Recommended Supplements for Vegans (And Pretty Much Everyone...)

I'm often asked, What supplements should I be taking now that I'm on the vegan diet? It's a bit of a tricky question because everyone is different. Vegan diet or not, we all have different diets and lifestyles that can cause deficiencies. (I had an iron deficiency way before I ever went vegan. Endurance training can do that.) 

With that in mind, it's often good to get your blood tested at some point to see where any deficiencies lie. (Here's a look at the blood test I've used and a detailed look at my blood work.) Regardless of your diet, getting a blood test every once in a while is important just to check in on things.

Also, taking a pill is not always the best way to beat the deficiency. I tend to err on the side of real food as opposed to a supplement, but in some cases I do actually take a pill, spray or powder.

Here's a review of the supplements I do take. Even if you're not vegan or are not doing 15-25 hours of swim/bike/run a week, I still think this is a good list to review. Drop me a line in the comments below if you have any questions. Hope this helps!


Here's the iron supplement that I use: MegaFood Blood Builder Energy Boosting Iron Supplement Tablets

  • In the past, I used the Floradix liquid, but after some research learned that the liquid absorbs no better than the tablets. The tablets are way easier to dose and travel with.
  • I try to take this 1 hour after I have my coffee in the morning. Not before and not within that one hour, given the effect of caffeine on iron's absorption. (More on that here.)
  • I take it either with a clementine or orange -OR- if traveling or I don't have an orange handy, I take it with a packet of this Vitamin C supplement. (Vitamin C helps with the absorption of nonheme iron.)


Here's the B-12 supplement I take: Dr. Mercola Vitamin B12 Energy Booster Spray

  • I do 5 sprays in the AM every morning after brushing my teeth.


Here's the Vitamin D supplement I take:  Dr. Mercola Sunshine Mist Vitamin D Spray

  • I do 3 sprays in the morning after brushing my teeth and 3 sprays at night after brushing my teeth.
  • I'm convinced most people, especially those with darker skin, are deficient of Vitamin D. No matter how much time I spend in the sun, I'm typically low of the Vitamin D scale. 


Here's what I take: Thorne Research - L-Lysine 

  • Lysine is important for keeping shingles dormant. (Also helps in the growth and maintenance of bones, connective tissue and skin.) I got shingles while preparing for Ironman Cozumel in 2015. I was doing huge training volume while also dealing with the stress of a move out of NYC. Not an ideal combo.
  • While I eat lots of foods high in lysine, my lysine v. arginine balance is a bit off since I eat even more food high in arginine. You want these two to be balanced if you're at risk for shingles, so I take the Lysine supplement to pay it safe. 


Here's what I plan to take: Nordic Naturals Algae Omega

  • DHA/EPA is important for eye health and brain function. It's in fish, but also in flaxseed and walnuts. (Nice to get it from a non-fish source, since fish oils can be very high in toxins given that our oceans are
  • I eat a bunch of flax and walnuts, so haven't previously seen the need to supplement with a DHA/EPA supplement. After doing some research over the past couple of months and seeing what Dr. Michael Greger has to say, I plan to start supplementing.
    • Seems that while our bodies are able to convert walnuts and flaxseed into usable DHA/EPA, we might not be able to consume and convert it at the levels necessary for optimal health.  


I'll preface this by saying that I very rarely supplement with protein powders. I'm a strong believer that if you're eating a balanced diet, you're getting plenty of protein. So, with that in mind, I only take a scoop of this powder after a HUGE training day where I'm also tight on time and can't easily refuel with real food. (More on what I eat post-workout here...)

Here's what I take in the rare cases of supplementing with protein: Garden of Life Organic Vegan Protein Powder

  • I like that it's organic, has a blend of different sources for the protein, and has no stevia or other sweeteners.
  • I either blend this with a frozen banana and cacao powder for a chocolate drink or I blend it with pineapple, banana and spinach for a green smoothie.

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