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I'm not vegan, but I've always wondered: are vegan supplements truly vegan? What I mean by this is that vitamin B12 usually only comes from animals. So is it truly possible to be completely vegan?

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  • Yes, it is possible to be completely vegan. If the doubt is only about B12 there's a related question that might help, if not, please edit your question with the necessary detail, so it can be answered accordingly.
    – Nagev
    Jan 28 at 16:24

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Many vegans make efforts to avoid consuming any animal products at all, including in the form of food supplements. It is very common to find food supplements being labelled vegan (or vegetarian). For example, gelatin is commonly used for capsules, but cellulose (plant fibre) can be used instead.

Food supplements marketed towards vegans often have a prominent vegan certification or trademark to give consumers confidence that the product is free from animal products.

The UK Vegan Society has for many years produced and sold a vegan multivitamin/mineral supplement specifically to provide nutrients that may be lacking in a vegan diet - of course, this supplement is itself vegan.

In the case of B12 specifically, while as far as I know there are no known reliable plant sources of B12 (though many have "B12 analogues" which can't be used by the human body), that isn't because B12 "only comes from animals". In fact, in the natural world, B12 only comes from bacteria - only bacteria have the genes to produce it. Certain animal foods contain B12 because animals ingest soil bacteria and/or B12 supplements in their feed. B12 in supplements can be produced by bacterial cultures or synthesised from simple chemicals. No animal products are required.

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