Recently I purchased some supplements online. I had not purchased the supplements for some time, and in a hurry, I did not stop to check if the ingredients had changed.
Well… they did.
They now contain Magnesium Stearate.
Who: While stearic acid does occur in Nature (in animal fats and some plant based oils), when we are talking about packaged goods, stearic acid is generally created synthetically by hydrogenating cotton seed oil. The oil is then used to coat particles, such as the “beneficial” ingredients in a vitamin capsule. Calcium stearate and magnesium stearate are the two forms of stearic acid we commonly see used in the supplement industry.
What: In the case of supplementation, magnesium stearate is used as a filler, and also as a form of lubrication during the manufacturing process. In other words, it makes it easier on the manufacturer.
Where: Commonly used in supplements, it is also found in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and yes… food!
What you should be weary of:
First of all, any hydrogenated oil, however miniscule is not beneficial to the body. Hydrogenation is what occurs when we alter the chemical structure of a fat, and create what society has named: trans fat. Hydrogenation lowers the quality of a fat, making it susceptible to light, heat and oxygen damage, and inviting free radical formation. Hydrogenation also makes it difficult for the body to process: digest, breakdown absorb, and eliminate.
- Free radical formation is a cause of aging, and deterioration in the body.
- Trans fat increases blood cholesterol and hardens the arteries.
- Hydrogenated fats are not readily broken down by the body. Their toxic waste is stored in the body.
- Individuals with sensitive digestive systems may notice discomfort, and constipation.
Am I being too harsh here?
No. If you are taking a supplement, to act as a supplement to your health, then why on earth would you want to be also swallowing something unbeneficial (and probably hazardous overtime)? While I am sure the good, in many cases, can outweigh the “bad,” it is vital that we understand are aware of what we are putting in the bodies (and avoid what we can).
Additionally, we should question where these companies are getting their mineral sources from (like calcium and magnesium). While both of these minerals are essential to our health, we want to be consuming them in the form of natural plant sources, and not from harsh rocks. Rocks are not intended for our consumption. Read about antacids here.
I returned the supplements…
P.S. Awesome response to the Giveaway for the Gluten-Free Cookbook and Resource: “The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Strengthen Your Immune System and Neutralize Inflammation.” Keep the entries coming and comment again to let me know when you post to your twitter, facebook, etc. I will announce the winner on Tuesday from Maui!