Does your supplement contain a potentially harmful ingredient? This is the topic of an article written by Dr. Mercola, for his website, Mercola.com. The article’s primary focus is to inform its readers of what common additive is dangerous and the reason manufacturers use it.
Dr. Mercola states, “In the U.S. many supplement makers are adding “flow agents” into their capsules. Their only purpose is to keep ingredients from sticking to equipment during mixing and compression. They make manufacturing faster and easier, but it’s not impossible to produce the final product without them. Not using them simply adds to manufacturing costs and final sales price of the product.”
He then continues to state that he has long made it his mission to inform the public of the additive called Magnesium stearate that is a commonly used and potentially harmful additive found in many supplements.
Magnesium stearate is formed by adding a magnesium ion to stearic acid. The compound has lubricating properties, which is why it’s often used in the making of supplements, as it allows the machinery to run faster and smoother, and prevents the pills or capsules from sticking to each other.
However, previous research has shown that stearic acid suppresses T cells—your natural killer cells—which are a key component of your immune system. According to that study, stearic acid causes the collapse of cell membrane integrity—an effect that was found to be time and dose dependent—which, ultimately, can destroy cell function.
Naturally, when you take vitamins and other supplements, you do it with the idea of strengthening your immune system, Dr. Mercola says. However, if you take supplements containing magnesium stearate, you could end up doing the exact opposite as you’re actually consuming chalk-like substance with each dose you take.
This filler also stimulates your gut to form a biofilm. You frequently see biofilms when you lift the lid of your toilet reservoir. Biofilms are a sort of sludge lining that acts as an effective barrier to the absorption of not only that particular vitamin but ALL the nutrients you’d normally get from food sources as well.
This is of particular concern for anyone with impaired digestion, which in today’s world includes the vast majority of Americans, due to poor dietary habits.
In the article Dr. Mercola states, “In my view, this side effect alone is a major reason for focusing on nutritional foods, or, if you’re taking a supplement, making sure it’s a high quality, natural food-based supplement that does not include potentially harmful fillers and additives such as magnesium stearate.”
He continues his article with advice on how to tell whether or not the supplement you’re debating on taking is a good choice. He says that the supplement should have the following characteristics:
•It should be as close as possible to its natural (whole food) form.
•Use independent third party labs that check the raw materials for contaminants and correct dosage.
•Follows industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001, ISO 17025 and Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
•The utmost care has been taken in all phases of its production, from growing its ingredients, to manufacturing, testing for potency and quality control.
•Be sure it works! He says he always tries to select from companies that have a long track record of providing high quality products that produce good clinical results.
He concludes with advice to avoid any supplement that uses magnesium stearate. Read the labels carefully as companies need to declare it if they use it, but it is in very tiny print and you might need a magnifying lens to read it.