More and more people are choosing to follow a vegan diet, and for many people, the health benefits are some of the main reasons for doing so. However, if you are a health-conscious vegan, there are some obstacles that you may face when it comes to supplements. Unfortunately, many popular health supplements are not suitable for vegans, even if you may not expect them to contain any animal products!

In this guide, we will list the most common supplements that vegans may choose to avoid.



Many fillers that are used in many vitamins and other supplements are animal derived. For example, some red colouring is from an ingredient known as carmine, which consists of ground beetles! Caprylic acid, glycerin, and gelatin are also products to watch out for on ingredients lists. 

In some cases, gelatin is not listed in ingredients but is used to make different capsules. If you are purchasing supplements in capsule form, check that they are vegetable rather than animal-derived. Gelatin is also common in gummies, so if you are wondering are CBD gummies vegan, it is worth checking each individual brand.


Digestive Enzymes

If you are looking at digestive enzyme supplements, steer clear of those containing pepsin (which comes from the stomach lining of pigs) or lipase (which comes from lambs, calves, and goats). Thankfully, vegan-friendly digestive enzyme supplements substitute these for bromelain, papain, and betaine (all plant-based substances).


Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA)

There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids; ALA, EPA, and DHA. EPA and DHA acids usually come from fish (although some vegan-friendly versions come from algae instead), whereas ALA comes from plants.


Vitamin D3

The majority of the Vitamin D3 supplements come from lanolin, which is an oil that comes from the wool of sheep. Others come from fish oil. You can get some Vitamin D3 supplements from vegan-friendly sources, or you could opt for the plant-based Vitamin D2 instead.


Manuka Honey and Bee Pollen

Manuka honey is a popular health food, yet it comes from bees like any other form of honey. A lesser-known ingredient that is derived from bees is bee pollen, which is a combination of pollen and the digestive enzymes of bees.


Chondroitin, Collagen, Glucosamine, and Hyaluronic Acid

Unfortunately, many of the most popular supplements for the relief of joint pain and arthritis are not suitable for vegans. Chondroitin usually comes from cows or sharks’ cartilage, and collagen is taken from the skin, bones, and tissue of animals. Glucosamine is usually found from shellfish, and hyaluronic acid comes from the eyeballs of horses or cows.

However, most of these can also be found in vegan-friendly sources. For example, vegan glucosamine that has been made from fermented corn is available, hyaluronic acid can also be made from yeast fermentation, and there are plenty of collagen-building supplements that are vegan friendly.