Is Pepto Bismol Vegan?

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Pepto Bismol is undoubtedly one of the most well-known brands offering Bismuth Subsalicylate, a medication commonly used to address various minor health issues, including indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. Additionally, Pepto Bismol functions as an antacid, effectively neutralizing stomach acid and aiding in the treatment of digestive problems like upset stomach, constipation, and diarrhea.

However, despite its medicinal properties, Pepto Bismol’s vegan status has come into question due to its milky texture, leading many to wonder if it contains dairy products. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ingredients of Pepto Bismol and its various product lines to provide clarity on its vegan compatibility.

Pepto Bismol Product Lines

Pepto Bismol offers six distinct product lines: Softgels, Chews, Chewables, Liquicaps, Liquid, and Caplets. It’s worth noting that products within each category are generally produced using the same core ingredients. The primary active ingredient in Pepto Bismol products is Bismuth Subsalicylate, which appears to be vegan and synthetically produced.

Ingredients in Pepto Bismol

Here is an overview of some of the key ingredients used in Pepto Bismol’s various product lines:

Caplets Ingredients:

  • Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • Sodium Starch Glycolate
  • Mannitol
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Silicon Dioxide

Softgels Ingredients:

  • Triglycerides
  • Gelatin
  • Stearic Acid
  • Peppermint Oil Aerial
  • Ammonium Hydroxide
  • Oleic Acid
  • Caraway Oil Seed
  • Sodium Alginate
  • Glycerin
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Ethyl Cellulose

Chews Ingredients:

  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Citric Acid
  • Acacia
  • Coconut Oil
  • Corn Syrup
  • Beeswax
  • Sucrose
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Caprylic
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Carmine
  • Dextrin
  • Corn Starch
  • Shellac
  • Maltodextrin
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sorbitol
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Water

Chewables Ingredients:

  • Saccharin Sodium
  • Mannitol
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Povidone
  • Talc

Liquicaps Ingredients:

  • Sorbitol Sorbitan
  • Glycerin
  • Gelatin
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Polyethylene Glycol

Liquids Ingredients:

  • Sodium Salicylate
  • Sucralose
  • Magnesium Aluminum Silicate
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Methylcellulose
  • Gellan Gum
  • Sorbic Acid

Understanding the Vegan Status of Ingredients

Several ingredients in Pepto Bismol products raise concerns for vegans due to their potential non-vegan or uncertain origins:

1. Magnesium Stearate:

Magnesium Stearate, while generally considered vegan, can sometimes be derived from non-vegan sources. Its status in Pepto Bismol products remains uncertain, as the source of the Magnesium Stearate used is not clearly specified.

2. Stearic Acid:

Stearic Acid, a common ingredient in various cocoa products, including candies and chocolates, is a component of Magnesium Stearate. While it can be derived from both vegetable oils and animal fats, its source in Pepto Bismol products is unclear, making it a potential concern for vegans.

3. Gelatin:

Gelatin is unequivocally non-vegan, sourced from animal parts such as skin, tendons, bones, and ligaments. It is used as a gelling agent in some Pepto Bismol products, particularly the Liquicaps.

4. Polyethylene Glycol:

Polyethylene Glycol, commonly used to dissolve colors and add flavor to medications, can have various sources, including oils and natural gas. It can also be derived from glycerin, which may sometimes be non-vegan due to its origin. However, Polyethylene Glycol in Pepto Bismol products is more likely to be vegan.

5. Carmine:

Carmine, used as a food coloring agent, is derived from the extract of the Dactylopius coccus Costa insect species and is non-vegan. It is found in some Pepto Bismol products.

6. Shellac:

Shellac, sourced from lac insect secretions, is used in certain Pepto Bismol products. Although it does not contain insect flesh, it raises ethical concerns and is considered non-vegan due to its production process.

7. Beeswax:

Beeswax, a natural wax produced by honey bees, though not containing insect flesh, is associated with animal exploitation, making it unsuitable for vegans.

8. Glycerin (Glycerol):

Glycerin, commonly derived from plant sources, can also be sourced from animal origins. The source of Glycerin used in Pepto Bismol products is not specified, posing uncertainty for vegans.

9. Caprylic (Capric Triglyceride):

Caprylic, also known as Capric Triglyceride, can be derived from animal fatty acids or plant oils. Its source in Pepto Bismol products is unclear, making it a potential concern for vegans.

Inactive Ingredients and Other Considerations

Pepto Bismol products may also contain inactive ingredients with certain gray areas regarding their vegan status. These include:

  • Sugar: Some Pepto Bismol products contain refined sugar, which is sometimes filtered using animal bone char. Vegans may have reservations about products containing such sugar.
  • Artificial Colors: While artificial colors are generally considered vegan as they are synthetically produced, they may undergo animal testing before entering the market, which could be a concern for some vegans.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Pepto Bismol products may contain artificial sweeteners like saccharin sodium and sucralose. While these sweeteners are vegan, sucralose is known to be tested on animals during development.
  • Adipic Acid: Found in some Pepto products, adipic acid can be produced using an oleic acid defoaming agent derived from animal sources.
  • Polysorbate 80 (or 20): This compound, found in Pepto Caplets, can be derived from animal fat or vegetables, making it a consideration for vegans.


In summary, the vegan status of Pepto Bismol products varies across its different product lines. While the brand’s original liquid product is purely vegan, other product lines may contain non-vegan or ethically questionable ingredients, as outlined above.

If you are a strict vegan, it is crucial to scrutinize product labels and consider alternative medications or remedies that align more closely with your ethical principles. While Pepto Bismol may offer relief for minor digestive issues, there are vegan-friendly alternatives available, such as apple cider vinegar gummies or tummy drops.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to use Pepto Bismol as a vegan depends on your individual values and dietary preferences. For more resources and insights on veganism, cruelty-free products, and ethical living, visit the Crooked Beverage Co homepage.

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