I'm torn on the idea of muliti-vitamins. I believe if you are eating a wide range of foods, you will get the vitamins you need. There are so many vitamins in foods! Unless you have a medical problem most times you do not need a vitamin. I do think you should look at taking fish oil and evening primrose oil, they will help a lot. I'm vegan and eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, soy, grains, nuts, and these foods are full of vitamins
Do you take any supplements as a vegan? I'm vegan too. Have been for about sixteen years. If you're not already taking B12 I strongly
urge you to do so. I thought fortified soy milk would be enough for my B12 intake but I was diagnosed as severely B12 deficient six years ago. It had progressed to my having frightening symptoms of neural damage: confusion, lack of coordination, dizzy spells. Unfortunately the damage can never be completely fixed and I still feel a little fuzzy mentally as a result. I really urge vegans to take a daily B12 supplement so you can avoid what I went through!
It's also worth getting your vitamin D levels tested because vegans don't get vitamin D in their diets. Already many Australians are vitamin D deficient and vegans are at the top of the risk list for it. There are two types of vitamin D supplements: D2, which is vegan, and D3, which is not. If you need to take a supplement you need to seriously consider whether it's worth breaking your veganism and taking the D3. It is far more easily assimilated by the body than D2, and there is far less likelihood of toxicity. I know many vegans who opt for D3 for health reasons. I'm one of them.
I agree with Steve about mineral deficiency. Research has shown that vegans often get inadequate zinc in their diets
. It's worth taking a multivitamin just for the minerals in my opinion.
I also agree with Carley about getting tested so that you can target your dietary supplementation. The only problems are that, a) few people get blood tests regularly to check their vitamin levels, b) doctors rarely test for absolutely everything (I have no idea what my selenium levels are, for instance), and c) depending on the doctor they may not test you for the right things. I was getting my iron levels tested every couple of years when I was in my 20s because I was told it was a risk factor for vegetarians and vegans. It wasn't until I started feeling decidedly unwell that a doctor thought to check my B12. The irony is that B12 deficiency causes a drop in red blood cells, but makes the existing red blood cells swell. I was anaemic but it wasn't showing up on the tests because B12 deficiency masks it so well.
I think a lot of the push for multivitamins comes from the supplement industry, but I see no harm in taking them as insurance. A combination of daily multivitamin and regular blood testing would be the best way to avoid nutritional deficiencies, either one alone may not be enough in some instances. Multivitamins are good for maintaining your vitamin and mineral levels but a multivitamin would never have brought my B12 back up to its necessary levels. I needed injections for that. Multivitamins don't provide huge amounts of minerals or vitamins if you are severely deficient in anything. Some medical conditions prevent people from absorbing necessary vitamins and multivitamins won't help with that. Self-diagnosing and supplementing may delay the identification and treatment of these conditions. All in all you also need to consider your individual health. Pregnant women shouldn't take supplements with vitamin A. Pre-menopausal women have different needs than post-menopausal women. A discussion with your dietitian or GP would be the best way to determine what's best for you in regards to supplements, multivitamins and blood testing.