so good!

  12. Helliotrope,
    I use Deva vegan multivitamin and mineral supplement, Deva vegan vitamin D2, Jarrow formulas Bone-Up vegetarian/vegan formula with calcium citrate, potassium citrate and MK-7, and Jarrow Methyl B-12 1,000 mcg for vegetarians/vegans.

    Yes they are!

    I go back and forth about how I feel about them, too, but I keep taking them.

    I used to take a b stress tab and am thinking of doing so again, for the good effect it has on hair, skin and nails.

  13. I forgot to say I also take DHA.

  14. That ad is so funny! I take a whack of supplements, partly because of my candida that requires counter-attack. I also take B12 sublingually and it seems to work for me. I take Calcium, D, K, magnesium and strontium for bones and a bunch of herbals as well as probiotics.

  15. I take anti-depressants.

  16. Jenny,
    My husband takes a vegan form of that.

    I used to take a load of vitamins and herbs but swallowing them all just got to be too much, so I decided to consolidate. Your circumstances are special and require a bigger arsenal.

    A lot of people do.


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