What vitamins should a vegetarian take?

What vitamins should a vegetarian take?


As a vegetarian, it is important to ensure that you are getting all the necessary nutrients from your diet. While a well-planned vegetarian diet can provide most of the essential vitamins and minerals, there are a few key vitamins that vegetarians should pay extra attention to. In this article, we will explore the vitamins that vegetarians should consider taking to maintain optimal health.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most critical vitamins for vegetarians to be aware of. It is primarily found in animal-based foods, making it challenging for vegetarians to obtain sufficient amounts solely through diet. Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells, proper nerve function, and DNA synthesis.

To ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B12, vegetarians can consider taking a B12 supplement or consuming fortified foods such as plant-based milk, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast. It is important to check the labels of these fortified foods to ensure they contain a reliable source of vitamin B12.


While iron is found in both plant and animal-based foods, the type of iron found in plant foods, known as non-heme iron, is not as easily absorbed by the body as heme iron found in animal products. Vegetarians should pay attention to their iron intake to prevent iron deficiency anemia.

To enhance iron absorption, vegetarians can consume iron-rich foods along with foods high in vitamin C, as vitamin C aids in iron absorption. Good plant-based sources of iron include legumes, tofu, spinach, and fortified cereals. If needed, an iron supplement can also be considered, but it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation.


Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. While dairy products are a common source of calcium, vegetarians who avoid dairy need to find alternative sources. Good plant-based sources of calcium include fortified plant-based milk, tofu made with calcium sulfate, leafy greens like kale and collard greens, and calcium-fortified orange juice.

If it is challenging to meet the recommended calcium intake through diet alone, a calcium supplement may be considered. However, it is important to note that excessive calcium supplementation may have adverse health effects, so it is best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play a crucial role in brain health and reducing inflammation in the body. While fish is a common source of omega-3 fatty acids, vegetarians can obtain them from plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements.

Including these plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can help vegetarians meet their nutritional needs. However, it is important to note that the conversion of plant-based omega-3s to the active forms (EPA and DHA) in the body is not as efficient as consuming them directly from animal sources. Therefore, vegetarians may consider discussing omega-3 supplementation with a healthcare professional.


While a vegetarian diet can provide many essential nutrients, it is important for vegetarians to pay attention to certain vitamins to ensure optimal health. Vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the key nutrients that vegetarians should consider. By incorporating fortified foods, supplements, and a variety of plant-based sources, vegetarians can meet their nutritional needs and maintain a balanced diet.


1. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12: ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/
2. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron: ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
3. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements – Calcium: ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/
4. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids: ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/