Whether you’ve signed up to Veganuary, are already vegan or are just looking to make small, positive changes towards a more plant-based lifestyle, there are a number of supplements that can help you stay healthy along the way. Here are five of our favourite vegan supplements:
1.Viridian High 12 B-Complex , £7.99 for 30 capsules
We only need a small amount of vitamin B12, circa 1.5 mcg per day, but because it is mainly found in animal products, vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common vegan diet deficiencies.
Why is B12 important? We need it to keep nerves healthy, maintain normal brain function and support the production of DNA and red blood cells. With a full array of B vitamins and a higher level of vitamin B12, Viridian’s High 12 B-Complex is one of our best B12 supplements. Simply take one capsule daily with food.
2.Marigold Savoury Vegan Engevita Yeast Flakes , £3.15 for 125g
Vitamin B12 can also be sourced from fortified foods, such as breakfast cereal and yeast extracts, which leads us seamlessly on to our next recommended vegan supplement: Marigold’s Savoury Vegan Engevita Yeast Flakes.
These delicious-tasting cheesy and nutty yeast flakes are a rich source of B vitamins, B12 included, and completely free from Candida albicans. Ready to eat, try them dissolved in water, milk, fruit or vegetable juices, sprinkled in soups, stews, casseroles, or over breakfast cereals and salad, to up your intake of the essential B vitamins.
3.Wiley’s Catch Free Vegan Omega 3 Capsules , £29.99 for 60 capsules
What about omega-3s? We have to source alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, from our diet, which is why it’s classed as essential, but EPA and DHA, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, are the omega-3s that get the most press. They are not considered essential because your body can make them from ALA, but they are hugely important for brain health, eye health, depression and inflammation.
The problem is, the conversion of plant ALA from flax seed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds, into EPA may be as low as 5%, and to DHA as low as 2% , which explains why vegetarians and vegans have up to 50% lower blood and tissue concentrations of EPA and DHA than fish and meat-eaters .
Stay topped up with a vegan omega-3 supplements. Wiley’s Catch Free Vegan Omega 3 capsules provide 725 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per serving, which includes 500 mg of DHA, as well as 25 μg of vitamin K2 and 25 μg of vegan vitamin D3. Super impressive. Take two soft gels daily with food.
4.Lamberts Vegan Vitamin D3 , £11.95 for 90 capsules
Vitamin D deficiency is another one to watch out for, with lanolin, found in sheep’s wool, being one of the most common sources of vitamin D.
Lamberts’ Vegan Vitamin D3 capsules provide an excellent alternative to animal origin vitamin D3. Sustainably sourced from pesticide-free lichen extract, each capsule provides a full 1000iu of vegan vitamin D3. Lichens possess unique attributes enabling them to survive in extreme climates with the ability to grow and accumulate meaningful levels of useful nutrients, including cholecalciferol, the most bioavailable form of vitamin D3. Simply take one capsule daily to keep levels of vitamin D healthy.
5.BetterYou Vegan Health Oral Spray , £14.95 for 2ml
And finally, our go-to vegan supplement has to be BetterYou’s Vegan Oral Health Spray. It delivers vitamin D3, vitamin B12, iron and iodine directly into the bloodstream, bypassing processing in the gut.
Why iron? Whilst you can source iron from a vegan diet - we’re not saying Popeye was wrong - plant-based (non-heme) iron is not as well absorbed as animal origin heme iron. To avoid iron deficiency you would ideally need to increase your iron intake from plant sources of iron, such as cruciferous vegetables, beans, peas, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function, with deficiency leading to hypothyroidism and subsequently low energy levels, dry skin, tingling in your hands and feet, forgetfulness, depression and weight gain. Seaweed, or kelp, iodised table salt, shellfish and crustaceans are all good food sources of iodine – unsurprisingly studies show that vegans have 50% lower blood iodine levels than vegetarians , let alone pescatarians.
All four essential nutrients are provided in BetterYou’s convenient spray alternative to tablets and capsules. The tiny droplets within the spray absorb quickly for fast and effective nutrient uptake. Each spray gives 48 daily doses and with its mixed berry flavour, it tastes great too. Even the packaging, which is made from Ocean Waste Plastic, ticks our boxes. Bravo BetterYou.