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Key Nutrients in a Vegan Diet

With careful planning, it’s possible to make a smooth transition from non-vegan to animal free diet.

A vegan or plant-based diet is free from animal-derived products and by-products, this includes the avoidance of diary, eggs, and honey among others.

Eating a rich and varied plant-based foods is key, however you may need to consider taking a vitamin and mineral supplement to avoid missing out on essential nutrients in a vegan diet – as some nutrients are harder to obtain or available in smaller amounts in plant-based foods.

We look at the key nutrients for a balanced vegan diet.

Vitamin B12

Dietary sources of vitamin B12 are exclusively animal sources, in fact the vegan diet is completely deficient of this crucial vitamin.  The body does not have the facility to store water-soluble B vitamins and so they are needed on a daily basis.  Subsequently, food supplements containing vitamin B12 are essential to fill the nutritional gap in the vegan diet.  The most common symptom of insufficient B12 intake is fatigue, the lack of energy is a result of vitamin B12’s role in red blood cell production, which transport oxygen to the body’s cells to produce energy.


Iron has many important bodily roles including the production of red blood cells. Low iron diminishes energy production and immunity. Those at risk of developing iron deficiencies include menstruating woman. Symptoms of anaemia commonly include fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath and hair loss.  The majority of iron is found in meat products. It’s also possible to obtain iron from some plant foods such as dark leafy vegetables and dried fruits. However, you would need to consume high amounts to provide a good quantity of the mineral for your body.


Essential for normal brain and central nervous system function, however the richest sources of choline food sources are animal-based. Low choline status is associated with poor cognition. The good news is that advances in food supplements has enabled vegan forms of the nutrient.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has multiple roles in keeping your body healthy. Among them maintaining bone health, immune function and normal blood calcium levels and aids the body’s absorption of other nutrients. Vitamin D is created by the skin’s exposure to the sun.  Public Health England recommends that everyone living in Northern Europe require Vitamin D3 400ius throughout the winter months to avoid developing a Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D3 is traditionally found from an animal-source – sheep’s wool, while others are from vegan lichen.

Vitamin K

Essential for blood clotting, Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and abundant in fermented soy. However, the consumption of fermented vegetables has declined with the development of modern food preservation techniques.

With all this in mind, it’s important for vegans to additionally nourish their diet with these nutrients through vegan-friendly supplements, so that the correct therapeutic levels are reached in the body for health benefits.

Pay close attention to the labels

Look on the label to check that a vitamin, mineral or herbal product is vegan. Some capsules are made from gelatine, some tablets are coated with a gelatine spray or with beeswax or shellac to make them look shiny. The details are important!

About Viridian Nutrition

Ethical vitamin company Viridian Nutrition has a wide range of Vegan Society certified food supplements. In addition to this, Viridian goes further and ensures that ALL ingredients are traced back to the seed or manufacturing process to ascertain whether animal testing has taken place anywhere along the supply chain for each individual ingredient. It guarantees that none of its products are tested on animals.

At the heart of Viridian is a commitment and passion to ethical sourcing, 100% active ingredients, organics, palm-oil free, non-GM, non-irradiated, allergen-free. Viridian is the world’s first palm-oil free certified vitamin company.

Viridian believes in a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and is a supporter of independent health food stores.

Established in 1999, Viridian Nutrition is founded on the principles of Purity, the Environment and Charity and today, remains a family owned business.


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

© Viridian Nutrition 2019.