We asked Hannah Whittaker, owner of Bump2Baby Nutrition and dietitian specialising in vegan pregnancy and cows milk protein allergy in children (CMPA) to review our latest product VEG 1 Baby and Toddler. Here's what she had to say.
VEG 1 Baby and Toddler Multivitamin – Product Review by Hannah Whittaker
The Vegan Society launched its VEG 1 Baby and Toddler Multivitamin in November 2022 and I have been lucky enough to review this NEW product!
I am so excited to share my views with you on nutritional content and palatability and also whether I would recommend it to my clients. A little secret … I think it’s great!
As a dietitian specialising in vegan diets in both pregnancy and early years, I have trawled supermarket shelves, looked online, spoken with colleagues and, trust me, I couldn’t find anything out there like this at the moment.
The market for vegan children's multivitamins is very limited and this product brings vegan infants’ multivitamins into the mainstream. It is affordable, provides nutrients that may not be met through a vegan diet alone and it also tastes pretty good.
Read on to find out more…
So, who is the VEG 1 Baby and Toddler Multivitamin product for?
This multivitamin is recommended for babies and toddlers from six months to four years.
What does the VEG 1 Baby and Toddler Multivitamin contain?
Vitamin B12 - 5μg (200% of daily requirements)
Vitamin A - 400μg (50% of daily requirements)
Vitamin C - 30mg (37% daily requirements)
Vitamin D - 10μg (100% daily requirements)
Iodine - 50μg (33% daily requirements)
Selenium - 10μg (18% daily requirements)
Let's break these nutrients down a little further and explain why some nutrient contents may not be 100%
The guidance in the UK is that all children over the age of six months should take a multivitamin containing vitamins A, C & D to reduce the risk of deficiency. The Vegan Society has also added in additional nutrients, namely iodine and B12, that may be difficult to achieve at the levels required when following a vegan diet.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in larger amounts in non-human animal products but can be found in some fortified plant-based products and nutritional yeast. As plant-based foods are not as rich a source of vitamin B12, it may be difficult for a child to meet their requirements through their diet alone. This can therefore increase the risk of deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is important for children for formation of red blood cells and DNA, brain function and cognitive development. A deficiency of vitamin B12 in children can cause lethargy, breathlessness, feelings of faintness, pale skin, palpitations and weight loss.
I would always recommend that anyone following a vegan diet supplements with vitamin B12 to reduce the risk of deficiency.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports the immune system, can support vision and also helps to keep skin healthy.
Vitamin A can be found in abundance in leafy green and brightly coloured vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots and peppers. This is why I feel the baby and toddler multivitamin doesn’t need to contain 100% of requirements. When children are following a vegan diet, it is important but easy to include a wide variety of these vitamin A rich foods alongside supplementation to make sure that they are reaching their requirements.
A deficiency in vitamin A in infants and children can affect their eyesight and the body's ability to fight infections. This can lead to a greater risk of developing respiratory or tummy bugs.
We get the majority of our vitamin D from the sunlight. Recommendations are that all children over the age of six months take 10μg of vitamin D per day. VEG 1 Baby and Toddler Multivitamin contains the recommended daily amount of vitamin D, meeting requirements.
Vitamin D is important for children as it helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate, supporting healthy development of their bones and teeth.
A deficiency in vitamin D can cause pain in legs and muscle weakness, delay walking, affect growth and, in more severe cases, affect heart function.
Vitamin C can be found widely in a vegan diet, however UK government guidelines recommend that all children should take a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C & D so it is great to see that this multivitamin also contains vitamin C.
Vitamin C is important to support children's immune system functions and can also help the body to absorb iron from foods.
A deficiency in vitamin C can cause a weakened immune system (meaning children are more likely to get coughs and colds).
Iodine, like vitamin B12, is a nutrient that is mainly found in animal foods such as dairy products and fish. If following a vegan diet, it may be difficult for children to meet their iodine requirements solely via food, therefore I would always recommend supplementation.
This product contains 33% of daily requirements, which is great to see. Compared to other vegan children's multivitamins, this is the highest amount of iodine in a product that I am aware of - with most containing no iodine at all!
Iodine can also be found in a vegan diet from fortified plant based products such as plant milk, yogurt and cheese, however I would always recommend that an infant take a supplement containing iodine, especially when formula intake is reduced over the age of 12 months.
And the final ingredient…
Selenium plays an important role in many enzymes in the body, helps to make DNA and protects cells from damage. When following a vegan diet, one of the main sources of selenium is brazil nuts; however, for infants, this should be provided in a nut butter or ground nuts. Other sources of selenium rich foods are: beans, pulses, cereals and grains. However, the content can vary between products depending on the soil in which it is grown.
VEG 1 Baby and Toddler Multivitamin liquid contains 10μg of selenium (requirements for children 6 months- 4years are 20μg per day), therefore I would advise that this supplement should be taken alongside a balanced diet containing selenium rich foods.
Away from the science to my views...
The Taste Test
Well, I think it tastes great and so do my daughters. The Vegan Society informed me that the product was tested on children (its target audience) with a few different flavours tried and the strawberry flavour was a clear winner! I can see why.
The Dose and Why I Love It!
The volume of recommended liquid is also a big positive for me. The recommendations are 1ml to provide all the nutrients as above. As a dietitian and mum of two, I always find the smaller the dose the better, so this volume is a big positive for me.
Overall, I feel that this product is a great option for vegan children between six months and four years. The nutritional content beats the other current products out there (based on my research in January 2023) with others containing no iodine and/or very little vitamin B12.
Another major plus is the volume: a 1ml dose is likely much easier to administer to an infant or young child vs. a larger dose (which some supplements recommend).
VEG 1 Baby and Toddler multivitamin contains recommended levels of vitamins A, C & D as per the UK guidelines for all children aged six months to five years. It also has the addition of iodine, vitamin B12 and selenium – nutrients which can be a little more difficult to achieve when following a vegan diet.
When following a well planned vegan diet, evidence shows that there are no concerns with nutritional deficiency or growth in infants and toddlers, however some nutrients will need more attention than others. These are the nutrients that may not be able to be met via a vegan diet.
Another nutrient that I would like to see added to this product or an additional product produced by The Vegan Society for children alongside is one containing plant based omega 3. Omega 3 is important in infants and children for brain function and development.
There are 3 main types of omega 3: ALA, EPA and DHA.
Omega 3 can be found in plant-based products, however this is in the form of ALA. The body is able to convert some ALA into DHA and EPA, however it has been found that this conversion is unlikely to be high enough to support adequate production of EPA and DHA. Supplementing with a plant based source of DHA/EPA will ensure that infants and children are meeting requirements. Additional information on omega 3 in a vegan diet can be found on our nutrition webpage.
Expert on Vegan Pregnancy and CMPA Dietitian
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.