Plant-based vs. animal supplements

Within the ever-evolving realm of health and wellness, dietary supplements have emerged as a powerful tool. These products help bridge the nutritional gaps, concerning individuals of all ages and support their specific health goals. Traditionally, the supplementary industry relied heavily on ingredients derived from animals. These animal-based players have reigned supreme for decades, from whey protein and collagen to fish oil capsules.

However, plant-based living has gradually spurred the robust development of plant-based selections. The supplement landscape has changed to meet the evolving demands of a diverse customer base. For those who are vegetarians, following a plant-based lifestyle, or simply curious about alternative options to boost overall health, a doubt crept in: Should you choose plant-based or animal-based supplements? What are the differences between them?

Today, we will delve into the world of plant-based and animal supplements by deciphering the pros and cons of each supplement type. Besides, we will guide you to make a more rational decision.

Animal-based Supplements

1.1. Unveiling the Powerhouse: Common Animal-Based Supplements

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is extracted from whey, the watery portion of milk that separates during cheese making. Whey protein shakes are popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts post-workout. Besides its role in repairing and building muscles, whey protein fulfills nutritional needs and supports the immune system with a richness of vitamins and minerals of various types. 

Fish Oil Supplements

Often derived from fatty fish like tuna, salmon, or mackerel, fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, offers a variety of health benefits. For example, consuming fish oil enhances the cardiovascular system, vision, brain function, joint health, skin vitality, and even mental well-being. 



It is a compound found naturally in your muscle tissue. The commercially available creatine supplements are made of red meat, fish, and poultry. Athletes commonly use them for strength training, due to their roles in increasing performance for high-intensity exercises and fast recovery of damaged tissues post workout.

Collagen Peptides

Collagen manufacturers have long used animal derivation as the main source of collagen in their products. Collagen is available in powder, liquid, and capsule form. There are different types of collagen ranging from marine to bovine with the ultimate goal of promoting skin, hair, and nail health, and joint support.

1.2. Unlocking Nature's Bounty: Benefits of Animal-Based Supplements

Animal-based supplements have been a dominant player in the industry for a long time. Let’s take a glimpse at what makes them globally popular:

High Bioavailability

Bioavailability refers to the ability of a drug or substance to be absorbed into your bloodstream and become available for the body to use. Speaking of it, animal-based supplements contain forms of nutrients that are highly bioavailable, meaning that they are readily absorbed and utilized

Complete Protein Sources

Whey protein or collagen peptides are rich sources of complete protein, containing all essential amino acids facilitating muscle growth, repair, and overall well-being. 

Rich in Specific Nutrients

A recommended serving of an animal-derived supplement delivers a greater number of nutrients that are either less abundant, absent or less bioavailable in plant-based sources.  

Established Effectiveness

Animal-derived supplements like collagen peptides, whey protein, or fish oil all have a long history of research and development. These dietary supplements are widely recognized for their evidence-based effectiveness in addressing specific health goals, contributing to their longstanding popularity. 

1.3. Navigating the Ethical Considerations: Drawbacks of Animal-Based Supplements

Everything comes at a price, so it is also the same in the case of animal-based supplements. Below is the breakdown of the potential drawbacks regarding this type of supplement:

Ethical and Environmental Concerns

The production of animal-based supplements has raised a controversial debate for a long time. The concerns regarding ethical sourcing and animal welfare among conscious customers may hinder them from continually consuming animal products. 

Indeed, the exploitation of environmental assets more or less would impose destructive effects that put the overall environment in jeopardy. Such issues include overfishing or deforestation for livestock farming, which increase greenhouse gas emissions or scarcity of natural resources. 

Potential Allergies and Intolerances

Some people suffer from allergies to certain products made from animal sources. One of the most common conditions is the responsive intolerance of lactose, which can be found in dairy products, and affects the consumption of whey protein. 

Dietary Restrictions

Animal-based supplements, like other animal products, are not suitable for those who are vegetarians or following a plant-based diet. 

Plant-based Supplements

2.1. A Look at Common Plant-Based Supplements

Plant-based Protein Powders

These products are made up of various protein sources; for example, pea, brown rice, soy, hemp, chia seeds, nuts, and many other plant sources. 

Greens Powders

Green powder is well-known for offering a wide variety of green vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based ingredients. The diverse profile of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants per serving makes it not only a convenient but also a nutritious superfood staple. Consuming green powder might enhance the digestive system, provide an energy boost, and strengthen the immune system. 

Herbal Extracts

So far, there is a vast array of plant-based extracts known for numerous health benefits. Examples include ashwagandha or lavender for stress management, turmeric for inflammation, black seeds oil for the overall immune system and cardiovascular health, and oregano oil for improved digestion and respiratory function. 

2.2. Powering Up with Plants: Unveiling the Benefits of Plant-Based Supplements

Enhanced Protein Intake

As mentioned above, plant-based protein could be a perfect alternative to increase protein intake, especially for individuals following vegetarian diets. Sufficient protein ensures they meet their protein demands, either for muscle building or overall wellness. 

Sustained Energy Level

Certain plant-based supplements offer a qualified concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrient-dense blends facilitate energy production for optimal growth and daily activities, avoiding the possibility of fatigue. 

Catering to Diverse Needs and Hypoallergenic  

Unlike animal-based supplements, plant-based ones are compatible with a broader range of individuals. Whether they are vegans or following restricted diets due to specific health conditions and religious beliefs, these choices are well-suited. Besides, being free of animal products reduces the relative allergic reaction because plant sources are generally hypoallergenic. 

Ethnic Sourcing

For those who fight for sustainable development goals, including animal welfare, plant-friendly supplements have successfully satisfied them. By aligning with a cruelty-free and eco-conscious attitude in manufacturing practices, these ethical sourcing supplements win their heart at first sight. 


2.3. Navigating the Green Aisle: Drawbacks of Plant-Based Supplements

Lower Bioavailability

Some nutrients are less abundant in plant-based supplements. In other words, they are derived from plants that have lower bioavailability compared to that from animal sources. That means the body might not absorb and use them efficiently. 

Incomplete Protein Sources

Some plant-based protein sources lack one or more amino acids, making it an incomplete form. Therefore, individuals need to combine different types of protein to obtain a complete amino acid profile and generate the combined effects. 

Higher Cost

A high-quality plant-based supplement often costs more than its animal-based counterpart. Some might find it hard to afford, limiting its accessibility. 

Plant-Based vs. Animal Supplements

Which One to Choose: Plant-Based vs. Animal Supplements

Outlining plant-based and animal-based supplements' benefits and potential drawbacks helps you understand the supplementary world. Now is your turn because ultimately, the best supplement depends on your specific needs, preferences, and health goals. 

In conclusion, you should consider your dietary restrictions, nutrient demands, bioavailability, ethical concerns, and potential allergens before making a decision. We recommend you consult your healthcare professional or registered dietitian before any new supplementary regime to minimize the risks. Remember to be mindful of reputable brands with products being certified by third-party testing institutions for safety, purity, and potency.

At NuBest, we are committed to providing our customers with a diverse range of products, including both animal-based and vegan supplements. So, whether you have specific dietary needs or want to explore more options, we have you covered. Our products are researched and manufactured in an FDA-approved facility, ensuring the highest quality and safety on consumption. Kick off your health journey and find your perfect fit at NuBest