Getting Enough Iron on a Plant-Based Diet (Part Three)


Welcome to part 3 of our 3-part blog series on getting enough iron on a plant-based diet.
In this blog post, we’ll be covering supplements, especially focusing on iron, B12 and folate.

If you missed part one and part two, check them out now 😊

iron on a plant-based diet

Do I need to supplement?

Supplementation is individual to everyone. Your requirements depend on many factors, from lifestyle, dietary to medical.

When it comes to iron, I recommend always to get your levels checked before supplementing. You may think you’re iron deficient when really you’re B12 deficient.
You may actually have a digestive disorder that is preventing your ability to absorb the iron, so adding more on top won’t do diddly squat.

Some people actually have too much iron, which can present itself with the same symptoms. And others may have Hereditary hemochromatosis: A genetic disorder characterized by excessive absorption of iron from food. It’s always best to check your levels first before trying to ‘fix’ what you think might be the problem.

B12 is another problem child. You may have been eating meat all your life, or you may be supplementing with B12 religiously. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean that you are not B12 deficient.

Both vegan and non-vegans suffer from B12 deficiency.

Some people may consume enough B12, but their bodies aren’t able to process the vitamin.
It’s not uncommon for meat-eaters as well as vegans to need vitamin B12 injections every 3 months or so to boost their levels. So again, please get your levels checked with your doctor.


iron supplements for iron on a plant-based diet


Now, if you have been recommended iron supplements by a health professional, then grab yourself one of the following iron supplements.
Also, I would advise that you still follow the advice on improving the absorption of iron from part two of this blog series. That way you’re able to get the most out of your food and supplements.

Recommended Iron Supplements:

Viridian 100% Organic Liquid Iron (vegetarian, NOT vegan due to honey)

Viridian organic liquid iron contains a unique, fully-certified organic source of iron extracted from Murraya koenigii leaves. It’s blended with standardized extracts from Guava, Lemon, Holy Basil and Amla to provide guaranteed levels of vitamins B and C. It also contains seagreens® organic arctic wrack seaweed, acerola, nettle, dandelion, honey and orange oil.

Suitable for all the family, including:

  • during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • for children
  • the elderly
  • the highly active
  • vegetarians
  • convalescents

This iron is also non-constipating which is a relief to many!
I’m including this since not all plant-based diets exclude honey, and it’s a wonderful natural iron supplement.

Viridian Balanced Iron Complex (vegan)

Balanced Iron Complex contains iron bisglycinate, a form of iron that is gentle on the digestive system. The formula also includes synergistic factors including Vitamin C which enhances iron absorption.

Floradix (veggie) or Floravital (vegan)

Floravital is a liquid formula that carries the same benefits as Floradix, however, Floravital is yeast, wheat and gluten-free and is vegan. Floradix is vegetarian.

Floravital and Floradix contain organic iron (II) from ferrous gluconate, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12 and C.

Adults: 10ml twice daily
Children between 6-12 years: 10ml once daily
Children 3-5 years: 5ml once daily 
(Measuring cap provided)

Source of Life Garden – Iron (vegan)

Organically cultivated from the curry plant, each capsule delivers 18 mg of organic, plant-delivered iron.

For those seeking an organic, food-derived, plant-based iron source, Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Iron Caps is your guy.

It’s formulated in a base of more than 20 organic whole fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, algae and herbs for synergized assimilation and maximum results.

TerraNova Easy Iron 20mg (vegan)

This supplement is designed to be a rich and easily absorbable source of iron. Containing rosehips, stabilised rice bran, green barley grass, and acai berry, it provides iron as well as vitamins C & E. This allows for the effective absorption of iron.

Vitamin B12

Due to intensive farming and over sanitization, it’s incredibly difficult to get B12 naturally from the soil and bacteria found on our foods. Therefore it is important that as a vegan, vegetarian, highly plant-based eater or someone with low B12 levels, that they include a B12 supplement into their diet. As we covered earlier, many meat-eaters are actually low in this vitamin too, so I’m looking at you guys too 😊

The most absorbable form of B12 is methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the active, coenzyme form of Vitamin B12. While the body can readily absorb Vitamin B12 as cobalamin, it must further convert it to a coenzyme form, methylcobalamin, to become metabolically active. In this form, it is bioidentical to the predominant and active form found in the body.
In order to get enough iron on a plant-based diet, B12 is very important.

Recommended B12 Supplements:

Solgar Methylcobalamin 1000Ug Nuggets (B12) – 30 Nuggets

Biocare Nutrisorb Liquid Methyl B12 15Ml

Nourish Methyl B12 – 1000 Mg – 100 Lozenges

Betteryou Boost Vitamin B12 Oral Spray 25Ml

And here’s a fun fact – prematurely greying hair is often linked to a B12 deficiency. If your B vitamins are low, it’s likely that the blood and oxygen supply to your hair is suffering.

veggies to get enough iron on a plant-based diet

Folate (B9, aka folic acid)

In relation to folate, I always advise that you consume it in its natural form, which is from food. It’s found in many whole foods, such as leafy greens, beans, citrus fruit, avocados, and eggs for the veggies here.

When supplementing, look for Folate, not folic acid to get the most absorbable form of the vitamin.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin B9, which is not found in nature, nor is it naturally found in the human body. Folic acid must be metabolized by our bodies and converted to folate which is not always successful.

If you’ve been advised to supplement, for example, if you are pregnant or low in this vitamin, then I would recommend the following folate supplements:

Terranova Folate 400Mcg 50 Capsules

Solgar Folate 400Ug 50 Tablets (Folic Acid)

Biocare Nutrisorb Liquid Methylfolate 15Ml

Terranova Terra Nova Prenatal Multivitamin 50 Capsules

Nature’s Plus Source Of Life Garden Prenatal Organic 90 Tablets

As with everything, yes, you can overdo it. Make sure that you’re not taking too much of anything when you’re supplementing. If you’re taking a multi, check that you’re not taking too much additional iron for example.

And so we have come to the end of our 3-part series on getting enough iron on a plant-based diet.

Check out part one and part two of the blog series on getting enough iron on a plant-based diet if you missed it 🙂

Emily Nöth

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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.

Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.