vegan vitamin deficiencies

Important Vegan Vitamin Deficiencies to Know About on a Vegan Diet

Are you looking for the most common vegan vitamin deficiencies or for the most important vegan vitamins you should be taking?

In this article we are talking about some of the most common vitamins that you might be deficient in if you follow a vegan diet.

Like any diet where there are restrictions there is always the risk of developing vitamin deficiencies. This is not just a vegan problem; most diets will also come with risks.

Vitamin deficiencies can come with serious side effects, so it is important to educate yourself on them. So, if you want to learn about the most common deficiencies in vegans then keep reading to find out more.

Common Vegan Vitamin Deficiencies

No matter what diet you follow whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or follow no diet. There is always a risk of developing vitamin deficiencies as our diets tend to lack balance and variety.

Even if you eat a variety of foods you could still possibly become deficient. It all depends on just how capable your body is at absorbing the nutrients through your food.

You could be eating all of the right foods high in vitamins and minerals but you might not be absorbing them fast enough.

Vegans tend to have vitamin deficiencies that link back to the lack of dairy and meat products. Some of these vitamins can be found through certain plant-based food. While others might need to be supplemented.

Make sure you read till the end to find out what signs of vitamin deficiency to look out for. As well as how to eat a more balanced vegan diet full of vitamin rich variety!

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is by far the most common and most critical vegan deficiency that you should be aware of.

This particular vitamin is created from bacteria that lives in murky water and soil. We often get this vitamin through the meat that has been exposed to the bacteria.

Because a vegan diet cuts out all meat it is important to find new ways of getting in this very vital vegan vitamin.

Vitamin B12 is responsible for preventing anemia as well as helping to make our DNA. It also helps your nerves and blood cells to remain healthy.

Vegans should take 250 mcg of B12 a day or 2,000 micrograms on a weekly basis.

You can take B12 vitamin in supplement for or you could eat foods that have been enriched with it. Such as nutritional yeast or fortified cereals.

This time release B12 vitamin is the one that I would recommend as it comes from a well-known brand and contains very few unneeded ingredients.

Symptoms of Deficiency

If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency you should see some of these more common symptoms. Such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Memory trouble
  • Numbness
  • breathlessness

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are another thing that you might find yourself deficient in if you follow a vegan diet.

This is because most people get the majority of their omega-3’s from foods such as shell fish, fish, and eggs.

This is one of the more common vegan vitamin deficiencies though it is not nearly as risky. Though you should still make sure to get this important fatty acid in your diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids help to keep your heart healthy while helping to prevent heart problems, such as cardiovascular disease and abnormal heart rhythm.

The recommended dose is 250-500 mg per day for most adults.

You can also find natural omega-3’s in foods like flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.

These omega-3 supplements are a great option as they are full of good for you oils and ingredients. Plus, they contain omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids as well!

Related: Best Sources of Vegan Omega-3’s

vegan vitamin deficiencies

Symptoms of Deficiency

Some common symptoms that may indicate a deficiency in omega-3’s is:

  • skin, hair, and nail problems
  • joint pain
  • leg cramps
  • fatigue
  • sleeplessness
  • irregular menstruation
  • excessive ear wax 
  • allergy symptoms

Vitamin D

Many vegans will find themselves to be deficient in vitamin D, specifically vitamin D3 as it is most often found in animal products.

This is an important vitamin as it plays a role in maintaining healthy and strong bones. You also need enough vitamin D in order to be able to absorb calcium which is also vital for strong bones.

The general dose that is suggested for adults to take daily is 10-20 mcg. Make sure to get vitamin D3 as it is the easiest to absorb.

Just be sure that it is made from lichen like this vegan D3 vitamin and note made with a animal source.

You could also try to consume more vitamin D rich foods such as orange juice, soy milk, and some fortified cereals.

Symptoms of Deficiency

There are usually no symptoms of vitamin d deficiency. In the most extreme cases your bones will become brittle, thin, and misshapen. 


Iron is another one of the vegan vitamin deficiencies that you might come into contact with. Especially if you already had a tendency to be low in iron before becoming vegan.

A lot of iron that we get in our diet comes from red meat and poultry. Which is why when you are figuring out how to start a vegan diet you will need to eat iron rich foods.

Iron plays a very important role in many functions of the body. Including energy levels, immune function, body temperature, focus, and gastrointestinal health.

Without enough iron you will most likely become anemic.

It is important to know that too high a dose of iron can be toxic so you should really get a blood test to clarify whether you need iron or not.

A common dose of iron is 18 mg per day for women and 8 mg for men.

You could also try to eat more iron rich foods such as spinach, lentils, soy beans, tofu, and chickpeas.

I wanted to link to this iron vitamin in particular as it is a gentle iron. Iron can often cause constipation or stomach upset so it is a good idea to buy one that is formulated to be gentler on your body.

Symptoms of Deficiency

A vegan vitamin deficiency of iron does not show many symptoms but the symptoms that do occur are usually very noticeable.

If these symptoms apply to you, ask your doctor to do a blood test for an iron deficiency.

  • Anemia
  • Extreme fatigue


one vegan vitamin that you can also become deficient in is zinc.

Zinc is an important component of your body as it helps your immune system and metabolism to function as it should.

It is also important for wound healing and your sense of taste and smell.

The recommended dose of zinc per day for women is 8 mg and 11 mg for men. But you could also eat more foods rich in zinc such as chickpeas, tofu, lentils, cashews, and chia seeds.

This vegan zinc vitamin has excellent reviews, though I have yet to try it for myself.

Symptoms of Deficiency

A few symptoms of a deficiency in zinc that you should watch out for are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Weak immune system
  • Hair loss
  • Wounds that won’t heal


Because iodine is most commonly found in fish, seafood, and dairy products it is not unordinary for vegans to be deficient in it.

When you are looking into how to start a vegan diet you should try to include some iodine rich foods into your new diet.

Iodine is very important to your thyroid health, as well as improving cognitive function.

The maximum dosage of iodine per day is 150 micrograms. It is not recommended to take any higher a dose as too much can have a toxic effect.

Alternatively, you could eat more iodine rich foods such as iodized salt, wholegrains, green beans, strawberries, and organic potatoes.

This iodine vitamin is a great choice as it is made from organic sea kelp!

Symptoms of Deficiency

There are two very common signs of an iodine deficiency that you will most likely experience if you are deficient in iodine.

  • Weakness
  • fatigue
vegan vitamin deficiencies


Calcium is yet another one of the more common vegan vitamin deficiencies that you should be aware of.

Calcium is most often found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products. As well as in fish where you can eat the bones.

Calcium is a vital component of building healthy and strong bones much like vitamin D. your heart muscles and nerves also depend on calcium in order to function properly and to remain healthy.

A dose of 500 milligrams of calcium per day is enough to help you have enough calcium. You do not want to exceed 700 milligrams as too much calcium has been linked to heart disease.

You could also eat more calcium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, fortified soy milk, and fortified bread.

This bone strengthening supplement is a great option as it contains magnesium, potassium, vitamin K2, Vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc. Making it an excellent choice for a vitamin blend!

Symptoms of deficiency

Most cases of mild calcium deficiency show no symptoms. It is only in severe cases where you might experience symptoms such as:

  • muscle cramps
  • confusion
  • tingling lips and fingers

Common Signs of Vitamin Deficiency

Though the symptoms of a vitamin deficiency are very different according to which vitamin you are lacking. There are a few very common signs to look for if you suspect that you aren’t getting your vitamins in each day.

Many of these symptoms are common and can often mean nothing serious. But if they start to become a problem suddenly, you should definitely contact your doctor just in case.

  • brittle hair and nails
  • restless leg syndrome
  • mouth ulcers
  • cracks in the corners of your mouth
  • bleeding gums
  • hair loss
  • dandruff
  • poor night vision

It is a good idea to get a blog test done once or twice a year just to be aware of any budding deficiencies. This is a great way of keeping your diet i check and avoiding any serious deficiencies.

The Dangers of Vegan Vitamin Deficiencies

Any kind of deficiency can be dangerous to your health whether or not you are vegan.

It is also important to remember that anyone can have a vitamin deficiency. I personally think that I was most likely deficient in several vitamins before becoming vegan. As my diet seriously lacked the necessary variety.

Even if you eat meat and dairy and eggs you can still find yourself deficient in important vitamins and minerals.

A deficiency that is left untreated can have a serious impact on your health and the way your body functions.

Many of these vitamins play an important role in your health in some way or another. It might take time to feel the effects of a deficiency but eventually you will start to notice something off.

This is why it is so important to keep an eye on your health to see if there are any signs of a deficiency. So that you can catch it before it becomes serious.

How to Eat a Balanced Vegan Diet

When you are looking into how to start a vegan diet you should prioritize balance above all else. As balance is what will help you to eat a healthy diet that is full of abundance.

Try to branch out and try new foods in order to replace the animal products that you are cutting out. Try to eat a variety of different vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains.

Every meal that you eat should contain several different kinds of foods and every meal should look different from the rest. Eating a diet that is this varied will help you to get in a variety of vitamins and minerals through your daily meals.

And if there is a vitamin that you just struggle to eat enough of, think about supplementation. Even the healthiest people often take daily or weekly supplements for one reason or another.

Here are a few ways that you can encourage balance in your vegan diet and avoid vegan vitamin deficiencies:

  • eat a variety of vegetables and fruit
  • eat several different food groups at each meal
  • try to not eat the same things in a row
  • supplement what you can’t get in your diet
  • eat fortified foods to get in more vitamins and minerals
  • drink smoothies to get in more produce

These are just a few tips to help you eat a more balanced and hearty vegan diet. Because a balance diet that includes variety can greatly help you to get in all of the necessary vegan vitamins!

Not to mention al of the other benefits that you will experience from eating plenty of delicious, plant-based variety!

Eat a healthy and balanced diet and you will have to worry much less about supplementing your nutrience. It is always better if you can get your vitamins through your diet, rather than supplementation.

Conclusion of Vegan Vitamin Deficiencies

Has this article been helpful to you? Let me know in the comments!

Vitamin deficiencies are something that is easy to fix if you catch it quickly. And especially on a vegan diet you know what exactly to watch out for.

If you want to learn how to start a vegan diet you will want to familiarize yourself with the vitamins that your diet may lack. So that you can make sure that you are including them in your lifestyle. Either through your diet or through supplementation.

And these vitamins are all very easy to supplement through vitamins or through some changes to your diet! In very low stress and hassle free ways to make sure that your diet is hitting all of the important points.

No matter what your diet is like, it is important to be aware of the vitamins that you might be lacking. Vitamin deficiencies are no joke and should be taken seriously. Especially if your diet restricts certain foods like a vegan or vegetarian diet does.

Just keep in mind that you need to be aware of how balanced and versatile your diet is! The more variety you eat, the better chance you have at getting in all of the vitamins that you need through your diet alone.

Just keep in mind that some vitamins are harder to absorb than others. So, you will need to research more about them to find out how to best get them into your diet.

1 thought on “Important Vegan Vitamin Deficiencies to Know About on a Vegan Diet”

  1. Pingback: The Best Vitamin B12 Rich Foods You Should be Eating | Oh My Vegan

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