Taking your vitamins? Steer away from Magnesium Stearate

Many of us take nutritional supplements to improve our health and as an “insurance policy” against poor dietary choices.  We think we are doing something good for our body, right?  Think again!  If you haven’t read the label on the pills you are taking, please do!  Many of the supplements out there are full of fillers and binding agents to make manufacturing and processing cheaper and easier for the companies that mass produce these products.  These companies are banking (heavily) on the uninformed consumer.

One of these substances is called magnesium stearate. It 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.

Research has shown that stearic acid suppresses T cells, your natural killer cells, which are a key component of your immune systemi. Stearic acid can also cause the collapse of cell membrane integrity which, ultimately, can destroy cell function.

This filler also stimulates your gut to form a biofilm. Biofilms are a sort of sludge lining that acts as a barrier to the absorption of not only that particular vitamin but ALL the nutrients you’d normally get from food sources as well.

Naturally, when you take vitamins and other supplements, you do it with the idea of strengthening your immune system. 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.

I do believe that dietary supplements, including vitamins and minerals, can help compensate for what is lacking in the American diet. However, it’s not wise to use supplements to justify eating crap. In my experience no amount of supplements will ever be able to substitute for healthy food choices.

If you are going to spend the money on supplements, I strongly recommend you make whole food supplements your first choice, and steer clear of synthetic vitamins. How do you tell whether or not a supplement you’re looking at is a good choice?  Ask questions and read labels!

For starters, make sure it has the following characteristics:

  • It is 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.
  • As this article states, 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.