You can get all the nutrients you need with a well planned vegan diet

It is common for people to want to find out more about health and nutrition before embarking on a fully vegan lifestyle.  Rest assured, the UK National Health Service (NHS) website indicates that it is possible to get all the nutrients your body needs on a vegan diet.  Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that vegans can be just as healthy, if not healthier, then those following other diet.

Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to intake of the following nutrients

Vitamin B12

There is currently no known reliable, natural source of B12 on a pure plant based diet. It is therefore very important to get an adequate supply through consuming fortified foods (such as plant-based milks, breakfast cereal, yeast extract) or by taking a supplement.  Many (non-vegan) members of the Indian community suffer from B12 deficiency, and so whether one consumes dairy or not, it is important to maintain an adequate supply.

Vitamin D

Humans are able to synthesis vitamin D from exposure to the sun.  Unfortunately many Jains living in the Western world do not get enough sun exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels (this is because our skin colour means we need more time in the sun, and because our lifestyles mean we spend much of our time indoors).  Vitamin D is very important for calcium absorption and other functions, so if it is not possible to get enough sun exposure, it is important to either consume fortified foods (like plant-based milks) or a supplement.


Iodine is an important nutrient for healthy thyroid function and is found in small amounts in some green leafy vegetables and in larger amounts in seaweeds such as kelp. In many countries, iodine is added to salt, but in the UK it is added to cattle feed, so consuming dairy provides a supply of iodine.  Vegans living in the UK miss out on this source of iodine, and so it is important to maintain an adequate supply to avoid hypothyroidism.  Either consume seaweed (15g of dried kombu as a condiment will provide a year’s supply), take a kelp supplement, or take a multivitamin tablet containing iodine.

Vegan Jain physician Dr. Jina Shah on Calcium, Protein and B12

Calcium and Protein

Vitamin B12


For further information on vegan health and nutrition, we recommend the following resources:

If you are interested in finding out more about vegan health and nutrition for infants and during pregnancy, you can find our recommendations on further reading here.