Do vegans need supplements?

Anyone who’s become vegan has likely had a friend (or two) question their decision. Won’t you get sick? How will you get enough nutrients? However, the science is clear: eating a plant-based diet reduces your risk of several diseases – including heart disease and diabetes (Tuso et al., 2013).

But does that mean that vegans don’t need to take any supplements at all? The short and unsatisfying answer is that it depends.

A meticulously planned vegan diet can provide most of the nutrients you need. However, certain vitamins and minerals can be more challenging to obtain in adequate amounts from plant-based foods alone. Taking a high-quality supplement can be far more convenient and affordable.

This blog will suggest six supplements that vegans should consider taking. It’s important to note that those on an omnivorous diet would probably benefit from these supplements, too.

In this article:

Vitamin B12
Vitamin D3
Protein supplements

Looking for high-quality plant-based supplements? Shop the Vivo Life range.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble nutrient integral to nerve function, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis.

Why is it a concern for vegans?

Vitamin B12 comes from soil bacteria. In days gone by, both humans and animals could get B12 from dirt on plants. Because we now wash all of our produce, we don’t get much B12 in our diets.

Animal products contain high levels of B12, but that’s because farm animals receive B12 supplements to ensure their meat has enough. (Watanabe, 2007)

Without enough B12, vegans might face health risks, such as anaemia and nerve issues (O'Leary and Samman, 2010).


How to get enough B12

Vegans can find B12 in fortified foods like plant milks, cereals, and vegan meat alternatives. Fortified nutritional yeast, famous for its cheesy taste, is another source.

But with B12's importance and its limited presence in vegan foods, many recommend that vegans (and vegetarians) take a B12 supplement.

Find out more about Vitamin B12.


Vitamin D3

Vitamin D, particularly in its D3 form (cholecalciferol), is crucial to several human health aspects, especially calcium absorption, bone metabolism, and immune function.

Vitamin D3 is primarily obtained through the skin's exposure to sunlight, as ultraviolet B (UVB) rays trigger the synthesis of D3 from cholesterol in the skin. (Nair & Maseeh, 2012)


Why is it a concern for vegans?

D3 deficiency isn’t just a concern for vegans. A survey by the British Nutrition Foundation found that 1 in 6 adults have low vitamin D levels in their blood.

D3 supplements are recommended by most health organisations – especially in the winter when there’s limited sunlight. However, most generic D3 supplements are derived from sheep's wool, so they're not vegan.

How to get enough D3

Fortunately, there are supplements out there that can help. Vegans can get the vitamin D3 they need by using D3 supplements derived from algae. Taking a daily supplement with about 2000 IU of vitamin D3 will help you stay healthy, especially when there's not much sun. It's a simple way to keep your bones and bodies strong and healthy.

Our Liquid Vitamin D3 contains the optimal amount of D3 you need in a liquid form – along with vitamin K2 for better absorption.



Omega-3s are essential fats that help your heart, brain, and joints function properly. Omnivores get omega-3s in their diet by eating fish, but you can also find plant-based sources, such as walnuts and flaxseeds.

Your body doesn’t make omega-3, so you’ll need to get enough of it in your diet or take a supplement. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, and depression (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health).

Why is it a concern for vegans?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for heart and brain health, as well as managing inflammation. The main types of omega-3 are ALA, EPA, and DHA. Fish get their EPA and DHA from eating algae, which naturally have these fats. Although some plants have ALA, our bodies aren't great at changing ALA into EPA and DHA (Brenna et al., 2009). So, if you don't eat fish, you might miss out on the full health perks of EPA and DHA.


How to get enough Omega-3

Vegans can find ALA in foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. For EPA and DHA, supplementing with algae oil is a good choice – that’s where fish get their omega-3 from in the first place!

It’s important to find a potent dose of Omega-3, such as our Liquid Omega-3. It provides a strong dose of EPA and DHA (300mg and 600mg, respectively).



Iodine is vital for making thyroid hormones, which help manage our metabolism, growth, and development. Iodine deficiency can cause various health problems, such as an enlarged thyroid gland, fatigue, and weight gain. (World Health Organization, 2021).

Why is it a concern for vegans?

The amount of iodine in plants varies based on the soil's iodine level where the plants have grown. In places with low iodine soils, the plants will probably lack iodine.

Sea veggies are good sources of iodine, but they can sometimes give too much, which could hurt the thyroid. (Messina & Redmond, 2006).

How to get enough iodine

Getting the right levels of iodine is tricky. Many countries will add iodine to table salt, but you won't get any iodine if you use traditional sea salt or pink Himalayan salt.

Both too little and too much iodine can hurt the thyroid, so it's important to be careful with supplements. Our Vegan Multinutrient contains 150mcg of iodine (100% NRV) to suit most people. If in doubt, always talk to a doctor before taking an iodine supplement.


Protein powder

Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle growth, and maintaining a healthy immune system. A lack of protein can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, and delayed injury recovery (Phillips, 2017).

Why is it a concern for vegans?

It's a common misconception that vegans are destined to be deficient in protein. In fact, numerous plant-based foods are rich in protein. Legumes (like beans, lentils, and chickpeas), whole grains (like quinoa and brown rice), nuts, seeds, and even certain vegetables (like spinach, peas, and broccoli) can provide ample protein. By consuming a diverse range of these foods, vegans can easily meet and exceed the necessary intake of all essential amino acids required for good health.

How to get enough protein

While whole food, plant-based sources are an excellent way to obtain protein, you might want to supplement with protein powders – especially if you’re active. This is where protein powders like Vivo Life PERFORM can be beneficial. With 25g of protein per serving, derived from quality hemp and pea protein, it offers a full spectrum of amino acids essential for muscle repair and growth.



Creatine is a compound naturally produced in the human body, playing a vital role in energy production, especially during short-duration, high-intensity activities like sprinting or weightlifting. While our bodies make creatine, it's also commonly consumed through diet; however, the primary dietary sources are animal products like meat, fish, and poultry.

Why is it a concern for vegans?

If you want to improve your athletic performance, you should consider upping your creatine levels.

Vegans may have lower muscle creatine stores compared to non-vegans because they don't consume the common food source of creatine – meat. Extra creatine stores can contribute to enhanced physical performance, particularly in high-intensity activities (Benton & Donohoe, 2011).

How to get enough creatine

Creatine supplementation can be particularly beneficial for vegans, especially those who want to excel at the gym. Fortunately, high-quality creatine supplements are affordable, coming in at just €0.24 a serving.


Choosing a trusted source for plant-based supplements

If you’re transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and want to start taking supplements, you’ll want to find a quality brand you can trust with your health.

Here’s why Vivo Life is the right choice:

Quality Ingredients: We pride ourselves on only using the best ingredients in our products. This ensures optimal benefits and helps users avoid unnecessary artificial additives that can sometimes sneak into less reputable supplements.

Third-party testing: We take transparency seriously – all our ingredients undergo stringent third-party testing for potential contaminants. This gives our community an extra layer of confidence in the product's safety and efficacy.

Convenient: With subscribe and save, you can get 15% off all Vivo Life products and get them delivered straight to your door so you never run out.

Ready to start optimising your health? Shop Vivo Life


Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. The Permanente Journal, 17(2), 61–66. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/12-085

Watanabe, F. (2007). Vitamin B12 sources and bioavailability. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 232(10), 1266–1274. https://doi.org/10.3181/0703-MR-67

O'Leary, F., & Samman, S. (2010). Vitamin B12 in Health and Disease. Nutrients, 2(3), 299–316. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu2030299

Nair, R., & Maseeh, A. (2012). Vitamin D: The "sunshine" vitamin. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, 3(2), 118–126. https://doi.org/10.4103/0976-500X.95506

Brenna, J. T., Salem, N., Sinclair, A. J., & Cunnane, S. C. (2009). α-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in humans. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 80(2-3), 85–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plefa.2009.01.004

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/

Messina, M., & Redmond, G. (2006). Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: A review of the relevant literature. Thyroid, 16(3), 249–258. https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2006.16.249

World Health Organization. (2021). Iodine deficiency disorders. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/iodine-deficiency-disorders

Phillips, S. M. (2017). Current Concepts and Unresolved Questions in Dietary Protein Requirements and Supplements in Adults. Frontiers in Nutrition, 4, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2017.00013

Benton, D., & Donohoe, R. (2011). The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. British Journal of Nutrition, 105(7), 1100–1105. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114510004733