A vegetarian multivitamin is a combination of vitamins and minerals that is made without animal-based ingredients or products. Some health experts recommend that vegetarians and vegans take a vegetarian multivitamin to make up for any deficiencies caused through dietary restrictions. Choosing the best vegetarian multivitamin will depend on diet, personal history, and general health.
It is important to remember that it is perfectly possible to get complete nutrition on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products is considered an excellent diet by many health experts. If, however, time crunches and accessibility make it difficult to eat this type of diet all the time, a vegetarian multivitamin may help make up for lost nutrition.
Analysis of personal diet is an important part of choosing the best multivitamin. A vegetarian who eats lots of dairy products will not be likely to have a calcium deficiency, while a vegan who eats no dairy products may need extra calcium. Before choosing a multivitamin, spend a few days figuring out what nutrition the body is already getting from normal eating habits, and what, if anything is lacking. Dietary analysis is important as it prevent accidental over-consumption of minerals or vitamins that can cause health problems in excess.
There are certain deficiencies that vegetarians and vegans may be subject to, through the elimination of meat and animal products from their diets. Iron deficiency is a very common problem for vegetarians and may lead to persistent anemia. Insufficient amounts of magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, selenium, and vitamin B12 are also fairly common for vegetarians.
When choosing a vegetarian multivitamin, it is important to read the label carefully for signs of any allergens. Many vitamins have soy or wheat in them, or products that are derived from these sources. People who have soy allergies or problems digesting gluten should avoid these forms of vitamins, as they may cause allergy-related symptoms.
Some people may be confused about whether to buy generic or name-brand multivitamins. According to some studies, there is generally very little difference in ingredients, processing, or formulation between the two. Generic labels are usually somewhat less expensive, and can be a good option for vegetarians on a budget.
It is important that pregnant women discuss multivitamin options with their doctor before taking any. Expectant mothers are often given prenatal vitamins to boost nutrition and help feed a developing fetus. Not all vitamins are suitable for pregnant women, however, so experts recommend consulting with an obstetrician about vitamins as soon as a pregnancy is discovered.