The best vegan multivitamins (UK)

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A healthy, balanced vegan diet can provide everything that the human body needs to thrive. But, unless you carefully manage the nutrients that you consume, being sure to include foods that are fortified with B12 and other key vitamins and minerals, then you’ll probably benefit from taking a vitamin supplement.

Most standard vitamin supplements are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians as they contain all sorts of animal-derived ingredients. However, the good news is that there are lots of vegan-friendly vitamin supplements to choose from in the UK.

Not all supplements are created equally and there are some key things that you should know when choosing a vegan multivitamin.

This article explains what to look for in a vegan multivitamin supplement. To save you time, I’ve researched all the best vegan multivitamins to buy online, picking out the ones that meet all of my stringent criteria and also have lots of five-star reviews.

If you’re short on time and just want links to the best vegan multivitamins, here are my top picks:

Standard multivitamins are not suitable for vegans

Unfortunately, most multivitamin supplements are not suitable for vegans because they contain animal by-products.

Non-vegan ingredients which are commonly used in vitamins include:

  • Vitamin B12 – Most B12 comes from animal sources but it can be directly made with bacteria cultures without involving animals
  • Vitamin D3 – Typically made from fish oil or sheep’s wool, it can also come from lichen, a vegan-friendly organism comprising fungus and algae
  • Omega-3 – This usually comes from fish oil, but it can come from algae as well
  • Digestive enzymes – Pepsin and lipase help the digestion of food but they are made from animals. Instead, use bromelain, papain and betaine HCI which comes from fruits and vegetables
  • Hyaluronic acid – Taken from cow’s eyeballs and chicken’s combs, it can also come from plant sources
  • Gelatine – Most capsules are made from gelatine which comes from animal bones, skin, ligaments and tendons
  • Carmine – Any red-coloured tablets may be coloured using carmine (also known as cochineal) which is made from crushed bugs
  • Glycerine – A preservative which can come from animal fat or vegetable oil
  • Caprylic acid – A filler or coating, this is typically made from milk but it can be made from coconut or palm oil

Is there a multivitamin for vegans?

There are two types of multivitamins for vegans:

General multivitamins – These contain vitamins and minerals that would benefit vegans and omnivores alike, but do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Tailored vegan multivitamins – These are specially formulated to contain more of the nutrients that vegans make lack, such as extra B12 and iron. 

You’ll also find specific multivitamins for certain groups, such as children or pregnant women, as well as supplements which are designed to support specific areas e.g. boosting immunity or improving hair and skin condition.

Whichever you choose, you should check the label to be sure that it says ‘suitable for vegans’. If a vitamin supplement isn’t labelled as vegan, then it most likely is not suitable for vegans.

multivitamin pill

What vitamins do vegans need to take?

Multivitamins vary in exactly which vitamins and minerals they contain, and how much of them. Depending on how varied your diet is, you might opt for a multivitamin which contains just the essentials or one which has a wider range of nutrients.

If you love fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, then the chances are that your diet has most things covered already. However, if you’re more of a ‘junk food vegan’ then you’ll probably want to look for a supplement that has at least 20 vitamins and minerals.

These are the essential nutrients of a good vegan multivitamin:

1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is the one that we hear about a lot because it’s the only vitamin that is virtually impossible to get from a vegan diet. It’s needed for red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis. 

B12 is made by bacteria and is found naturally in soil and in the stomachs of animals. Humans get B12 from the meat and milk of animals like cows and sheep, which leave vegans at risk of a B12 deficiency if they do not use supplements.

B12

Where can vegans get vitamin b12 naturally?

Whilst vegans can ingest B12 from eating unwashed vegetables which are covered in soil, this isn’t recommended. Instead, you’ll find that some plant milks, soy products and breakfast cereals are fortified with B12. Another good source is nutritional yeast which you can add yourself to all kinds of meals.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is common across the UK population, not just in vegans. The NHS recommends that everyone take a vitamin D supplement each day between October and March. The rest of the year, people should be able to get all of the vitamin D that they need from sunlight. Those that don’t go outside or that don’t expose their skin to the sun should take vitamin D supplements all year round.

Food-wise, vitamin D is commonly found in oily fish, red meat and eggs, which is why vegans should take extra care to ensure that they have enough.

Vitamin D isn’t a single vitamin, rather a family of similar nutrients. Two of the most common types that you’ll come across in food and in supplements are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. 

  • Vitamin D3 comes from animals
  • Vitamin D2 comes from plants

Some foods like breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D. It rarely specifies on the packaging whether the vitamin D that’s added to fortified foods is D2 or D3, but we can assume that it’s D3 because cereal contains a lot of fibre which can prevent D2 from being absorbed.

Vitamin D

Where can vegans get vitamin D naturally?

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but in the UK there isn’t enough UVB radiation in winter sunlight for our skin to make it.

Mushrooms contain significant amounts of vitamin D, but only if they are exposed to sunlight. Another vegan source of vitamin D is fortified plant milk – Unlike fortified cereals, these are more likely to be suitable for vegans

UK-grown mushrooms often don’t contain much vitamin D as they aren’t grown in sunshine or UV light as they are in some other countries such as the US and Australia. Look out for mushrooms that are labelled as being ‘enriched with Vitamin D’ or ‘UV treated’ for a vitamin D boost [Source].

Enriching mushrooms with vitamin D can be easy to do at home. You just unwrap the mushrooms and place them outside in the sun for 30 minutes before cooking. However, this is most effective in the late spring, summer and early autumn – a time when we naturally get more vitamin D from sunlight on our skin anyway.

3. Iron

Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells. There are two types of iron – heme and non-heme.

Heme iron comes from meat and fish and is easily absorbed by the body. Non-heme iron comes from plants and is harder to absorb. Because vegans consume only non-heme iron, the Institute of Medicine recommends that they consume 1.8 times as much iron as omnivores [Source].

Vitamin C works alongside iron to facilitate its absorption. S,o those taking iron supplements should also ensure that they are not deficient in vitamin C. A good way to do this is to take any iron supplements with a glass of orange juice.

Iron is particularly important for women and children. Women lose iron during their menstrual period, with 1mg of iron lost for every day of bleeding. Those with heavy periods will lose more. As iron is important to muscle growth, it is of particular importance to growing children as well as athletes and bodybuilders.

Iron

Where can vegans get iron naturally?

Whilst iron is commonly associated with red meat and liver, there are many plant-based sources of iron.

Vegan sources of iron include:

  • Pulses like beans, peas and lentils 
  • Wholemeal bread and flour
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits like prunes and apricots

4. Calcium

Calcium plays a role in building strong bones and teeth as well as keeping your heart beating regularly and your blood clotting normally. Non-vegans get most of their calcium from dairy foods like milk, cheese and yoghurt.

calcium

Where can vegans get calcium naturally?

It’s a myth that calcium only comes from milk, as there are lots of vegan sources of calcium.

Vegan calcium sources include:

  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Pulses like beans, peas and lentils 
  • Dried fruits like prunes and apricots
  • Fortified plant milk
  • Bread (in the UK this always has calcium added)

What to look for in vegan multivitamins

As well as the four key vitamins and minerals – Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, iron and calcium – there are some other things to look out for when searching for the best vegan vitamins.

1. Capsules are the best format

Vitamin supplements are available as tablets, capsules, gummies or a liquid spray. Capsules are better than tablets as they break down quickly, meaning that the contents can be absorbed more easily. They also don’t require any extra fillers or bulking agents to stick the vitamins and minerals together.

Some people who struggle to swallow tablets like to opt for fruit-flavoured gummies or sprays. These are particularly good for kids. However, these often don’t contain the full range of nutrients that tablets and capsules do. Capsules can be opened and mixed with water if you can’t swallow them whole.

2. Choose environmentally-friendly packaging

Most vitamins come in plastic bottles. Depending on where you live, these may or may not be recyclable with your household rubbish. It’s tricky to know for sure, but putting non-recyclable plastic bottles and bottle caps could contaminate the whole batch of recycling.

The best products come in paper and cardboard packaging as this is easy to recycle and is often made from recycled materials too. Another benefit is that boxes are more space-efficient, which means that you can fit more in a lorry for a lower carbon footprint.

3. Look for UK companies

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency has strict regulations about who can manufacture and distribute food supplements. Products must come from reputable suppliers and be labelled correctly. Some other countries may not have the same regulations, so you should always buy from a trusted UK specialist where possible.

Another advantage of buying vitamins that are made in the UK is that they have a lower carbon footprint as they are not shipped around the world. Plus, buying from UK companies benefits the UK economy, something that’s especially important for 2021 and beyond.

The best vegan multivitamins

With all that in mind, let’s move on to our selection of the best vegan multivitamin supplements. We’ve searched the internet, read all of the positive and negative reviews and researched the companies to make sure that we stand by these recommendations.

Best overall: Dr. Vegan Daily Multi-Vitamin

CONTAINS: 24 vitamins and minerals

Dr Vegan - Best vegan multivitamins in UK

Dr. Vegan’s Complete Daily Multi-Vitamin is specifically designed for vegans and those with low-meat diets. Formulated by nutritionists, these vegan-friendly capsules include all of the essential nutrients you need for optimal physical and mental performance.

These easy-to-swallow capsules contain only natural ingredients which are sourced from responsible producers who meet the highest ethical and ecological standards. 

Capsules are better than tablets because they don’t require any additives or filler ingredients and the vitamins and minerals are in a more bio-available form, which means that they can be more effectively absorbed by your body.

Free pill tin

Your first order of Dr Vegan vitamins comes with a free metal pill tin. This handy travel-sized refillable tin can be used to store your vitamins as well as any other medication that you take regularly.

Your first order is just £7.50. This includes the pill tin, which retails for £7, so essentially you’re paying just 50p for a whole month’s supply of vitamins!

The vitamins themselves come in paper packaging which is easy to recycle. The cardboard box fits through your letterbox so you don’t need to worry about being home to accept the delivery.

Pros

  • 100% vegan brand
  • Made in the UK
  • Sustainably-sourced ingredients
  • No GMO, additives, binders or allergens
  • Biodegradable and recyclable packaging
  • Certified by The Vegan Society
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Have to take two per day

Best on Amazon: Vegan Vitality Multivitamins & Minerals

CONTAINS: 23 vitamins and minerals

A bestseller on Amazon, Vegan Vitality multivitamins are tailor-made for vegans and vegetarians, with high strength doses of vitamin B12, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 plus 20 other vitamins and minerals. Most vitamin supplements use cyanocobalamin for vitamin B12 as it’s relatively cheap. However, Vegan Vitality uses methylcobalamin which is less toxic and stays in the body longer [Source].

Vegan Vitality is a family-run, UK company offering only 100% vegan supplements. Each product is rigorously tested, not just by the company themselves, but also by some of Europe’s top independent laboratories to ensure safety and purity.

Pros

  • 100% vegan brand
  • Independently lab tested
  • Recyclable bottle
  • No GMO, sugar or gluten
  • One tablet per day

Cons

  • Recommended to take with food
  • Not the smallest tablets at 15mm in length
  • Tablets have a slight smell

Best budget: Nutravita Multivitamins & Minerals

CONTAINS: 26 vitamins and minerals

Nutravita vitamin supplements are manufactured in the UK from the highest-quality ingredients. Each high-strength vegan-friendly tablet contains all of the vitamins and minerals you need to support your body on a daily basis.

Nutravita supports several different charities including Mission Direct. The company donates a portion of profits and also donates supplements to people in need, such as those in Cambodia who have iron deficiencies.

If you’re on a budget, buying a 12-month supply at once is the cheapest way to get multivitamins.

Pros

  • Lowest cost per day
  • The company donates to charity
  • Made in the UK
  • One tablet per day
  • No GMO, gluten, artificial colours, flavours, fillers or binders

Cons

  • Each tablet is quite large at 9mm x 18mm
  • Recommended to take each tablet with a full glass or water
  • The bottle is large
  • Not tailored especially to vegans

Best gummy: FIGHT Support Immunity Mango-Flavoured Gummies

CONTAINS: 10 vitamins plus zinc

FIGHT is a vitamin supplement manufacturer that produces tasty, vegan gummy vitamins with science-backed ingredients. These mango-flavoured gummies are packed full of vitamins that will support the normal functioning of your immune system, something that’s of concern to all of us in 2021.

When you buy FIGHT vitamins, you’re not only fuelling your own body, but you’re also helping someone else who doesn’t have access to safe, nutritious food. The company has pledged to distribute at least 100,000 nutritious meals to people in need with the help of the UK charity, FareShare.

Pros

  • The company donates to charity
  • Recyclable bottle
  • Great-tasting natural mango flavour
  • No GMO, preservatives or gluten

Cons

  • Have to take two per day
  • Chewier than some other gummies
  • Doesn’t contain calcium or iron

Best spray: BetterYou Vegan Health Daily Oral Spray

CONTAINS: 4 vitamins and minerals

This vegan vitamin spray delivers four essential vitamins and minerals – Vitamin B12, vitamin D3, iron and iodine. Ideal for those that don’t like to swallow tablets, you simply spray it into your mouth, such as on the inside of your cheek.

Using a spray has the advantage of more effective nutrient uptake, as the tiny droplets are absorbed straight into the buccal membrane of the inner cheek, bypassing the gut. BetterYour Vegan Health spray is flavoured with natural mixed berries and reviewers have commented on how great it tastes. 

An award-winning British company, BetterYou has partnered with some of the finest research institutions in the world to create innovative products using the highest-quality ingredients. The bottle is made from 70% ocean waste plastic and 30% recycled plastic and is fully recyclable.

Pros

  • Recycled packaging made using ocean plastic
  • Made in the UK
  • No artificial colours or flavours, gluten, palm oil or sugar
  • Great taste
  • Does not need to be taken with food or water

Cons

  • Doesn’t contain calcium
  • All vitamin sprays leave an after-taste

Best for hair, skin & nails: Puretanicals Hyaluron Komplex

CONTAINS: 7 vitamins and minerals

If you’re a vegan who’s worried about hair loss, dull skin or brittle nails, then this is the best multivitamin supplement to take. Most vitamin tablets for hair, skin and nails contain only biotin, zinc and selenium. Hyaluron Komplex is different as it also contains anti-ageing hyaluronic acid as well as vitamins like B12 which vegans need.

Puretanicals is a German company which makes premium quality vegan-friendly supplements. The capsules are independently tested in German laboratories and are free from additives.

Pros

  • No GMO, gluten, artificial colours or flavours
  • Take one per day
  • Easy to swallow capsules

Cons

  • Made in Germany
  • Recommended to take with a meal
  • Does not contain calcium, iron or vitamin D

Best for pregnancy: Protea Wellness Pregna Sense

CONTAINS: 24 vitamins and minerals

Pregna Sense pregnancy multivitamins are specially formulated to give your body all of the vitamins and minerals that it needs when trying for a baby, as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Tasteless, odourless and easy to swallow, these capsules are certified to comply with UK and EU legislative requirements.

Protea is a UK company which specialises in vitamin capsules, rather than tablets. Whilst tablets are cheaper to produce, capsules have the advantage of not needing added ingredients to bind the vitamins and minerals together, and they’re also easier to swallow. If you still struggle to swallow these capsules, they are easy to open and you can then mix the contents with water to create a pregnancy vitamin drink.

Pros

  • Made in the UK
  • No GMO, gluten, artificial colours or preservatives
  • Odourless and tasteless
  • 100% money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Have to take two per day
  • Only 8% of the RDA of calcium 

Best for kids: OmniVegan Kids Multi Food Supplement

CONTAINS: 22 vitamins and minerals

Every parent worries that their child is getting enough nutrients. This multivitamin and mineral supplement is ideal because kids can take one or two tablets, depending on how well they’ve been eating. Suitable for kids aged three to ten, these chewable tablets have a fresh strawberry flavour.

This kids’ vitamin supplement is made by Nordic Nutraceuticals, a subsidiary of the vitamin manufacturer Biosym Denmark. They source the very best active ingredients for their products which use the fewest possible additives.

Pros

  • Great tasting strawberry flavour
  • Gluten-free
  • Can take one or two depending on how varied your child’s diet is

Cons

  • Tablets are quite large at 11mm but easy to chew
  • Made in Denmark

The bottom line

Most vegans would benefit from taking vitamin supplements, in particular those that contain vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron and calcium. Which other nutrients to include will depend on things like your age, gender and lifestyle.

The best vitamin supplements come in capsules, are made in the UK and are delivered in recyclable packaging. Whichever brand you choose from the hundreds that are out there, it’s important to read the reviews and to make sure that you buy from a reputable company that you can trust. 

The vegan multivitamin supplement that I recommend is Dr. Vegan Daily Multi-Vitamin because it has everything that vegans need in capsule form. It comes in recyclable packaging and it offers good value for money. A full review of this multivitamin is coming soon!

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