Non-vegan-friendly ingredients in vitamins, supplements and medications

As I talked about on the Sweet Vegan Spills the Tea podcast, episode 14 there are many ingredients that are not vegan-friendly in vitamins, supplements, probiotics, prebiotics and certain medications. Here is a list, as promised, of as many as I could dig up for you.

  • Bone Meal: Derived from animal bones and can be found in calcium supplements.
  • Carotene (Provitamin A, Beta Carotene): Can come from animal tissue.
  • Collagen: A fibrous protein in vertebrates.
  • Cysteine (L-Form, Cystine): can be found in duck and chicken feathers and cow horns, but most that are used in food comes from human hair.
  • D3: Most vitamin D3 forms come from fish oil or lanolin (the oil found in sheep’s wool).
  • Estrogen ( Estrone, Estradiol): From cow ovaries and pregnant mares’ urine. Used in birth control pills.
  • Fatty Acids: Can be one or any mixture of liquid and solid acids, caprylic, myristic, oleic, palmitic, stearic, or behenic. Can be used in vitamins and supplements.
  • Fish Liver Oil: Cod-liver oil and fish liver are used in vitamins and supplements.
  • Fish Oil: Marine oil from marine mammals.
  • Gelatin: Obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments or bones with water, from cattle and pigs.
  • Glutamic Acid: An amino acid found widely in animal tissue and used as an antioxidant.
  • Glycerides/Glycerine: From animal fat and used in some supplements.
  • Lactobacillus probiotics
  • Lactose: A milk sugar that comes from the milk of mammals.
  • Lethicin (Choline, Bitartrate): Present in all living organisms and obtained for commercial purposes from eggs, nerve tissue, blood, and milk. If it is made from “soy” it will be stated.
  • Linoleic Acid: An essential fatty acid used in vitamins.
  • Lipase: An enzyme from the stomachs and tongue glands of calves and lambs.
  • Probiotics
  • Propolis: A resinous substance collected from bees.
  • Progesterone: A steroid hormone that is often derived from animals.
  • Steroids (Sterol): From various animal glands.
  • Tyrosine: Sourced from chicken feathers.
  • Vitamin A: Can come from fish-liver oil (e.g., shark-liver oil), egg yolks or other animal sources.
  • Vitamin B12: Usually from an animal source.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Sourced from rooster combs.
  • Glucosamine: Made from shellfish.
  • Chondroitin: Manufactured with the cartilage of sharks.
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