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Common Nutritional Deficiencies With a Vegan Diet and How to Avoid Them

Plant-based diets have been found to aid weight loss, support blood sugar balance, support heart and gut health, and even reduce the risk of certain cancers. 

But despite the huge number of health benefits, people who choose to follow a strict Vegan diet and even those who enjoy a majority plant-based way of eating, can be at higher risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. 

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most common nutritional deficiencies in a plant-based diet, why they occur and how to avoid them. 

Why do nutritional deficiencies occur?

A nutritional deficiency is essentially when the body isn’t getting enough of a certain nutrient—for example Vitamins like B12, or minerals like calcium or magnesium.  

They can occur when we aren’t eating enough of a certain food, or foods, containing that specific nutrient.

What happens if I have a nutrient deficiency?

Our bodies need specific nutrients to fuel different functions and processes. So when we have  deficiencies it can result in the body being unable to perform these functions properly. Deficiencies can also increase our risk of diseases and increase our susceptibility to catching illnesses like flus and colds.

What are the most common deficiencies with a vegan diet?

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a hugely important vitamin that is unfortunately almost exclusively found in animal products, specifically dairy, fish and eggs. This means vegans, especially those who don’t take a high quality B12 supplement, are at high risk of developing a deficiency. 

Vitamin B12 is involved in developing red blood cells, maintaining nerves and supporting healthy brain function and deficiencies can be serious. 

Ensuring you're supplementing with a high quality B12 supplement and adding in foods fortified with B12, like tofu, breakfast cereals, bread, meat substitutes and yeast extracts, is recommended. 


Super important for heart and brain health, omega-3 fatty acids are another essential nutrient for staying in good health. 

There are three types of omega-3’s—but it’s docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that we need to keep an eye on with a vegan diet. This is because DHA is mainly found in fatty fish, like mackerel and salmon, meaning lots of people struggle to get adequate amounts from their diet alone. 

DHA deficiency can lead to mental health issues, including reduced brain functioning. Luckily, DHA can be found in certain types of microalgae (go plants) like those used to make our Omega-3 Algae Oil capsules

Vitamin D3

According to the latest research up to 57% of the UK population are deficient in vitamin D3. This is primarily because of the UK’s limited sun exposure and predominantly indoor lifestyle. 

Because vitamin D3 is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system and for promoting healthy bones, it’s therefore recommended that everyone in the UK should supplement with a high-quality D3 supplement, year-round. 


Iodine is a vital nutrient for the body because of its role in the production of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. Thyroid hormones are crucial for metabolism and regulating a huge number of bodily processes. 

The body can not make iodine naturally, meaning it's essential that we get enough iodine from food sources. Iodine deficiency can lead to impaired thyroid function, extreme fatigue and weight gain. 

Topping up with the right supplements

Following a vegan diet has many clear, well documented health benefits. However, there are a number of key essential nutrients that either aren’t found in a plant-based diet, or not found as abundantly as they are in animal derived foods. 

Supplementing your diet with high quality vegan supplements can be a great way of ensuring you’re getting well rounded nutrition and covering all of your body’s nutritional needs. 

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