7 Vitamins for Vegetarians

Nutrition is important to your overall wellbeing, and getting all the necessary vitamins and nutrients through your diet alone can be difficult regardless of your dietary restrictions. 

Even the most inclusive diets can have a difficult time incorporating essential vitamins and minerals consistently. With that said, certain diets may have certain strengths and weaknesses from a nutritional standpoint. 

Numerous diets are gaining popularity, and one that has seen significant growth lately is the vegetarian diet. While it offers benefits, abstaining from animal meats could increase the likelihood of not meeting your daily vitamin requirements.

Below is a closer look at the vegetarian diet, everything you should know about it and some vitamins you may want to consider if you are vegetarian. 

What Constitutes a Vegetarian Diet?

The vegetarian diet has been around for centuries and has long been a part of religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. The diet revolves around not consuming animal meat but differs from a vegan diet, which avoids eating any products that are derived from animals. This means that foods like dairy and eggs tend to be considered vegetarian but not vegan. 

The vegetarian diet has seen a large increase in popularity as it is often touted as healthier, more sustainable, and more humane in comparison to a more traditional diet. While vegetarianism certainly has its benefits, like any other diet, it also has its fair share of drawbacks. Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of the vegetarian diet. 

What Are the Benefits of Vegetarianism?

The main benefits of the vegetarian diet can be broken down into health and environmental or ethical benefits. 

In terms of health benefits, a vegetarian diet eliminates the consumption of red meat, which may be detrimental to your overall health if consumed in excess. Heavy red meat consumption has been linked to an increased risk of certain health outcomes like chronic disease, elevated cholesterol levels, and obesity. Aside from avoiding red meat, vegetarian diets tend to be rich in fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of nutrients and fiber. 

Another reason many people sway toward a vegetarian diet is that it tends to be better for the environment. Raising livestock is highly intensive and requires a mass amount of resources, whereas plant-based foods tend to require fewer resources and have a lower environmental impact. 

In addition to the environmental considerations, some people opt for vegetarianism for its ethical means of food consumption that doesn’t involve livestock for sustenance. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Vegetarianism?

A vegetarian diet can be healthy for your overall health, but like any diet, it is possible to make a vegetarian diet unhealthy by making poor food choices. Meat products can be a source of unhealthy fats, but there are also a number of plant-derived fats that can be less than ideal for your overall health. 

Another drawback of a vegetarian diet is that it can be much harder to get certain vitamins and minerals your body needs through diet alone. There are a number of vitamins and minerals that are easily obtained from animal meat sources that a vegetarian simply would not be able to consume. 

7 Best Vitamin Supplements for Vegetarians

The vegetarian diet restricts the consumption of foods that come from the flesh of animals, and while the vegetarian diet can be sustainable for the body, there are some specific vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can be much harder to obtain from plant-based sources. 

To help bolster the nutrition of the vegetarian diet, your doctor may recommend that you supplement the nutrients you aren’t getting enough of on a daily basis. Below is a closer look at some supplements to consider if you are vegetarian. 


Collagen is a structural protein that is found throughout your body. Collagen is most well-known for its impacts on supporting skin elasticity and plumpness, but it is also an important structural protein for your joints, bones and ligaments. 

Most animals produce collagen, and this is why most dietary sources of collagen come directly from animal products that are unfortunately not vegetarian-friendly. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that is typically found in animal products. For vegetarians, B12 dietary consumption can be heavily diminished, which, over time, could contribute to low levels of B12. 

B12 deficiency is not that uncommon among vegetarians, and dietary supplementation can be a great way to help avoid the symptoms of B12 deficiency which can include fatigue, and ensure that your body has all the nutrients it needs to function optimally. 


Dietary minerals are metals and inorganic elements your body needs to function normally. Minerals are frequently utilized in the active sites of enzymes which help to facilitate chemical reactions throughout your body. 

One of the most important dietary minerals is iron which plays an important role in the transport of oxygen throughout your body. Oxygen is used in nearly every cell of your body by the mitochondria to facilitate cellular respiration, which converts carbohydrates into the usable form of energy for cells known as ATP. Iron is utilized in a red blood cell protein known as hemoglobin to help in its transport through the bloodstream. 

Iron is found in high amounts in foods like red meat, which are excluded from the vegetarian diet. There are a number of non-animal sources of iron, like some leafy greens, but supplementation may be necessary if iron intake is insufficient. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fats tend to get a bad rep, but some fats play an important role in your body, like omega-3 fatty acids. These particular types of fats, also known as Fish Oil, have a number of health benefits. A diet rich in omega-3s can help support heart health, as these fatty acids contribute to healthy cardiovascular system function. 

These fatty acids are found in considerable amounts in fish but are less prevalent in plant sources. To counteract this, it may be necessary to supplement omega 3 to achieve an adequate daily intake. Many omega-3 supplements are derived from fish, so if you are not a pescatarian, you may need to shop around for a vegetarian option derived from plants. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of only a few vitamins that the body is able to synthesize on its own. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin with sun exposure — but it can also be obtained through dietary sources like fish and organ meats. Dietary sources can become more important for individuals that live in colder climates or those that live in areas where exposure to sunlight is minimal during the winter months. 

There are a few dietary sources of vitamin D, including fortified foods like cereal and fortified milk, but in some cases, supplementation may be needed, especially if you live in an environment where you don’t often get exposure to direct sunlight. 


Protein is a vital macromolecule that is required by every cell within your body. Proteins are broken up into 20 different amino acids, 9 of which you need to consume regularly. Switching to a vegetarian diet can make it more difficult to get all of your necessary protein in a given day as you eliminate animal protein sources. 

Our Protein + Probiotic Powder contains pea protein which is considered a complete source of protein alongside probiotics to help support gut health. This vegan-friendly product can help increase your protein intake with a mostly plant-based diet. 


Zinc is another mineral that is important for your overall health. It, too, is involved in the function of many enzymes throughout the body, and it plays a role in supporting proper DNA regulation, protein synthesis, immune health, and healing. 

High dietary sources of zinc include animal products like red meat, fish, and mollusks. For obvious reasons, vegetarians can’t take advantage of these high sources of zinc and may need to supplement it into their diet to get enough. 


The vegetarian diet can have a number of health benefits, and whether you are looking to improve your diet or support a more sustainable dietary lifestyle, a vegetarian diet may be worth a try. 

While the vegetarian diet can be healthy, it is important to understand some of its nutritional gaps and ensure you have an adequate dietary intake of essential nutrients to support your body’s overall health. 


Is Red Meat Bad for You? | Cleveland Clinic

Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation | NCBI 

Omega-3 fats - Good for your heart: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia | Medline Plus