I’m often asked if I had to take only 1 supplement what would it be? While this varies depending on the individual and their diet, there are a few supplements that I think are important foundations to good health. Here are my top three… [...]
On February 3, 2010, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced that he would be introducing legislation that would amend the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) additional powers over retailers and suppliers in the dietary supplements industry. [...]
Recently I was asked why a very good quality company would use magnesium stearate in their product. The customer had heard that this was a potentially dangerous ‘filler’ and was surprised to find it on so many labels. (Magnesium stearate is often used as a lubricant during capsule filling and is also used as a binder in tablets to hold other ingredients together.)
Before I give you my opinion, I’d also like to share how surprised I was that within hours of this question, I received an email from Jarrow Formulas (included below) that discussed, in greater detail then I could ever hope to, this very subject! It seems some brands aren’t playing nice, and Jarrow Formulas may just take their quarrel to the Federal Trade Commission.
According to Jarrow, Ultra Laboratories has been suggesting that magnesium stearate is, for lack of a better word, bad. Because Jarrow (and countless other manufacturers) uses magnesium stearate,they felt it necessary to respond.
But the email doesn’t end there -
While I have not seen one of these notices, I do find a practice of making bold claims without supporting evidence disturbing (and so would my Philosophy 101 prof in College!).
Personally, the inclusion of magnesium stearate in my supplement is not a huge concern for me. This has been an issue for as long as I can remember, and the answers I’ve received from companies in the past are really no different than what Jarrow is saying today. Perhaps I put too much faith in these companies and the science they provide, but I believe them. For me, it’s a cost-benefit thing – like exercising.
When you exercise, your body generates free radicals. Now, most of the time we try to avoid free radicals, but in the case of exercise I think we’d all agree that for the most part, the benefits outweigh the costs. Whatever damage we do by exercising, is more than made up for by the positive benefits.
For me, the same is true with magnesium stearate. I feel I’ve chosen the products I take carefully, and believe they improve and enhance my health, regardless of the inclusion of magnesium stearate.
What I would like to know is why do some companies find it necessary to use magnesium stearate while others don’t? Is it related to cost? The raw material used?
By the way, for their part Jarrow did include quite a bit of supporting evidence to their assertion that magnesium stearate is safe included with the email I received. The complete email from Jarrow follows.