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An athlete is always training and working their body to become more flexible, stronger and more efficient. As a result of high levels of activity, the body also requires an increased amount of micronutrients and protein which are crucial for repair and recovery. Multivitamins specifically designed for vegan athletes can help ensure you maintain your gains and operate at peak level.
Athletes are on a different level when it comes to pushing their body to the extremes in physical fitness. The level of stress on the body can inflammation and injury if the body is not getting all the nutrients it needs to regenerate.
Fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins can be used up more rapidly due to high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and the increased requirement by the body for constant repair and regeneration of muscle.
Top vegan supplements designed for athletes & buyer’s guide
There are several factors as an athlete that you need to be aware of if you’re going to take supplements and are competing. You need to make sure of the following:
- Clean – The supplement should not contain any substances which could compromise the athlete and either cause false-positive test results for substances that an athlete should not be used in competitive sports. Generally, commercial supplements marketed at athletes are safe to use and do not pose any risk.
- Natural – Many people who go vegan do it for health reasons and will usually prefer natural ingredients over synthetic ones. Fortunately, we have lots of choice of vegan multivitamins which are completely natural and free of preservatives, artificial colors, and other potentially harmful ingredients.
- Complete – Choosing a multivitamin as an athlete means that you need to give your body what it needs more of than the average person might require. I will expand on this later in the article.
In a rush?
Review of 4 top vegan multivitamin supplements for athletes
The supplements below contain most or all of the nutrients needed whether you are a regular vegan or an athlete on a vegan diet.
I’ve also included protein supplements on this list because some of them also include vitamins and minerals.
Let’s get to it!
#1. Rainbow Light – Performance Energy – Vegan Multivitamin (Men)
This multivitamin was developed to help boost energy and stamina in men. It’s completely food-based and also includes enzymes and probiotics which help increase absorption and assimilation of nutrients in the supplement.
The blend of ingredients such as saw palmetto, ginger, ginseng, ginkgo, and L-arginine also helps improve blood flow to all areas of the body so that nutrients and oxygen are delivered where it’s needed.
As you expect from a vegan supplement, this one contains no gluten, wheat, milk/dairy, nuts, eggs or fish.
Rainbow Light performance multivitamin also contains powerful antioxidants such as quercetin and rutin which are known to combat oxidative stress caused by physical exercise and mental stress.
Aside from the usual vitamin included in almost all vegan vitamin supplements, they’ve dramatically increased the amount of B-vitamins, which are known to help boost energy.
The main complaints some people have about this supplement is that the tablets are a little too big. So if you have trouble swallowing big tablets, then you might want to skip this one.
See a full list of ingredients and price here
#2. Peak Performance – Raw Whole Food Multivitamin for Vegans (Men)
This multivitamin has been designed specifically for men who are looking for increased energy and vitality. It contains over 50 natural whole foods and provides all of the vitamins and minerals any vegan would need to stay healthy.
They’ve also included many other compounds and enzymes like green tea, quercetin, turmeric, CoQ10, resveratrol (shown to improve performance in studies), lycopene, protease, amylase and more.
So not only does this vitamin supplement give you all the crucial micronutrients, but it also helps in many other areas.
The vitamin contains high levels of Zinc and Vitamin D which are lacking in many vegan diets and important for the production of testosterone in men.
The supplement was designed to achieve seven goals.
- Support prostate health of men
- Provide mental and physical energy
- Support healthy heart function of men
- Improve the body’s ability to deal with high levels of stress from physical and mental activity
- Support eye function and improve vision with its blend of carotenoids
- Improve digestion with its blend of enzymes to help break down foods
- Includes foods like Ginko Biloba which is known to improve vascular health and improve brain function as well as reduce mental fatigue
See a full list of ingredients and price here
#3. Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin (Women)
Women who are looking for a completely natural multivitamin to help boost energy and support heart health, this is a great choice. It was voted the best multi for women in 2018 by “Multivitamin guide”.
Aside from the inclusion of all the essential vitamins and minerals a vegan needs and sourced from natural organic foods, it also contains a blend of powerful antioxidants and nutrients which has been shown to improve health.
It contains resveratrol which has been shown in studies to boost stamina. Also contains CoQ10 which is crucial for metabolism.
The supplement also includes different herbs and plant compounds such as green tea, lycopene, ginkgo, ginger, turmeric. All these are known to improve vascular health, block inflammation, and support recovery.
The supplement also contains a good dose of vitamin D3 (25 mcg) from a natural source (lichens) and is completely vegan. Getting vitamin D in the vegan diet can be really hard, and as you probably know, it’s super important in maintaining strong bones.
This multivitamin has a lot of great reviews, so I highly recommend you check them out!
See a full list of ingredients and price here
#4. Vega All In One Protein Drink and Multivitamin
I’ve included this supplement as the wild-card out of the bunch. It’s not strictly a “multivitamin”, but it does contain many of the vitamins that you a vegan would need to stay healthy.
Protein for an athlete is super important. You need adequate levels of amino acids to rebuild the muscle as it’s broken down when you exercise. This is how you build muscle and get stronger.
This supplement comes in many different flavors and as well as providing 20 grams of protein per serving, you’re also getting vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, thiamine, niacin, folate, biotin, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, B12, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and manganese.
All of these vitamins come from natural plant sources. They’ve also included probiotics in the supplements to help improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
My recommendation would be to take this supplement together with a multivitamin, but it can be used on its own if you have a very healthy diet otherwise.
The only downsides are that it contains just 2% of your RDA of Zinc and 35% of your RDA for B12. Therefore you would have to get these from another source or supplement them.
See a full list of ingredients and price here
How vitamins and minerals can help you stay healthy as an athlete
Essential nutrients are essential because without them you would be seriously ill or even die. So ensuring that you get them from your diet or from a supplement is really important to stay healthy on a vegan diet.
As an athlete, your requirements for nutrients will be a little higher in some cases and may provide you with some advantages such as better recovery time, less pain after exercising, better focus, and giving you more energy.
You can also try out vegan gummy vitamins if you don’t like swallowing tablets.
Benefits of taking a multivitamin
As a vegan, you should be extra cautious in making sure that you are getting all the micronutrients which are typically low in a vegan diet. But there are some added benefits of taking a multivitamin which could give you the edge and help you perform better.
- Staying healthy – Taking a multivitamin will allow your body to function optimally perform the necessary functions to stay healthy.
- Energy metabolism – Certain micronutrients play a key role in hormone production and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats for energy from the foods that you eat. This will help ensure that your body is efficient and is generating more energy so you can perform better and have more endurance for training.
- Infection risk – Due to the high level of strenuous activity an athlete goes through, this can put you at greater risk of upper-respiratory infections. Certain vitamins, minerals, and other compounds from plant-foods have been shown to reduce the risk of catching an infection in athletes and people under stress.
- Reduced damage – Vitamins and minerals help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. This may reduce the number of days that are required to recover from small or large injuries which are common in athletes.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each vitamin and mineral and what they do for you to boost your health.
Chloride – Together with sodium it helps maintain the proper volume of fluid between cells and supporting normal cell function by regulating osmosis.
Sodium – An important electrolyte in the body which regulates fluid in the body and heart function. Some athletes may drink lots of water and lose sodium, so it’s important to replenish it.
Potassium – Multivitamins will generally have no more than 99 mg of potassium included in the supplement. This important electrolyte has multiple roles in the body from maintaining fluid inside and outside of cells and also help control cell function and heart function. Low levels of magnesium can lead to low levels of potassium.
Calcium – Supports the development of strong bones and teeth as well as proper muscle and nerve function.
Magnesium – Magnesium is important in providing energy, relaxation of muscles and supporting the proper function of enzymes in the body. Magnesium is one mineral that vegan athletes should make sure they get enough of.
Phosphorus – Supports bone formation, energy transfer and synthesis of DNA.
Zinc – Many vegans struggle to get enough zinc in their diet. Zinc is also very important for the synthesis of testosterone which of course is important for energy and muscle growth. Zinc is important in the regulation of many enzymes and also important in gene regulation.
Iron – A plant-based diet usually supplies plenty of iron, but in the form of non-heme iron and can be less bioavailable. Also, many foods in a plant-based diet may interfere with iron absorption and therefore women may need to supplement it. Iron is important because it’s the main component of red blood cells which carries oxygen to the cells.
Copper – A vegan diet will often contain plenty of copper and there’s usually no need for supplementing it. It’s important for enzymatic reactions, collagen synthesis, and iron metabolism.
Selenium – Important antioxidant, immune system regulator and also regulates thyroid hormones which help increase energy.
Iodine – Iodine is found in many vegan supplements, including the ones above. It’s important for thyroid health.
Manganese – Manganese is easy to get on a plant-based diet. In fact, some people are worried that they’re getting too much of it when they crunch their nutrient intake on the computer. Nevertheless, we do need it, because it’s important for bone formation, enzyme reactions, and cholesterol metabolism.
Vitamin A – Most of the vitamin A a vegan gets from their diet is from beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. However, the conversion process can vary from person to person. Vitamin A is important for healthy vision immune system and important for gene expression.
Thiamine (B1) – Important in energy production by being involved in carbohydrate metabolism and amino acid metabolism.
Riboflavin (B2) – Important for energy metabolism.
Niacin – Important for energy metabolism.
Folate – Folate is mainly found in fresh leafy greens but can be destroyed by heat. It’s very important for the formation of red blood cells, synthesis of genetic material and prevention of DNA damage. Also helps in the metabolism of amino acids from the diet.
Vitamin B6 – Important for amino acid metabolism and glycogen.
Vitamin B12 – Much like folate, this is important for a vegan to get. Actually, a vegan diet will almost certainly be deficient in B12 and therefore has to be obtained from a supplement. Its main function is red blood cell formation and synthesis of genetic material. Deficiency in B12 can lead to low energy and serious irreversible effects.
Pantothenic acid – Important for the metabolism of fat.
Biotin – Biotin is not just a hair growth vitamin, it also an important coenzyme and helps with the synthesis of glycogen, fat and amino acids in from your diet.
Choline – Helps with the production of important neurotransmitters in the brain and formation of phospholipids.
Vitamin C – Important antioxidant and is abundant in fresh fruits in the vegan diet. Important for the production of collagen, healing and for a strong immune system.
Vitamin D – Many athletes on a vegan diet should consider taking a multivitamin with vitamin D3 because of the increased risk of bone fracture. Vitamin D is crucial for strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis. It also is a key regulator of thousands of genes.
Vitamin E – Powerful antioxidant and immune system enhancer.
Vitamin K – Helps with blood clotting and bone turnover and formation.
Most multivitamins should contain all of these essential nutrients, but vegans specifically need to make sure they get enough zinc, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin D, calcium, and Iodine. The multivitamins above have been designed in a way to provide all of these in acceptable amounts to support the health of vegan athletes.