Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Vegan Diets

Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Vegan Diets

The vegan diet is made up of plant-based foods and excludes meat, eggs, dairy, and sometimes honey.1 Individuals choose a vegan diet primarily for health reasons or their concerns about animal welfare.1 Also, eating vegan is considered better for the environment.2 However, there are some concerns about nutrient deficiencies in vegan diets and any form of plant-based diet.

Nutrients of Concern for Vegans

According to a 2023 review published in Frontiers in Nutrition, research is clear that a well-planned vegan diet can support health in many ways; however, the authors concluded that it must also be supplemented with nutrients that may be missing including vitamin B12, vitamin D, and the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.3

Another study from 2023 found that after adopting a vegan diet for just a month, participants not only had significantly decreased intake of B12 but also iodine.4

A 2016 analysis of 167 different papers found that nutrients of concern for vegans included vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), iron, and essential amino acids.5 And a 2019 survey added zinc to that list.6

Fortunately, vegans can supplement these nutrient deficiencies by taking a specialized multivitamin to help fill essential nutrient gaps.

Supplements to Take as a Vegan

If you are looking to enhance and support your vegan lifestyle, look for a multivitamin that specifically fits your nutrient needs. Be sure it includes 1000 mcg of B12 because plant foods contain negligible amounts of this important vitamin.5

Other essential nutrients in a multivitamin formula for vegans should also include iron for healthy red blood cell production, iodine to support the thyroid gland, zinc for immune system support, and probiotics to support digestive health.

The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine are also essential amino acids that are primarily found in meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs, so they are important supplements to take as a vegan.7

Vegan Essentials is a comprehensive multivitamin specifically formulated to fill nutrition gaps in a plant-based diet. It features all the above, including vitamin C and liposomal iron for enhanced absorption.* It’s also vegan and gluten free.

A high-quality, high-potency multivitamin specifically for vegans and other plant-based diets is essential to helping fill potential nutrient gaps.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


  1. Clem J. A look at plant-based diets. Missouri Medicine. 2021;118(3):233-238.
  2. Scarborough P, Clark M, Cobiac L, et al. Vegans, vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eating in the UK show discrepant environmental impacts. Nature Food. 2023;4:565-574.
  3. Luszczki E, Boakye F, Zielinska M, et al. Vegan diet: nutritional components, implementation, and effects on adults’ health. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2023;10.
  4. Eveleigh E, Coneyworth L, Craigon J, Wlham S. Adoption of a short-term (4-week) vegan diet as part of the “Veganuary’ significantly reduces saturated fatty acid (SFA), cholesterol, B12, and iodine intake in omnivorous individuals—an observational study. Nutrients. 2023;15(23).
  5. Fields H, Ruddy B, Wallace MR, et al. How to monitor and advise vegans to ensure adequate nutrient intake. Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 2016;116(2).
  6. Health and Food Supplements Information Service. Vegetarian and vegan trends pushing more people into deficiency risk. 2019;Oct 9.
  7. Xu, B, Wang M, Pu L, et al. Association of dietary intake of branched-chain amino acids with long-term risks of CVD, cancer and all-cause mortality. Public Health Nutrition. 2022;25(12):3390-3400.