Thyroid UK
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vegan ferritin supplement on prescription list

Hi all

My last post (below) missed out an essential part, this vegan ferritin supplement my GP has suggested I find needs to be on the NHS prescribing list.

Original post:

Having low ferritin my GP kindly remembering that I am vegan has suggested I might like to find out which supplement is vegan before she writes a prescription.

Do any of you know?

I have tried googling but no success yet.


23 Replies

I think my next move would be to speak to a pharmacist at your local chemist. They'll know what they're allowed to order.


Thanks Jazzw, I did ask at the pharmacy attached to the surgery, where we collect our prescriptions, but they were very vague. After a lot of persuasion they found two brands and I've written to the makers who are passing me along a line but so far no information has come back. It's a very good idea of yours to try the pharmacist in town.


did you find a vegan ferritin prescription?


Hello Aquar, what I'm prescribed is Mercury Pharmacuticals Ltd


Hello Aquar, and sorry I hit a wrong key so sent unfinished message.

What I'm prescribed is Mercury Pharmacuticals Ltd

Syrup (140 mg/5ml). I have trusted that it is vegan but not checked.

The only definitely vegan iron I found required taking 7 tablets a day to obtain the amount required according to my GP. If you'd like to know which that was I'll go and check for you - off the top of my head I'm pretty sure it was called Veganicity.

Hope that helps.


thank you that is helpful


ThyrOid, I don't know whether there is a distinction between iron suitable for vegan and vegetarians but the vegetarian member in the link below was prescribed ferrous gluconate which her pharmacy was unable to source, although it is available online. She is currently supplementing Bluebonnet chelated iron she sourced without prescription.

Helvella posted links to various types of iron in


Thank-you Clutter, I'll come back to this tomorrow, brain now weary.



Yep - I did! But not on the basis of vegetarian/vegan. :-(

It is extremely difficult to decide whether products should be classified as vegetarian or vegan unless they are obviously disqualified by containing animal products. The only answer is to ask each and every company that has potentially suitable products. Remember that even the definitions of "vegetarian " and "vegan" vary.

One randomly selected product (from Sandoz Ltd, as it happens) lists these ingredients:

Stearic acid EP

Magnesium Stearate EP

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate EP

Microcrystalline cellulose EP

Croscarmellose Sodium EP


Opaglos HSE

Titanium Dioxide EP

Sucrose EP

Calcium carbonate light EP

Acacia SD EP

Purified talc EP

Mastercote White SP0962 (HSE)

Wax Polish (HSE)

You can probably fairly safely assume the Sucrose and Purified talc are vegan. But the Magnesium stearate and Opaglos leave you still unsure.

Details of many (but not all) products available in the UK may be found here:

Type "ferrous" into the search box.

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Oh thanks very much Helvella, will see if I can find the energy to check right now.


And will probably still have to contact every company - but their addresses are within the documents linked.


Helvella, I didn't think you would have investigated vegan/vegetarian status :) I thought the list might be helpful for Thyr0id to Google ingredients and work it out from there or discuss with her pharmacist.

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I'm sure you didn't! I have now added links to EMC for each of the main types of iron supplement. At least it makes it easier for anyone to check what is available and the ingredients. :-)

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I thought that all NHS iron meds (ferrous fumarate/sulphate) were made from chemicals in a lab, not extracted from animals. My gastro (who is veggie and knows that I am) prescribed ferrous fumarate. Some brands have gelatine (but liquid ones don't). The Aver one doesn't.


Thanks Angel of the North, I am sure you are right about ferrous supplements being made in the lab and not coming from animals but the compound used to carry the active ingredient, so the tablet itself, often contains things like milk powder.

I've spoken to the local pharmacist today who recommended one type as vegan after reading the ingredients list but it happened to be one about which I'd already written to the manufacturer to ask and been told that it was not vegan.

Please could you tell me more about the Aver one that you know has no gelatine, so that I can contact the manufacturer and ask if it's vegan?


It's not vegan, as it contains lactose, but it is vegetarian. Probably easier just to buy your own and not bother about a prescription.


Thanks, that's the problem I'm having. It's not possible to buy over-the-counter in a high enough dose to correct how low my level is, according to my GP.

I do hope someone can help.


Must be missing the problem! If you can only get, say a product containing 30 milligrams of elemental iron, but you need 60... Take two? Or alternate two and one to get to 45 milligrams. Or whatever else to achieve any dose you like.

Certainly it might be more expensive. It could be a nuisance to remember. But I can't see why it can't be done.

If you can't find a suitable product in the UK, try iHerb:


Hi Helvella

Thanks for the link.

You are right it could be done but it would be a lot more expensive and I'd rather do my best to source a vegan option available on prescription first.

From what my GP said I think I'd need 100 x the amount you can buy over the counter - going by the amount availabe in each pill rather than what the product says on the container each pill contains.


Someone has got their figures in a muddle there.

An adult human has between 3 and 4 grams of elemental iron in their body - in total. That is, 4000 milligrams.

A typical 200 milligram tablet of Ferrous sulphate contains 65 milligrams of elemental iron. A hundred such tablets contain 6500 milligrams - which is MORE iron than we have in our bodies.

And I simply don't understand what you meant by: going by the amount availabe in each pill rather than what the product says on the container each pill contains.


Hello again Helvella

It's more likely to be my memory in a muddle than the figures!

I think I'm right in saying that the amount shown on the containers often does not represent the amount that our bodies can access from the tablet, at least for non-prescription supplements.

But I don't want to argue, if you or anyone else thinks I'm mistaken about something, no doubt you are right, I'm not by any means an expert, just a vegan trying to find the right thing.

In a range of 12 - 300 my ferritin is at 15, I just want to get it up, safely and soon (I know not quickly) so that my body can use the levothyroxine properly.


I haven't read all the replies, buy I take floravital liquid iron, vegan and gluten free.


Thanks MidnightBlue, from what my GP said I think the amount of ferritin in over-the-counter products is insufficient to correct a level as low as mine is, or do you know better?


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