It’s one of the most common and controversial ingredients on the market. You’ve probably taken it before without even realizing it.

When you take supplements. you’re likely aware of the ingredients that are going into your body. Do you also pay attention to the non-medicinal ingredients and additives in your supplements as well?

If you do, one of the non-medicinal ingredients you may have come across is magnesium stearate. This substance is surrounded in a cloud of controversy, so what is the truth behind magnesium stearate?

What is Magnesium Stearate?

The commonly-used magnesium stearate is the magnesium salt of a non-essential fatty acid called stearic acid. This product occurs when a magnesium ion bonds with two stearic acid ions. The substance appears in a white powder, but it’s texture is slippery. Even though magnesium makes up half the name, there is no more than four percent of magnesium present in magnesium stearate.

Using magnesium stearate in product production means that a lubricant is added to the manufacturing process. Usually, we use lubricants for our cars or in the bedroom, but I believe it is safe to say that most of us don’t choose to eat lubricants.

The main purpose of this flow agent isn’t to give the consumer any medicinal benefit, it’s to save the manufacturer’s cost. When this is added into any medicinal concoction, it prevents the mixture from sticking together during processing. If a company ethically decides not to use magnesium stearate, it typically means their products might be slightly more expensive due to slower processing.

Potential Side Effects

This controversial product has been subject to scrutiny over the years. These studies have often been both reference and refuted. That muddles the line when trying to find out where the truth lies.

Studies have suggested that magnesium stearate suppresses your T-Cells, while help keep your immune system running smoothly. This study has been largely refuted since stearic acid (a component of magnesium stearate) negatively affected the mice. Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies that include human testing. 

Some claims out there state that magnesium sterate prevents the body from absorbing nutrients, which would make its inclusion in many product utterly useless. However, some studies have refuted that claim, so more research still needs to be done regarding this additive and absorption.

There is also consumer caution that magnesium stearate is contaminated. This additive comes from cottonseed oil, which can have high levels of pesticide. In 2011, the World Health Organization found out that large batches of magnesium stearate were contaminated with harmful chemicals.

Another thing to consider is that magnesium stearate could be a common allergen. There are many claims that this product has cause hives, rashes, and trips to the ER. This could be hard to spot for most since magnesium stearate isn’t always labelled properly.

Edible Lubricant or Toxic Material?

As doctors and experts quarrel back and forth about the dangers of magnesium stearate, one thing is abundantly clear. Magnesium stearate doesn’t offer any benefit to the human body. Manufacturers solely use this soapy substance to save themselves money during production. Since manufacturers don’t always disclose the fact that they have used magnesium stearate, chances are you’ve let this soap slide down your esophagus at one point or another.

There clearly needs to be more human-based studies completed on this overused product to determine if it’s toxic for the human body, or nothing more than an edible lubricant.

The other question you can ask yourself is: why take the risk? Cutting magnesium stearate out of your life surely won’t harm you, while taking supplements with magnesium stearate could cause internal damage to your immune system while affectint nutrient absorption.

Finding companies that forgo the prompt production powers of magnesium stearate should be your goal. Unfortunately, not many companies out there publicly state their unwillingness to stay away from this substance.

Real Organics and Naturals House is one of the few companies to come out and publicly state that we don’t use magnesium stearate as a flow agent. Quality is more important to us that saving time during manufacturing and processing. While this product may not be overly harmful, it’s surely of no benefit. We wouldn’t want our consumers to eat anything that we wouldn’t consume ourselves. Frankly, we don’t want a potentially dangerous soapy material in any of our health products.

We’re sure you don’t want to consume soap either.

Information has been obtained from secondary sources, and is intended to provide general summary information only. The author is not a licensed doctor, but an avid researcher and an advocate for healthy living.

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