7 ingredients in supplements to avoid – DR.VEGAN
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7 ingredients in supplements to avoid

7 ingredients in supplements to avoid

Have you checked your supplements recently for boiled pigs’ trotters, boiled animal skin, tongues and intestines? Or Titanium Dioxide, a carcinogen, Talc, or Magnesium Stearate, which many vegan supplements also contain. 

Sadly many supplements sold online and on the high street - including very well-known brands - contain these or other nasty ingredients, but most people don't know how to check or which ingredients contain them. Our nutritionists explain the supplements to avoid and how to check. 

(Please also be aware of recently uncovered fake supplement review scams - learn more in this article here.)

How to find the ingredients in supplements

When checking the label of supplements for nasty ingredients, don’t look at the nutritional table – that doesn’t show everything in the tablets or capsules. Look at the ingredients list. It will be next to the table, is often in smaller print, however by law it must contain all the ingredients in your supplements, including nasty additives that don't provide any nutritional benefit (which is why they're not included in the nutritional table).

These are 7 nasty additives you want to watch out for hiding in your supplements. 

Create your free Diet Profile here - for all diets. 

What ingredients should you avoid in vitamins and supplements?

Here's the definitive list of seven supplements to avoid and ingredients to watch out for in your supplements.

1. Collagen

Collagen supplements are either made from boiled skin and bones of cows, or the skin, bones and scales of fish.  There is no such thing as vegan collagen – the only vegan collagen is what your body makes itself.

And while you may think taking a collagen supplement is good for your skin, if you’re looking for healthier, glowing skin, it’s more effective to increase your body’s own collagen production through your diet or natural supplements that stimulate the amino acids required to produce collagen.

Learn more in 'The truth about collagen'.

2. Magnesium Stearate

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals required by our body, so is rightly one of the most popular supplements for people to take – learn more in ‘Magnesium: The Mineral Superhero’ and ‘How do I know if I’m deficient in Magnesium’.

However there are over 12 different forms of Magnesium, some of which you want to avoid and none more so than Magnesium Stearate - it is one the most common nasty additives in supplements.  Animal-based magnesium stearate is made from pork fat, beef fat or chicken fat, and is used as a coating on tablets or filler in capsules. Vegetable based magnesium stearate, which is less common and used for the same purpose, is predominantly made from palm oil, one of the biggest drivers of global deforestation. Neither is good for you or necessary. 

Discover our plant-based vegan supplements

3. Titanium Dioxide

The biggest no-no for your health yet it’s estimated to be contained in at least a third of cheap supplements sold online and on the high street.

Classified as a carcinogen by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and International Agency for Research on Cancer, Titanium Dioxide has been used for decades by some of the biggest brands to colour their supplements white. Not only is it now rightly deemed unsafe, it also stimulates free radicals which can cause damage to your body’s cells.

Learn more about Titanium Dioxide on EFSA’s website here.

4. Sheep's Wool

Known as ‘Lanolin’, boiled sheep’s wool is the most common source of Vitamin D in supplements. Next time you’re purchasing Vitamin D, think twice before purchasing a non-vegan Vitamin D.  Vegan sources of Vitamin D are derived from algae, they're generally better absorbed, better for you and the planet

5. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is naturally found in our cartilage, the tissue that cushions our joints, and it is commonly taken as a supplement for joint pain and inflammation.  Where does it come from?  Glucosamine is harvested from the shells of shellfish or synthetically made in a lab. 

If you’re looking for a healthier, more effective plant-based alternative supplement for your joints, opt for a Curcumin & Turmeric supplement. Curcumin is the vital active ingredient in turmeric, but standard turmeric supplements contain negligible levels of curcumin. If a turmeric supplement doesn’t show the level of curcumin on the back label, it means there is insufficient curcumin to be of the benefit you’re looking for your joints.

Shop Curcumin & Turmeric

6. Talc

Yup, you read it right. Talc is another very common additive in supplements – like the powder your parents might have dusted on you after your bath as a young child. 

Talcum powder has been the subject of more class-action lawsuits in the US than nearly any other ingredient, yet it has been used for years in cheap and expensive supplements to prevent other ingredients from sticking together and damaging machinery when they’re made. #checkthelabel.

7. Gelatin

Where does gelatin come from? Boiled trotters, tendons, cartilage, hooves, skin and bones from pigs, cattle and fish.  Why is it used?  Gelatin is a very common additive in frosted breakfast cereals, sweets and jelly, and is super-common in supplements to bind ingredients together to form tablets.  Anything to make a tablet stick together isn't going to be good for you. 

Feeling queasy? 

Discover a better way for your health and our planet by opting for vegan supplements using the finest plant-based ingredients which contain zero nasty additives or animal ingredients.

Always check the label, and be aware of fake expert review scams which you can learn more about here: 'How to spot fake reviews for supplements'.

Shop our range of vegan vitamins, supplements and probiotics here

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