Magnesium Stearate - What is it doing in your supplements?
Updated: June 27, 2019
Why We Use Absolutely No Additives, Especially No Magnesium Stearate
Many nutritional supplements on the market today contain unnecessary ingredients. Additives like fillers, binders and dyes are commonplace, as are coatings, lubricants and flow agents — many manufacturers use these non-nutritive ingredients to facilitate their manufacturing processes and improve their profit margins. But what are these additives and do they interfere with the effectiveness of your supplements?
What is Magnesium Stearate?
Magnesium stearate is a white substance, solid at room temperature, used in the manufacture of many pharmaceutical and supplement tablets and capsules. It is composed of magnesium and stearic acid, and oftentimes, palmitic acid as well. Stearates found in supplements are made by hydrogenating cottonseed or palm oil and are used throughout the industry as lubricants; they are added to the raw materials so that machinery will run at maximum speeds. Stearates coat every particle of the nutrients, so the particles will flow rapidly. Supplements can be made without them — it just takes more time, care and attention to detail.
Read a detailed explanation of magnesium stearate’s role as a lubricant in manufacturing facilities.
What’s So Bad About Magnesium Stearate?
It is commonly noted in medical literature that magnesium stearate decreases the absorption rates of tablets and capsules. It coats a good portion of the molecules in a tablet or capsule, requiring digestive enzymes to break down the magnesium stearate coating before the nutrients it envelops are made available for absorption.
Reduction of Dissolution Time
Brand X with Stearate
Dr. Ron's Ultra-Pure without Stearate
In a study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Technology (April, 1985), the percent dissolution for capsules after 20 minutes in solution went from 90% without stearates to 25% with stearates. In other words, stearates reduced the rate the capsule dissolved by 65%! This may result in the nutrients not dissolving in the appropriate section of the intestines as intended. We are particularly concerned about individuals with impaired digestion who may have more difficulty absorbing nutrients coated with magnesium stearate.
% Dissolution of Capsules after 20 minutes
Plus — Are There Contaminants in Your Supplement?
Cottonseed and palm oil are commonly used to make magnesium stearate. Cottonseed oil has the highest content of pesticide residues of all commercial oils; cotton crops are heavily sprayed. In the hydrogenation process, the oil is subjected to high heat and pressure in the presence of a metal catalyst for several hours. The resultant stearates contain undesirable altered molecules. According to Udo Erasmus in his book Fats and Oils, the metal catalyst used in the hydrogenation process may also contaminate the stearates produced.
In December 2011 The World Health Organization reported that several batches of magnesium stearate were cross-contaminated with zeolite (sodium aluminum silicate), calcium hydroxide, dibenzoylmethane, bisphenol A and Irganox 1010. While some of these substances may not be harmful, as is the case with zeolite, others are known to be harmful, such as bisphenol A (BPA). The industrial chemical BPA is an endocrine disruptor and has been found to have other harmful effects. The European Union has banned its use in baby bottles and several consumer groups in the U.S. have petitioned the FDA to ban its use in food containers. But whether or not the contaminants found in the magnesium stearate are benign or harmful is not the issue. The issue is that it was contaminated at all.
While we don’t know the percentage of supplements in the U.S. that are contaminated, according to a New York Times article “Nearly all of the herbal dietary supplements tested in a Congressional investigation contained trace amounts of lead and other contaminants…” There have also been news stories over the years about contaminated supplements, such as heavy metals in 20 percent of Ayurvedic herbal products tested in the Boston area in 2004. Clearly, contamination is an issue of concern.
Do You Know What You’re Putting into Your Mouth?
While magnesium stearate is certainly not the only supplement ingredient ever found to be contaminated, the potential for contamination is just one more reason to avoid it. If you do wish to consume supplements containing magnesium stearate, it would be a good idea to ask the manufacturer if they batch-test the supplement for purity. If not, then you really don’t know what you are putting into your mouth.
While we believe that contamination is a concern, we do not support stricter government regulations on dietary supplements due to contamination issues. These issues could be much better addressed in the way that we here at Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure address it: batch testing.
Although we have a great deal of trust in our ingredient suppliers, which are mainly in the U.S., Europe and New Zealand, we nonetheless have the raw materials that go into our supplements independently analyzed. Our certificates of analysis demonstrate the purity of our products. Here are a few sample assays:
Alpha Lipoic Acid: Assay: 99.72%; Loss on Drying: 0.25%. Purity thus tested at 99.97%.
Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium: Assay: 99.88%; Loss on Drying: 0.072%. Purity thus tested at 99.952%.
Why Buy Dr. Ron's Ultra-Pure Additive-Free Supplements?
Remember, the sole purpose of using magnesium stearate is to make the machines go faster. Supplements can be made without them – it just takes more time, care and attention to detail, and we think our customers deserve that extra care and attention. Our exclusive process yields absolutely pure supplements, since we use no magnesium stearate, lubricants, flow agents, fillers, binders or dyes. Furthermore, our products are additive-free and do not contain any of the following: sugar, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, egg, tree nuts, peanuts or any GMO ingredients.
Get the best for you and your family! If you’re looking for a high quality and complete daily multivitamin, then Doc’s Daily is for you. Half the people in the US aren’t getting enough magnesium — if you’re one of them, then you need our Mag Max formula. Dr. Ron’s offers over 50 pure, additive-free nutritional supplements to meet your needs. Don’t delay — click the "Shop Now" button below to purchase the high quality supplements you deserve.