There is no doubt that following a vegan or vegetarian diet is a healthy way to live and to support the animals and the planet we all call home. But even those of us with the best intentions often find ourselves relying on quick meals and less-healthy snacks to get us by on occasion.
It’s often during these times that we struggle to get the right amount of all the nutrients we need. And one of the most common nutrients to fall short for people following a plant-based diet is iron.
If you have ever felt like you’ve needed more iron in your diet, a quality supplement can be a great option. Here are our choices of the five best vegan and vegetarian iron supplements.
1. Garden of Life Iron Complex
Our top choice iron supplement combines 22mg of raw iron with a long list of whole food cofactors to assist in maximum iron absorption and utilization. Like all Garden of Life products, you can count on the quality and purity of this product and know that you are getting far more benefits than you would with your typical supplement.
This product is vegan certified, gentle on the stomach, and contains the added vitamins B12, C, and folate to aid in iron absorption and to help maintain a healthy system.
2. MegaFood, Blood Builder Minis, Daily Iron Supplement and Multivitamin
Like our number one choice, this iron supplement from MegaFood uses the addition of whole food ingredients to increase iron absorption and help support blood cell health. In addition to 26mg of iron per serving, this supplement also contains vitamin C from oranges, folate from broccoli, b12, and beetroot.
This supplement is certified vegan and can be taken any time of day, even on an empty stomach, without causing nausea or constipation.
3. PlantFusion Complete Iron Vegan Vitamin 25 mg
If you are looking for something that’s a little more straightforward and only contains a few ingredients, then PlantFusion’s Complete Iron supplement is perfect for you. In addition to 25mg of iron per serving, this product only contains added B12 and folate to aid in iron utilization and a short list of cellulose and silica ingredients used to create the capsule.
This vegan supplement contains patented Ferrochel Chelated Iron which is made to be easier to digest, though it is still recommended to be taken with meals.
4. EZ Melts Iron as Elemental Iron
Our fourth choice is another simple recipe that is made specifically for people who loathe swallowing pills. EZ Melts iron supplement contains a lower 18mg of iron and added vitamin c for easy absorption, plus, it comes in a dissolvable, “zesty orange” flavor so there is no need to swallow any tablets.
Like all others so far on this list, this supplement is vegan. Those with sensitive stomachs may need to take this product with food.
5. Iron Supplement Gummy Vitamins
Last on our list is an iron supplement specifically for those people who like to treat themselves while doing the body a little good. This iron gummy vitamin by VitaRaw makes getting all your essential vitamins and minerals a cinch by combining them with 10mg of iron in this tasty multi-vitamin iron chew.
This gummy contains no gelatin and is vegetarian-friendly. It includes a long list of vitamins such as C, B12, and A and is gentle on the stomach.
If you think taking a full-spectrum multivitamin might be helpful for you, check out this article for our choices of the best vegan and vegetarian multivitamins.
Do Vegans Need an Iron Supplement?
With these great vegetarian and vegan iron supplements readily available, the hardest part for you may be determining if you truly need one.
While the average plant-based diet rich in leafy greens and legumes will supply plenty of iron for the average person, there are some factors that may contribute to you needing to supplement with iron, such as:
- Having been previously diagnosed with anemia
- Eating a vegetarian diet that includes a lot of low-iron foods such as cheese and butter
- Being pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- Being a menstruating woman who struggles to ingest higher iron amounts through diet
- Eating a diet that does not include plenty of iron-rich foods
- Frequently feeling fatigued or weak
- Eating a diet that consists largely of frozen or processed meals rather than fresh fair
If any of these factors apply to you or you are otherwise concerned about your iron intake, it is worth talking to your doctor about adding an iron supplement to your routine. A simple blood test can help determine your current levels and help you get a better idea of the amount and type of supplement you should be taking.
Of course, if you do need to supplement with iron, always make sure to check your labels for vegan and vegetarian compatibility. Or, if you want to save some time, pick up any of the great options we’ve reviewed above.
Feature photo: ©ratmaner/Bigstock