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Magnesium Stearate – friend or foe in your supplements?

Magnesium Stearate in supplements - good or bad?

Magnesium Stearate – friend or foe in your supplements?  There are many different opinions about magnesium stearate on the internet.  I thought I would share what I know to clear up confusion.

The varied opinions about magnesium stearate have confused me too at times. It always puzzled me why reputable professional companies sold products with magnesium stearate in them if it is in fact dangerous to human health? It is very controversial with people on both sides of the argument.    Those that say it is perfectly safe and those who say that you should never, ever consume a product containing magnesium stearate. However, the research is clear that  there is in fact little issues with regards your health.  So let’s discuss what I do know.

You can find out whether magnesium stearate is in your supplement by looking at the label. It is always listed if included in your product.

magnesium stearate in supplementsThe FDA has categorized it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when consumed at under 2500 mg a day.  Magnesium stearate helps the supplement ingredients run smoothly during manufacture.  It keeps it running smoothly. This expedient allows the manufacturing machinery to run faster and smoother, and prevents the pills or capsules from sticking to each other.

Manufacturers can make products without magnesium stearate but it is much more costly do to so.   Avoiding magnesium stearate is certainly not easy.   And often they will use other expedients with perhaps even more controversy.  Magnesium Stearate is also commonly known as vegetables stearate or stearic acid.

Let’s firstly find out what this ingredient really is.

So what is magnesium stearate?

Magnesium stearate is formed by adding a magnesium ion to stearic acid. This makes a lubricating substance that helps in the manufacture of supplements as mentioned above.   It can be made from animal or vegetable sources.  Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid found in many foods, including animal and vegetable fats and oils. Cocoa contains substantial amounts of stearic acid.  There are many other examples of foods that contain stearic acid. It is very common and we all consume it on a regular basis.

What does magnesium stearate do to your health?

In the doses used in supplements, there is absolutely no evidence that it is a hazard to human health. there are lab studies that have shown magnesium stearate to be harmful. These are studies in which rats were force-fed a large quantity of the expedient.  This would never occur in human health.

Magnesium stearate metabolizes to formaldehyde.  But putting this in context, many fruits and vegetables also metabolize to formaldehyde.  Some fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, and plums; vegetables like onions, carrots, and spinach; and even meats like seafood, beef, and poultry contain formaldehyde. It is a product of normal metabolism.

A supplement company we work with at Kelway Health and recommend  as part of our clinical protocols to our clients is Designs for Health. Here is what they say about magnesium stearate:

Magnesium stearate in supplements“Magnesium stearate and stearic acid are among the most commonly used excipients in the natural products and food industry. An excipient is an inert, non-active ingredient to assist in the physical process of making tablets and capsules. Many dry powder ingredients would not quickly, evenly, and uniformly flow into capsules without an excipient to enhance the free flow of the powder particles. Designs for Health’s magnesium stearate is derived solely from palm oil. It is a magnesium salt of stearic acid, and contains no trans-fatty acids. It is non-GMO, free from BSE/TSE and may be used, if desired, as part of a vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, there is a move in the food industry to enrich fats with stearic acid as research now suggests it has beneficial effects on lipids and thrombosis.”

Get your magnesium stearate questions answered at Kelway Health

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