Vegan Multivitamins Buyer Guide
  /   Dr. John Snow

Vegan Multivitamins Buyer Guide

Animal-derived ingredients are often hard to spot in the small text on the label. Multivitamin blends tend to be geared towards people who eat an omnivorous diet, whose regular eating habits would provide them with a different variety of vitamins and nutrients that vegans may not be able to obtain as easily. 

Spotting Animal Derived Ingredients in Multivitamins

Some vegans, particularly newer vegans, may have some trouble navigating the vitamin and supplement aisle. Many vitamins and supplements you assume would be vegan contain animal-derived ingredients, and it isn’t always easy to spot them on the ingredients list. Some animal-derived ingredients may be self-explanatory, but it would be easy for many vegans to inadvertently ingest others due to these ingredients’ ambiguous and little-encountered nature. 

Fish Oil

Supplements that call themselves Omega-3 supplements or multivitamins with omega-3 typically contain fish oil as the source of omega-3. Many vegans would benefit from the addition of omega-3s in their diet, but there are plenty of vegan-friendly sources of this healthy fat. For example, the hemp seed oil is very high in omega-3 fats. Adding a spoonful to a green smoothie or protein shake can raise your omega-3 intake without fish. 

Magnesium Stearate

Magnesium stearate is one of the most commonly used fillers in vitamins and supplements. Its name makes it sound like a mineral, but its origin is usually from porcine fat. Unfortunately, this makes the product neither vegan, kosher, nor halal. 

Magnesium stearate can be derived from vegetarian or vegan sources. This is an extra special step that vitamin companies have to take. If they went through the extra effort to use a more accommodating variety of magnesium stearate, likely, they would specifically state that on the label. 

Gelatin

Vitamins that come in gummy form or softgel form are usually made with gelatin, an ingredient that most vegans are used to avoiding. Use tablet forms if you have concerns about gelatin. If the product you want to use contains gelatin, the label will usually state if that gelatin is of vegetable origin. 

Sugar

It’s strange to think that sugar would even have a place in vitamins. After all, isn’t the whole purpose of vitamins to do something healthy and good for your body? However, even though it seems contrary to the point, many gummy vitamin manufacturers use sugar to transform their vitamins into more comparable to candy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, particularly if it gets children interested in taking their multivitamins. 

Unless the sugar is organic, it may have been filtered through animal bone char. Therefore, it’s best to avoid sugar entirely and opt for a multivitamin sweetened with plants like monk fruit that are usually never subject to filtration or refining processes that would involve bones. 

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are a common additive of many multivitamin products that have a laundry list of claims. It seems smarter and more efficient to grab a single supplement that contains everything you may need, rather than keeping track of dozens of bottles and serving sizes. 

The problem with multifunctional vitamins and supplements that utilize digestive enzymes or anything else that may help promote digestion is that the enzymes in the supplement may have come from an animal’s stomach. The simplest solution is to avoid taking digestive enzymes if your digestive health seems to be in good order. If you think you’d benefit from a boost, seek a plant-based digestive enzyme blend. 

Lanolin

Any multivitamin with D3 will usually list the vitamin in the form of calcitriol or cholecalciferol. These forms refer to lanolin, which is the waxy buildup between a sheep’s skin and wool. Algae is a great vegan source of vitamin D3 if you’re looking to add more to your diet. 

Vegans May Need Some Vitamins More than Others

Vegans eliminate a lot of food groups that many people continue to eat. Because most of the population is getting their needs met through animal-derived foods, supplement companies don’t often consider those who are not. In addition, there are two essential vitamins, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, that many vegans have difficulty encountering in the wild. 

The Importance of Vitamin B12

B12 is a necessary vitamin, and a B12 deficiency can cause chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, memory gaps, muscle weakness, and nerve pain. It can be an upsetting deficiency to develop, and it’s one that vegans and vegetarians are especially prone to

The richest sources of B12 are red meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs. All of these things are off a vegan’s kitchen table. Some fortified foods like cereals or special flours may contain small amounts of vitamin B12 and some soy products. People on omnivorous diets are more likely to encounter a sufficient quantity of B12 naturally. 

Vegans will need to make special considerations to ensure they’re getting enough vitamin B12, and a multivitamin may play an important role. 

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphate in the body. Without vitamin D, the health of teeth, bones, and muscles will begin to decline significantly. 

Most people receive sufficient amounts of vitamin D from the consumption of dairy. The body can also manufacture its vitamin D from sunlight. Don’t jump to the conclusion that a few minutes outside every day will help you produce enough vitamin D. This production depends on many factors and is largely unpredictable.

Prolonged sun exposure without shade, sunscreen, or another kind of protection can increase your risk of developing skin damage. The risks don’t outweigh the reward. Instead, add a vegan vitamin D supplement to your routine. Most vegan vitamin D supplements are made from mushrooms grown under UV light. Let the mushroom make the vitamin D on your behalf. 

Children in Vegan Households May Need Some Special Attention

Children grow fast. They’re using up the vitamins, minerals, and calories they ingest on a daily basis. Their bodies are changing a little bit every day, and they need all the support they can get. They need plenty of sleep, plenty of exercise, and full bellies while they’re growing.

Many parents face that, as lovely as their children are, it can certainly be challenging to convince them to eat good things for them. Adults may be content to plug their noses and quickly chug a wheatgrass shot because they want to experience the nutritional benefits. A child likely needs to be bribed with a handsome reward to achieve the same feat.

Children’s palettes are still developing. They’re figuring out what they like, all the while failing to fully grasp why they should eat some things even if they aren’t particularly yummy. A picky eating phase is normal, and it isn’t necessarily harmful as long as the child is getting everything they need one way or another.

You should maintain an ongoing conversation about the importance of health and nutrition with your child. While they’re learning to understand how to make healthy choices, they’ll need additional support to round out their diets. 

A gummy vegan multivitamin like Hiya Health’s can solve a lot of concerns. It looks and tastes like candy, but without the nutritionally empty downside. Its contents will fill in some potential vitamin gaps in their diet, allowing parents to sleep a little easier when they catch their children hiding their broccoli in the dining table’s centerpiece. 

The Takeaway

Although more and more people are adopting a plant-based or “flexitarian” lifestyle, most well-established companies haven’t changed how they formulate their products to include people who would prefer to avoid animal products.

Confusing alternative ingredient names on labels can easily confuse vegans or vegetarians, leading them to believe that the ingredients suit their lifestyles when they’re antithetical to the principles plant-based dieters use when shopping or eating. 

The health of your family is essential. Parents need to get their necessary vitamins, and the same need is just as crucial for growing children. The young ones probably won’t be eager to take the identical capsules or tablets as their parents, but they will respond favorably to a gummy. That’s what Hiya is here to provide. Our children's multivitamins contain no sugar and no junk. They only have what your child needs, and every ingredient is derived from a responsible and bioavailable source.

Sources:

Gut Reaction | Harvard Health

Vitamin B12 | Vegan Health

Vitamin D Myths 'D'-bunked | Yale Medicine 

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