Now that we are happily eating supplements with vegetable capsules and have bid our tablets and gelatin capsules Bon Voyage, we can focus on the other little tricks of the supplements trade. This way we can further figure out how to buy the best supplements.
Excipients: Binders, Fillers, Additives and Preservatives
We covered a bit about toxic additives being used in the manufacturing of tablets and capsules, but those were just a small component of a largely used practice.
Excipients are essentially added non-nutrients that are used in the manufacturing process of supplements that have been shown to be potentially toxic. They are used primarily as a cheap alternatives for the following purposes:
- To speed up the manufacturing process
- To preserve the nutrients for longer shelf life
- To “cut” the supplement in order reduce percentage of active ingredients
Ultimately, excipients are all used to make the product cheaper so that the companies can make more money! Well, we are all very happy for them that they are making a good living, it’s capitalism… right?
The point is that they are using non-nutritive substances rather than the healthy alternatives. To get the same effects, health conscious companies use only nutrients such as rice bran and noni, with no other additives. Because of this, their products are safe for consumption, but they tend to be more expensive… definitely worth the price though.
The excipients that you need to look out for are:
- Magnesium and Vegetable Stearate- cheap lubricating agent, has controversial studies but has shown to be immune-compromising
- Methyl paraben- a known cancer-causing agent
- Microcrystaline cellulose- a cheap filler
- Silicon dioxide- common sand
- Natural Flavors- also known as monosodium glutamate (MSG), a neurotoxin
- Methacrylic copolymer- studies have shown it to cause cancer in rats
- Potassium Benzoate
- Triethyl citrate- a plasticizer
- Titanium dioxide- liver toxin
- Corn Starch- from genetically modified corn
- Talcum powder- rarely shown on supplements but a suspected carcinogen
- Color Dye (D&C red #33)- neurotoxin, studies demonstrate its role in ADD and ADHD
- Caramel Color
- Polysorbate 80
- Propylene Glycol
- Ink (shellac)
- Artificial Flavors: sucralose, acesulfame potassium
I will tell you right now, almost every supplement on the market has one of these excipients in there, especially magnesium stearate. And to be honest, they can make all the claims they want that these are safe, but when a company puts profit before quality, that is when I bolt.
Don’t worry- I will tell you which companies to trust.
Here is an example of a supplement that is made with excipients:
Here we see not only synthetic vitamins, minerals and other nutrients but also: artificial flavors, sucralose, potassium benzoate, potassium sorbate, potassium citrate, FD & C Yellow #5 and FD & C Blue #1. Now this is a popular workout supplement but don’t think that the brands sold in health food stores are exempt. The following is what it should look like:
Nothing but nutrients and the vegetable capsule.
The point of supplements is to make you healthier and when the majority of us are taking them because we are already dealing with health issues (toxic body), the presence of any other toxin, no matter how minimal, only further compromises the body. The body is very delicate, and when it sees a nutrient it opens all of its gates to let it in. Even if it’s attached to something bad, your body thinks “I am so starving, I would rather take the good with the bad than nothing at all.” As a result, I have heard countless complaints about adverse reactions to supplements, or that supplements render ineffective because of these toxic practices.
Bottom Line: You take supplements to improve your health. You do not need anything in there other than what nature put on this earth. Therefore, always check the ingredients, specifically under “other ingredients,” this list should be short and sweet, containing only nutrient substances.
Don’t worry, there is hope yet. Keep following the yellow brick road to find out the next bit of supplement changing info in Part III.