I just pulled this excellent article out of our newsletter archives. Great reminder to read the label on the things we're taking to feel better. Are they interfering with the very nutrients we're trying to absorb?
Beware of Additives in Supplements
by Ron Schmid, N.D.
Effects Include Drastically Reduced Absorption and Toxicity from Hydrogenated Oils
"Other Ingredients'- Check out this part of the label on just about any bottle of supplements. You'll find magnesium stearate (or stearic acid or ascorbyl palmitate). These hydrogenated oils (usually from cottonseed or palm oil) are added to the raw materials as lubricants so that production machinery will run at maximum speeds. The oil - which contains trans fatty acids - coats every particle of the materials, so the particles will flow rapidly. This ensures that production schedules will meet profit targets.
In a study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Technology, the percent dissolution for capsules after 20 minutes in solution went from 90% without stearates to 25% with stearates. This delays the absorption of nutrients; nutrients coated in oil tend not to break down, or they break down near the end of the digestive tract, well past the optimal sites for absorption. Individuals with impaired digestion often have particular difficulty absorbing nutrients coated with these oils. Other individuals may have allergic reactions.
Another problem with stearates: a large volume of scientific literature shows that stearic acid suppresses the action of T cells, a key component of the immune system. An article entitled "Molecular Basis for the Immunosuppressive Action of Stearic Acid on T Cells" appeared in the Journal of Immunology in 1990.
Magnesium Stearate Is Classified as a Hazardous Substance by EPA
Companies that manufacture and transport magnesium stearate must file a Material Safety Data Sheet with the Environmental Protection Agency because magnesium stearate is classified as a hazardous substance. Its uses are listed as "ammunition, dusting powder, paint and varnish drier, binder, and emulsifier." The section "Human Health Data" states that "Inhalation may irritate the respiratory tract" and "Acute ingestion may cause gastroenteritis." Under the heading "Regulatory Information," the paper states, "This product is hazardous under the criteria of the Federal OSHA Hazard Communication Standard." This information may be viewed at the website hummelcroton.com.
How Much Trans fatty Acids Are You Getting in Magnesium Stearate?
Supplements manufacturers argue that small amounts of magnesium stearate do no harm. But about 5% of the average 1500 milligram capsule or tablet is magnesium stearate. That's 75 milligrams. Suppose you take 6 capsules or tablets a day. That's 180 a month - or 1,350 milligrams of this toxic oil, about a half-ounce. And that works out to 6 ounces of trans fatty acids a year, from just six pills a day. Most people who take supplements take more than six pills a day, and are getting pounds of this substance that we're trying to cleanse our bodies of - while directly inhibiting the utilization of the nutrients they're supplementing!
Yellow Sun Ultra-Pure 100% Additive-Free Supplements
Remember, the sole purpose of using these oils is to make the machines go faster. Supplements can be made without them-it just takes more time, care, and attention to detail. Our exclusive process yields absolutely pure supplements - no lubricants, binders, flowing agents, fillers, dyes or additives of any kind - only the pure nutrients.
About Dr. Ron
Dr. Ron Schmid has practiced in Connecticut since 1981. He's appeared on scores of television and radio shows throughout America as an advocate for the importance of natural foods and supplements in the treatment of disease. He's taught at naturopathic medical schools in Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. He served as the first Chief Medical Officer and Clinic Director for the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Dr. Schmid is the author of Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine. First published in 1986, Traditional Foods has influenced thousands of health professionals as Dr. Schmid's writings and teachings have led the movement away from vegetarianism and toward diets that include lots of high-quality animal proteins-foods that together with vegetables form the core of traditional healing diets throughout the world.
Whole Approach carries a selection of Doc's Best additive free supplements.