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Really! Toxins in Supplements?


There is proof that ingesting some types of supplements containing toxic ingredients can be detrimental to health. Knowledge is power; therefore, knowing the facts about the supplement manufacturing process and labeling codes is essential to ones well-being.

Are supplements healthy or toxic?

woman taking supplementsIt is well known that most supplements contain binders, fillers, heavy metals and flow agents. There is ongoing research to convey that may shock and disappoint the public. Due to the fact that supplement manufacturers for the most part, are numb to the information that additives and excipients in vitamins and minerals cause health issues, we need to go beyond reading labels and read the laws. Labeling laws state that if as product has less than 5 ppm of heavy metals or a flow agent, filler, and/or binder (excipients); manufacturers are not required to disclose this on the label. Shocking but true! To make this clear, just because these additives are not listed on the label doesn’t mean that the products do not contain them. Let’s take a look at some of the worst ingredients in supplements today.

The facts about these egregious ingredients, which are shown to cause health problems, are alarming but hopefully it will allow a wiser choice for any future purchases.

Magnesium Stearate, Stearic Acid and Calcium Stearate

These stearates, made by hydrogenating cottonseed or palm oil, are used throughout the supplement industry as lubricants. They are added to the raw materials in supplements so that production machinery will run at maximum speeds. These fatty substances coat every particle of the nutrients, so the particles will flow rapidly. This ensures that production schedules will meet profit targets.

Cottonseed oil has the highest content of pesticide residues of all commercial oils, since cotton crops are heavily sprayed. In the hydrogenation process, oil is subjected to high heat and pressure in the presence of a metal catalyst for several hours, creating a hydrogenated saturated fat. Hydrogenated vegetable fats contain altered molecules derived from fatty acids that may be toxic. The metal catalyst used in the hydrogenation process may also contaminate the stearates produced.

While toxicity is one problem, decreased absorption is another. In a study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Technology, the percent dissolution for capsules after 20 minutes in solution went from 90% without stearates to 25% with stearates. Clearly, stearates reduced the rate the capsule dissolved by 65%! This delays the absorption of nutrients. Individuals with impaired digestion may have particular difficulty absorbing nutrients coated with stearates.

Further problems with Stearates

Concentrated doses of stearic acid suppress the action of T-cells, a key component of the immune system. The article “Molecular basis for the immunosuppressive action of stearic acid on T cells” appeared in the journal Immunology in 1990. Notably,

  • Companies that manufacture and transport magnesium stearate must file a Material Safety Data Sheet with the Environmental Protection Agency because concentrated magnesium stearate is classified as a hazardous substance.
  • Its uses are listed as “ammunition, dusting powder, paint and varnish drier, binder, and emulsifier.” The section “Human Health Data” states that “Inhalation may irritate the respiratory tract” and “Acute ingestion may cause gastroenteritis.”
  • Under the heading “Regulatory Information,” the paper states, “This product is hazardous under the criteria of the Federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.” This information may be viewed at the web site: www.hummelcroton.com/msds/mgstear_m though this document is indeed confusing for consumers due to the fact that OSHA contradicts their own reporting. The above URL states the following information:

Section XI. Toxicological Information

  • RTECS Number: Not Established
  • Routes of Exposure: Eye contact. Ingestion. Inhalation. Skin contact.
  • Toxicity Data: To the best of our knowledge, the chemical, physical, and toxicological properties have not been thoroughly investigated for Magnesium Stearate.
  • Chronic Toxic Effects: This product has no known chronic effects. Repeated or prolong exposure to this compound is not known to aggravate medical conditions.
  • Acute Toxic Effects: Irritating to the skin and eyes on contact. Inhalation will cause irritation to the lungs and mucus membrane. Irritation to the eyes will cause watering and redness. Reddening, scaling, and itching are characteristics of skin inflammation. Follow safe industrial hygiene practices and always wear protective equipment when handling this compound.

Immune System Suppression

Excessive ingestion of magnesium stearate adversely affects the normal functioning of T-cells, which are very important for the body’s immune responses. High amounts of magnesium stearate act as an immune-suppressor. Thus, prolonged administering of magnesium stearate at a high dosage weakens the immune system over a period of time.

Absorption Decreased

One of the reported dangers of magnesium stearate is the decreased absorption of Vitamin B2, B3, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Zinc. Researchers report that tablets without magnesium stearate have a 90 percent absorption rate, while those formatted with magnesium stearate show a 25-30 percent absorption capacity. This may be the reason why some people complain of absorption problems after taking magnesium stearate containing products. This would be very serious for a person with such a health issue, as it would be compounding the problem.

Supplement manufacturers pass off magnesium stearate as a benign form of magnesium. Magnesium stearate is the magnesium salt of stearic acid, which is also used in supplements for the same purposes. The argument is made that small amounts of these substances do no harm. But does anyone really want them in their supplements every day? Remember, the sole purpose of using these substances is a flow agent ~ to make the machines go faster. Supplements can be made without them; it just takes more time, care, and attention to detail.

How Much Hydrogenated Lubricant Oils are in Supplements?

Up to 5% of the average 1000 mg capsule or tablet is magnesium stearate. That’s 50 milligrams. Supposing someone takes 8 capsules or tablets a day. That’s 250 a month – or 12,500 mg of this hydrogenated oil, nearly half an ounce. From just 8 pills a day, that works out to about 6 ounces of hydrogenated oils a year. Many people take extra supplements, ingesting pounds of this toxic oil we try to avoid in our diets – a substance that directly inhibits the utilization of nutrients they’re supplementing!

The Wellness Center has an exclusive process that yields absolutely pure supplements – no lubricants, binders, flowing agents, fillers, dyes or additives of any kind – only the pure nutrients. As a result, Dr. Dale’s supplements have an extremely high absorption rate so the consumer benefits from all the active ingredients that are clearly labeled. Selecting quality products that go beyond industry standards ensure superior outcomes for the end consumer, as well as creating a trusted practice for all professional healthcare providers carrying these goods.