Kosher vitamins have become quite popular in recent days, among Orthodox Jews as well as others. Due to Torah laws which dictate what may and may not be consumed, it's very important to know that there are no traces of unkosher, or trayfa, products in the vitamins.
The laws for kosher vitamins and medicines are a bit unlike those for food. There are allowances for those who are sick to take medicine even if it contains unkosher ingredients. Many medicines and vitamins have an unpleasant taste and are not meant to be eaten as food, which may make them allowable even if they contain unkosher ingredients.
Kosher food laws state that only certain animals may be eaten. Kosher animals widely eaten today include cattle, sheep and lamb. All kosher land animals have split hooves and chew their cud. Kosher birds include chicken, geese, duck and turkey. Kosher food laws state that mammals and birds must have a ritual slaughter in order for the meat to be considered kosher.
Because most gelatin is made of the bones, skins, hooves and connective tissues of many animals, including pigs, most Orthodox Jews rely on vitamins that have kosher certification, insuring that there are no unkosher ingredients in the product.
When asking what is kosher gelatin made of, it's important to know that some kosher gelatin is made with kosher beef skins, which may make the capsule meaty. However, most kosher gelatin is made of deep-sea fish bones, which are considered to be pareva, or neutral. Some gelatin alternatives are agar agar (a type of seaweed), guar gum, kuzu, arrowroot, xanthan gum, carob beans or carrageen.
Vitamins with kosher certification can be purchased at:
During the Pesach holiday, additional dietary laws are in effect. During Pesach, foods that contain anything leavens, or chametz, are strictly prohibited, and it is forbidden to use any dishes or appliances that have been used with chametz. During Pesach, any medications in pill form that one swallows is permitted, but vitamins and supplements do not necessarily fall into this category. It is necessary for one to speak with their local Orthodox rabbi to determine what to do.
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