When designing a truly vegan (no animal products) supplement there can be no animal products used as a source material, and no animal products added during the processing of the ingredients or supplement. An excellent example of this is mixed carotenoids, which are derived from the plant source Dunalleila salina, a sea algae. Yet the mixed carotenoids are typically microgranulated with a fish gelatin to prevent oxidation. This product would not be considered a vegetarian ingredient (and supplement) from our viewpoint and to many strict vegetarians.
Other components of a multivitamin/mineral where animal products can be used are in the coating of beta-carotene and/or vitamin A (retinol) to stabilize the product. In Prescription 2000 MVM the raw material for beta-carotene and vitamin A has a non-animal based coating to assist in processing and to prevent oxidation. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the most common form of vitamin D, comes from animal sources such as fish liver oil or from the oil of sheep wool. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is used in Prescription 2000 MVM and is the product derived from a yeast fermentation process and then coated with a starch/antioxidant coating to aid in processing and to prevent oxidation. Vitamin K1 (phytonadione), another of the fat soluble vitamins, is chemically synthesized without the use of animal products. A vegetable coating is used with vitamin K1 to aid in the processing and prevention of oxidation. The other vitamins (Bs, C and E) do not involve the use of animal products. Minerals, in general, do not come from animal sources. Sometimes calcium, though rarely, can come from bone meal, or, the calcium carbonate used could come from oyster or egg shell. The calcium used in Prescription 2000 MVM is calcium citrate/malate and calcium carbonate, which comes from the mined mineral and is chemically purified. The majority form of calcium in our Bone Support formula is calcium carbonate derived from mined mineral. It does not come from oyster or egg shell calcium carbonate. The other calcium source in Bone Support is calcium citrate malate. Magnesium stearate, which is used for as a lubricant to help with processing, frequently can come from an animal source. Our magnesium stearate comes from a vegetable source.
In general multivitamin/mineral supplements are the most difficult to ensure that no animal product is used because there are approximately 30 components to this supplement where sources or processing could involve the use of animal products.
We are pleased to make these efforts to have products that are completely vegan, yet compete in potency, quality and pricing with other high quality nutritional supplements so the consumer may have an "animal-free" option if they choose.