Following a vegan diet shouldn't mean falling short on any essential vitamins and minerals. Here's why to include calcium, vitamins B12 and C, and zinc in your supplement routine.
If you’ve eliminated dairy from your diet, get enough calcium—essential for strong bones—from dark-green vegetables, dried figs, almonds, and fortified soy products, or supplements. For best absorption, take calcium carbonate with food (calcium citrate can be taken any time).
Remember: Calcium requires magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin D to function properly.
Recommended dose: adults 1,000 mg daily, divided into two doses
This B vitamin, most commonly found in animal products, helps the body produce red blood cells and prevents anemia. Find it in enriched cereals, fortified soy products, and supplements.
Recommended dose: adults 2.4 mcg daily
Eating vitamin C–rich foods, or supplementing with vitamin C, will help your body absorb plant-based iron (in beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruit) and iron from supplements.
Recommended dose: adults at least 200 to 300 mg daily
Zinc helps support immunity, cell function, and normal growth and development, but bioavailability from plant-based sources (legumes, whole-grain pasta, wheat germ, fortified cereals, nuts, and tofu) can be low. Focus on protein-rich foods such as legumes and nuts (protein also helps with zinc absorption), and take zinc supplements if necessary.
Recommended dose: men, 11 mg daily; women, 8 mg daily