Are you curious about the vegetarian and vegan supplements we take? There’s quite a few, to be honest! Although we eat a healthy well-balanced diet with loads of organic veggies, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and very little processed foods, we still like to take a handful of daily supplements to ensure we’re getting the proper nutrition we need as active folks who follow a vegetarian diet. And, to help with any imbalances, deficiencies, allergies, or health issues that we may struggle with too.
Over the years, many people have inquired about our supplements routine, so I figured I would write up a list of our favorites to share. Many of the supplements on this list came highly recommended by my Mom (a registered dietitian) or the naturopath I saw several years ago, and have been in our rotation ever since. I’ll briefly discuss each supplement, the potential benefits it offers, and why we love it.
Most of the supplements included on this list could be beneficial to a wide variety of diets and lifestyles, not just vegans or vegetarians. Yet of those listed, vitamin B12, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are key nutrients you may need to supplement when following a plant-based diet. (See my notes about calcium and iron at the end)
Disclaimer: I am not a trained medical professional, and this post is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before changing your health routine, about potential medication interactions, or if you have any other questions. Also, this post is not sponsored but may contain affiliate links to vegan supplements that we genuinely love and use.
1) MegaFood Multi-Vitamin
Ah, the backbone of all good supplement routines: a trusty multi. This One Daily multi-vitamin from MegaFood is one of our long-standing favorite vegan supplements. It contains the usual gambit of vitamins and minerals, but also includes good levels of B vitamins too. Even better, the vitamins are sourced from real, certified organic foods! Some of the ingredients have even been fermented, furthering their health benefits. (Y’all know we love our fermented foods!)
MegaFood is a stellar B-corporation that offers incredibly high-quality, clean, well-rated products overall. Their motto is Fresh from Farm to Tablet and independently test all of their products to ensure they’re free from over 125 pesticides and herbicides, including glyphosate. They also offer Women’s Daily and Men’s Daily multivitamins, and many other supplements included on this list.
2) Turmeric (Curcumin)
If you aren’t yet privy to the health benefits of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) you’re missing out! Considered an antioxidant-rich superfood, thousands of scientific studies repeatedly confirm curcumin’s vast array of medicinal benefits. It fights inflammation, reduces pain and arthritis symptoms, can improve memory and mood, regulate blood pressure, slow or prevent cancer development, and more. I love to take it for my achy joints.
To get our daily dose of turmeric, we turn to another favorite from Mega Food. Their vegan turmeric supplements offer a hefty dose of quality curcumin. The curcumin is sourced from certified organic turmeric, grown on farms that support regenerative agriculture. The supplement also contains black pepper extract, which is a really important component since black pepper vastly increases curcumin’s bioavailability in the body. In other words, our bodies don’t absorb or make use of the curcumin very well without black pepper.
Did you know that magnesium is essential (a cofactor) for over 300 different enzymatic reactions in our bodies? Meaning, a magnesium deficiency has the potential to throw a lot of things out of whack! It plays a vital role in energy synthesis, metabolism, blood sugar regulation, muscle contraction and relaxation, heart health, and more.
Studies show that low levels of magnesium is linked to cardiovascular disease, irregular heartbeat, migraine headaches, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, insulin-resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Magnesium can help you sleep better, relax muscles and cramps, treat fibromyalgia, and sometimes act as a gentle laxative to relieve constipation (depending on dose, individual, and type of magnesium). Because of its relaxing effect, it may be best taken before bed.
I personally use magnesium to help with my sleep issues, muscle tension, menstrual cramps, and blood sugar control (I have Type 1 Diabetes). This study showed that taking a magnesium supplement greatly reduced fasting blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and hemoglobin A1C results in Type 2 diabetics. Awesome!
Note that there are several types of magnesium. They all have similar benefits (e.g. most types are good for muscle tension, heart health and blood sugar control) but each formula also may do slightly different things. For instance, citrate is often used to help with migraines and mild constipation, malate has superior bioavailability, while glycinate has less laxative effects but can be even more relaxing – promoting restful sleep. This article describes the different types of magnesium in more detail so you can choose what is best suited for you.
I’ve switched back and forth between this high-quality magnesium citrate/malate supplement, and this magnesium glycinate supplement. “Calm” is another popular magnesium supplement product, which is mixed with water to create a fizzy beverage.
4) Vitamin D3
Sun is one important source of vitamin D. Yet even though we spend quite a bit of time outside in the garden, I know we’re not getting enough! Especially in the winter time. (Hellooo blogger life).
Vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphorus absorption, important for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, teeth, and a strong immune system. Vitamin D is also directly tied to mood regulation. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and depression and anxiety as well as fibromyalgia.
Most multivitamins don’t contain quite enough Vitamin D to really give you the oomph you need if you’re lacking. The recommended daily minimum is about 600 IU per day, though many health experts recommend taking much more to maintain ideal blood levels – up to 5000 IU. We’re currently taking this vegetarian Vitamin D3 by Pure Encapsulations. They also offer vegan Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it’s best to take around a meal.
5) B Vitamins
B vitamins are vital building blocks in a healthy body! They play a direct role in cell metabolism, brain and nerve function, energy levels, muscle tone, eye health and more. Adequate intake of B-vitamins will help you feel sharp and energetic. Inadequate intake of B vitamins (especially folate and B12) can lead to anemia, muscle weakness, digestive issues, brain fog and memory issues, and vision loss.
B-vitamins are naturally abundant in fish, dairy, eggs, poultry, and red meat. Plant-based sources of vitamin B include dark leafy greens, beans, and whole grains (to name a few) but in lesser concentrations than animal products. Being vegetarian, vitamin B supplements are essential to make up for what may be otherwise lacking in our diet!
We like this liquid Vitamin B complex supplement, which contains a plethora of B vitamins: B3, B6, B7, B9 and B12. It’s also certified organic, vegan, free of common allergies, and most importantly, effective. Like CBD, Vitamin B is most easily absorbed in liquid form, taken sublingually held under the tongue.
Nutritional yeast is another great vegan source of vitamin B12, and delicious too! We like to sprinkle it over sautéed veggies, rice, beans, in soups, and more.
6) Full-Spectrum CBD
CBD is a natural compound found in hemp plants, but it’s not psychoactive (so it doesn’t get you “high”). Rather, CBD can help with everything from anxiety and stress to joint pain and sleep. As someone who struggles with all of those things, it has literally changed my life for the better. Studies show CBD can ease or treat inflammation, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, depression, ADHD, headaches, and may slow or prevent cancer cell growth.
I’ve been taking NuVita CBD almost daily for over a year now. I take their full-spectrum oil in the morning, CBN (sleep formula) about 45 minutes before bed, and the new topical CBD rollerball on my target aches and pains. For the best results and maximum absorption, hold the oil under your tongue for a few minutes before swallowing. It’s also good to take around a meal. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil, NuVita just came out with a convenient vegan CBD soft gel – my husband’s favorite.
I discovered NuVita when I was doing research to find the most pure, organic, and effective full-spectrum CBD available – because not all CBD is created equal! Depending on the source, processing, and concentration, some CBD products are far less effective, and can leave folks feeling like CBD “doesn’t work”. After vetting dozens of brands, I can’t recommend NuVita highly enough!
Use discount code “deannacat” to save 10% off your order.
*Please note that NuVita’s full spectrum products contain less than 0.3% THC – below the federally-legal limit, but could potentially cause a positive urine test. Therefore, folks in a zero tolerance workplace should choose the 100% THC-free formula. For a more in-depth look at CBD, see this article: CBD 101: Uses, Health Benefits and Precautions of Hemp.
Did you know that total body health is directly tied to good gut health? The gut microbiome is a network of trillions of microorganisms that live inside our gastrointestinal system, including both good and bad microbes. “The microbiome is even labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body”, explains the Harvard School of Public Health. A healthy gut with ample beneficial microbes supports the immune system, promotes digestion and nutrient uptake, prevents disease and more.
We are huge gut health advocates here at Homestead and Chill. That is one of the many reasons we love homemade fermented foods like sauerkraut, dilly beans, kombucha, and sourdough so much! They’re all loaded with probiotics. In addition to eating plenty of fermented and probiotic-rich foods, taking a probiotic supplement is a fantastic way to ensure your gut flora is in balance.
These vegan probiotic supplements from MegaFood are my current favorite. They contain 14 different strains of probiotics and are GMO-free, gluten-free, and overall superb quality. Unlike many other probiotics, I love that you only need to take one capsule once per day.
8) Omega 3’s
Omega 3’s are little powerhouses in our bodies. They’re called essential fatty acids for a reason! Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for healthy brain function as well as good bone, joint and skin health. A healthy intake of Omega-3’s can improve mood and focus, reduce inflammation and brain fog, fight depression, reduce triglycerides and blood pressure, and decrease the risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
Vegetarian and vegan folks are especially at risk for omega-3 deficiency. Of the three types of essential omega 3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and ALA), plant-based sources of omega 3’s like nuts, seeds, and beans only contain ALA. On the other hand, vital DHA and EPA are primarily found in seafood. Yet there is only one excellent vegan source of DHA and EPA omega 3’s: algae.
So, we take these awesome vegan algae omega-3 supplements. It’s the only one I could find that is carrageenan-free! Carrageenan comes from seaweed too, but is highly inflammatory and has been linked to gastrointestinal issues like IBS, IBD, and colitis. Some studies also say it can cause rheumatoid arthritis and colon cancer. Therefore, carrageenan has been banned in the European Union but is still routinely found in products in the US.
Zinc helps us maintain a healthy immune system, so it’s great to take when you feel like you’re coming down with something. However, zinc also plays an important role in building protein and DNA. Too little zinc can lead to impaired growth, thinning hair or hair loss, weak nails, and erectile dysfunction. Research shows that zinc can also reduce fasting blood glucose levels as well as cholesterol and triglycerides.
Most folks obtain an adequate amount of zinc from their diet alone, because you only need a small amount to maintain good health! Zinc is abundant in meat, poultry, and seafood. Yet vegetarians and vegans are more at-risk for becoming deficient. A few good sources of plant-based zinc include all legumes (lentils, chickpeas and beans) along with tofu, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and oatmeal – albeit lower levels than animal sources of zinc.
I take this raw zinc supplement, which is the only one I’ve tried that doesn’t upset my stomach. Yet because there are also risks of taking too much zinc, I only take one capsule (instead of the suggested serving size of two) and only a few times per week. That is, unless I’m fighting a cold – and then I take the recommended amount.
10) Nettle Quercetin
I take nettle quercetin supplements as a natural alternative to allergy medication. I suffer from mild seasonal allergies, and I’m also allergic to my own children. Yep… despite my lifelong renown crazy cat lady status, I’m mildly allergic to kitties! Nettle quercetin helps keep my sniffles and sneezes at bay so I can keep on snuggling them. Studies also suggest that both stinging nettle and quercetin may help reduce blood sugar levels, so that is an added perk for me!
Quercetin is a plant-based flavonoid antioxidant. In addition to quelling allergy symptoms, it also supports the immune system and can help reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Stinging nettle is also anti-inflammatory, and may ease hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, or a runny nose. Vitamin C helps to increase the bioavailability of quercetin. Therefore, consider taking this supplement along with your daily multivitamin or vitamin C supplement.
And that sums up our current favorite vegetarian and vegan supplements!
You may be wondering “what about calcium?” since vegetarians and vegans seem to be questioned about that important mineral most of all. Well, because we do eat a small amount of organic dairy along with plenty of plant-based sources of calcium (such as fortified oat milk, broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, kale, and black beans) AND since calcium is one that you shouldn’t overdo, we don’t currently take a calcium supplement. If you’re vegan and wonder if you should consider a calcium supplement yourself, check out this article for more insight.
Another key mineral not included on this list is iron. Inadequate intake of iron can cause anemia, and vegans or vegetarians may be more at risk. However, experts recommend taking iron supplements only if your bloodwork shows low levels, since too much can do more harm than good. I’m not anemic, but my blood tests usually show my iron levels on the lower end of the recommended spectrum. Yet iron supplements are notorious for causing constipation, and I haven’t found one that I love yet. Do you have any recommendations for good vegan iron supplements that are gentle on your stomach?
All in all, I hope that you learned something new today – and maybe found a new fantastic supplement to try! If you found this post to be valuable, please feel free to pin it or pass it along. Last but not least: don’t forget to drink plenty of water! That’s perhaps one of the most effective and easy (but often overlooked) ways to improve your health.
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