Last Updated on September 24, 2021 by Guillermina
If you’re following a vegan diet long-term, you are probably aware that you may need to add supplements into your diet. There are a few vitamins and minerals to focus on, so some vegans find a multivitamin to be an easy way to get that extra boost. Supplements can get really expensive, so finding a vegan vitamin at Walmart can be cost-effective and help meet your nutrition needs.
Vitamins Important for Vegans
Before heading to Walmart, first, you need to know which vitamins and minerals are most important to supplement in a vegan diet. If your diet is lacking these vitamins, you can try adding these foods into your diet first before buying a supplement. It is important to get vitamins and minerals from food sources because of the additional health benefits, like fiber and phytonutrients.
B12 is an essential vitamin found primarily in animal-based foods, like meat and eggs. Because of this, it can be hard to get enough B12 in a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 plays a key role in neurological function, making red blood cells, and creating DNA.
Adding vegan-friendly fortified foods is one way to get more B12 in your diet. Non-dairy milks, meat substitutes, breakfast cereals, and one type of nutritional yeast are often fortified. To figure out if a food is fortified with B12, check the ingredients list and the amount of B12 per serving on the nutrition facts label.
If you’re not getting enough B12, deficiency can lead to a condition known as pernicious anemia. Symptoms include fatigue, numbness, and dizziness, among others. Pernicious anemia is difficult to detect because symptoms are very similar to a folate deficiency.
Iron carries oxygen in the blood, which is important to maintain your body’s normal functions. There are two types of iron in food, heme and non-heme. Heme iron comes from animal sources, like meat, and is easily absorbed by your body.
In comparison, non-heme iron is plant-based and harder to absorb. Adding foods with vitamin C to a meal with iron will increase its absorption. Avoid having coffee and tea when eating meals with iron foods because they decrease absorption. Plant-based iron sources include:
- Oatmeal & fortified cereals
- Kidney beans
- Green peas
If you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet, you may develop iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, and hair loss. Menstruating and pregnant women, children, and those with a diet low in iron are at highest risk.
This mineral plays a role in bone health, neurological function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. There are many vegan sources of calcium, such as leafy greens, tofu made with calcium sulfate, fortified plant-based milks, and winter squash.
It is hard to identify a deficiency because the body will use the calcium in your bones to maintain its normal function. Long term, this leads to bone loss and eventually can turn into osteoporosis.
This fat-soluble vitamin is known to help absorb calcium and function in the immune system. Getting enough vitamin D is a concern for both vegans and non-vegans. There are few foods that have vitamin D, which are limited to fish, liver, and a few fortified foods.
Sunlight is another way to get vitamin D, but it is difficult to achieve this in many regions throughout the entire year. People with the biggest risk for vitamin D deficiency are those that do not get adequate sun exposure, with darker skin tones or are older in age. Softening of the bones is a side effect of having a vitamin D deficiency, but it is reversible with supplementation.
There are two types of vitamin D supplement, D2, and D3. D2 is always vegan-friendly, but D3 may be derived from animal products. Lichen is a vegan ingredient in the ingredients of vitamin D3 supplements.
One of the essential trace minerals, zinc is key in immune health, making proteins, and healing the body. Food sources of zinc include meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Unfortunately, plant-based sources of zinc are harder to absorb. Deficiency is pretty rare but can happen in pregnant women and vegans.
Essential for a healthy thyroid, iodine is an important mineral in our diets. Vegan sources are most commonly found in iodized salt and seaweed. Iodine can be found in multivitamins as ‘potassium iodide’ and can help vegans meet their iodine needs.
If you decide to take a supplement, there are few things to consider before buying a supplement. First, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes. Keep in mind what you’re eating, and avoid taking unnecessary vitamins. Many vitamins aren’t stored in your body, so they will be removed immediately.
Vegan Vitamins at Walmart
Walking down the supplement aisle can be so overwhelming – especially at Walmart! They have so many vitamins and plenty of vegan options. Here’s a list of their vegan-friendly supplement brands available in-store and online:
- Doctor’s Best
- Double Wood
- Mega Food
- Pure Mountain
- Spring Valley
Equate, the Walmart generic brand does not offer vegan-friendly multivitamins. They contain at least one non-vegan ingredient of the ingredients (listed below) or have non-organic sugar added.
Other Vegan Vitamin Brands
If you don’t shop at Walmart, there are plenty of other vegan vitamin brands out there. Here’s a few vegan-friendly supplement brands:
- Abundant Earth
- Future Kind
- Garden of Life
- Genshai Farm
- GO Healthy
- Holland & Barrett
- Mary Ruth’s
- Ora Organic
Ingredients to Avoid
Always read the label! Non-vegan ingredients in supplements can be hard to spot. In addition to knowing which vitamins to look for, it’s also helpful to know which ingredients to avoid. This includes:
- Caprylic Acid – filler or coating ingredient that
- Carmine – red food coloring made from beetles
- Gelatin – gel-like substance used as a coating or filler
- Lanolin – non-vegan vitamin D source
- Magnesium Stearate – a filler that usually comes from pork
While it’s important to eat a healthy vegan diet, there are several vitamins and minerals that vegans may need to supplement. With many vegan-friendly vitamin options at Walmart, choosing a supplement can be more affordable. Be sure to read the label to steer clear of sneaky, non-vegan ingredients before buying.
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