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Vegan diet & sport: Which supplements should not be missed?

Vegan food supplements are intended to promote health and well-being. They are also often used in sports to improve performance and cover the increased need for nutrients. In this blog post, you can find out which supplements should be included in a vegan diet in particular.

Table of contents
  • Why do athletes need supplements
  • ? When are supplements essential? What are the benefits of supplements?
  • Vegan nutrition and sport
  • Which supplements for vegan athletes?

Why do athletes need supplements? If you want to maintain your health and performance, you need to provide your body with sufficient amounts of all essential nutrients. Athletes have an increased need for energy as well as certain macro (e.g. protein) and micronutrients (e.g. magnesium, calcium). This depends on the sporting activity and training intensity. While endurance athletes, for example, need slightly more carbohydrates, more protein is recommended for strength-oriented sports. Some micronutrients, especially electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium, are lost through sweat. Athletes need to compensate for these losses by increasing their intake. This is where vegan supplements (such as Nutri-Plus Sport Essentials) can help.

What are supplements? Supplements are products that are taken in addition to food - e.g. to promote health or performance.

When are supplements indispensable?

In sports that involve a deliberate restriction of energy intake, the increased nutrient requirements cannot be met. This applies, for example, to gymnastics, ballet, rhythmic gymnastics or bodybuilders in the diet phase. Supplements are essential here to cover the need for micronutrients or essential amino acids.

What are the benefits of supplements? Supplements can therefore help to cover the increased nutrient requirements on the one hand, and on the other hand they can be used to specifically support performance, muscle building or regeneration. Different supplements are recommended depending on the type of sport and training goal. The isolated or combined supply of individual amino acids is particularly popular. Citrulline and arginine, for example, as precursors of nitric oxide, influence blood circulation and thus the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the blood vessels. Glutamine promotes regeneration and BCAA promotes muscle building. Creatine provides more strength during short-term exercise and is therefore one of the most popular supplements in weight training. Carnitine, on the other hand, is often used to increase endurance. Creatine and carnitine play a special role in a vegan diet. The body can produce both substances itself, but also absorbs them through food. However, they are only found in animal products such as meat and fish. For vegans and vegetarians, only the body's own synthesis serves as a source.

More on this topic:

  1. Arginine and citrulline: the perfect combo
  2. Pre-workout boosters - these ingredients are important
  3. BCAAs: muscle building and muscle protection
  4. L-glutamine - the amino acid for muscle building
  5. Products for competitive sports

Vegan nutrition and sport?

Numerous professional athletes and fitness influencers show that a vegan diet and top performance are not mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite! A plant-based lifestyle is even described as a game changer that is said to lead to more energy and faster recovery. Why is that? One reason is that vegans generally consume more vitamins and minerals than people on a mixed diet. Due to their high consumption of fruit and vegetables, they are also better supplied with phytochemicals. These substances have no vital function in the body, but have a positive influence on health. Polyphenols are among the best-known phytochemicals and act as antioxidants, for example. A high intake is particularly important for athletes, as their intensive training increases their exposure to oxidative stress. However, in order to achieve top performance, a few things must be taken into account in a vegan diet.

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Which supplements for vegan athletes? Some micronutrients are only found in animal products. Vegans should therefore supplement these in any case. There are also a number of so-called critical nutrients. Supplementation and regular monitoring of blood values are also recommended here. You can find out which nutrients these are in the following list.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is only found in animal or fortified products. Supplementation with food supplements (e.g. our B12 lozenges) is therefore essential for a plant-based diet.

Among other things, the vitamin plays a role in the formation of red blood cells, in energy metabolism and is essential for a strong immune and nervous system.

You can read how to recognize a B12 deficiency in the blog post Laboratory values: How do you recognize a vitamin B12 deficiency in the blood?

Vitamin D

Taking vitamin D is recommended for all population groups, regardless of diet or exercise habits. Although the so-called sun vitamin can be produced by the body itself, its own synthesis is not sufficient to cover the requirement - especially in winter. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and in the prevention of numerous diseases. Vitamin D is also interesting for athletes: a study from 2018 shows that a higher vitamin D level is associated with better performance.

You can read more about this in the blog post New study shows: Vitamin D improves performance.

Vitamin D3 often not vegan

Vitamin D, which is obtained from wool wax (lanolin), is often used in food supplements. However, vitamin D3 can also come from vegan alternatives. The cholecalciferol in our vitamin & mineral products, for example, is obtained from lichen and is therefore vegan.

Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in oily sea fish. Although vegetable oils and nuts also provide omega-3 fatty acids, these are the short-chain α-linolenic acid. Vegans should therefore also supplement with the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Athletic performance also benefits in many ways from taking them. Omega-3 fatty acids improve regeneration, promote muscle building and prevent muscle loss during breaks in training.

You can find more information in the blog post: Omega-3: Why athletes benefit from taking it.

Critical nutrients Critical nutrients in a vegan diet include vitamin B12 and D as well as calcium, iron and zinc. Supplementation with these micronutrients can be useful for athletes, as these - just like potassium and magnesium - are also lost through sweat and the requirement is therefore increased. You can find a combination of these micronutrients in our Vegan Essentials.


Creatine is one of the most popular supplements when it comes to strength and mass. As creatine phosphate, the substance serves as a quickly available source of energy in the muscle during intensive exercise. Creatine can be produced by the body itself or taken in with food. However, it is only found in meat and fish. Vegetarians and vegans can therefore benefit from supplementation.

Protein powder/EAAs

For those who do weight training and want to gain muscle mass, protein powder or the isolated intake of EAAs can be useful. In general, a protein intake of around 1.5 g per kilogram of body weight is recommended for athletes. Although this can also be achieved with a purely plant-based diet, it can also be a challenge depending on taste preferences or the situation. Multi-component protein powders such as our 3K and 6K can help here and provide the body with sufficient protein and all essential amino acids. If you want to save calories or simply improve the quality of your protein intake, you can also use EAAs.

A. Marawan et al. Association between serum vitamin D levels and cardiorespiratory fitness in the adult population of the USA. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2018 doi: 10.1177/2047487318807279.