If you’ve ever had an upset stomach, you’ve probably been told to take a couple of TUMS. These antacids are a popular over-the-counter choice for relieving indigestion or heartburn, but is it a vegan product?
Yes, TUMS are vegan. The active ingredient in TUMS is calcium carbonate, which comes from limestone and does not contain any animal by-products. The one exception to this rule are the TUMS Smoothies Assorted Fruit Tablets, which contain dairy and aren’t recommended for anyone with dairy or milk allergies.
For a more in-depth look at the ingredient list as well as some vegan and non-vegan alternatives, here’s what else you should know before taking TUMS for that upset stomach.
TUMS Ingredient List
While the ingredient list can change based on the flavor or whether they’re extra-strength, the TUMS Extra Strength 750 Assorted Fruit Calcium Chewable Tablets contains these ingredients:
- Active Ingredient (per tablet): Calcium Carbonate USP 750mg – Antacid
- Inactive Ingredients: Adipic acid, corn starch, FD&C blue #1 lake, FD&C red #40 lake, FD&C yellow #5 (tartrazine) lake, FD&C yellow #6 lake, flavors, mineral oil, sodium polyphosphate, sucrose, talc.
Keep in mind that most TUMS tablets have the same ingredient list but with varying levels of calcium carbonate, depending on the strength of the variety.
The active ingredient in TUMS, calcium carbonate, can be used as a dietary supplement or in this case, an antacid. As a supplement, people may take varying amounts of calcium carbonate to strengthen their bones, muscles, and nervous system.
As an antacid and medication, calcium carbonate helps neutralize your stomach acid, which reduces the physical symptoms that come with heartburn or indigestion. Since it comes from limestone, calcium carbonate isn’t a problem for anyone who’s vegan.
Adipic acid and corn starch, which are some of the higher inactive ingredients on that list, don’t contain any animal by-products either. Adipic acid is an additive that gives the tablets a sour or fruity taste, and corn starch comes from corn kennels.
The corn starch also has a functional purpose, which is to help the tablets dissolve more quickly in your stomach.
Some of the other ingredients on this list may look like a jumble of numbers and colors – FD&C blue, FD&C red, and FD&C yellow – but these correlate to synthetic dyes that give TUMS their fruity colors.
These are lake dyes, which come from a reaction between a salt, like aluminum, and straight dyes. These dyes are safe to consume and don’t contain any kind of animal by-products that should concern vegans.
Mineral oil is the next ingredient on the list, and it’s a clear, odorless oil that comes from processed petroleum and helps prevent dust or other particles from sticking to the TUMS while they’re in the bottle.
Sodium polyphosphate may have a scary name, but this compound includes salt, phosphate, and sodium, and it’s already found naturally in a lot of different foods.
The type of sodium polyphosphate used here is food-grade and commonly added to a lot of processed foods or tablets, including TUMS, during the manufacturing process.
Sucrose and talc are the last two inactive ingredients that you’ll find in most TUMS products. Sucrose is a sugar that helps offset the natural bitterness of the calcium carbonate, while talc is another additive that stops the medication from sticking together.
Neither ingredient comes from an animal by-product.
Which TUMS Alternatives Are Vegan-Friendly?
If you’re looking for other vegan-friendly alternatives to TUMS, these may be a few options you’re already familiar with:
- Pepto-Bismol Liquid Upset Stomach Relief (Original): Along with the active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate, that helps neutralize stomach acid, the original liquid Pepto-Bismol also contains inactive ingredients like benzoic acid, gellan gum, sucralose, and more, which are all vegan-friendly. Gellan gum is actually a plant-based substitute for gelatin that works the same way, but doesn’t have any animal by-products.
- Genexa Heartburn Fix: This alternative also uses calcium carbonate as its main active ingredient, and is considered non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.
Which TUMS Alternatives Are Non-Vegan-Friendly?
If you’re looking to steer clear of non-vegan alternatives to TUMS, here’s what you don’t want to pick up off the drug store shelf:
- Pepto-Bismol LiquCaps: This variety of pepto-bismol does use gelatin on its ingredient list, which isn’t vegan-friendly.
- Rolaids Advanced Antacid Plus Anti-Gas Chewable Tablets: Because the company uses several suppliers for their raw materials, they, by their own admission, can’t certify that the tablets are vegan-friendly.
Do TUMS Have Dairy in Them?
While most TUMS products don’t contain dairy and are vegan-friendly, the TUMS Chewies do contain a small percentage of non-fat dairy milk in them – and aren’t recommended for anyone with a milk allergy.
Do TUMS Contain Aluminum?
No, TUMS do not contain aluminum as an active ingredient. However, the lake dyes that give TUMS their fruity colors are made through a reaction with straight dyes and aluminum salts.
Are TUMS Gluten-Free?
According to TUMS, all of their products get tested and meet the standards for being gluten-free. The website also claims that all of their products are kosher pareve.
Can You Eat TUMS While Pregnant?
Pregnancy-related heartburn is not an uncommon symptom for anyone getting ready to give birth, but are TUMS safe to take while you’re expecting? Yes, as long as you take the correct dosage, TUMS are completely safe to consume for expecting mothers.
With the exception of the TUMS Smoothies tablets, most TUMS products are vegan-friendly as well as gluten-free.
But if you’re not much of a TUMS fan and you’d still like a vegan-friendly alternative, Genexa Heartburn Fix and most Pepto-Bismol products are also vegan-friendly as well.