Vegan and Vegetarianism
Many of us have become vegetarian or vegan for environmental, ethical, and/or health reasons. Amongst the many benefits of reducing meat intake, health benefits include lower rates of ischaemic heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Plant-based diets can also influence the gut bacteria in a positive way. However the health benefits are dependent on having a balanced and varied diet, which can be difficult with a plant-based diet.
It can be particularly difficult to include some of the nutrients that are more abundant in animal products, or nutrients that are in a form that is easier to absorb when taken from animal products than from plant products. These include: vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, iodine and calcium.
- vitamin B12: for making DNA, producing cells, and for correct nerve function
- calcium: for strong teeth and bones
- Vitamin D: for calcium absorption and bone growth. Regulates amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
- iron: for red blood cell production
- iodine: for thyroid function
Supplements can help to make sure that we take enough of these nutrients. These supplements can come in many forms: tablets, capsules, gummies, powders and drinks.
What many of us do not realise is that the majority of capsule shells of the capsules that we take are of animal origin.
Most capsule shells are made of either gelatin or processed collagen, usually derived from cattle, pig or fish.
Luckily, vegan and vegetarian alternatives are available. But gelatin capsules are currently more widely used since it is cheaper to produce.
What are the vegan/vegetarian alternatives?
HPMC is vegetarian and has been widely used in vegetarian-friendly capsules as an alternative to gelatin capsules. Also known as ‘vegetable capsule’ or ‘cellulose capsule’, HPMC is made from a form of cellulose, an important part of plant cells. To be more specific, HPMC is short for hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, a semi-synthetic polymer. It has also been used as a food additive and thickening agent alternative to gelatin.
As well as being Vegetarian and Kosher, HPMC is also vegan as long as they have not been coloured or imprinted by non-Vegan inks/dyes. In other words, transparent and non-imprinted capsules are Vegan certified.
Libicare is suitable for vegans
Libicare, the popular supplement for sexual desire treatment, is 100% made of non-animal-based ingredients. It is suitable for vegans.
If you are concerned about what your capsules contain, be sure to read labels carefully before buying supplements.
Alternatively, you can avoid taking capsules and opt for other supplement types like vegan certified powders and tablets.