Harmful or Harmless: Magnesium Stearate

Woman checking food labellingOne of the benefits of ancestral eating is that you avoid potentially harmful food additives like artificial colors, MSG, and artificial sweeteners. But even on a Paleo diet, it can be hard to avoid some fillers, thickeners, and additives. In fact, many common Paleo foods contain more additives than their Neolithic counterparts! For instance, commercial nut milks and coconut milk often contain thickeners like gums or carrageenan, while your run-of-the-mill grocery store whole cow’s milk is additive-free.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll review the science on some of the most common additives, and let you know whether you should be concerned about consuming them. First up – magnesium stearate!

Is magnesium stearate a harmless additive or dangerous chemical? Tweet This

What is magnesium stearate?

Magnesium stearate is a salt that is produced when a magnesium ion bonds with two stearate molecules. Stearate is just the anion form of stearic acid, which you’ve most likely heard of before. Stearic acid is a long-chain saturated fat that is abundant in beef, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and other natural foods. As I mentioned in my red meat article, it’s also the only long-chain saturated fat that scientists and medical practitioners agree doesn’t raise cholesterol levels, and doesn’t increase risk of heart disease.

Magnesium stearate is most commonly used in supplement manufacturing as a ‘flow agent,’ which helps ensure that the equipment runs smoothly and the ingredients stay blended together in the correct proportions.

Given the seemingly benign components of this additive, it’s a little surprising how controversial it is. There are a lot of misconceptions and inaccurate statements about it floating around the internet, and while I wouldn’t recommend consuming vats of the stuff (not that you’d want to), I think the concern over magnesium stearate is largely overblown.

Effect on immune cells

One study that many people have used as evidence against magnesium stearate is a 1990 experiment entitled “Molecular basis for the immunosuppressive action of stearic acid on T cells.” This baffles me, and I suspect that anyone using this study to indict magnesium stearate hasn’t actually read it.

In the experiment, scientists isolated T-cells and B-cells from mice, put them in a Petri dish, and bathed them in a solution containing stearic acid (along with some other components). They observed that the T-cells incorporated the stearic acid into their cell membrane, eventually de-stabilizing the membrane enough that the cell died.

First of all, this study has nothing to do with magnesium stearate. They just used the plain old stearic acid that you’d find in your beef, chocolate, or coconut oil, so this study could just as easily be used against those foods. If you’re going to be concerned about this study (which you shouldn’t be), you’d have much bigger sources of stearic acid to worry about than the magnesium stearate in your supplements.

Second, the study has nothing to do with stearic acid consumed in the diet. Under normal conditions, your T-cells are not bathed in stearic acid, even if you consume superhuman amounts of coconut oil, tallow, and cocoa butter.

Finally, the researchers used T-cells from mice, and in this case, the results cannot be applied to humans. The mouse cells incorporated stearic acid into their membranes because they lacked the ability to de-saturate fatty acids. However, human T-cells do have the ability to de-saturate fatty acids, so even if you did bathe your T-cells in stearic acid, they would be able to maintain their membrane function. (1)

In case you got lost, here’s a summary: this study has no relevance whatsoever to human consumption of magnesium stearate, I have no idea why the study is being referenced in this manner, and you shouldn’t be concerned about it.

Concerns about pesticides and GMOs

Another criticism is that because stearate is often derived from cottonseed oil, it can be contaminated with pesticides. Keep in mind that magnesium stearate is a highly purified substance, and goes through an intensive refining process before appearing in your supplements. So far, I haven’t come across any reports indicating that magnesium stearate retains substantial amounts of pesticide residue.

As for the concern that cottonseed oil is often genetically modified, the source of crude fat shouldn’t make a difference in the final form of the stearate. Stearic acid is an 18-carbon molecule with a specific chemical structure that will be the same whether the stearic acid is from a genetically modified cotton plant, a bar of Hershey’s chocolate, or a grass-fed ribeye steak.

Effect on nutrient and drug absorption

Another criticism is that magnesium stearate might inhibit nutrient absorption. One in vitro study conducted in 2007 found that tablets containing magnesium stearate dissolved more slowly than tablets without magnesium stearate when placed in artificial gastric juice. (2) The study authors concluded that in vivo studies are needed to determine whether this finding has any practical significance. However, an earlier study found that although magnesium stearate increased the time it took for a drug to dissolve, it had no effect on overall bioavailability, as evidenced by blood levels of the drug in test subjects. (3) Further, another study found that levels of magnesium stearate didn’t affect tablet dissolution at all. (4)

All of this indicates that although magnesium stearate might affect the rate of tablet dissolution in some circumstances, it doesn’t affect the overall bioavailability of the drug or supplement.


I’ve seen this claim pop up in a few places around the internet, so I’ll address it briefly. Some critics of magnesium stearate claim that it can induce formation of harmful biofilms in the intestine. This assertion appears to be based on the fact that soap scum contains magnesium and calcium stearate, so they insist that just as soap scum creates films on your sink or shower, magnesium stearate creates films on your intestines.

It should be pretty obvious that the intestinal lumen is a vastly different environment from a shower door, but some people still seem to be concerned. Rest assured, there is no conceivable reason why this would take place, and I haven’t seen a single scientific article that even hints at this possibility.


A 2012 study entitled “Magnesium stearate: an underestimated allergen” reported on a 28-year-old woman who had an allergic reaction to magnesium stearate, resulting in hives. I’m very curious about this, because an allergy to either magnesium or stearate seems highly unlikely, but unfortunately I don’t have full-text access to that study. But needless to say, if you develop hives (or another allergic response) after consuming magnesium stearate, you should probably avoid it in the future.

As a final note, a rat study determined that you’d have to take 2500mg of magnesium stearate per kilogram of bodyweight per day to start seeing toxic effects. (5) That means a 150lb person would have to consume 170,000 mg per day, which is so far beyond any amount you would encounter in supplements that it’s a non-issue.

Overall, I haven’t found scientific evidence to substantiate the claims against magnesium stearate, and the small amounts found in supplements shouldn’t be a problem for the majority of the population.

Now I want to hear from you. Were you concerned about magnesium stearate? Are you still concerned? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Charles says

    I was really concerned and confused about this. But now am comfortable because of the amount one has to take to have negative effects.
    I just bought a supplement for eye support which contains less than 2 percent of the product.

    Thanks for the info

  2. says

    is there a difference between vegetable and other types of magnesium stearate? I know mag stearate is in most pills etc that one takes. Is the vegetable type different, safer?

  3. Liz says

    When it comes to magnesium stearate in my medications this inactive ingredient is doing me more harm than good. My personality changes, I feel horrible through out the day, I cook from the inside out, things that normally doesn’t bother me, does. Look at me the wrong way I feel like ripping your head off, my husband will say to me, you have that magnesium sterate in the drug, your acting differently. We would look it up and there it is in the inactive section. Almost every drug I take has it in it, I have six medications that have it, and if I take another pill with it in there, bam! everything in my system goes crazy. My pharmacy changed the mfg of one of my medication, that one pill having it in it all of the above started to happen, I am lucky my pharmacy will order my old mfg for me. I have told my doctors this and they look at me like I am nuts, I have gone from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find mfg’s that don’t have this in their medications, but 94% of mfg use this in their production. I have read on the internet all the problems people are having with this inactive ingredient..so why allow such a thing in our food, medicines that can harm people, just to help with the production of the pill. Could this one ingredient be the cause of many problems people are having? Why would the FDA allow such a ingredient to be put out there, they should have investigated it more in my eyes, talk to people who have to take it ask them questions. Granted this might not effect some people, but the majority whom I have spoken to don’t understand why they feel so different even with medications they have been taking. I ask them look and see if the pharmacy changed mfg’s since everything is generic anymore they go with the cheapest, and yes they did and it had magnesium stearate in the mfg of the drug where the other medication didn’t…so nobody can tell me this inactive ingredient isn’t harmful.

    • JP Highwater says

      If you truly have a sensitivity to magnesium stearate, then I assume that you also do not eat chocolate, red meat, or any product containing coconut oil. All of these contain massive amounts of stearic acid. Any combination of a magnesium containing product eaten at the same time will produce magnesium stearate in your stomach through natural processes.

      I understand your concern and agree that you probably have an issue with some of your medications. One problem that I have had is that the generic meds do not work at the same level as the original brand meds for me. Don’t know why, but I suspect that it has to do with the manufacturing process of the original drug being more controlled without as many side reactions as the generics have. Yes, they are supposed to be equivalent, and in most people do react the correct way. Just not in me.

  4. Lori says

    I would expect no other stance regarding the safety of magnesium stearate. Mainly because you carry many products in your store that contain this ingredient. So of course you have to say it is safe. A company the size of Thorne Research would not go out of their way to not use it if it were harmless.

  5. Jeannette says

    I take a LOT of supplements, the little bit of this additive in each pill becomes a HUGE amount all tolled, the supplements make me ill and I think it is from this stuff!
    I wish I had pure formulas without it, I need Magnesium, but this form is not even well assimilated!

  6. Laura Ruddy says

    The only footnote you included for the in vivo study found that although magnesium stearate increased the time it took for a drug to dissolve, it had no effect on overall bioavailability, as evidenced by blood levels of the drug in test subjects. However, this was one study done at a university in 1997 and it doesn’t say how many test or control groups that were even involved. Regardless, the test results seemed inconclusive regarding bio-availibility. There is not nearly enough evidence in your article (basically one experiment done in 1997 by university students), for you to promote that magnesium sterate is safe and just as bio-available as supplements that don’t contain it.
    In a study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Technology (April, 1985), the percent dissolution for capsules after 20 minutes in solution went from 90% without stearates to 25% with stearates. In other words, stearates reduced the rate the capsule dissolved by 65%! This may result in the nutrients not dissolving in the appropriate section of the intestines as intended. We are particularly concerned about individuals with impaired digestion who may have more difficulty absorbing nutrients coated with magnesium stearate.

    • diana says

      Thankyou Laura,you give me hope that awareness about additives,and so called inactive ingredients will help Americans.To A.S.,,,I also tried to lose weight(hypothyroid too)by eliminating trans fats and gluten.I am now using a GREAT pre- and proboitic(Only use LIVE bacteria,fridgerated),and have reintroduced a slight amount of trans fat.I am not only losing weight,but dr. has lowered my synthroid.PS:any purified water should be alum(fluoride) free.This can reduce stearate buildup in tissue.

  7. Missy S says

    I was taking antidepressant, Sertraline until I suddenly started breaking out in a red hive from the jawbone down to the collar bone, which very soon after was followed by a relentless itch. Needless to say, I was taken off Sertraline and have been allowing the hives to heal.
    My Dr says that an allergy to Sertraline is rare. And that only 3 % of the population taking it ever show an allergy to the drug.
    Just wanted to share(: Thanks so much for this !!

  8. Pete says

    I’ve been told my allergy is Calcium Stearate. This is a food additive approved by FDA.

    I’m 65 and a diabetic. I Discovered the allergic reaction when eating at a local restaurant. My mouth burned from the food, my tongue went numb, then my lips and lower face. A following investigation showed the facility used ground spices from a local source. Follow up with the source indicated CS.
    Over the last Year+ I have had several more encounters Until last night. I had an increased reaction to frozen french bread pizza. The reaction extended to headache and tingling in my arms and hands.

    My greatest concern is that there is know way to predict where I will encounter this allergen.

  9. Bridget Dillon says

    very useful article thanks – I take so many supplements and they almost all have mag stearate – I was beginning to worry with all the reading I was doing, but actually this makes much more sense. My gut is so awfully sensitive, I have to avoid so many substances because of reactions, if mag stearate were an issue I’d be having problems. Thanks for the time and info, it has really put my mind at ease in a world where you can’t seem to do right for doing wrong. :)

  10. Ali says

    I have taken supplements with and without magnesium stearate. I can honestly say from my own experience that I immediately notice the effects from a supplement containing magnesium stearate.

    I did several trials on myself, and every time I took a supplement with magnesium stearate in it, I would have terrible stomach pains and irritable bowels. And when I took the exact same supplement, but one that did not contain magnesium stearate, I would feel fine.

    I did these trials for over a year. All of the supplements were from reputable supplement companies such as: Source Naturals, Rainbow Light, Jarrow formulas, Garden of Life, etc.

    The only brand that consistently does not use magnesium stearate and that I HIGHLY recommend is THORNE labs. The quality is excellent. It’s expensive but my health is worth it.

    I would love to believe this article because magnesium stearate is in SO many supplements, but my body knows best. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. Don’t argue about it, just don’t take it! I hope this helps others.

    Thanks Dr. Kresser though, for all of your hard work and excellent research. Keep up the good work. We all appreciate the time and effort you put into this website and your field. You are a very positive influence on a lot of people’s well being! Ali

    • Michele Khurana says

      I’m also a firm “disbeliever” in the harmlessness of magnesium stearate. I’ve also over the years discovered the hard way (through bouts of intense digestive discomfort) that magnesium stearate in the vitamins and supplements I was taking was a definite “no-no”.

      Dr. Kresser may be presenting correct “science” but my gut (as does yours) know the difference. I only take whole food, pure vitamins without binders and fillers like magnesium stearate…and everything is fine. Give me something with those nasty additives…and watch out! I’ll be very cranky for a couple of days as I detox. Yes, I am VERY sensitive to what I ingest; many people are. So buyer beware!

      P.S. Check out MegaFood and New Chapter brand vitamins. There supplements are all food based (so the body recognizes them as food), organic and without unnecessary additives! You’ll be happy you did!

  11. stephanie maricich says

    I hope I am not offending since my comment/question is not regarding Magnesium Stearate, but I don’t know any other way of contacting Chris and asking a question. Please forgive my using this forum to do so, and/or tell me another way to reach you Chris and pose my question.

    I am a 61 year old very disciplined, hard working woman, and I am very overweight. I gained weight during my husband’s serious illness, (not blaming him of course.) I do not eat any grains, sugar, legumes, only the tiniest bit of cheese and butter, (to cook with rarely) in addition to coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil, but no milk, and nothing processed whatsoever. Still I can’t seem to lose but a pound or so, and then have trouble keeping that off. I am not exercising a lot, walking 3 days a week, and know I need to change that, but still struggling with my husband’s health and taking care of a large and wonderful family. I am wondering about iodine deficiency? Could that be a factor or a reason I am not losing weight? If not, any way to reach you to see, if you might have some suggestions. I would be so grateful for any help. Struggling with weight is bad enough, but to try everything you know, in your power, only to fail, is debilitatingly discouraging. Thank you!

    • Kelly says

    • jules says

      I’ve been battling the bulge for years too, but I think I’ve finally figured a few things out that I’ll share with you. One possibility is iodine deficiency. It sounds like you’re eating fairly healthy, and I too being a vegan and not eating processed foods was still struggling with losing weight. I do supplement now with kelp and there’s iodine in my multi vitamin. I have read that one issue with the thyroid is that even if you’re producing normal levels of thyroid hormones, they many not function properly if you’re getting too much fluoride in your diet. This is because fluoride and iodine are similar chemically and if you’re low in iodine the fluoride will occupy the sites in the hormones where the iodine is suppose to be. It’s sorta like a key that fits into an ignition but only jams it up. There are processed foods that contain added fluoride such as white flour that is used in commercial bake goods like hamburger buns from fast food and pizza crusts. Fluoride is also found in tea, for example. I’m under the impression that you can get a fluoride test to see what your levels are, but I don’t know anything about it. It’s just something to consider because you can get your thyroid hormone levels tested and they may be “normal” but that doesn’t mean that they’re functioning properly if they’re jammed with fluoride.

      The other thing that I have found tremendous success with recently is by supplementing with pure organic sulfur crystals. What makes it difficult to lose weight, the older we get (I’m 41), is collecting fat in the abdomen as this impairs the ability of the liver to function. It’s also difficult to get an adequate amount of sulfur in the diet because industrialized agriculture and the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers have broken the sulfur cycle in the soil. Sulfur is important for more than 150 metabolic processes in the body and is necessary for the body to make glutathione a potent antioxidant that detoxifies the liver and improves fat metabolism. I take a TBSP in the morning and one again in the late afternoon – it gives me good energy too and it’s only been a month but i finally feel like my metabolism has been “reset”. I purchase it from the healthybodystore, but jarrow also sells powdered sulfur and it’s half the price tho it has some anti-caking agents. I can tell you that it tastes terribly bitter, but you get used it. It dissolves completely if you shake it up in a jar, so no weird consistency and you can drink it fairly quickly.

      I also do dandelion, milk thistle, chanca piedra and a liver herbal support formula and NAC which is a precursor to glutathione. I also very recently started supplementing with gamma linolenic acid GLA — i just put a little bit in my smoothies. It is also an antioxidant which supports fat metabolism, but I can’t report on its efficacy because it’s only been a few days that I’ve been using it.

      My other suggestion is to be sure to get an adequate amount of fiber. I’ve read that people lose more weight if they can get 30g/ day and an adequate amount of protein ~100g-120g/day (you need more as you age). I’ve found using a rice protein powder mixed with a hemp protein powder and chia seeds gives me about 1/3 of my daily protein and close to 20g of fiber in one smoothie.

      Be sure your bowel is running well before you start a liver detox. You may want to consider doing a 5 day juice cleanse with colonics and a bentonite/pectin/charcoal product to remove all the mucoid plaque off your colon and get it running optimally before you start dumping toxins from the liver. I like a product by Western Botanicals. I also like using this with the digestive stimulator tablets by Blessed Herbs during a juice cleanse.

      And finally, if you get your colon running, you might want to research detoxing with niacin. I’m about to try this cleanse next week actually, so I can’t report on it, but if you’re interested google Dr. George Yu niacin detox. The niacin busts open the fat cells and releases toxins and you take charcoal tablets to absorb the toxins. I’m going to try it while fasting for the week, but i’m a seasoned faster. I can say that you can experience “flushing” with taking niacin as it dilates the vessels, but you can buy no-flushing formulas. Anyway, niacin also has been shown to reduce LDL and increase HDL levels.

      That’s everything I can say that has worked for me to help me lose weight and I’ve tried everything.

      • Anne says

        You’re absolutely right about the sulfur. I put 100% sulfur powder (MSM) into empty “00” capsules. I make my own supplements. I’ve never had Arthritis or RA and I’m 61 years old. I don’t have a weight problem either. Sulfur is a major mineral that needs to be replaced in our bodies daily. Most of us don’t replace it. That’s why we have so many illnesses.

    • Mandi says

      Do some research on micro organiams in your gut. Read the book The Microbiome Diet by Raphael Kellman. Heal your gut and you will start to loose weight.

  12. Jill says

    I am allergic to mag steartate – if any new supplement has any in it (company sends wrong product and I forgot to douyble check label) I have thobbing fingernail within hours. My nail will whiten, get very sore and come loose at that area. I could be a tester. This is based on 30 years of trial and error. I was mis diao’d so many times. Believe me – I know what causes it.

    • John Madrid says

      I avoid supplements that contain magnesiu stearate. I have discover on my own that even when the supplement seems to be a great formula, but contains magnesium stearate, that ruins it for me. magnesium stearate works against my imune system.
      I don’t believe anyone that claims it is harmless, at least for me personally.

    • Ali says

      Thorne Labs is an excellent supplement brand. None of their supplements contain magnesium stearate. Research this company. Everything they make is high quality. It’s more expensive, but as the saying tends to go: “You get what you pay for!” I have used almost all of their supplements and I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my overall immune system, skin, nails, sleep, energy! Hope this helps you.

      • ACF says

        hi Ali
        I researched Thorne Labs and even though they don’t use Magnesium stearate they do use soy which I have been told to avoid as some people are allergic to it as well…so what to do?

    • says

      iam struggling from past one month by kind of chest pain ,kind of paralysis by using supplements kind of megnisium sterate iam just 27 is there any possible to recover from that

  13. AS says

    I am a hypothyroid patient and I am trying to find a good probiotic to help me and I am trying to lose weight though with hypothyroidism, it is difficult. Please Craig can you tell me what will assist me with losing my muffin top and the best probiotic to take.

    • Lori says

      To: As
      The two things that have helped me more than anything in healing my hypothyroid condition have been drinking good quality Reverse osmosis, filtered water that contains no chlorine, chloramines or fluoride. Those things all sit on the iodine receptors of our cells blocking the iodine needed for our thyroid. Incidentally, bromide that is used in most white flours also blocks iodine for the same reason. I wish I could afford to have a whole house filter so I wouldn’t have to bathe in un-filtered tap water. All those things are also absorbed through the skin and have negative effects on the thyroid.

      The other miracle has been going gluten-free. I’ve lost a total of 50 pounds in past 2 -years and have been able to reduce my levothyroxine 6 times now. Two years ago was taking 200 mcg. Now only taking 100 mcg. In two months, when I go in for follow-up lab testing to check this new dosage, I’ll probably be told I need to reduce dosage again. I’m hoping my thyroid will continue to respond and heal until I no longer need the levothyroxine at all.

      Hope that helps.

  14. Heather says

    Question: I cannot take any medicine in pill form without having severe muscle pain and fatigue and general malaise. I don’t understand what it could be. Only common factor seems to be the Mag Stearate. So why else if mag stearate is so safe would I be dealing with all these issues? I can handle medicine in liquid form generally just fine.

  15. Susan says

    I am going to be taking supplements to detox heavy metals, and unfortunately I don’t have a choice. All detox brands contain mag stearate, kind of disappointing. There’s not a lot of choice.
    I’m also going to need to take a lot of nutritional supplements. One is Vit C. Wondering if anyone knows Vit C high dose supplements that do not contain GMO fillers.

    • Craig says

      All detox supplements do not contain magnesium stearate. Thorne research has some great metal, liver detox supplement and Thorne uses no stearate’s of any kind. Also pure encapsulation does not use any stearate’s. Both have detox supplements.

      • Susan says

        Thank you for your replies.

        I am taking DMSA and ALA from Living Supplements. They seem to be the most recommended brand for people who have gone through the Cutler detox protocol.

    • Shawn says

      Hi Susan: I’m sorry you need to detox from heavy metals. You state: I am going to be taking supplements to detox heavy metals, and unfortunately I don’t have a choice. All detox brands contain mag stearate.

      First, as Craig pointed out, not all detox products contain magnesium stearate. Second, you are seeking a Heavy Metal detox. Magnesium Stearate has nothing to do with heavy metals and in no way impacts the detox process of heavy metals.

      So relax and do your detox. Remember, stress is the most damaging function regarding out health.

    • Ramin says

      Hi! (Thorne research )is the company to go for! They have very good vitamin C 500mg and 1g. Their products do not have mag Stearate and they are very high quality .I hope this helps.

    • Karen says

      All my supplements except one are by Thorne. Their products are easily absorbed and have no fillers..

    • Ali says

      One of the best ways to detox is juicing dandelion greens, garlic, celery, parsley and lemon. All organic is best if you can. Also, if you can find Raw, freeze dried stinging nettle. It’s an excellent supplement that can help you detox and does a variety of other beneficial things to the body. Also, THORNE labs is an excellent company. I don’t work for them, but I wish I did. I should own stock in them by now because I buy so much of their stuff! Hope this helps.

  16. Alex says

    While I agree with most of the article, the section ‘Concerns about pesticides and GMOs’ is incorrect. It depends on the type of Magnesium stearate used, either ‘Food Grade’ or ‘Pharmaceutical Grade’. Either one allows impurities, with ‘Food Grade’ allowing the most, but of the ‘safe’ variety.
    The FDA and EPA allow pesticide residue in foods. As you can see from here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ChemicalContaminantsMetalsNaturalToxinsPesticides/default.htm

    The FDA publishes ‘non-binding’ guidance. This means pesticides will be found in abundance. Especially in GMO crops because they go hand-in-hand with pesticides. (Why would you purchase Monstanto seeds and NOT purchase their pesticide?).

    So that’s the issue. The FDA and EPA allows pesticide residue. Food Grade allows, I believe over 3% contamination, and Pharmaceutical Grade .3% contamination. Your article glosses over these things.

  17. Tracey Brogan says

    I have chronic idiopathic angioedema, one of my biggest triggers is this. I can’t take any meds with it in it.

  18. Elsie says

    Chris hi,

    I wondered if you had more recent updates to your reassuring and balanced observations, for MAg Stearate? Thank you.

  19. KDavies says

    Thank you for posting this information. Yep – I am working hard on my health and needful of supplements – and discovered that most include this controversial ingredient. I’d fallen into the “hysteria” promoted by various sources to cast a fear of this ingredient, It appeared that every time I found a formula that fit my need and budget – there was that darned ingredient! Today, I finally googled and found your review – I’m familiar with your reviews thankfully and have developed a good level of trust in your opinion. Thank you for dispelling, once again, a myth promoted for no good reason. Thank you for doing these reviews and for making them available for reading!

    • Pam says

      Total ditto. I get Craig’s emails and have read enough to know he backs what he states with hard science, not myth and hysteria or publishing info based on trials not carried out correctly. I too take a number of specialty ingredient supplements I believe in from a source highly rated, but which uses ms in over half of the ones I take. Had only recently heard about ms concerns and was so glad to have someone trusted like Chris able to honestly debunk the false concerns.

  20. prema says

    Thank-you Kris…I have the utmost respect for you so I am thrilled with this article….I take many supplements and it seems that about 65% of them have magnesium stearate so I was going a bit nuts. When I can and also afford to I may try to find more supplements without this additive. Again however you cured my hysteria. I do have a question. Is magnesium stearate an excitotoxin?

    • chester says

      William,you are correct about the US Gov. and FDA not doing anything without the support of US citizens.The FDA does have pages of dangerous products,and is pleading for input from citizens to enable funding so they can take action.Comparing naturally occuring stearate and magnesium to that which has been processed and then added is flawed logic.The body will NOT absorb it the same.

  21. Gina says

    Hi, I am currently looking for vitamin C and Iron supplements to help with my Nickel allergy. Most of these supplements have magnesium stearate in the ingredients. Would it be right to assume that magnesium stearate would contain nickel due to the refining process?

    • MR PALEO says

      Hi Gina,
      You can get pure sodium ascorbate powder from NOW Foods… and women should use an amino-acid chelate for their iron… but I would also recommend you include folic acid, B-6, B-12, D-3, and K-2.

      • diana says

        Mr.Paleo,what is your opinion on the absorbsion of prescription meds/ w/ mag stearato and doixides for a person intolerant to processed minerals.That is why I have continued to seek converse on this website.To educate myself and others.I also wonder if you would care to explain about how dangerous the silent killer nickel can be Chester has named some professions which cause exposure to toxic metals,but he left out beauty salon workers,tool and dye employees,dental assistants,and pest control.I respect YOUR input,Thankyou as always for your help to myself and others.

          • diana says

            Thankyou Mr.Paleo,that’s elmost the answer I’m looking for but the real question is the affect on the absorbtion rate of important meds w/ms and dioxides?

            • MR PALEO says

              Diana, I would suggest you do a Google scholar search… all I vaguely remember is reading something about certain additives POSSIBLY interfering with proper absorption of micronutrients…

              • diana says

                There are no professionals willing or able to provide information on the affect of stearates,doixides,and other processed mineral additives

                • diana says

                  Woops wifi went down .To finnish my statement,the only advice is to avoid these additives.My only option is to purchase the vital meds from other countries.I am already spending $468.00 on the most important meds because my insurance won’t cover the premium products that contain the full amount of medication without additives.I am already not using a vital med ( antispasmatic) because it I not available free of additives.The mini brain strokes are what has caused the total lack of feeling in my feet and hands,which I recently developed w/new toxic issue few months back.Not happy with this situation.Any advice from anyone at this polnt would be appreciated.Sorry about e-mail thing,but I have my reasons.

      • Milla says

        Folic acid or folate? folic acid is synthetic form of folate and isn’t received very well by ppl with MTHFR mutations.

        • diana says

          Milla,I eat alot of raw folate,just planted my spinach and amaranth(I eat mostly red lettuce in winter)don’t want to overdo it ,or I spend too much time in bathroom.I only use prescription folic acid and B-12 inj.to follow drs. orders or insurance has fits.Still too anemic.Can’t stop body from dumping minerals.Got any suggestions?As always I thank everyone for advice.

          • Catherine says

            Diana, have you looked into BlackStrap Molasses to help with anemia? It might be worth a look. I have a close friend who is experiencing success, over time, taking a spoonful a day.

            • diana says

              Catherine,Though I’m greatful for the advice,the high heat involved in processing makes me concerned about all that iron.As with oils,cold processed products retain the bonded proteins.Since the anemia was caused by metal poisoning,I don’ t think I would metabolize any of those great minerals.I use agave cactus powder and clover honey,and they work very well in my recipes.Exellent idea though,for those with iron deficient anemia.Have you tried amaranth flour?

          • Karen says

            Hi Diana,
            Not sure what your medical history is, if you have any chronic conditions, but I know that copper and ceruloplasmin levels affect iron intake and utilization in the body. Ceruloplasmin is the enzyme responsible for moving iron molecules across cellular membranes in humans. My sister had a gastric bypass 20 years ago and had developed copper deficiency which resulted in persistent anemia, unresponsive to iron intake. Please note that she is a gastric bypass patient. I am not suggesting taking copper without proper guidance of a physician! It can be dangerous to do so. Just saying that it might be worth checking into as a possible missing link…

            Best of luck and guidance!

  22. Alabama Independent says

    All I want to know, is there anything out there which can give me some relieve from Tinnitus. I’m 70 years old, and told that my age, plus medications taken over the years, had attributed to my Tinnitus which I’ve had for a little over a year. I’m willing to try anything, except what is obvious a scam.

    • Anne says

      Sometimes Tinnitis is due to muscle spasms. Take 1 Valium for 3 days in a row. Then stop. You don’t want to become addicted.

    • Tom says

      For tinnitus try iodine. My favorites are Detoxadine and LL:s Magnetic Clay Nascent Iodine. Take only in morning and start with 1 drop a day 5 days a week. This should give you more energy too. Bottle says 3 drops a day, but this could detox some people to fast and make body uncomfortable. Let us know how you make out. All the best to you. God Bless

    • diana says

      Gina,You should know that when your body decides something is toxic(I.e.nickel)it may not only dump that, but any other mineral,including supplements,and as with me 3 times now,all minerals,including bonded with protien.I am just recovering from third round.white blood cell count is finally lowering( you might think you’re having allergies)red blood cells are still irregular shaped,but no longer banded w/blue rings.I am avoiding ALL nonbonded minerals,using cortisone,zyrtec liquidgel,and receiving steroid shots.Also B12 and as Mr. Paleo advises folic acid I would only recomend prescription products though,as regulation is nonexistant for otc supplements.Good Luck.And get strong again!Does anyone else think they may be having an intolerance issue related to minerals?I would like to hear from others.I was a fool to suffer in silence.Thank You Chris this is becoming quite informative for many people.

      • says


        Folic Acid is Synthetic, do Not take it.
        Take “Folate” only..
        Many people are allergic to Folic Acid, and do not know it, but there Not allergic to , Folate.

        Mr. Paleo,
        Grapefruits are not a good idea, as many people do take some types of Meds, and Grapefruits will Cancel there Meds out, or it can make it stronger..

        The FDA is paid by Big Pharma. Very Scary indeed.

        Organic food is Medicine.

        • MR PALEO says

          I am well aware of the contraindications of consuming grapefruit for certain individuals who are taking certain meds, it is my job to know these things… I was answering a general question with a general answer… people need to take responsibility when they take medications, whether “over the counter”, or prescription… and this applies to supplements, as well…

    • Karen says

      Dear Alabama Independent,

      Have you had your vitamin B levels and folic acid levels checked? I read up this year on the effects of the “Busy B’s” and was both amazed and distressed at how much these vitamins are responsible for!! I remember tinnitus being one of the symptoms for one of the vitamins. Many people may be subclinically deficient in these, resulting in a wide range of symptoms, from headaches, irritability, brain for, neuropathies, insomnia, fatigue, and much more. Google “The Vitamin Page”?
      As we age, our liver/bodies have a harder time keeping up with nutrients. Also, some medications block the effects of folic acid and certain B vitamins…so, you can become deficient in the sense that while you may have these nutrients, they make not be working so well. Please research these vitamins, as I believe a lot of older people are probably mildly deficient (or more!), and it can definitely wreak havoc over the years! Also, check your vitamin D levels….also, commonly low in people and should definitely be supplemented with D3 as needed!

      Best of Luck and Guidance!

    • Liz says

      Tinnitus is something I’ve dealt with since I was 67, am now 74. I don’t know of supplements for it, but have a couple of tips. First, get a sound machine to at least use at night for sleeping. I used one for about the first year or two. Then I began using a simple little mental technique and was able to get rid of the sound machine. I began pretending the sound in my head was the surf, or the wind in the trees, sounds that I liked. Then I learned to not pay any attention to the sound (thinking about other things instead) and it thus seemed to greatly diminish. Now the only time it is bothersome is when I start “listening” to it and wishing for the quiet old days. So my advice? Ignore it by doing the graduation of steps I’ve described. You’ll get there. I’m now a happy person again.

  23. Craig says

    Magnesium Stearate it one of those compounds that you don’t need added to your supplement. Why? Because it effects the time at which the supplement can be broken down. Why would you want to add something to a supplement that effects how long the supplement takes to dissolve. Magnesium stearate when added to a supplement reduces the rate the capsule dissolves by 65%! This may result in the nutrients not dissolving in the appropriate section of the intestines as intended. I would be particularly concerned about individuals with impaired digestion who may have more difficulty absorbing nutrients coated with magnesium stearate.

    Also with any additive such as magnesium stearate you have to worry about whether it came from a clean source, is there any contamination? Stearates are made by hydrogenating cottonseed or palm oil. Cottonseed oil has the highest content of pesticide residues of all commercial oils; cotton crops are heavily sprayed. Also, In the hydrogenation process, the oil is subjected to high heat and pressure in the presence of a metal catalyst for several hours, creating a hydrogenated saturated fat. the metal catalyst used in the hydrogenation process may also contaminate the stearates produced. In December 2011 The World Health Organization reported that several batched of magnesium stearate were cross contaminated with zeolite (sodium aluminum silicate), calcium hydroxide, dibenzoylmethane, bisphenol A and Irganox 1010. While some of these substances may not be harmful, as is the case with zeolite, others are known to be harmful, such as bisphenol A (BPA). Here is the link, http://apps.who.int/prequal/info_press/documents/Mg-Stearate_InformationNote_Dec2011.pdf

    Bottom line is can Magnesium Stearate it inhibit the uptake of vitamins and minerals? Of course it can, if it takes your intestines 65% longer to break down the material, than it will almost definitely prevent the body from absorbing 100% of all the vitamins and minerals in that capsule, especially in certain individuals that may not have the healthiest of intestines. And why would you want to take a supplement with the possibility of contamination, when it can be avoided? I for one would rather take a supplement with no stearates added for the simple fact that I have no idea where that stearate was manufactured, and I also have no idea if the company I buy my supplements from batch tests their stearates for contamination. And I don’t need anything added to my supplement that will only make it harder, and take a longer period of time for my body to break down this hydrogenated fatty acid before it can get to the supplement that I actually want in my body, right? It only makes sense. So I would suggest to anyone to stay clear of any stearate for the simple reason its not put in the supplement for you, its put in the supplement to make it easier for the company to manufacture the product, and so the company can make more money. Can supplements be manufactured without stearates, absolutely. So when I go to buy a supplement I look for supplements with no additives, and I think its a good rule of thumb…

    • says

      Hi Craig
      I like what you said and do you know any company that sells vitamins without Magnesium Stearate and other additives that are of no use. I would rather buy from them as I have looked at all mine and they all have them in even though they are phamaceutical manufactured.
      With thanks

      • Craig says

        Hi Joan, yes there are several companies that do not use Magnesium Stearate. Thorne research is one of them, and i like their stance on Stearates too, here is a link to there website: https://thorne.com/purity-and-quality/thornes-commitment-to-purity . Mercola generally does not use any stearates, although he has a calcium stearate in his joint formula, however that is the only one of his supplements that have any stearates in them, and the quality of his supplements are exceptional: http://shop.mercola.com/catalog/supplements,4,0,0.htm. Also Dr Ron does not use any stearates either. Dr Ron also has some exceptional supplements, great company and great guy: http://www.drrons.com/ Those are three manufacturers you can check out and they are not arranged in any order from best to worst. they are all equally great supplement suppliers with great products.

    • Susan Wesley says

      Thanks for info on magnesium stearate! I remember that Dr.Mercola spoke against it & I’ve told others,one lady said,”You need magnesium,but I told her not magnesium stearate,so I usually watch what I take! I’ve seen products w/vegtable magnesium stearate,is that ok or not? Thanks,Sue

      • Craig says

        I would stay away from any stearate’s. Again it’s not the stearic acid in a stearate that makes it bad, that is what is very deceiving about this article. I usually like what Chris says, but in this article he is acting as if you can just take a syringe and suck stearic acid out of any food no problem. That is not the case, it’s the intense processing, metal catalyst, and the hydrogenation process that makes stearate’s so bad. And the fact that they come from a vegetable source makes absolutely no difference whether it be a GMO cotton , or a cocoa bean. Stearate’s are added for hungry encapsulating machines, and their not made for you. They are a trans fat and will definitely effect the capsules dissolving rate, and that why I never buy a supplement with a stearate in it.

    • Le bon vivant says

      Hi, I think we should be careful before going all out against Magnesium Stearate. The article presented here has made some good and relevant points.
      Anyone who shouts loud against Magnesium Stearate does not do it necessarily for the sake of your health but may also do it to show that their products are superior to competition therefore you should buy from them.
      I am not disputing the fact that some people are allergic or react negatively to Magnesium Stearate. The same way as aspirin is a life saver for some but other cannot tolerate it.
      Just want to make 2 points:
      1) Before going ballistic about 65% increase in time it takes to break down, we need to consider other factors that make a supplement efficient.
      The paramount factor in efficiency is called Bio availability i.e. what percentage of what you take is usable, absorbed , available for the body to use.
      If it is proven that Magnesium Stearate does not make a difference to the bio availability of the supplement, then the 65% increase in time to break down DOES NOT MATTER.
      What counts in a supplement is not the time it takes to get to work but the bio availability, that is fact and no one can dispute that.
      Bio availability and break down time are not correlated in anyway.
      2) Is the amount of Magnesium Stearate in the supplement significant enough be absorbed and do long term damage to your health? What is the percentage of Magnesium Stearate in your supplement?
      Since Stearic acid (also called Octadecanoic Acid) is one of the most common long-chain fatty acids, found in both natural animal and vegetable fats, one cannot say with certainty that they never consume Stearic acid from the food they eat everyday.
      In conclusion, if Magnesium Stearate does not work for you, stay away from it. If you can afford supplements that don’t have it, good for you.
      For those who cannot find supplement without Magnesium Stearate, don’t be scared by marketing tactics of certain people who also have their own agenda. Just be sure that your supplement is from an ethical manufacturer who can prove claims they make about their products, have a verified quality control process.

  24. Kathy says

    Found your article on Magesium Stearate to be very interesting. Your article did not specifically state the difference between synthetic magnesium or vegetable sourced magnesium. Do you feel there is not a signicant difference or health advantage of using one source over the other? Would you consider the supplement with the vegetable sourced additive worth the substantially higher cost? Also could you please address the issue of synthetic magnedium stearate interfering with absorption of the vitamin or herb?
    Kindest regards,

    • Anne says

      It’s like spraying Pam on your cooking untensils and pans to keep them from sticking.. That’s why I just make my own vitamins and supplements from powdered herbs, vegetable powders, fruit powders, MSM, etc. Google: “How to make your own vitamins & supplements.”

      • diana says

        Way to go Anne!You rock!Like chocolate,foods that naturally contain magnesium stearate bonded to the protein is well absorbed.I don’t even buy black pepper, I just dry mexican reds,and crush them.Everything from seasoning to teas( except salt)can be easily dried.I clean and dry everything from strawberries to walnuts.Just started even sliced mushrooms.For baking I even like to osterize my favorite grains(I prefer oats and buckwheat.I like to throw in nuts too,for added flavor(never peanuts though)and whatever you think will enhance your recipe.My new motto…Let’s Make America Strong Again!

  25. William says

    Who made Shawn the moderator for this article? All he does is discredit and complain about what other people think and feel. Please don’t listen to this bully and make your own educated decision as to whether Magnesium stearate is right for you. He’s never walked a day in your shoes and has no empathy for anyone – APPARENTLY. I’m sorry for those that are suffering and I hope that you find answers in your quest towards better health. Good luck!

    • diana says

      William,thanks for your support.Have you noticed that there are too many toxins in American processed foods and hygeine products.?This was an issue for me ALL of my life,and only a fool would not consider the carsinogenous impact it is having on our population.Canada and European Specialty stores are good places to perchase the few products one needs prepared for them.If enough people wise up,the American companies may also…Have you tried michigan based Loving Spoon?Excellent product line.Let’s get this country strong again!

    • diana says

      William,thanks for your support.Have you noticed that there are too many vitamins added to American processed foods ?This was an issue for me ALL of my life,and one should consider the carcinogenic impact it is having on our population.Canada(we shop there often) and European Specialty stores are good places to purchase the few products one needs prepared for them.If enough people wise up,the American companies may also…Have you tried michigan based Loving Spoon?Excellent product line.Let’s get this country strong again! I’d really like to thank Chris for allowing these issues to be discussed.Magnesium is important in your foods,just not as an additive to boost the nutrition panel!

      • diana says

        Sorry about unedited version,went to steep my tea(dried chamomile)and cat likes to play online.Didn’t notice his contribution til today.

    • Shawn says

      LOL! I have never once discredited what anyone claims to be experiencing. I have no reason to doubt them. What I do have problems with are when folks paint with too broad strokes. Chris provided a well balanced, unbiased article, setting the example for all to follow. Instead, some folks find it necessary to stridently claim that Magnesium Stearate is a horrible thing and that because believe they had a bad experience that everyone is in horrible danger. That’s just ridiculous and unrealistic. People come here to learn so there needs to be balance. As a long time educator I have no problem providing balance when people feel the need to emote about the subject matter instead of rationally discussing it. Every person I have ever known would gladly tell you that if anything I am the prototypical anti-bully. The point of my posts is to counter what I see as bullying behavior, and you have now demonstrated that behavior as well. Think about it.

  26. stefania says

    When I take something that has magnesium stearate my heart starts beating really fast, my chest starts feeling tight, and I get pain in my left arm. I was seriously concerned last night. I am 36 in good health. The first time I experienced this I had taken Dayquil and happen to be at a scheduled doctors appointment when it kicked in. My heart was beating so rapidly and hard the doctor wanted me to get all sorts of tests. I started taking MSM and Biotin with MS in it and had this familiar episode once more. The common link is MS.I now know this stuff is bad…at least for me.

    • Shawn says

      Hi Stefania. Thank you for sharing your experience. Your post prompted some thoughts I want to share with you.
      First: Dayquil does not contain Magnesium Stearate, but it does contain Pseudoephedrine HCL which is well known for causing rapid pulse and heartbeat. I know it makes me feel like my heart is going to beat out of my chest and literally hurts.

      It’s hard to say why you experienced these symptoms while taking the supplements you mentioned, but panic attacks can cause these same symptoms, and if you were predisposed to expect problems, you could have easily triggered them yourself.

      Just some things to think about.

      • MR PALEO says


        Although I have (now) reservations about Mg stearate, I would agree with Shawn about “panic attacks” as a possibility…. most people are unaware that panic attacks are often hypoglycemic events…

    • diana says

      I had nickel poisoning 9 years ago.I cannot use deodorant ,any cosmetics,sulfates,plastics etc…I eat only whole fresh food and bake my own bread.Still I must have spinal taps,MRIs and transfusions.The anemia is still killing me because of magnesium in the medications I need to stay alive.You call this wholesome?

      • MR PALEO says

        I have several questions for you, if you don’t mind…
        You can contact me thru my profile on LinkedIn.

        Arnold Wiseman (MR PALEO)

        • diana says

          Mr. Paleo, I,’m judjing from your user name,that you are alteady living wholesome.BELIEVE IT OR NOT,friends and family are amazed at my current health.Just bear in mind that I’m out to speak to those less enlightened,PS don’tforget to check processing,not just ingredients.I.E.cold processing for oils…Thanks ,and I hope my answers to shawn have answered your questions.

      • Shawn says

        Wow, I am sorry to read about your misfortune. I was wondering how you get the many critical “metals” in your diet. Magnesium, for instance:

        Magnesium is one of the seven essential macro minerals (requiring greater than or equal to 100mg/day).

        Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body including the metabolism of food and synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. Magnesium is involved in neuromuscular transmission and activity and muscle relaxation. Magnesium deficiency, especially prevalent in older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.

        Large doses of magnesium can cause a loss in central nervous system control and paralysis. Those with renal (kidney) insufficiency should not take magnesium supplements. It is very unlikely for a healthy person to reach magnesium toxicity.

        I spent nearly thirty minutes searching the web for anything that indicated that too much, or even the wrong type of magnesium being implicated in the causes of anemia. Based on what I read, I believe you have a faulty understanding of anemia. Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. There are around 400 things that can cause anemia, but magnesium, especially in the minuscule amounts found in supplements.

        Your final sentence is baffling. I found no place where Chris’ article, or any of the over 400 posts in this thread have ever stated that Magnesium Stearate is wholesome. Magnesium, yes, Magnesium Stearate, never. Even I, who has defended Magnesium Stearate, has stated that it would be nice if supplements did not have extra, possibly questionable for some people, ingredients in them. The fact is that for over 30 years Magnesium Stearate has proven itself to be harmless for the large majority of the population. I feel for anyone that actually has a reaction to anything found in supplements or medications, but feel there is no reason for the majority of the population to unnecessarily worry.

        You are doing well to eat only whole fresh foods and baking your own bread… if you are using healthy ingredients to make it. Best of luck to you.

        • diana says

          Shawn,wow you hit quite a few nails on the head,concerning the issues I now face.I would first like to say I only want help others.I stood silent about where and how this nickel situation happened,because co-workers who needed the good pay and health insurance begged me to.I was born anemic and lactose intolerant.Others got sick,smokers diabetics,etc…I was hit hard.I’m currently unable to process any minerals not bonded with protein.I survived the kidney failure,lymphoma,(though I blow-out lymph glands now and then)The nerve disorder is cystic nerve fibrosis,sclerosis was also on the money,add arthritis, stenosis and irregular sized red blood cells with 10%banded in blue rings.I’d have replied sooner, but today was another rough one.PS-did you check your hygiene products? here in michigan there is so much floride naturally occuring in tap water that we’re only supposed to drink one glass a day if we brush teeth 3times a day.funny thing when in elementary school ,dentist would come to school to guilt parents into floride treatments.WELIVEANDLEARN(hopefully)Thanks again,these discussions are important.

    • chester says

      You should discuss the affects of magnesium stearate on those have previously suffered metal poisoning.I gave advice to a fireman,autoworker,and dentist.Of the three two are eating only whole foods and using care choosing hygeine products,and are healthier.The other eats frozen meals and pops handsful of vitamins.The difference is staggering.They were unaware they had a toxic issue.Please allow this message to help others.THANKYOU!

      • Shawn says

        I spent quite a bit of time reading about “metal poisoning” and found no evidence of any links to vitamin and mineral supplementation except in cases of huge overdoses. It is very nearly impossible to take enough supplements to get enough magnesium stearate to reach overdose levels as it only occurs in minuscule amounts. Of note, copper, iron, tin and zinc were the only metals listed that are regularly found in supplements. Iron and Zinc are the most likely to be ingested in large enough amounts for poisoning, but the event would be via a large dose, and not something that can build up over time (that last part was a surprise to me).

        It is important to note that almost anything we ingest can be toxic if we get to much of it. Much is made of the fact that we cannot survive over approximately 72 hours without water. Did you know you can die from ingesting too much water?

        I would surely hope that people eating only whole foods would be healthier than those eating frozen foods and taking vitamins to fill in the gaps. That just seems like common sense.

        • diana says

          Shawn,thanks for taking an interest in metal poisoning.I’m afraid my brevity my have made some things unclear.The nickel poisoning occured at work over a 15 year period.I have always been athletic and preferred natural food,clothing,and an outdoor lifestyle.The simpler the better.The only vitamins I use are prescription folic acid and B-12 injections(once a week).All the other nutrients are in the foods I eat.A snack for me is a tomato,red lettuce and a bowl of grapes. I use mousse instead of frosting when I bake a cake.I slather coconut oil on a few times a day I grow my own seasonings.I hope this clarifies things.Thanks again for caring!PS you do not want to know the medical conditions caused by nickel (comprapable to mercury and radiation) that cause the need for serious medications.pharmaceutical companies keep sneaking in ms to allow them to use less real medicine.

    • Priscilla says

      Chris thank you for the article I have been reading about magnesium sterate(ms) being toxic to the body for me it is I find that anything I take that has it causes my blood pressure to elevate I do not have high blood pressure also for me I don’t absorb any supplements coated with it so I have stopped since last year taking anything with it which is a difficult task most everything uses it

      • Brad says

        For many people magnesium stearate doesn’t seem to be a problem, but for some on this post/thread it seems to be a big problem at times.

        I try to avoid it.

        I try to get all of my vitamins organic and not processed with things like MS. I use the ‘Kind’ brand, and I know there are others like it.

        It may be part of a bigger problem. Many supplements are processed on machines that are also used to process other stuff so there is the possibility of contamination. For example, any supplement that is processed on a machine that is also used to process peanuts must have a warning label. I think that goes for any food. Some people have a severe allergy to peanuts, and even if the machines are supposed to be cleaned between each run, the warning label must be there.

        So, I’m thinking that, even if it’s not magnesium stearate, the fact that it has magnesium stearate on the label is the warning that you need to go by and not worry about the science.

        One thing they use in science a lot to determine if there is something present is the presence of something else that is easier to measure. For example, the presence of certain antibodies means that the body is reacting to a certain condition.

        You don’t have to be apologetic (I don’t know if you are). If the label says it has magnesium stearate and you have a bad reaction, no matter what the root cause, if you stay away from supplements labeled with it, and you feel better, there’s your answer.

        • diana says

          Thankyou Brad.The only way to find out if metal toxicity is the cause of bad reactions to mineral supplements is lymph biopsy,spinal bone marrow sample,and bone core samples.These are procedures done only in severe cases.Don’t ignore your bodies signals like I allowed my doctors to.?My bone core samples were taken without anesthesia because of the severity of my condition.Shawn,laughing out loud is a little demented maybe?

      • chester says

        Priscilla.even if you know of no obvious reason for your body to go on the defensive,one may exist.Buildings with flat metal roofs are now being Apexed,because of a variety of health issues.

    • Sonya Stevens says

      I had a hard time finding a calcium supplement that doesn’t have magnesium stearate in it. The only one I could find is Walmart brand calcium. I can not take anything that has Magnesium Stearate in it. My joints hurt so bad I can hardly walk. My son is the same way.

      • Anne says

        Sounds like you have a sulfur loss. Sulfur is one of the major minerals in the body; As we age we lose sulfur. Sounds as if you need MSM. I buy 100% MSM powder and put into empty capsules. I make my own so I know what I’m getting. Google: “How to make your own vitamins & supplements.”

        Or, if you have water or fluid buildup on your knees? That’s painful!!! Just buy a box of “Laci Super Dieter’s Tea.” Rite Aide Pharmacy has it. Drink 1 cup a day for 4 days then stop. It will flush out the toxic fluid from your joints. You will urinate the fluid right out. It’s good for detoxifying your joints. It works better than having a Dr. inject a large needle into your knees then drawing the fluid out.

      • Bruce says

        Sonya, I have the same joint pain issue as do my father and son. My mom and wife tolerate it fine. I just try to use only supplements and medications without a hard pill. Most hard tablets contain MS. If you must use a medication with a hard tablet, try to get the smallest one possible. I believe the MS is directly proportional to the size of the tablet.

    • Le bon vivant says

      Hi, I am sorry for the experience that you had. I am of he view that you might have concluded too early that the cause of your ills was MS.
      Stearic acid (also called Octadecanoic Acid) is one of the most common long-chain fatty acids, found in both natural animal and vegetable fats, known also by its structural description of being an 18-carbon chain fatty acid (18:0) with a chemical structure of C36H70MgO4.
      Magnesium stearate is a combination of stearic acid and the essential mineral magnesium. These are ingredients that no one can claim to have never indigested through the food eaten every day.
      In the light of this, there are many factors that could have contributed to your ills, so it’s best to try and pinpoint the problem.
      Please explore these possibilities before you make a definitive conclusion:
      1) It could be that your supplement was contaminated with something else not mentioned on the label.
      2) Do you experience the same thing when you consume Coconut oil or chocolate? these also contain MS
      3) Have you tried the same supplement from another manufacturer and experienced the same thing?
      4) Have you tried to find out from the manufacturer what percentage of MS is in that supplement?
      5) What is the real cause of your reaction, is it the Stearic acid or the Magnesium( very very unlinkely).

  27. Sumer says

    Thank Chris! I’ve grown to trust your depth of research and opinions. I’m super busy with a full time job, 2 kids, and nursing school. I truly appreciate your efforts to keep us well informed and to separate fact from fiction. Maybe one day when I am a functional practitioner (my ultimate goal) I can pay it forward. Thanks again.

  28. Karen B says

    Don’t forget that magnesium stearate is an ingredient usually that is synthetic that your body does not know how to break down. It is a processed substance so anytime it is used, will be taxing on your body. The plant based MS is questionable only because you do not know the source it came from and how much it was processed. MS is used to help keep the herbs from clogging up and sticking to the machines the herb was produced on. Only MS that comes directly naturally from a plant itself minus any pesticides would be the one I would consume. I don’t think this substance has been around long enough for any real concrete studies to prove its safety. Each product consumed would also be different.

    • Shawn says

      Sigh… Karen, if you had bothered to carefully read Chris’ article and many of the posts below you would not have posted this response. Most of what you say comes out rather nonsensical, especially in the light of those who use well reasoned responses. Magnesium Stearate has been in our food, medications and supplements for over 30 years. Take that into consideration with everything pointed out by Chris and you have a substance that has been proven quite definitively to be safe as it has and is currently being used. Over the years, the only way certain substances that we now know to be a problem were identified was because they were being used, not because of any studies that were done. By the same token, substances like Magnesium Stearate are not necessary when more expensive processes are used. Personally, if I find two supplements with the same amount and kind of active ingredient(s), and one of them is additive free, and at a similar price point, I will purchase the additive free version. I also use a water filter for the gallon or so that I drink every day.

  29. Terry says

    Hi all. First time here. Sorry if this has been asked in any of the numerous previous posts. I’m taking quite a few supplements with mag stearate. I’m wondering…is it OK to cut the capsule and shake the ingredients out? A lot of my supps have a powder in them. Most are to be taken with water. So could I just add the supp ingredients to water and drink it?? Or could this cause harm somehow or other? Thank you for any replies>

    • Terry says

      Sorry for my post below. I had assumed the mag stearate was in the shell of the pill. Did some more reading after posting. Apparently it’s mixed in with the ingredients. So cutting the shell and shaking out the powder it contains doesn’t make sense I guess. Sorry to waste people’s time.

  30. Jonijumpup says

    Just out of curiosity, are the empty capsules or gel-caps themselves likely to contain any magnesium stearate?

  31. Jacquie Littlejohn says

    Hi Chris I found this site because I believe I am allergic to magnesium stearate. Over the past year, by a process of elimination, this ingredient appears to be the only common ingredient to the supplements that have produced my hives.

    • Laurie says

      I too have found that I have health affects – skin reactions and asthma – to supplements that contain magnesium stearate. I do not seem to have problems with magnesium supplements that do not contain stearate. The food source for stearate is from a food I am allergic to – cows! It is very possible the processing of the cow product (Stearate) contains enough identifiable cow that the body is reacting to the magnesium stearate as if it was a cow product and reacts accordingly.

      • Shawn says

        Hi Laurie: I am sorry to blow a hole in your theory but you are operating on erroneous information. The stearate found in Magnesium Stearate is vegetable sourced. Yes stearate can be found in beef but it is very common in many other things, including plants. Peace.

  32. Shawn says

    OK people, as of this moment there have been 410 prior comments to Chris’s very good, comprehensive article on this subject. There can be little doubt that both possible sides of this subject were explored in impressive depth by those who posted here.The responses ran the gamut of logic, to the extremely illogical. There were the restrained intellectual responses to the highly emotional and unreasonable responses. I greatly appreciate Chris for the article and the open forum where the subject could be discussed but feel nothing positive can be gained by further assertions on either side. Peace and health to you all.

  33. Janet Mercedes Burnett says

    I go to a doctor of holistic medicine/nutritionist and she is adamant about magnesium stearate. It is in so many supplements. Also carrageenan I am not to have that either and there are other additives too. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Have been off meds for almost five years. However, I am having flare ups and I do not understand why. Have been eating clean diet, but apparently not good enough. Trying to eat all organic is so expensive and just about impossible. Very discouraged and not sure what to do. Just sharing..

    • Anne says

      You are going to the right doctor. Your problem my be GMO (Genetically Modified soybeans.) They’re in just about everything that we eat. They’re also in just about all of the supplements. That’s why I make my own supplements and vitamins. You need to stay away from GMO soybeans. They are the most toxic legume in the world now. China don’t even want to purchase them from us anymore.

        • Anne says

          I got the book on Amazon.com called. “How to make your own vitamins & supplements.” I use fruit powders and vegetable powders, powdered MSM, etc. and there is a youtube video that shows you

    • Michele Miranda says

      Janet, please friend me on FB – Michele Gonzalez Miranda. I have something that may help you, as it is so many others with RA!

    • diana says

      Janet,I suspect these flare- ups are the result of metal toxicity.As chester remarked,flat metal roofed buildings can cause health issues after only a breif exposure,and always check the processing of food and hygiene products,not just ingredients.Dentists cook mercury and dioxins into their tools with an autoclave…When I have a flare-up I immediatly investigate everything I have recently been exposed to.Chris,have you had a chance yet to look into the issue I have raised about metal toxic sufferers,and minerals not bonded to protein?

    • chester says

      Janet,I also think exposure to minerals unbonded to protien may be your issue.I think it is clear by now that MANY people have problems related to too much toxins in intermal and external product use.As an example,putting zinc-laden antiperspirant on your lymph glands is insane!Yet conformity dictates we should all do it.My wife is a trained chef and dietician,( the kitchen nazi) and like europeans we don’ t use any products containing additives.Did you know Kelloggs ships products to europe that cannot contain any added minerals,and recently accidentally shipped some poptarts w/ mag.stearate,which caused an outrage there.Sorgum is a healthy alternative as a binding agent and was only replaced by mag.stearate to cut costs.And Shawn,laughing out loud at a person who had bone core samples taken with a drill,as blood tests will not reveal what the body doesn’ t tolerate( these toxins end up in lymph glands and spinal cord) is rather demented.I hope all those who can no longer tolerate magnesium stearate as an additive realise magnesium can be found naturally in greens,nuts lean red meat and other wholesome foods.Because of our great diet and limited use of hygiene and otc health products Our bodies have never been healthier,I wouldn’ t take vitamin supplements if they gave them away for free!

  34. gail letterle says

    I have found the past year occasional cases where elderly people are commonly using say 8-12 bottles of various supplementation, hand-picked or given by a ‘nutritionist’, and that usually all but maybe 3 bottles contain mag stearate and when taking off of those, then the person begins to heal.

    it – mag stearte – may not be ‘critical’ in many cases, but it can in fact be ‘the problem’, or a complicating factor.

  35. Fiona Mitchell says

    I have taken various supplements such as berberine and gloucosamine which listed Magnesium Stearate as an ingredient. Each time I have had very severe joint pains in hips knees and ankles. The pains have lasted for several months after stopping taking the supplement. I have then sought the same supplements without Magnesium Stearate and had no problems. I can’t say that the supplements helped but they did not cause me pain when taken without Magnesium Stearate.

  36. Greg Comeau says

    OK so your next to last paragraph beginning with “As a final note, a rat study determined that”…refers to a study done on rats, and you seem to use that study as being pro Magnesium Stearate.
    HOWEVER earlier in your article you refer to T-cells in mice and state that they are not the same as humans. My point being is that you seem to contradict yourself here.
    You seem to be saying that we should not compare cells from mice, but later on in the article use an example that uses rats to basically say Magnesium Stearate is OK.
    Sounds a little off to me.
    Sounds like maybe you’re in bed with the manufacturers on this issue.

    • Shawn says

      Greg: You should probably read the article and the entire thread before commenting on it. I am as far away from the manufacturer as you can get, yet I have posted irrefutable proof of the safety of Magnesium Stearate. Snide remarks indicating someone posting in support of Magnesium Stearate is “in bed with the manufacturer, are not helpful.

      • says

        Hi Shawn
        Thanks for the article I enjoyed reading it and although I’m not going to accuse you of being in bed with anyone I have read the article and did see Gregs point. It seems slightly odd to say rat studies have nothing to do with humans and then use a rat study to justify a toxic dose limit in humans? Your right that rat studies and even invitro studies are not real life situations involving actual human beings and therefore the Rat study can possibly be used as some sort of generic indication but cannot possibly be applied to humans as a good gauge of toxcity There have been many examples throughout history of humans thinking something is safe for consumption until we start using or consuming it and find out it’s harmful side effects.

        The rest of your article however was very informative and I’m glad you link to the various scientific studies

        many thanks

  37. Kitty says

    I have a MCAD (mast cell activation disorder) and just started a magnesium supplement (1 pill) today. Within 25 mins I was experiencing flushing, itching, stomach pains, loud ringing in ears, heart palpitations, pain in stomach as well as hives. It was taken with a meal and also the only new item I introduced today so there is no doubt it’s the culprit. Awaiting now to see if I get worse and have to use epi or cortisone or if I can ride it out…

    • Anne says

      Well, I don’t know about you, but I make my own Magnesium Supplements. I buy the 100% powder online and put them into empty capsules. I have a tiny capsules making machine that cost about $17.00; it presses the empty capsules together. I take just one a day. I know what’s in my supplements. There are no toxins, fillers, additives, binders, wood pulp, etc.

      I also make my own vitamins & supplements with pure fruit powders, pure vegetable powders, herbs, and MSM, etc. It’s so easy a moron can do it and I have a healthy product.

      • Brad D says

        Anne, do you have a website or anything where you describe how you make your own supplements?

        That would be an interesting thing to learn about

          • Shawn says

            Wow, this person makes it look easy… it is not. After spending hours putting together 60 capsules a couple of times I decided it just wasn’t worth it. Just putting the capsule halves into each side of the press is a nerve racking process. If you have an established, proven reason for needing to make your own, then it may be worth it to you, but I will never do it again.

              • Shawn says

                Ann, I assure you it was not easy to do, and it drove me up a wall trying. I even went back a few times to see if I could figure out a way to make it easier to no avail. It is an aggravating and painstaking process that made me think about why I no longer do my own repairs on my car. In my mid twenties, I promised myself I would take my career to the point where my time was worth more than the money I could save by doing my own work. I get exactly what I want in all of the supplements I take and nothing more. Yes, that required a bit of work up front, but no longer.
                To you “do-it-yourselfers’ I say, give it a try. Some people get a lot of joy from doing it themselves. I thought it was a great idea when I ordered all of the necessary things to make my own supplements. i get agitated just remembering the frustration I felt while making the attempt to do it myself. I honestly don’t want to make you feel like I think there is anything wrong with you making your own. I am glad you succeed where i failed. I just think people should have “all” of the information before embarking on something.

                • Anne says

                  Shawn, be patient. You will have a good quality product that’s not made in China.Those vitamins & supplements purchased retail will give you Arthritis. They’re full of wood pulp, toxins, fillers, additives, etc. Those pills just look large; but the actual ingredient is the size of a pin’s head. The rest is fillers. Being a poor person, I’ve had to improvise and make things myself. However, the quality of vitamins & supplemtents that I make are the same, if not better, than a compound pharmacy’s. Compound pharmacies are expensive when it comes to making customized supplements.

    • Hank says

      You might want to find out if you took any acetaminophen, an allergy can develop from it that has the symptoms you are describing (personal experience, took it for years then wham!, happened 3 times, no doubt at all) Magnesium stearate and Magnesium are 2 different things.Magnesium stearate is created by the reaction of sodium stearate with magnesium sulfate. If you were allergic to magnesium you’d have to quit eating, Well, you can probably eat meat. http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Factsheets/Minerals/Food-Sources-of-Magnesium.aspx

    • Ginny says

      I read that magnesium is to calcium what potassium is to sodium. Potassium is in the cell and sodium outside. Magnesium is in the cell and calcium is outside.

      Perhaps the magnesium you took made it inside your cells and kicked out garbage and it is the garbage in your system giving you the reactions.

      Just a syggestion.

  38. Florence Morton says

    I just bought some grapeseed extract that contained magnesium stearate (vegetable grade)

    I appreciate your explanation on mag stearate and feel
    much better about it.

    Thank you

  39. says

    I just ordered Devrom for my 14 son. He has Autism spectrum and IBS. Was told Devrom would,help with his smelly gas, reading label it has magnesium stew rate,mmaltodextrine, croscarmellose, microcrystalline. I am panicking if these ingredients will cause more harm/hyperness in him. Please someone advise thoughts on this. Thank you

    • Melody says

      You have fourteen sons?

      Seriously, no one can answer your question. The only way to see is to try the product for a couple of days and see if his hyperness increases. If it does, then stop, and it should resolve.

      You might get a second opinion from a different doctor. Hyperness might be a sign of a strep infection or possibly a heavy metal problem

    • MR PALEO says

      Recommend you start him on strict Paleo dietary regimen… it helps with both IBS and autism… NO DAIRY ! NO SOY !

  40. YJ says

    When I started taking supplements, I would take products that contains magnesium stearate as it was a lot cheaper and value for money.

    At one point, I reached 20 bottles of supplements (all with magnesium stearate). Shortly after, I got my first hives in my life. I was not even sure what it was till I got it. Basically, the itch and red bumps spread throughout the body, even to the private parts.

    At that time, I thought it was my newest supplement, Vitamin D that caused it. I threw it away and stop taking any supplements for a few days. The hives subsided and I continued taking the rest again. Soon enough, I got my second hives outbreak.

    After some research, I concluded it was probably magnesium stearate as it was reported to affect a few others as well. I cut down on the magnesium stearate supplements and eventually removed them at one point. Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to find magnesium stearate free alternatives.

    I find that the more magnesium stearate, the more weird itch I get. This kind of itch is different from insect bites etc. Currently, I still use 1 bottle with magnesium stearate as there is no alternative. Occasionally, I still get a bit of that itch. I would recommend others to test their own limits. I generally agreed with the points mentioned but if you have allergy to it, it is best to minimize or eliminate if possible. If you have no problems with it, it should be quite safe.

  41. Shawn says

    Instead of incessantly whining about your apparent reactions to anything in supplements or medications, you could do something that will actually make a difference. Simply contact the FDA Medwatch program at the following site and explain your problem. I get weekly notices from them about supplements that they have identified as having harmful substances in them.


    You’re welcome! 😎

    • Shawn says

      Oops, while I figure most of you could easily have followed the necessary steps to reach the Safety Reporting Portal within the FDA site I posted, I want to help avoid confusion.

      Most reports can be sent via that site, but if you want to specifically inform them of problems with supplements, and ingredients like Magnesium Stearate, you need to go to:



    • William says

      Thanks Shawn for the laugh…I needed it.

      Maybe while I’m at it I should ask the government to please stop Monsanto’s GMO program until there are long-term studies on the safety (or not) of their ‘products’.

      Do they send you weekly emails regarding all the life-threatening reactions from dozens of prescription and over the counter medicines as well, or is it just supplements?

      Magnesium stearate and other questionable compounds are in 90% of all meds and supplements and you actually think the FDA gives a damn about it?

      Again, thanks for the laugh!

      • Anne says

        Yes, I stay away from prescription drugs. Their what’s causing Diabetes II in people. Some of the Blood Pressure Pills, Statins, Antibiotics, etc. are really bad. They can inhibit the Beta Cells of the Pancreas, which makes insulin. When they destroy these cells you end up with Diabetes II.

        The reason NOD (new onset diabetes) cases is so high and rising is because of prescription drugs and many Doctors know this. It’s all about the money. People become cash cows. The sicker the more money to be made. Diabetes is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in the bank.

  42. Anne says

    Read: “How to make your own vitamins & supplements.” @ Amazon.com. Not only is Magnesium Stearate a problem, but hard tablets contain wood pulp, fillers, binders, etc. that cause problems within the body. It’s better to use 100% pure powders for your supplements. And even better, if you make your own. I use fruit powders, vegetable powders, herbs, etc. I put them into empty “00” capsules myself. I have a tiny capsule making machine that presses the empty capsules together.

  43. Emerald says

    I am trying to find a good vision health supplement without any unnecessary and possibly harmful or unhealthy additives. Not an easy task, in fact it seems next to impossible. I’m in the first stages of macular degeneration. I was advised by my opthamologist to take Bausch & Lomb areds 2 formula. After reading the ingredients, I decided that I didn’t want to take that brand. It contains Soy, Red dye #40, including yellow and blue dyes and other additives. Almost every brand out there has soy or soy lecithin in it. Whenever I find a brand that seems to have everything I want in it, it has the soy in it too. The brands that don’t have any soy have other ingredients like Alpha Lipoic Acid in it. I’ve heard that ALA causes heartburn in people with Gerd and acid reflux. I have had episodes of acid reflux and don’t want to aggravate the condition or make it worse. Apparently the ALA chelates any mercury in your body, particularly if you have amalgamated dental fillings or quite a few of them. There is a much higher incidence in people who have digestive issues when ALA is in a supplement.

    It’s frustrating that I can’t find a product without those few ingredients I don’t want. I’ve even seen safflower oil and corn starch as fillers. As for Cottonseed oil, isn’t that a trans fat or bad oil? I guess it’s all about marketing. There are a lot of products out there for vision health. They all have different options, but the problem I have is that I can’t seem to find exactly what I’m looking for in one product alone. One product will give you something the other one doesn’t, yet I can’t get what I want in just one product!

    • Anne says

      For acid reflux you should drink Kiefer Milk. Drink 2 cups a day for 1 month. Then stop. As for your eyes, try Rutin powder, GAC fruit powder, etc. You need to start making your own supplements w/o magnesium stearate. Get the book “How to make your own vitamins & supplements.” It shows you how to put these powders into empty capsules. Rutin is great for Macular Degeneration. Purchase the 100% pure powder powders. Google the book “How to make your own vitamins & supplements” and it’s time start making your supplements!!!!!!!!!!. I’ve been making my own for 5 years now and I am 61 years old; and I don’t know what Arthritis is because I don’t use hard capsules; they’re full of fillers, binders, toxins, wood pulp, and magnesium stearate.

      • Marcia says

        I agree with you about binders and fillers, but please, it’s not wise to tell people to drink this or take that for their problems. Kefir is TERRIBLE for people with any sort of histamine problems, and rutin and other herbs can be a problem for people with salicylate intolerance.

        Everyone is different, please keep that in mind.

        • Marcia says

          I’ve heard that, but have also read of bad reactions. That sometimes quacky site “earthclinic” has some positive and negative reports, purely annectdotal however…

      • Luvan says

        All these health problems are from inflammatory foods that are comsumed on a daily basis. If you stay away from inflammatory foods then you will not need supplements or drugs except maybe Vit D if you live in the north during the winter. Changing or eliminating only one food will not help you, you need to change your whole diet and over time you will feel better and your health problems will be elminated.

  44. says

    I started taking 5-HTP about 3 weeks ago. About 2 weeks ago I started itching like crazy everywhere, my legs, sometimes my arm, my chest, everywhere. Magnesium stearate is in Natrol 5-HTP could it be that I am allergic to it? I read that you came across a 28 year old that got hives from it. Please help!

    • Kelly says

      Try a brand without any fillers, and you might have your answer.

      ‘Seeking Health’ makes one that is mag-stearate free, available on Amazon. And if you try this or another brand w/o the stearate, please report back to let us know if your hives went away.

  45. Gail Letterle says

    Well, Chris. I think there is a case out there in America that people are now shopping in stores for their own vitamins and supplements, really cluelessly choosing supplements by and for themselves, and so many have 15-30 bottles of sh*t at home with magnesium stearate and other toxins in them. One side effect of too much magnesium stearate can be inflammed bowels/intestines.

    I worked with an elderly client who had been having 7-8 ‘mild’ (?) cases of diarrhea each month for over a year, and she and her husband had over 30 bottles of supplements, 25 of which contained mg stearate. Since the day about a year ago that I suggested replacing those with about 5 bottles of excipient-free products, ….. no more diarrhea. You decide, mg stearate, good or bad.

    • Brad D says

      That why it’s best to avoid supplements with fillers. A common additive is B12. B12 is ok, but if you’re taking three or 4 formulas with 1000 mg of B12, including a multivitamin, then you’re getting a lot of B12. (B12 is added as an energy stimulant to a lot of formulas). I’m taking a 100% organic, non-GMO, multi-vitamin that just came on the market. And, I really like it. It doesn’t give me that over-stimulated feeling.

              • Kelly says

                Garden of Life was started by a gentleman who was very dishonest about the product that he claimed helped him recover from severe Crohn’s Disease.

                Instead of just telling people what he took (a soil-based organism called “Nature’s Biotics”), he developed his own watered down, altered version (which he renamed as a “Homeostatic Soil Organism” or “HSO”, came out with a book to go along with it, and made millions marketing this falsehood for his own benefit.

                Then every other month or so Garden of Life would come out with a new product that they insisted was needed in addition to the HSO, in order to recover from various health problems.

                Google “Jordan Rubin” and “Nature’s Biotics” for more info…

      • Jed says

        Note also that MOST vitamins currently have the Cyanide version of B12, Cyanocobalamin, not Methylcobalamin. The white wash is that a little poison does no harm. Go figure. Look at which form of B12 you are taking, and ask yourself were in your body the cyanide radicals reside after conversion. Then realize that the amount of B12 you need for nutrition was EQUAL to the amount of Cyanide you metabolized from each pill. Still convinced that it’s harmless?

        “Cyanocobalamin usually does not occur in living organisms, but animals can convert commercially produced cyanocobalamin into active (cofactor) forms of the vitamin, such as methylcobalamin.[1] The amount of cyanide liberated in this process is so small that its toxicity is negligible.” Wikipedia

        “Most cyanides are highly toxic.” Wikipedia

    • Shawn says

      Gail, deleting 30 supplements from someone’s diet is a very ineffective way of determining what is causing their diarrhea. Does this person take any medicines, over the counter or prescription? As of the last study I read approximately 78% of medicines contain Magnesium Stearate, with that number being even higher if you only consider prescription medications. In other words, you proved that something she is taking is giving her diarrhea (like taking too many supplements), but you made no connection at all to Magnesium Stearate. While I am in the camp who has seen enough evidence to convince me that Magnesium Stearate is harmless I also believe anything is possible. This thread has included testimonials from people offering anecdotal evidence that Magnesium Stearate has been harmful to them, so it seems that while it is unlikely, it is possible.

      • Shawn says

        Gail said: One side effect of too much magnesium stearate can be inflammed bowels/intestines.

        Really? Please refer us to your reputable source for this claim. Thank you.

      • Anne says

        Don’t forget that those supplements also contain “Soy” products–because it cheap. Now-a-days, 90% of soy products are genetically modified (GMO). Bad for you. They contain more toxins than any other legume. I try to avoid soy because it causes water filled Cysts to form in my breast. So far they’ve been benign. They hurt. I just drink 1 cup of Super Dieters Tea for three days to flush out the fluid filled cysts. Then I stop drinking it. The Cysts are gone. My mammoghrams turn out fine. Soy in everything!!!!!!!!!!!! This GMO product is causing a lot of illnesses.

        • Shawn says

          OK, while I will not disagree that GMO crops need to be carefully monitored and regulated there is absolutely 0 creditable evidence that they are “bad” for anyone. Before you jump on me with all of the usual accusations do some research. I just spent hours trying to find holes in the argument that GMO products are safe. Yes, I went out with the attitude that they are bad, and that with the public outcry, there had to be good reasons. I will be darned if I didn’t fail. Please, feel free to find reputable proof that GMOs are “bad for people.” While I have been dismissive of information gleaned from Wikipedia, I kept finding myself led there and found a very comprehensive and unbiased page called: Genetically modified foods controversies.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

          • MR PALEO says

            Shawn, you must not have looked real hard, here is the first of three articles I found in less than five minutes… and I don’t think you understand the subject if you don’t see the dangers in humans combining the genetic material of different species… this is the end of our world, as we know it. As of this moment, it can’t be undone ! We have screwed ourselves, and the planet…

            Dr. Mezzomo and his team from the Department of Genetics and Morphology at the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia recently performed and published a study done involving testing Bacillus thuringensis toxin (Bt toxin) on swiss albino mice. This toxin is the same one built into Monsanto’s GMO Bt crops such as corn and soy as a pesticide. While Bt toxin has been used quite safely in conventional and organic farming as an occasional spray used when dealing with a pest problem, now it has been engineered to be produced by and present throughout the inside of every cell and intercellular space of the plants themselves, which is why they chose to undertake the study. It should also be noted that as bacteria use lateral transference of genetic material, making it a possibility for this genetic material to become part of the human body’s bacterial bouquet that we depend on for our health (our bodies contain more bacteria cells than human ones by number).

            “…advances in genetic engineering promise the expression of multiple Cry toxins in Bt-plants, known as gene pyramiding. Therefore, studies on non-target species are requirements of international protocols to verify the adverse effects of these toxins, ensuring human and environmental biosafety.

            Due to its growing use in agricultural activities, Bt presence hasalready been detected in different environmental compartments such as soil and water. Consequently, the bioavailability of Cry proteins has increased, and for biosafety reasons their adverse effects might be studied, mainly for non-target organisms. Studies are therefore needed to evaluate Bt toxicity to non-target organisms; the persistence of Bt toxin and its stability in aquatic environments; and the risks to humans and animals exposed to potentially toxic levels of Bt through their diet.

            Thus, we aimed to evaluate, in Swiss albino mice, the hematotoxicity and genotoxicity of four Bt spore-crystals…”

            The scientists already knew that Bt toxin was very toxic and potentially deadly at levels above 270 milligrams per kilogram (basically ppm), so they instead tested levels ranging from 27mg/kg, 136mg/kg, and 270mg/kg for one to seven days (each of the Cry toxins were separated out and tested individually to maximize accuracy and total info). It was quite clear right off the bat that these Cry toxins were quite hemotoxic even at the lowest level of 27mg/kg administered only one time and one day as they clearly had damaged the blood, particularly in reference to red blood cells. The quantity and size of the erythrocytes (RBCs) were both significantly reduced, as was the overall levels of hemoglobin for which oxygen to attach to. All major factors regarding RBCs demonstrated some level of damage present for all levels of toxin administered and across all Cry proteins, although there were some clear variances present between different proteins and levels for certain factors. The white blood cell count was also quite noticeably raised, and as expected it dramatically increased depending on the duration the subject was tested for. The tests clearly demonstrated that Cry proteins were cytotoxic to bone marrow cells, accounting for a portion of the measured effects. It should also be noted that a previous study found that these proteins caused hemolysis (they killed blood cells) in vitro, particularly seeming to target the cell membranes of red blood cells.

            Cry1Ab (the protein produced in common Bt corn and soy) induced microcytic hypochromic anemia in mice, even at the lowest tested dose of 27 mg/Kg, and this toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet [34]. These data, as well as increased bioavailability of these MCA in the environment, reinforce the need for more research, especially given that little is known about spore crystals’ adverse effects on non-target species.”

            While Bt toxin is not known to bioaccumulate in fat cells and internal organs, it is of note that the study demonstrated clearly that there was a significant increase in measurable negative effects of the toxin as time progressed especially concerning the higher doses. Also of note was the increased inflammatory response, while it was quite minor, the scientists consider it to be statistically significant due to the intricacies of their chosen test subjects’ biology. No measurable genotoxicity was found.

            • Shawn says

              I am disappointed in you Mr. Paleo. Of all of the people who might not do but half of the research, I never thought it would be you. Copying and pasting is easy, and you didn’t even look up the plethora of information that discredits everything you posted. I personally think you can tell I am so sick of this whole “discussion” where I present carefully reasoned information and I am repeatedly attacked by emotional, irrational responses. At least you don’t engage in that behavior. Still, do all the work, not just half of it.

              I am exhausted of these arguments, so I will copy and paste a quote too:

              The paper and related media reports were criticized for overstating the results.[185][186] Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) posted a direct response, saying that the suitability of the ELISA assay method for detecting the Cry1Ab protein was not validated and that no evidence showed that GM food was the protein’s source. The organization also suggested that even had the protein been detected its source was more likely conventional or organic food.

              • Anne says

                I totally agree with Mr. Paleo. I’ve seen the results of GMO Soy vegetarian Products. I, as well as, many friends have suffered from cysts in the breast and breast cancer because of GMO soy vegetarian products. Mr. Paleo is absolutely right I don’t know about men, but women that eat vegetarian meat may with GMO Soy products are having problems with their health. Vegetarian meat is loaded with soy.

                • Shawn says

                  Yes Ann, Soy is a problem. It has been long before GMO’s ever existed. Just because you can link a problem to Soy doesn’t mean it has anything to do with whether or not it is GMO.

              • MR PALEO says

                Shawn, I am disappointed in you, as well. I haven’t the time to follow up on every single nuance of every single study, I have to rely on the “professionals” to do that. As I also respect you, you have quoted a source (FSANZ) that is the relative equivalent of our FDA… do you really want me to believe you trust our government, or anyone else’s, to be honest about a topic such as GMO’s ??? I have already explained that, without ANY equivocation, GMO’s are a REALLY bad idea, that will come back to haunt humanity for a very, very long time. You of all people should be able to see this…. we shouldn’t play GOD… that is shear human arrogance.

                • Shawn says

                  Mr. Paleo:

                  OK, we are done. You can sit there in your tin foil hat and your conspiracy theories and type whatever drivel you like, because you have lost all credibility. Totally unbelievable.

          • Rainer Weber says

            Shawn, as you claim to not have found any credible evidence that GMO-foods are “bad” for people, would you care to comment on this article http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/gmos-and-health-scientific-basis-serious-concern-and-immediate-action This is not intended to prove you wrong or engage in a confrontation but simply as an invitation to give me your perspective on this article. To show you where I stand with GMOs, I find this article by Jon Barron very enlightening http://jonbarron.org/diet-and-nutrition/gmo-food-safety#.VLJcNCuG_D8
            Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

        • Troobeesez says

          Soy itself is a phytoestrogen. That messes with your hormones, to shorthand it. I avoid soy for that alone, when possible; being estrogen dominant doesn’t improve matters. I don’t know that GMO-soy would be any worse, in terms of the estrogen activity, I mean. Obviously anything GMO is to be avoided. Also, good luck ith that. (!)

    • Troobeesez says

      Has anyone talking about all the supposed downsides of Magnesium Stearate ACTUALLY READ THE ARTICLE YOU ARE COMMENTING ON?!?!?!?

      Chris Kesser has spelled out for us exactly why we needn’t worry ourselves until and unless we experience a problem. The only way we can determine if each individual has a problem is to TRY IT. By a process of elimination, we could determine our level of sensitivity. A faster route would be to have a allergist MD test us for a reaction (skin test; could get expensive). Obviously anyone who has a known allergy to Magnesium Stearate, should make sure they are not ingesting it. But as the article pointed out, it is seriously unlikely that A) you are going to be allergic to it or B) you could ever consume enough to cause a problem.

      We have to keep in mind the concept of Synergy. If you really looked closely at the combination of events when you thought you were having an allergic reaction, you might find you only had that reaction when you had a Magnesium Stearate Capsule on the days you ate French Fries from McDonalds (but never from Burger King), or drove past the Oil Refinery, or also ate a red apple (but never when you ate a yellow one). I don’t know about you, but I dont have the energy to do all that, though I know it can be done. Instead I would have my MD figure it out, or just avoid the ingredient if I felt better doing so.

      I just think it is irresponsible to spread ideas that indicate huge problems are going to happen to everyone who ingests a microgram of Magnesium Stearate in a couple of daily pills. Also kind of disrespectful to read an article and not even ask the author any questions before launching into all the reasons we shouldn’t do what he explained is probably just an overblown reaction to bad Internet info.

      And btw, everyone should be seeking out enough Magnesium (which isn’t the same as Magnesium Stearate) for optimum health. There’s so much we’re doing wrong!

      So, THANKS, Chris Kresser, for a helpful and informative article.

      • Kelly says

        “I just think it is irresponsible to spread ideas that indicate huge problems are going to happen to everyone who ingests a microgram of Magnesium Stearate in a couple of daily pills.”

        Has anyone talking about all the supposed downsides of Magnesium Stearate ACTUALLY READ THE COMMENTS?!?!?!?

        Obviously not, as no one has suggested that ‘huge problems’ will happen if someone takes 2 pills.

        Btw, you like to talk a lot, don’t you?

  46. katerina says

    I using Mebhidroline for allergy and working perfect for me but this medicine contain stearate magnezi and lactose monohydrate how can calm down mine allergy?

  47. Brad says

    Very interesting. I ran across your article because I was researching magnesium stearate. I look for vitamins without fillers. I found a tablet of C that I used to take as a teenager. I liked it because I used to eat the stuff like candy, and consume a lot of it. I decided to look at the ingredients. It isn’t straight C. It has a lot of filler ingredients to make the tablet, though C is the main ingredient. I would rather take the stuff with out the fillers, but it’s nice to know inside scoop. My only concern would be over a period of time, would the fillers accumulate?

    • MR PALEO says

      The human body generally is pretty efficient at “eliminating” toxins, unless they are problematic to some degree, like radioactivity or heavy metals, which tend to be stored, usually in fat cells…

      • Hedles says

        Surely that begs the question, “Would the human body recognise Mg Stearate as a toxin?”

        Certainly, it would seem from statements like “Stearic acid is a long-chain saturated fat that is abundant in beef, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and other natural foods” from Chis’ original article, that Stearic Acid would not be so recognised by a human body in a ‘normal’ state – i.e. one that had not ‘learned’ by some means to treat it as such. But what about Mg Stearate?

        This leads us back to the list of twelve questions I suggested in my post of May 27 .

  48. Not Concerned Anymore says

    Thank you for this information. I was concerned about this substance in reading that my vitamins and other supplements contained this ingredient. After reading this and researching it further, I absolutely convinced that it is not harmful to my body.
    Again, Thank you for this information… I found it to be VERY HELPFUL!!

    • Jed says

      Why would anyone make a claim like that unless they had some vested interest in Mg Stearate? No background of nutritional concern … reminds me of a fellow that sold a certain weed killer … told the anecdote: “When we’d spill it on the ground, the dogs lapped it up! It’s absolutely safe! Trust me!” Then he admitted later that when they ran out of it, they just sprayed water on the crops so the client was content.” Sorry, just settles wrong somehow in reasoning. However, I agree that I have more confidence that Mg Stearate, if not produced by mills that handle other toxins (per Mercola, who decries Mg Stearate as a danger), is less likely to be a concern than other agents in the vitamins, but I would still beware.

    • Hedles says


      To begin your list, quite a lot of not all fish contain mercury. Some years ago (my note says 2007), Patrick Holford provided the following data in a newsletter regarding the amounts of mercury compared with omega-3 oils in some common fish. Canned tuna is one of the worst, sardines one of the best, from this perspective. I can’t find the original, just now. I’ve tried to reformat the table to show clearly, but I don’t know if it’ll display spaced out correctly. My recollection is that the third column may not have been supplied by Patrick Holford but was calculated by myself:

      omega 3 mercury omega3/
      g/100g mg/kg mercury

      fresh wild salmon 2.7 0.05 540.0
      canned sardines 1.57 0.04 390.3
      canned and smoked salmon 1.54 0.04 380.5
      fresh mackerel 1.93 0.54 350.7
      herring (kipper) 1.31 0.04 320.8
      trout 1.15 0.06 190.2
      fresh tuna 1.5 0.4 30.8
      cod 0.25 0.11 20.3
      fresh sole 0.1 0.05 20.0
      canned tuna 0.37 0.19 10.9
      marlin *2 1.1 10.8
      swordfish *2 1.4 10.4
      (Sorry, I don’t have a note of what the asterisk means.)

      Dr. Mercola has also written numerous articles on this topic. Just ‘Google’ “Mercola Mercury Fish”.

      • Hedles says

        OK. My attempt to format the table failed completely.

        The first column should have been titled, “omega-3 (g/100g)”, the second, “mercury (mg/kg)” and the third, “omega-3/mercury”. To read the table better, you’ll need to copy it to a word processor or text editor and space out the three numbers in each row under those headings.

        Sorry I couldn’t do any better here in this comment facility.

  49. Jill says

    Hi Chris
    Thanks for this article, I’d heard bad things about magnesium stearate but hadn’t done any proper research so this put my mind at rest. I am taking supplements with this in which I need for pyrolle disorder, so they’re not optional. Just wondered what your take on calcium laurate is? I found it has been added into one of my regular supplements instead of leucine. I’m hoping its just as benign as the Mg stearate but suspect the calcium part in particular, is not…

  50. Alice says


    So doctors have saved your life twice, huh, you fail to mention what you were saved from that nutrition didn’t matter at ALL. I do know that nutrition is a must for normal life and for sure to recover from any disease or accident; for anything that calls for healing in anyway. I don’t care if you call yourself a nutritionist, doctors call themselves doctors. Titles don’t mean anything and by your saying that nutrition is not a part of gaining health , Your degree is useless. I suppose you can sell your supplements and charge for your time and tell your patients to go home and eat gluten, sugar and junk, that your expensive supplements and charges will cure them. That’s what doctors do too. I said my OWN thoughts here but YOU did the regurgitating with your advice for the gal to be sure to go to a doctor who is a real doctor, not get advice from the internet or from someone who is not a real doctor. You sound like some TV ad or the line on about every product out there. Why you are on this list anyway??? Is it just because you want to Advertise that you have some degrees that can give you some business??? This list is about alternative medicine and nutrition to regain health and maintain health. And I DO disagree with your statement that “doctors are no more infallible than practitioners of alternative medicine.” Doctors treat symptoms with Expensive drugs that have more side effects than the person’s original problem. You, being a practitioners of alternative medicine will for sure be in the infallible category along with the pill pushers doctors since you maintain that nutrition is not at all a part of regaining health or life, and that doctors are no more infallible than practitioners of alternative medicine. I said that there are a LOT of bad alternative health practitioners. the ones who are close minded and think no one knows except a REAL doctor. That sounds like you. And to tell someone that they should not respond to you because the case was closed, you would surely not be someone who listens to patients and works with them. You have this close minded approach that says no one but you should have your say.
    Take your cliche’ “ax to grind” stuff, along with your cliche’ type advice of go to “your doctor” and not the “internet” for health advice along with your worthless degree that will not do anyone any good with your close minded approach that says nutrition is not a part of regaining health somewhere else. As I said, we are here because there are no doctors to go to for healing. Pick any so called disease/health problem out there and tell me which one does not require good nutrition to heal and maintain health. As far as wasting my time further with you, forget it. Just do not say ……”It’s o.k. that you don’t agree with me.”……, and then accuse me of bulling you and ganging up on you with another member here. As far fetched as it seems to you, we actually have our own thoughts, experiences, health issues A Doctors saved my life too BUT I had to go to a second health minded MD who prescribed thyroid a suppressor drug while my thyroid healed back from very hyper as the first doctor just told me the only cure for me was to have my thyroid radiated away and to take thyroid meds for the rest of my life. NUTRITION was the main part that healed me, a change in diet, and herbal medicine. I myself found the herbals that gave me the necessary on the INTERNET. I would not be alive or at least the same today had it not been for the second doctor who also incorporated alternative treatment. The first doctor would have ruined my life, if not killed me. My thyroid functions fine now and to think had I just listened to the First REAL doctor, how I would have gone through the awful procedure of having my thyroid radiated away, I just do not believe that your life was saved twice and that NUTRITION was not a factor at all in healing in both of these cases. UNLESS one is able to find an alternative minded MD, it is not possible to heal from diseases. Even a broken bone/accident injury, after the ER part needs the right nutrition to heal while the cast holds stuff in place…… That’s all, no more wasting my good time with a nutritionist who says nutrition has nothing to do with healing, but you do what you want.

    • says

      I only read 1st half of your clip and agree w/you. Nutrition is KEY. Suggest Read simple book called Folk Medicine. Although I have a library of many good books it would be too long of a list, but read up on acid alkaline balance and homeostasis. If I were to state what I will say here/now I may offend various people… I believe in God, and must say if you don’t I don’t care you have rite to believe what you want! Bible say gen 1:29. Behold I have given you every herb baring seed, & tree upon the face of all the earth, to you it shall be for meat! Meaning it is all you need period. At that time man lived to generally 900 years. My message is if you eat clean, raw (that is) mostly, and or 75/25 % foods you shall live healthier. This is tried and true. Also there is nutritionists that learn the establishment’s way, and their is the natural way, “more raw” eating. The degree?, well I do not agree with everything. Basically Man touched and changed things from their naturalness and it changed things. This changed so much for ex: naturally occurring amino acids, and all the antioxidants etc. etc. it causes changes that make the natural self healing body have difficulties. I don’t read my email, and I will not normally participate in these things. So I may not be heard of again after this. I studied the natural raw and/verses man made/touched enhanced food, and I discovered my own opinions. I learned stuff that made me not want to get a degree in nutrition and pay expensive for college to get small devalued nutritionist per the world, because we live in a time that people want to find a pill that fixes everything, and its nice that it is slowly changing back, one person at a time, but its not happening fast enough and not clean enough. I say read everything you can get your hands on until you learn to discern what is real and what is junk; use your library, and I can begin by stating look at just a few websites. http://www.not milk.com; http://www.theaimcompanies.com; and they will begin to direct you in a couple of important areas. Not to knock nutritionists, that is a beginning. I used to have a website but I am too busy now. Out, and good luck to all.

    • Kelli says

      Thank you Alice!!! You are so right. Nutrition is key. Has anyone ever heard of the gut/brain connection. Our entire well being radiates outward from the gut. If our digestion is a mess it can and will affect our health in many other ways and I don’t mean in a good way.
      Alice is completely correct that conventional doctors (most anyway) do not want to find the root problem, only treat the symptoms with some type of scary drug from Big Pharma. They were never trained in medical school about herbs and supplements. The nutrition aspect of their training was basically non-existent. Not to mention that our food supply doesn’t provide the nutrition we need due to all the crap they put on crops and give to animals/livestock. And lets not even get into the FDA because that’s a big joke and guess what??? The joke is on all the people out there who believe anything they say.
      So thanks again Alice. I really appreciated your comment.

      • Shawn says

        Sigh… Of course we have heard of the gut/brain connection. We have read what Chris has posted on this site, as well as quite a few people throughout this thread.
        I object to your characterization of “Big Pharma” and the lack of proper FDA control when you say that Herbs and Supplements are the answer. That is just crazy. That industry is rife with a multitude of problems. It desperately needs regulation as it is now the wild wild west of snake oil and scams. Both industries have problems, big ones, but at least highly educated professionals are recommending the treatments.
        We need to focus on diet. No amount of herbs, supplements or medications can make up for a bad diet.

  51. I_Fortuna says

    Hi Alice, It’s o.k. that you don’t agree with me. Doctors, as I said previously, have saved my life twice. If you had read my previous posts, you would see that I have a background in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), homeopathy and nutrition. Doctors are no more infallible than practitioners of alternative medicine. Doctors also perform lifesaving procedures and surgeries. They are probably less fallible considering their education and practical application as licensed health care individuals.
    The point that I have been trying to drive home is that there is no magic bullet. I don’t believe that doctors are responsible for all the ills of the world. There may come a time when all else fails that you will need a doctor to save your life.
    My concern is that people don’t ONLY consider alternative forms of medicine and that there is a balance between the two to be considered.
    It seems that you and Mr. Paleo have an ax to grind with me or anyone who may not completely agree with your way of thinking or methods. That makes for bullying in that you have decided to pile on, Alice. Mr. Paleo has already expressed his opinions and it is he that I had the original conversation with not you. It appears that you are just regurgitating Mr. Paleo’s patter. The amount of vitriol exhibited by both of you would certainly not win me over to the Paleo lifestyle choices.
    I considered the matter closed as I do now when Deborah was kind enough to let me know her feelings and that she has taken recommendations from Mr. Paleo.
    I am very sure that during his communication with Deborah that he confirmed with her that she has been seeking help from other doctors and a nutritionist. That is fine and I was relieved to learn that Deborah is using a balance of options.
    The matter is closed now. So, I would appreciate it if both of you drop it.

  52. I_Fortuna says

    Hi Deborah!
    I am so happy that you are receiving help from multiple sources including alternative medicine. I am sure you are aware that not everything is helped by diet but I am a big believer in supplements as we take several whole food supplements in order to fill the gaps in our diet.
    I certainly hope that you find the help you are looking for and I too support your vegetarian diet although we are not vegetarians, I was on and off over the years.
    Thank you for you very kind words and I wish you all the best in life and your journey to better health.
    Best of luck, Suzy

    • Alice says

      I_Fortuna, I quote YOU:

      ……….”What you are looking for now is something to deal with the symptoms but covering up the symptoms will not eradicate the illness or help you. I suggest that you don’t wait too long to find a qualified physician as doing so, could allow further damage to take place that may even be irreversible. Please don’t depend on the internet where your health is concerned.”……….

      WHY are so many people looking for alternative health practicing people on the internet??? BECAUSE finding a “qualified physician” in the ‘doctor’ world is next to impossible. Our only hope is the FEW doctors who also do alternative (and they are far and few for sure) and good, open minded alternative doctors.. Your advice (which you claim NO one should give here) tells people to run to a system where the very thing that is done is “covering up the symptoms”. In plain words, your “qualified” doctors treat symptoms, NOT the cause. Have you bothered to check how many THOUSANDS of people die each year under the glorified pill pusher “qualified” doctor treatment that YOU recommend??? So stop recommending that we should not: ……….” wait too long to find a qualified physician as doing so could allow further damage to take place that may even be irreversible.”………. (AND regular doctors ARE glorified pill pushers). You should know that from stats….
      You say Mr. Paleo and people like him are not doctors, that only qualified doctors can treat us BUT the opposite is true. We need the Mr. Paleo’s as your so called qualified doctors are not healing us. AND nutrition is a must part for any real healing. How stupid that cancer patients are fed high sugar diets devised by so called nutritionists while in the hospital for treatment and that kind of craziness just goes on and on.

      There are those here who will defend mag stearate because they themselves are in the category of ‘glorified pill pushers’. They do not want to hear that there are people who cannot tolerate mag stearate because pushing their ‘supplements’ makes money for them under their disguise of being a good alternative doctor. Well, there are MANY bad alternative docs to say the least. The best doc is the Mr. Paleo type who does not fit your “qualified” doctor mold. Crazy part is that mag stearate is ONLY used for the machines. That’s right PAM, the machines cannot make the pills without mag stearate. (“Alice is right.”, not “wrong” as you stated. Don’t dance around with words by saying I am wrong because I said the pill machines need mag stearate which you call wrong because YOU say mag stearate is needed to make each pill uniform in ingredients. duh, same difference…..the capsule machine needs mag stearate oil to work just as I said.

      As for mag stearate and science, the same JUNK science that found mag stearate OK is the same junk science that said there are no negative health effects from putting mercury & bad metals in tooth fillings. Those of you who proclaim mag stearate is harmless need to face reality. You need to figure out WHY some of us do not tolerate mag stearate instead of insisting that science says it’s OK.

      For me, I have found a way to avoid the use of mag stearate. I find supplements without it. I buy bulk or find ones without it (they do exist) and if I need a drug prescription, I go with a compounding pharmacy.

      I said this way back and will say it again. I would deduct the negative effects of mag stearate could be that it is high in histamine, or a high histamine producing substance. That would cause problems for histamine intolerant people.


      Your theory that exercise will eliminate the problem of heart palpitations does not work for me. For me, exercise caused me to get heart palps. HOWEVER, taking magnesium without mag stearate did allow me to resume my exercise without getting heart palps. I could do rigorous exercise without a problem after I started taking magnesium but I had to make sure it did not contain mag stearate. I grew up as a very active person, in college continued daily exercise and never stopped with long walks, bike rides, hiking, snow skiing, skating and daily activity until a road rage car accident caused a painful neck injury that zapped me. Then I started having problems with my daily exercise and through a chiropractor, found out that magnesium stopped the heart palps. Now it makes sense as the injury and pain caused my magnesium to get way too low. So magnesium brought me back to daily exercise. Studies show that nearly everyone is low in magnesium and that too low magnesium can affect the heart (and about any part of our body) very adversely. So taking magnesium helped you as it does for the general person with heart palp issues but for some reason, you don’t react to mag stearate as some of us do.

      I see the OPEN minded people here who understand that there seems to be a problem with mag stearate for some people and I am seeing these open minded people being put down by close minded pill pushers who do this in the disguise of being alternative doc people. Why not oil EVERY supplement/drug with peanut butter. Why, it is Natural (not even processed like mag stearate) so no one should have problems with it. I mean, there are people so allergic to peanuts that just the smell of peanut butter makes them sick. BUT it is so All Natural…………….

      • MR PALEO says


        Thank you. It is interesting that Chris is not a “medical doctor” per se (he is a licensed acupuncturist who firmly believes in “alternative” medicine), and yet, Ms. Fortuna is here creating waves and making sweeping statements that ONLY DOCTORS are qualified as “healers”, when most have not had even four hours of nutritional training. And as any QUALIFIED person knows, nutrition is the basis of health… also, if no one has noticed, Chris doesn’t answer questions on his blog very often… so who is going to take up the slack ? I don’t see any DOCTORS volunteering… some of us care more about people than the bottom line.

  53. I_Fortuna says

    Mr. Paleo, It seemed to me that you were interested in speaking to her privately and that is fine if she wishes to. I feel she should seek help from the medical establishment because she may have something more serious that cannot be addressed by diet alone.
    I have stated that I believe you have helped people, my concern is that Paleo is not a cure all.
    I did not accuse you of being a “glorified meal planner” LOL
    I feel confident that you aren’t. But, I think it is unfair of you to call doctors or the medical establishment “glorified pill pushers” especially when you claim to work closely with the medical community. Apparently you have no respect for medical doctors and choose to place yourself above them which is why I can’t respect your words or bashing the medical community. That is your choice, however. Paleo is not a cure for everything as I have tried to point out.
    I have been literally saved by doctors twice in my life for issues that had nothing to do with my diet. My husband has been saved by doctors too, again nothing to do with his diet. I will say, that my knowledge of nutrition helped him to recover.
    I think your attitude is very unprofessional and you are not giving credit where credit is due.
    I am glad you asked me why I am here. I am on a Paleo website in order to try and understand issues related to magnesium stearate and other dietary concerns. So far, in case you are interested, I have not seen anything that convinces me that Paleo is a healthy diet. The fact that you are defensive and rather aggressive is really telling.
    I regret that you are upset that I disagree with you.

  54. I_Fortuna says

    Dear Mr. Paleo, I think you are getting little defensive. I agree that Deborah may be old enough to make her own decisions, I really don’t know her. I don’t think you are trying to drum up business. As you said, I don’t know you or your intentions
    It is a fact that I too am well versed in nutrition, human physiology, Chinese Traditional Medicine and Homeopathy and have studied these for the past 30 years as well. It does not mean I would attempt to help someone over the internet or anywhere or derail them from seeing a qualified medical doctor.
    I am sure you have helped many people as you say, I am not disputing that. I am concerned that Deborah’s assistance may be delayed by distractions that may lead her away from the help she seems to want and need.
    I don’t know why you are taking this so personally, I should think as a professional that you would be glad that someone is offering reason over emotional reaction.
    It is commendable that you work with doctors and other medical licensed practitioners which is why your number one point that being a doctor “does not necessarily qualify someone to be of assistance” surprises me.
    I will say that it is true that certain people have been helped by non-traditional means and dietary changes may be helpful for Deborah and she apparently already has a nutritionist.
    It is very certain that nutrition cannot always surmount illnesses that are rooted in genetics but I do believe good nutrition can serve to help many people and possibly prevent or delay illness that may be inevitable otherwise. I humbly think Paleo is not good or healthy nutrition and I am entitled to believe this.
    So, I guess we will have to agree to disagree if that is o.k. with you.

    • MR PALEO says

      Ms. Fortuna,

      You really need to pay attention… in no way, shape , or form did I dissuade Deborah from seeking “qualified medical assistance”, quite the opposite, as I stated.
      Also, you seem to confuse “nutritionists” with the old school (no longer true) RD “glorified meal planners”. We do a hell of a lot more than counsel people on “diet”…
      If you do not understand that most “doctors” in this country are part and parcel of the “medical establishment”, and as such, are nothing more than glorified pill-pushers, I don’t see any reason to continue this conversation.
      AND, why are you on a PALEO blogsite in the first place ?

  55. MR PALEO says

    Dear Ms. Fortuna,

    1) Being a doctor does not necessarily qualify someone to be of assistance… most of my clients have seen dozens of “doctors” to no avail by the time they get to me…
    2) You can “think” whatever you like about Paleo/Primal, but if you understood human physiology, human biochemistry, and human history, you might think differently…
    3) I don’t twist anyone’s arm to consult with me… Deborah strikes me as being intelligent enough to make her own decisions, regardless of what you might think…
    4) I have been “assisting” others for more than thirty years… and have assisted HUNDREDS of clients in that time, most with VERY serious conditions…
    5) I work directly with several MEDICAL doctors, dentists, as well as other medical practitioners. Apparently, you are unaware that, as a nutritionist, I am bound by the same exact regulations as are all “medical” doctors, including issues of medical PRIVACY…
    6) This is not my blog, and this column is about Mag stearate.

  56. I_Fortuna says

    Well, Mr. Paleo, you do not know me either or Deborah. I think that it is nice you want to help, but I think it is inappropriate seeing that you are not a doctor and offering to communicate by private means. Sometimes, no matter how good one’s intentions are, by offering to assist you may be keeping someone from much needed qualified medical help that may be more urgent than we know.
    Since your moniker is “Mr. Paleo”, it makes me a little leery that as an adherent of a “caveman” diet, a diet I consider a fad diet, that your ability to assist may be wanting.
    No offense intended. I believe that only someone qualified should assist Deborah. This is my humble opinion.

  57. I_Fortuna says

    I am not sure why you seek medical information on this site that is directly concerned with Mag stearate.
    I understand that when one is in pain that it is very difficult to find help sometimes or to know where to look. I do think it is a mistake to try to get help on this site without the benefit of being seen in person by a qualified doctor. I don’t see how Mr. Paleo can help because, like your nutritionist, he will most likely tell you to change your diet, but there may be more serious systemic issues that need to be addressed.
    In my opinion, it may be necessary to seek the help of a qualified licensed medical practitioner, i.e. a doctor of internal medicine.
    There may be other physical issues at work that need to be addressed. What you are looking for now is something to deal with the symptoms but covering up the symptoms will not eradicate the illness or help you.
    I suggest that you don’t wait too long to find a qualified physician as doing so, could allow further damage to take place that may even be irreversible.
    Please don’t depend on the internet where your health is concerned.

    • MR PALEO says

      Dear Ms. Fortuna,

      You are correct, at least in one regard… I am not a medical doctor. Nor would I dismiss the need for a doctor’s input, and I have already advised such.
      You do not KNOW me, so please refrain from any needless “commentary” until you do…

      Arnold Wiseman on LinkedIn

    • Deborah Rich says

      Ms. Fontuna,
      Thank you for your concern on my behalf as well as your rebuke for my “straying” from the topic of mag stearate to seek alternatives to OTC Aleve. I wanted to set your mind at ease, I have in fact seen a GP doctor, in fact more times recently than in many years. She is aware of my condition and medical maladies and has provided some treatment. However she is not holistic and does not have particular knowledge of supplements which is what I was looking for. Actually Arnold (Mr. Paleo) has been very helpful and that regard and I appreciate his advise. I did in fact purchase several of the things he suggested. You are correct that he is very committed to his belief in the benefits of the Paleo diet and likewise I am also equally as committed to my belief in the vegetarian diet for me. Actually there are things that both diets agree on and he sent me a very good article on just that. Since I would never eat meat, don’t even like it, he is not trying to “change my mind” (though he might like to) :) Anyway, I am now OK with the advice and moving on to continue to improve my health, which does include both conventional doctors as well as alternative medicine and therapies. My best to you in your journey to health as well.

  58. MR PALEO says


    I’d be happy to continue this discussion offsite, if you wish…

    Arnold ([email protected])

  59. MR PALEO says


    While I agree with your nutritionist about unnecessary additions to supplements, I’m wondering why you did not receive advice as to natural solutions to inflammation… I would strongly recommend you determine WHY you have this condition occurring… and start with white willow bark extract…

    • Deborah Rich says

      Thank you. What do you think of Zyflamend? I have only had one visit with the nutritionist so far for systemic candidiasis and to get some herbal supplements and review diet. I don’t see her again till Aug 1st. Yesterday I went to orthopedic doc for the shoulder and back issue. So the nutritionist was not even aware of this at the time I saw her. The cause of the abnormal shoulder blade position and movement was probably from a fall I had while hiking a year ago – landing on my upper arm and shoulder. My first round of PT and now 14 weeks into chiropractor visits (he sold me a package and said he could help) have not helped at all so I went to the ortho who gave me the diagnosis but says I need to try PT again. He gave this new one a referral with some specific instructions. About 2 months ago my husband got me some IbuActin with white willow, turmeric and bromelain but it has maltodextrin as well as mag stearate and I have instructions to avoid the maltodextrin or any malt product because it feeds the yeast. I took about half the bottle and stopped because I didn’t feel like it was doing anything. I just now went back to try it again since you mentioned white willow and I just discovered the maltodextrin. It’s not just the additives in Aleve that concern me, it’s that it can cause bleeding and other side effects as well.

  60. Deborah Rich says

    Hi everyone, I just went to a nutritionist last week and she mentioned that some of the supplements I was taking contained mag stearate and she preferred supplements without that ingredient. When I am finished with what I have I will try to refill with ones without it but was glad to read Chris’s article for a little more perspective. Anyway I just came from the orthopedic doctor who diagnosed me with scapulothoracic dyskinesia which just means I am having a problem with my right shoulder blade and back. He prescribed some physical therapy and since it is really full of inflammation (just sitting on the couch or driving with anything touching it hurts), he recommended I take Aleve BID for 3 weeks. I picked some up on the way home and THEN I read the ingredients. Oy. FD&C blue #2 lake, mag stearate, micro cellulose, talc, and titanium dioxide. I really don’t want to take this NSAID for 3 weeks but don’t know what else to take to help reduce the inflammation. Any suggestions?? Thank you.

  61. says

    I just make my own vitamins & supplements using powdered fruit, powdered vegetables, MSM, powdered herbs, etc. I put them into empty capsules. I have my own little capsule making machine. I don’t have to worry about any additives or toxins. Just make your own. Get the book “How to make your own vitamins & supplements.” http://www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Pure-Vitamins-Supplements/dp/1484939743/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403406142&sr=8-2&keywords=how+to+make+your+own+vitamins

  62. Tim says

    Mr Paleo, your philosophical point is completely irrelevant and doesn’t answer the question, or add to the debate in any way. If you put of something POSSIBLY being true over SCIENCE, then you’re just aren’t bright enough for someone to go into a discussion with you, as I know where it’s going to end, so I’m going to make this shorter than it should be.

    Your (and a lot of others’) thought process is precisely the reason why people believe in god and, judging by the word “paleo” in your nickname (giving away the fact that you’re a fan of the approach), I think it’s fair to assume you definitely don’t read medical journals. Paleo is one of the most stupidest GIMMICKS of the recent years because so many people fell (and continue to) for it. Oh, and I come bearing all scientific data to backup this claim, whereas “paleontologists” cannot support most of their claims since they are NOT backed by science but rather speculations and theories.

    Yet again, to make sure people aren’t more confused by what Mr Paleo was blaberring there, this is what the situation on Magnesium Stearate is, and that’s a ***FACT***: THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC DATA PROVING SIDE EFFECTS OF MAGNESIUM STEARATE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE. Period. End of story.

    For people following advice in Men’s Fitness and similar magazines, I have nothing else to say than either stop it and start reading PubMed instead, or continue without worry but know that you’re not getting FACTS. Unless, of course, you prefer “possibly this” and “possibly that” over scientific data and facts.

  63. I_Fortuna says

    Thank you Robert and all those of you who have put a more realistic perspective on this situation.
    Personally, I am not sure what people have against magnesium in any form as it is vital to good health.
    Diabetics, we are, are extremely deficient in magnesium and it does take some time to overcome this deficiency. We use ionic magnesium because there are no discernible digestive issues with it. Since we started increasing our intake of magnesium, we have much more energy and I believe much better health. As far as I am aware, the body eliminates just what is not needed and there are no negative side effects.
    Without magnesium other vital nutrients such as calcium cannot be absorbed by the body.
    Other factors concerning non absorption are phytic acid and those sensitive to gluten or with celiac disease. Osteoporosis, arthritis and other autoimmune diseases can be the result of one not absorbing the proper nutrition from food.
    I believe that sometimes when people are dieting, taking new supplements or detoxing certain physiological issues arise. People are often looking in the wrong place for the reasons for these changes and are quick to assign blame.

  64. MR PALEO says

    TO: Robert, Tom, et al…

    “Science” has its limitations… there is more to all of this than meets the eye. You might want to loosen your grip a bit… one cannot see the possibilities if one is closed-minded. Sometimes, things that “don’t make sense” at the moment, will eventually… since none of us is fully cognizant… rigidity in thinking only lends itself to self-imposed boundaries.

  65. says

    Robert, great comment – came here to say the same thing. People need to learn how to read studies. There’s way too many cases where correlation does not imply causation, and people completely ignore this fact.

    For others reading these comments on the effects of Magnesium Stearate – all claimed side effects HAVE NOT BEEN PROVEN IN A CONTROLLED STUDY. All the claims are purely speculations.

  66. Robert says

    Many postings commented on the problem of too much magnesium (Mg) in magnesium stearate (MgS). The calculations to verify such a claim in light of what the body requires are simple. First determine the % Mg in MgS and then in a typical pill. The molecular weight on MgS is 591.3; for Mg, 24.3. This means that there is about 4% Mg in MgS.

    I looked at a few vitamin pills and they had around 1% MgS. Assuming a rough calculation for a 500mg tablet, then there would _about_ 5mg of MgS of which 0.2mg would be Mg. (This is about the same amount of Mg, depending upon the source, in the water used to swallow your pill.)

    The RDA for Mg is 400mg/day for an adult. We have about 25,000mg (25gms) of Mg in our bodies. We excrete 100-200mg of Mg/day, hence the need for exogenous Mg to replace what we’ve lost. Further, Mg is a cofactor in over 300 enzymes in our body and I’ve seen values as high as 18,000 chemical reactions in our body depends upon Mg: without Mg you die.

    So, even if 10% of a pill were MgS, we’d be ingesting 2mg of Mg/pill and need to take 200 such pills to meet our RDA recommended levels. (If any of you are taking this many pills per day, you have more problems than Mg or MgS.)

    As for stearate itself, 19% of beef fat is stearic acid (the anion, the negative part, is same as MgS just different cations, the plus parts). There is about 16gms of fat in 4oz of beef (85% lean), or about 3,000mg of MgS. So anyone having hamburger or any other beef product is going to get a heavier load of MgS than in any vitamin or other pill. Also, the Mg content of this 4oz beef is about 30mg of Mg (or about 25mg of Mg for 4oz of turkey meat, depending on how cooked, and significant amounts of Mg in nuts and green vegetables).

    Our average diet contains lots if Mg and MgS, overwhelming the contribution of pills.

    And so, since there are so many other variables affecting our health that anecdotal conclusions (based on an N-value of 1: a single person commenting about themselves), that “I’ve had such and such a problem from MgS”, are absurd. Unless someone (and you need many people in such a study to be certain random chance was not distorting the findings) took only pure MgS, and controlled _all_ other variables in their lives for the duration of the study, no one can definitively state that MgS in vitamin pills or Xanax or anything else is contributory to their poor health.

  67. Shawn says

    Wow! I_Fortuna beat me to the punch and said what I have been saying all along.

    Yes, this forum is here for people to discuss their issues and if everyone stuck to that formula, there would be little debate. The problem is that there are people here who could not just tell us about their problems. They had to create an agenda designed to discredit Magnesium Stearate for everyone.

    Totalfreedom13 just committed one of the most heinous sins possible in a forum like this one. This person indicated that an article stated that: “it seems most of the world’s magnesium stearate and stearic acid come from animal cadavers, especially in the USA and China.” As it turns out, the gut rending article never mentions Magnesium, Stearate or any combination of the two anywhere. There are plenty of appropriate forums where that information can and should be posted, this is not one of them.

  68. totalfreedom13 says

    Dear Chris,

    Yours truly posted a favorable review on 5 May 2014 of your Harmful or Harmless: Magnesium Stearate article.

    This article, however, is extremely disturbing:


    Please comment ASAP because it seems most of the world’s magnesium stearate and stearic acid come from animal cadavers, especially in the USA and China.

    Thank you so much!

    • I_Fortuna says

      I just read the article from precious pets. I read the entire article and did not see anything relevant to this discussion or magnesium stearate or stearic acid. Please point out where in the article that these products are mentioned. I think you have another agenda totalfreedom13.
      I think what you are doing is underhanded and using this forum to further your own political views.
      You are assuming that most of us are unaware of certain issues. I can only speak for myself that your presumptuous attitude and effort at sensationalism isn’t productive or appreciated by me. In fact, I find that these flaws will cause me to disbelieve you and whatever you post.
      If you have actual relevant information on magnesium stearate and stearic acid from reputable studies, scientific papers or university studies please cite your specific sources and refrain from your sensational political, irrelevant links with one-sided and unsupported views with an agenda.

  69. Djinhojinighinkhan says

    no matter what you think and say nothing will ever change unless you realize you are not so different from everyone else. in the past man had none of these pills we now have. in the past man had pure water and pure food. in the past man could bathe in frozen water and run down antelope. a strong, healthy man has a strong, healthy environment and worships, practices, and lives in complete freedom. i dread the future because the present has lost its memory of the past and cares just enough to treat chronic dis-ease for just one day at a time. how about them oceans? f$@k magnesium stearate! hang those who feed it to you. . . your own hand? can you think for yourself? turn this machine off and go outside.

    • Pamela says

      WOW!!! What a fascinating thread! While I have seen worse, I think the following comment is relevant here:

      By now, a significant portion of U.S. consumers are aware of “so called experts” blatant attempts at driving attention to their products through eye-opening messages. These people quote studies and data that under scrutiny fail to show any valid connection to their claims. Still, they continue to do it because it works on the majority who never do the research to verify or dismiss their claims.

      Once these people become converts they adamantly insist that whatever the substance du jour is, is causing them to experience health problems. They often (as in this thread) try to attack the substance with the already discredited few studies that originally convinced them in the first place.Soon they feel that since they can’t win over people on the logical side of issues, they must resort to moving them through emotional and poignant portrayals of how the substance has negatively affected their health. In this thread there is not a single example of anyone who made a logical link to MS as the root of their health issues.

      There are some impressive entries here from people like: Shawn, Hedles, Mr Paleo, Pamela (not me), and Mike Mutzel. Then there is one particular person who egregiously abuses the frameworks of polite discussion to make her point, and has done so quite adequately.

      It’s nice that Mr. Kresser created this opportunity but, as one author pointed out, this thread has run it’s course. There is nothing positive that can be accomplished because the posts are running over the same ground, over and over. Both sides have made their points, and anyone reading it will benefit from reading both sides.

  70. diana says

    I was prescribed vitamin supplements by my doctor. All of them were by a brand called xymogen. Lately,, since the beginning of the year, I have been feeling my pharynx tissue swollen and down to my esophagus. I have been prescribed cortizone and antibiotics, with no success. Tomorrow, I will again be seeing my doctor (ENT not primary) to see what to do. Next he said I will need blood tests to determine if the cause is autoimmune or collagen. No idea, what he is talking about. Thanks to internet I began to research and found about magnesium stearate which is an ingredient in all xymogen supplements. I haven’t taken them since monday. Today is wednesday. I still feel more or less the same. I hope this can be resolved, but I am concerned about the mg stearate and hope that if I completely stop taking the supplements, I get finally better. It is frustrating that the supplements which are supposed to be best quality may be causing the problem.

  71. MrsGGG says

    Mr. Chris Kresser (MD, PHD, OBGYN??)
    ———–>By Dr. MercolaByron J. Richards,
    Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist <+++++++++
    10% – 12% of cocoa is fatty acids of stearic acid, one of the richest sources of stearic acid in the food supply. It is easy to get 5 grams of stearic acid (5,000 mg) by eating a bar of chocolate. By comparison, a dietary supplement capsule product typically contains between 1% – 2% stearic acid or 10 mg – 20 mg of stearic acid per capsule, or 1000 mg to 2000 mg per bottle (20% – 40% of a chocolate bar for the entire bottle). ***BARS OF CHOCOLATE ARE NOT HEALTHY4U**

    My point is that the amount of stearic acid ingested in a vitamin product is a small percent of a fatty acid that you consume every day as part of your diet, a type of fatty acid that is not problematic in the first place.

    Magnesium Stearate in Vitamins

    Magnesium stearate has natural lubricant properties, something very important to the quality in how vitamins are produced. This is especially true for complex formulas with multiple ingredients which have inherently different chemistry properties (meaning that ingredients could stick together or clump in different ways based on their properties).

    Once the raw materials of a vitamin product formulation have been mixed up it is very important to maintain the mix consistency, otherwise the nutrients going into the capsule will not be able to meet the label claims of what is in the capsule. By adding a small amount of magnesium stearate the nutrients don’t stick together, thereby allowing a consistently maintained mixture.

    Magnesium stearate also prevents ingredients from sticking to the encapsulation machine. This is also important, as certain active ingredients may otherwise adhere to machine parts and not get into your capsules in the desired amounts or at the stated dosage.

    • says

      Great point. I’ve been working on the manufacturing side for 9 years, so will shed some insight as to why manufactures use lubricants, including stearic acid.

      Lets take a multivitamin for example, with a ’00’ cap (larger capsule). Each capsule will hold about 1,000 mg of material; of that 1,000 mg about 10-15 mg of stearic acid powder, 5-10 mg of magnesium stearate and 5-10 mg of perkasil (silica). It’s important to recognize that the amount of lubricant used is contingent on the physical properties of the nutrients being manufactured. Take betaine, Ginko or micronized flavonoids, materials that are notoriously hard to blend, may require more lubricants.

      Magnesium stearate is a great lubricant in the same way butter prevents cookies from sticking on pans. However it’s not the ONLY lubricant. Any fat will do, palmitic acid, lauric acid etc…the 15-20 mg of the amino acid leucine works well too. So you may see USP Ascorbyl Palmitate, MCT oil or calcium citrate laurate in place of stearic acid.

      If a manufacture does use stearic acid and/or magnesium stearate, they are not evil, cheap or intentionally trying to hurt you. Even blending is a critical early part to the manufacturing process. If you have ingredients sticking to the sides of the blending tote, dosing will be inconsistent. New cGMP guidelines mandates nutrient levels must be within 5% of label claim.

      Additionally lubricants must be used to form a slug. If you can’t form a slog, capsules won’t stay together. Have you ever tried to make cookies or pancakes with no butter or eggs? They don’t hold form.

      Lastly, and arguably most important, lubricants reduce heat and sheer.

      In conclusion, I’m neither for nor against magnesium stearate. I’m simply supplying you all with insider information that is often ‘spun’ by a few select manufactures to increase market share. The few negative studies on stearic acid that have been published up to now have been conducted exclusively in animals. One important, and often neglected, finding in these studies was that OTHER lipids, not just stearic acid, caused immune suppression too. It’s not natural for rats or any animal for that matter to consume 30 percent of daily calories from a single chain-length lipid.

      A single walnut, a few sesame seeds or a sip of breast milk will have more stearic acid than most large supplement capsules.

      Hope that helps,


        • says

          Hi Sam,

          Great question. Yes, two different molecules. Magnesium stearate is the salt form of stearic acid.

          Stearic acid, is 18 carbons, is used to make the slug or tablet in the manufacturing process. (Remember you need fat to hold stuff together).

          In contrast, magnesium stearate provides excellent lubrication. The differences here are due to the chemical properties of this salt form–which, when bound to magnesium forms a very long hydrocarbon chain (36 carbons in total), which will prevent polar substances (such as polyphenols, water-bearing herbs etc…) from sticking to equipment.

          Please refer to PubChem for additional details and differences between the two compounds.

          Stearic acid => http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/summary/summary.cgi?cid=5281&loc=ec_rcs

          Magnesium stearate => http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/summary/summary.cgi?cid=11177&loc=ec_rcs

          Hope that helps,


          • Hedles says


            Thanks for those links to PubChem. Do you know the reason why the database seems to refer to (all?) salts by the name of the acid from which they are derived and only to provide the name of the salt in the “Also known as” section of the data sheet? For example, even though they have totally distinct CID numbers, each of Stearic Acid (CID 5281), Magnesum Stearate (CID 11177), Calcium Stearate (CID 15324), Aluminium Stearate (CID 12496) etc. are all given the ‘head’ name “Stearic Acid”.

            Agreed they are all related chemicals, but they are definitely not the same compound.

            Are you a chemist? If so, can you shed any more light on the chemistry of Mg stearate?

            For example, (1) how tightly does the Magnesium ion bind to the stearate? I mean (2) are there chemical pathways available within the body that might reduce the salt back to the acid? (3) Any that would produce the salt from the acid? (4) How likely are they to occur?

            (5) In solution/suspension/emulsion, how similar might the chemical behaviours of the acid and the magnesium salt be?

            (6) Will the salt be frequently found as a pair of dissociated ions? (7) Will the acid? (8) So might it be the stearate radical that determines the majority of the chemical properties of either the salt or the acid?

            (9) Or will they react quite differently?

            (10) Given the natural ubiquity of stearic acid, in many foods, does magnesium stearate occur naturally within the body even if you don’t consume any? (11) Does magnesium stearate feature in any of the body’s normal chemical pathways? (12) If so, would these be limited to specific organs?

            It seems to me that if for example we could definitely answer questions (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), (10) and (11) in the positive, (12) in the negative and (5) as “very likely”, then people experiencing negative symptoms that they have associated with with the consumption of Mg stearate, would find it more valuable to look elsewhere for the cause, i.e. at possible contamination of the flow additive/fill rather than the chemical itself.

            Contrariwise, if these answers were reversed, there would be good reason to examine why some specific people might react negatively to magnesium stearate itself.

            Thus the answers to these questions could be crucial to directing any effort to identify causes of these negative health outcomes.

            • possible says

              After reading pretty much all the comments here, I found this one to be particularly interesting myself.

              I believe a comprehensive response however, will be quite difficult. Both in terms of the specialized knowledge needed) and the time to reply.

              Thus it may be less likely to appear than comments taking a more impassioned and interpersonal approach (on both sides of the issue).

  72. Celia says

    en una viamina de Biotin 5000mcg. donde se lee INGRADIENTES DICE : tiene vegetal magnesio esterate—– que tan dañino puede ser…. causar alergia?…. algun daño de valor?

  73. MR PALEO says

    Dear Glad…

    AGREED ! Well said, thank you. There is no place for rigid dogma in REAL healing… we need to stay open to possibilities, whether they make “scientific” sense, or not…

  74. Glad I'm retired !! says

    I have read these posts and find them both intriguing and disturbing. While I understand that from a scientific perspective magnesium stearate may not be particularly harmful, the caveat seems to be, not harmful to “most people”. As an example of how that works, my two uncles were severe asthmatics. One had to sleep with a heart monitor and his nurse wife often had to revive him with CPR and adrenalin. On the other hand, both my mother and her sister (these people are all related) had horrible allergic reactions and when given adrenalin went in to shock!! From the adrenalin!! Almost died!! My son had an asthma attack at the age of six (his first). I nursed him through the night but as morning came he got worse so I called his pediatrician and found that he was already at his clinic at 7am. He said to come right over. By the time we got there my son’s lips were blue and doc immediately wanted to give him adrenalin. I left my son with the nurse in the exam room and asked the doctor to step in to the hall. I told him about my mother and my aunt. He said that was impossible, that adrenalin was produced by the body. I replied that I knew my son needed immediate treatment but I insisted he give him a teensy test dose first just to be sure. He reluctantly agreed. My son could not have heard any of this conversation. We went back in to the room. The doctor injected my son with a teensy dose of adrenalin. The reaction was phenomenal. He jumped off the exam table, threw up, his hands went up as his body slumped to the floor. His heart had stopped. The doctor did CPR while the nurse ran to get a “crash cart”. Fortunately, my son revived from CPR alone and did not need anything else. When it was all over, the doctor said he would never doubt what a parent told him again and said he was quite certain if a regular dose of the drug had been given to my son, he would not have been “revivable.” My point is this, those who say they are fine with magnesium stearate are no doubt fine with it. Those who say they are not, need to be believed as well. One could argue the adrenalin mix had something in it other than adrenalin that caused these reactions. One could argue that the magnesium stearate had something extra as well that caused reactions. Does it really matter to the people involved? I’m old enough to remember when Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and asthma were all psychiatric disorders. Nobody had ever heard of Asperger’s Syndrome but we all knew quite a few “eccentric”, basically non-social types of people. Celiac disease only occurred in people of Scottish or Irish descent and was extremely rare…pretty much unheard of in the U.S. The human body is a mysterious thing. Doctors and scientists don’t know everything. You are the only one who can determine how you feel. If you know something makes you ill, then avoid it!! If you are one of the lucky few who have absolutely no health problems, then more power to you, but unless you can claim perfection, don’t criticize or lecture to others.

    • Shawn says

      I am finally beginning to see what is happening here. I do not disagree with a single word you have said. I never have. The difference here is that I read these posts where people attack Magnesium Stearate and make comments like “this garbage shouldn’t be in our supplements” and object to the fact people are trying to convince everyone that it should be avoided at all costs. Everyone is not in danger here. There could very well be some people who have reactions to it… I agree that they should avoid it. I also had no problem with these people stating their case for their sensitivities. There is nothing wrong with letting people know that a small population of people have problems with it. I am glad they posted. I do not however believe that overarching and irrefutable evidence for the overall safety (for the majority of people) and harmlessness of a substance should be totally ignored for the sake of a few. My comments have been intended as a balance against the overreaching attacks, not as any judgment upon those who believe they have a sensitivity to said substance.

      Read my posts again if you truly believed that I was being dismissive, because that was not my intent at all. The irony is that in every other discussion I have ever had about supplements, or medications have fallen on the side of warning people of the dangers involved. My reaction here has been atypical (for me), but I believe, just as strongly as those who would have attacked Chris and Magnesium Stearate, that there needs to be a balance to reckless abandon here. I want nothing but the best for those people who have sensitivities and have never intended my comments to be construed as attacks. They were all in defense from my perspective.


      • Glad I'm retired !! says

        Shawn, My comments were not directed at you, but rather at the disconcerting tone the entire blog was taking. Thank you for your response.

  75. totalfreedom13 says

    Cool article, Chris Kresser!

    Three Anecdotal Cases

    First case. Ray Kurzweil, futurist, scientist. According to Forbes,


    Ray takes between 180 and 250 pills a day, all having magnesium stearate (MS); moreover, he sells and takes his own supplements:


    Second case. Ray Sahelian, MD. He has been taking supplements with MS for over 30 years. He talks about a 75-year-old grandma who takes 30 to 60 caps a day with MS:


    Third case. Yours truly. He has been taking supplements having MS for 35 years, never gets sick (not even colds), has never had a flu shot, has never been hospitalized, and his only checkup was in 1959, when he was 14 years old, entering high school. Last month a woman told me, “if you told Dr Oz that your last checkup was 55 years ago he would either have a heart attack on the spot or kill you right there.” LOL!

    The two logical explanations for these three cases are (1) genes and (2) lifestyle.

  76. Paul G says

    “The addition of palmitate or stearate to cultured cells led to activation of a death program with a morphology resembling that of apoptosis. Palmitates and stearates caused cardiac and other types of cells to undergo programmed cell death.”

    Sparagna, GC, Hickson-Bick, DL, Department of Pathology and Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. American Journal of Medical Science, Jul 1999; pg. 15-21.

    This is from a 1999 study, also the MSDS Sheet on Magnesium Stearate states: Toxicity by ingestion – Give several glasses of water to drink to dilute, get medical advice. Skin Contact – Wash exposed area with soap and water, get medical advice.”

    Do you really want to put that in your body???

    • Shawn says

      Sigh… If you had read the previous posts here you would have known that your first study has been debunked as it only refers to cultured cells in a laboratory environment or In Vitro. The study in no way indicates how these substances react in the body, or In Vivo. These In Vitro studies are often used to justify further testing including In Vivo studies. On their own, they mean nothing relevant to how the substance reacts in our bodies.

      MSDS are intended for the transport of large quantities of substances. You can find the same toxicity warnings for many substances that are used in foods, drugs and medications. Inhaled, or ingested in it’s pure form, as shipped in bulk, warnings can be found for many substances that are completely harmless, in fact very helpful when taken as a part of a compound.

      The tiny amount of Magnesium Stearate found in a supplement for instance would be totally harmless even if ingested or inhaled. You cannot compare the two as if they are the same. If you truly didn’t know better, now you do. If you did know better, then shame on you for using this information to mislead people.

  77. says

    I would note for the record that Thorne, one of the best, most reputable supplement companies, does not use magnesiuim stearate in any of its products.

  78. MR PALEO says

    To everyone that has stuck their neck out, and opened themselves up to potential ridicule for speaking their “truth”,
    THANK YOU. When recommending supplementation, I now take your input into consideration, and avoid those that contain Mg stearate, if at all possible…

    • Shawn says

      The irony here is that you will be warning people away from something they probably have been ingesting in medications for many years.

      I will agree that there are some people who seem to have sensitivities, but that hardly warrants telling everyone to avoid something most people have been ingesting safely most if not all of their lives.

  79. Boo says

    I am severely allergic to Magnesium Stearate

    I in the hospital and was on IV Gravol for severe morning sickness & when I stopped vomiting thanks to the IV they put me on Gravol pills…then I had the reaction…I got the shakes, my heart just about thundered out of my chest & the last thing I remember is feeling so sick

    When I woke up(they called a code blue on me) they told me I had a reactio to something & since the only thing that changed in my diet was the gravol they investigated…In pill Gravol there is the Magnesium Stearate & not in IV..they then looked at the previous reactions(not so severe but severe enough) & looked at those drugs.

    So I do have a diagnosed allergy to Magnesium Stearate & I am terrified of the stuff….

  80. Sam says

    Magnesium Stearate does cause stomach problems when ingested. The proof is in the Mineral Safety Data Sheet, which states the following,

    “Ingestion: May cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the lining membrane of the stomach and intestines) with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”

  81. Mimi says

    Thank you so much for the clarification, I was taking prenatal vitamins and most seem to have some forms of this, which got me concerned. I really appreciate the thoroughness with which all the arguments were addressed. My favorite part:
    “As for the concern that cottonseed oil is often genetically modified, the source of crude fat shouldn’t make a difference in the final form of the stearate. Stearic acid is an 18-carbon molecule with a specific chemical structure that will be the same whether the stearic acid is from a genetically modified cotton plant, a bar of Hershey’s chocolate, or a grass-fed ribeye steak.”

    Thanks again and keep up the awesome posts, we need more critical analysis of people’s claims that “xyz” is bad for you or good for you based on incomplete information.

  82. Christine says

    Curious that magnesium stearate may be the explanation for mysterious hives on hand.

    For the last 7 years, I have been suffering with hives on my hand. I have seen multiple allergists and dermatologists and noone can determine the cause. I recently noticed however that my hives went away when I didn’t take Motrin/ibuprofen. I also noticed I had an extreme case of hives when I took Goody’s Powder. Naturally I assumed my hives have been a direct result of NSAIDs so i discontinued all. That is until a co-worker gave me an Excedrin Migraine when I asked for a Tyelonol by mistake. I braced myself for the hives I knew I was going to get, yet nothing!

    Weird right?

    So now it’s been several months of no hives for the first time in years, I stick to Tylenol and no other meds and have had no problems. Now, for the first time in a decade, I start back on birth control pills (Vestura) and I have a slight case of hives on my hand.

    I’ve decided to compare all inactive ingredients between Motrin, Excedrin Migraine, Goodys, and Vestura. The only common 2 common denominators are Magnesium Stearate and Lactose Monohydrate. Problem is, Tylenol also has Magnesium Stearate (no hives from Tylenol) so I would then assume it’s an allergic reaction to Lactose Monohydrate, except I’m not lactose intolerant and I don’t have a milk allergy.

    Can anyone help??

  83. says

    I understand what you are saying that many of those with adverse reactions to magnesium stearate also have some other medical issues. I have been taking supplements my entire adult life and I have never had any kind of problem with magnesium stearate until recently. I also have no medical problems.

    For me, this started last year when I bought a vitamin D3 I had never used before and my stomach really became a mess with bloating, dark bowel movement and diarrhea. At first I thought it was the D3 because it was a different brand and a different type of D3 than I was used to taking. This D3 was made from lanolin, which I had never taken before. I thought it was the lanoline causing my stomach problems and finally stopped taking those and went back to the D3 I was used to. End of stomach problems.

    I then bought an L-Arginine supplement from NOW and my stomach problems returned exactly as before. I looked at both supplements and they contained magnesium stearate.

    I stopped using the NOW L-Arginine and my stomach problems went away. I bought the GNC brand of L-Arginine that does not contain magnesium stearate and no stomach problems.

    I recently got a bad chest cold and I took Muccinex and sure enough my stomach problems came back again, just like before. And looking at the Muccinex, it contains magnesium stearate. When I stopped taking them, the stomach problems went away.

    I have no idea what changed in me last summer when I first noticed the problem between my stomach and magnesium stearate, but I have never had this problem before and I certainly would have taken supplements with magnesium stearate in the past.

    This is why I originally came to this thread, wondering why magnesium stearate would suddenly start bothering my stomach. I would rather it didn’t since finding many supplements without it is a hassle sometimes.

    • Shawn says


      I am sorry to hear about your troubles with Magnesium Stearate. The comments on this blog have led me to believe there are definitely people who have problems with the substance. It makes no scientific sense whatsoever, but people need to know that some people have problems.

      • Hedles says

        Hi Shawn,

        Thank you for your recent clarification. Sorry if you felt my judgement was “a bit harsh”. I felt justified in making it because although you had never posted anything opposing my own posts, I still felt aggravated and empathetic irritation at the way you repeatedly ascribed a label of “unscientific” (i.e. effectively “irrational”) to the posts of others who were simply writing about their own experiences, explaining carefully the ‘experiments’ they had carried out (both intentionally and unintentionally) which had convinced them that their negative health results may have been related to Mg Stearate, then using their intellect to think about why this might be so and stating their opinions about what might be done to help – even if only a small subsection of the community.

        I have not been to the other fora you mention, but if you have suffered aggressive verbal treatment there, it may help to understand why someone effectively calling you ‘irrational’ or ‘idiotic’ is not a helpful way to arrive at rational answers.

        If I may offer a different ‘translation’ of your statement above, “It makes no scientific sense whatsoever, but . . .”, it would be, “Science does not yet know why, but . . .”

        Thank you for being more careful with your words in recent posts. I appreciate it and I am sure others do, too. I also appreciate any other positive contributions you can make here from your intense study on the subject, which might suggest a way forward or open new insights.

  84. MR PALEO says


    Functional nutritionists are trained to complement, and work with physicians. The “best” physicians are those that work with nutritionists. This is the best of both worlds…
    FYI, diabetes (both types I and II) ARE treatable, in many cases without meds or with withdrawal of meds over a period of time. I have had several clients completely symptom free for good, as long as they followed their individualized protocol… and this holds for MANY conditions. Nutrition is the basis of health…

  85. I_Fortuna says

    I have read most of the comments on this page and most of the people disturbed by the use of magnesium sterate are people with, what seems to be, multiple medical conditions. It is possible that certain supplements as well as medications and the mixture of the two could trigger various physiological reactions.
    However, I think it is absurd for most people to experiment on themselves and draw conclusions that cannot be proved. If one is taking perscription medicastions even some herbs can react badly with them.
    That said, I feel better now than I ever did taking supplements in moderation than I ever did without them and many contain magnesium sterate. I make my own kefir in order to maintain a healthier digestive system too. easy
    Also, since doctors literally saved my life more than twice, I will admire and keep them close and continue to avail myself of their great medical knowledge as it vastly exceeds mine. Doctors and science know a lot more than the untrained and uneducated, this should go without saying. Are they perfect? No.
    As a diabetic, I wish I could throw out the meds and doctors but that would be suicidal as diabetes cannot be controlled by diet alone. To suggest that it could be is very dangerous.
    I would like to say, though, that I wish the pharmacy attendant on a recent visit had known what a boil is.
    When I asked her where the meds were for this she pointed me to the foot care department. I asked her if she knew what a boil was and she said she did. I guess she thought I said bunion. LOL I can’t wait for her to fill my next perscription!

    • Honora says

      Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by diet alone. Here’s the link to a study showing a calorific restriction of 500 kcals/day normalised the beta cells of the pancreas by the end of the week by clearing out fat from first the liver, then the pancreas: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21656330

      Surprising at the lack of interest shown in this amazing cure for T2DM. I guess the prospect of going hungry for a week is pretty frightening to some but then blindness, kidney failure and amputations sound pretty frightening to me.

  86. Susan says

    Shawn, who are you?
    If you think Quackwatch is a respectable site, I feel sorry for you. You’re obviously VERY opinionated and have already made conclusions.
    While I might not buy everything on Mercola’s site, he does a great job in informing people of things they would otherwise not have known. It’s kind of nasty to knock someone else down who is doing a service for people. I learned about GMOs, amalgams and all that from Mercola, not Chris, maybe because he is newer on the scene.

    • Hedles says


      I think that ‘Shawn’ has written enough on this forum to demonstrate that he is not interested in discussing the issue or sharing useful information. Rather, he is intent on shoving his own dogmatic view down everybody else’s throat – and quite aggressively, at that.

      I guess that you are forming the same idea that I am – that he is probably a ‘plant’ from some company that uses Mg Stearate in its products and wants to rubbish the genuine concerns that some people have.

      If anybody disagrees with my opinion, it is their prerogative to do so. I would simply suggest that they read every one of his posts here and make up there own mind about the question.

      As for me, I shall, more than likely, simply ignore any further posts he makes. I’d invite anybody who shares my opinion to do the same. If nothing else, it might teach him to be better mannered!

      • Shawn says


        Are you kidding me?!?

        My problem is with people that take very unscientific claims (or scientific claims that have been disproved), provided by people with a vested financial interest in convincing people that it is dangerous attack anyone who disagrees with them. 98% of the information I have researched in the past seven months or so clearly indicate it is totally safe. I started this journey, worried because I take meds and supplements that do not offer a Magnesium Stearate free option. If you could read my posts in other threads, I am often the one recommending avoiding certain meds and supplements. I only do so when there is scientific evidence supporting my statements though. This thread is actually a bit ironic where my beliefs are concerned.

      • Shawn says

        Wow! Hedles post was very disturbing to me. I immediately went back and read the entire thread. On one hand, I think this judgment of me is rather harsh. On the other hand, I made a surprising discovery. As I said before, I came to this site, and many others expecting to find supporting evidence for claims made by people like Mercola. No one could have been more surprised than me to find irrefutable evidence, over and over that clears the name of Magnesium Stearate. During this time, I have also been debating this subject on another forum where those who are against Magnesium Stearate have been very ugly, calling people names, and making totally unsupportable and blatantly false claims. I feel that after reading this forum from top to bottom that I have been a bit harsher than I knew, in consideration of the posts who disagree with me (I was reacting to the tone from the other forum here without realizing I was doing it). I truly apologize for that unintentional cross-posting. I have never meant to make anyone feel like I discounted their “personal experiences.” If I have done that, then I apologize for that as well. The only thing I will not apologize for is for standing behind the truth that Magnesium Stearate is not Hydrochloric Acid, a heavy metal, or any of the ridiculous comparisons and accusations that have been levelled at it. In fact, Hedles has made statements supporting my view where the information was new to me. I researched them and found them to be true and they actually helped immensely with my discussion on the other forum.

        I hope this clarifies things a bit. I have never had such surprising accusations levelled at me, so it was an unpleasant shock. I can assure you that my intentions have always been the best. I can see that my delivery suffered, so I have apologized for that.


        • Yo says

          Relax, you haven’t been anything near harsh, you’ve been pretty calm and logical from what I’ve seen.
          I’m actually rather impressed with you demeanor.

  87. The Bus Driver says

    Something is being missed in this debate overall. The main problem with this substance is that it goes into your soft tissue and causes much havoc (joints, organs etc.) Any inorganic mineral outside of the food chain does this including calcium carbonate. I know this from a lifetime of personal experience and experimentation. I believe these unnecessary substances are a leading cause of joint problems and circulatory issues, strokes/heart attacks. Please avoid!

    • Shawn says

      Interesting view. I will agree that there is evidence that supplementing with calcium has been shown to (detrimentally) penetrate muscle tissue but I have not seen anything to indicate this is true with other minerals. I don’t imagine you pulled that statement out of thin air, so I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide a source, or sources for that information.
      I would however repeat what Chris said, that you would have to take massive amounts of products containing Magnesium Stearate because it makes up such a miniscule amount of each product.
      Thank you in advance for sharing your concern and I look forward to the references.

  88. Shawn says

    Mr. Paleo:

    If you type Dr. Mercola into Google, the second most popular search that comes up is:

    Dr. Mercola Quack

    Following that link, you find page after page of respected people and organizations (such as Quackwatch) who have labeled him a Quack. I read about 20 of them, and it is extremely clear he truly is a quack.

    You mention the “good” information on his site, and I agree. I too found information of merit. Then I started running into obviously false information.

    Mercola’s distrust-heavy spin seems to have hit a particular nerve. “That’s the fundamental sales hook,” says Barrett (of Quackwatch). “That you can’t trust the government, and because I don’t trust the government, you can trust me. And a lot of people don’t trust the government for a lot of reasons.” So the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    To be honest, it’s what originally drew me to his website. Soon the skeptic in me became more and more irritated as I read one ridiculous claim after another, often for the sole purpose of selling his overpriced products. I always try to be as objective as possible and grant that you can find good information on his site, but it means wading through the BS and being knowledgeable on the subjects to avoid being misled. He supports the idea that all cancers are actually fungus and can be healed by injecting baking soda into them for crying out loud!! Ironically, one of the most influential sources of information in the “Natural” treatments and cures is the Health Sciences Institute, and they promote a number of cures and treatments for cancer that involve mushrooms (a fungus).

    Unlike Chris, he posts a lot of information that is downright dangerous and unsupportable. His only high ground is his self-proclaimed battle with “Big-Pharma.” He rarely supports his claims with actual facts. I give HSI credit for at least quoting actual double blind studies to support many of their claims. Of course, as some have pointed out, many of these studies are flawed and often the researchers find what they set out to find, regardless of the science in their studies that could just as easily lead to completely different outcomes. They produce a very thick “Anthology of Underground Cures” titled “Miracles From the Vault.” It is full of interesting ideas, supported in various ways with the primary intent of selling one or more products in each chapter.

    The book, and their site (like Mercola’s) make many claims that are absurd to anyone with any intelligence and not in “wishful thinking” mode. I know I was there at one time, and actually exhibited side-effects to some of the substances they rail loudly against. Since educating myself, I have gone back and exposed myself to these same substances and noticed no ill effect, despite being much older and more susceptible to negative effects of things like alcohol (which I have learned to live without).

    Quackery on the level of Joe Mercola and the HSI has become pervasive as they align themselves as anti-government crusaders and appeal to the baser instincts found in human beings. It’s really a shame, because in my lifetime I have visited 39 different countries and logged 127 different places, and my experience is that people just want to be happy. Those who prey on our fears with falsehoods and half-truths are robbing many of their happiness. Yes, there are apparently small numbers of people who have legitimate difficulties with some substances, but there is no need to drag the rest of us down with their alarmist propaganda.

    I really appreciate and value the good work people like Chris do to help us recognize what is really worth being concerned about, and what we can safely ignore. The handful of people who believe Magnesium Stearate is a problem for them should report it, so the rest of us can watch for these sensitivities. The fear mongering that some on this thread, and elsewhere, engage in is destructive and of no positive value to us or our society. Stick to the facts because all of the falsehoods that have been perpetrated by these people, trying to be “right,” does more harm than good. They feel they are strengthening their argument, but anyone of even average intelligence can see through the garbage when presented with solid facts as provided by those who have opposed them here.

    For those of you who wish to believe in the negative hype, I suggest checking out a way these folks insist you can use to identify substances that are harmful to you:


    Maybe, while your at their site, you can convince them to take up your cause with regard to Magnesium Stearate. They have a pretty effective site with regard to pointing fingers at all sorts of possible causality.

    Peace and happiness to you all.

  89. says

    “Stearic acid is an 18-carbon molecule with a specific chemical structure that will be the same whether the stearic acid is from a genetically modified cotton plant, a bar of Hershey’s chocolate, or a grass-fed ribeye steak.”

    I really liked this point. A misconception that most in the holistic nutrition industry have is that anything that is not 100% naturally found in nature has a harmful effect to it, and that is simply not true.

    Good article!

    • MR PALEO says


      While I may agree with your basic premise, you are overlooking one small, but very important point… we do not live in a perfect world…
      There is no such thing as 100% purity. Contamination IS a factor in food, health, etc… as for 100% “natural”, that doesn’t really mean much.. You can easily get some “100% natural” arsenic, for instance… Also, one cannot discount INDIVIDUAL susceptibility. SCIENCE often appears “cut & dried”, but rarely is… what is “knowledge” today may become tomorrow’s faulty “information”… dogma, as it were, is a very ornery beast !

      • Shawn says

        You are forgetting that Magnesium Stearate has been safely used in medications, supplements, foods and cosmetics for decades. It is a very specific molecule that study after study has shown not to be a danger and is without contamination. It is used in over 2,500 medications, and is found in almost all of the top 200 prescription medications. The number two most used excipient? Lactose! Now that is a natural chemical that is a known problem for a significant number of people. Of course, as in the example of Magnesium Stearate, it makes up such an insignificant amount of the final product that people sensitive to it do not even know it is in their medications because they have no reaction to it.

        Magnesium Stearate is a vegetable source lubricant produced by a precipitation process with tight control over particle physical properties. Certified to meet NF/EP/JP and FDA specifications. It is known for:

        High purity
         Well-defined crystalline state
         Consistent physical properties
         Particle size distribution
         Surface area
         Morphology
         Consistent performance

        This is easily verifiable and very basic testing can be used to do so.

        If there were problems with purity, they would have been when Magnesium Stearate was first brought into use. Decades later, the standard for Magnesium Stearate is a pure substance without any contamination. That said, the possibility always exists that, like the Japanese company that produced a contaminated version of Tryptophan, a batch from a less than stellar company could happen. The FDA overreacted and took a valuable supplement totally off the market as a result. I have dealt with a number of supplement companies who randomly assay their products, and no contamination of magnesium stearate was ever found. Sure contaminated batches are possible, but this scenario could play out in any supplement, not just those with Magnesium Stearate in them. Even then, it would not account for those who claim all contact with Magnesium Stearate gives them problems.

        The detractors in this thread have tried to label Magnesium Stearate as a “heavy metal,” a trans fat and/or a hydrogenated fat, and the product of a GMO (thus inferring danger). Each of these misconceptions were clearly and definitively refuted.

        I usually find myself on the other side of these discussions, and find it interesting that I am actually defending two industries I have major problems with (prescription medications and the supplement industry). I guess it comes down to my extreme dislike of those self serving individuals who take a stand that is as indefensible as the one some on this thread have taken.

        I do not discount the possibility that the few people on this thread who are braying the loudest may actually have some reaction to Magnesium Stearate. I have no objection to those who wish to bring it to the public’s attention that they have experienced difficulties. If there is a problem for them, it is quite possible there are others. When they decide to attack someone who is doing great work clearing up misconceptions, and do it with one falsehood after another, well that I have a problem with.

        • MR PALEO says


          I am not arguing the “science”, I think Chris is doing a great job, and, if you have been following this post from the beginning, I clearly have stated that I have not encountered this particular problem, either personally or professionally, however, since “science” is a “work in progress”, and factors such as repeat exposure can have long-term effects that may not make themselves evident for years, I have to at least take note that there MAY be a potential problem… as I have said, repeatedly, I think it is wiser to err on the side of caution… but this is just my opinion.

          • Alice says

            And Mr. Paleo, Good! that’s what this is all about, having an opinion based on your thoughts and experiences. I must say you are very professional too about taking things into account as we go along here. In fact, Chris started this whole thread by giving his opinion and then asking for opinions from us. This is supposed to be a healthy discussion with diverse opinions and experiences. My opinion and experience is that mag stearate does not work for me, Of course, there are a number of so called allergens that do not work for a number of people. When I gave some examples such as no one would agree that peanuts or Penicillin should be in everything because some people are known to react to them, and then to have someone go WAY off topic about how peanuts have not been outlawed, so why am I saying mag stearate should be outlawed, this is NOT a discussion. It is off topic to say the least and twisting my statement to say that I want mag stearate outlawed is just wrong. I should be able to say that the doctor who ‘snuck’ mag stearate into my compounded med that caused me to have labored breathing and fast pulse had no right to do that to me. I stated that I would never take mag stearate and I won’t but that should not be twisted into my declaring it should be outlawed. It is like those of us that have had very adverse experiences are not allowed to say it because ‘someone’ here does not want to hear anything but what he believes. AND to say that mag stearate has been used for years with no problem, well maybe he has not had a problem or he chooses to be oblivious to any problems it may cause, that does not mean it has not been a problem for some people. When we see how “FDA Approved Prescription Drugs Kill Hundreds of Thousands of People Annually”, I can safely say that something is NOT working well with drugs/supplements. I mean, those are “JUST A FEW” people who would not agree that all has been well through the years with drugs/supplements. This statistic does not include all the people who had negative reactions to drugs/supplements. Just maybe drugs/supplements should be looked into a little closer for impurities/allergens and the so called inert ingredients instead of doggedly insisting no changes have to be made, nothing needs looking into, all is well because that’s the way it has always been done AND it makes good money for those not so few people in that business.


  90. suzanne says

    i take amphetamine salts for ADD. i began taking them 6 years ago.

    now, 6 years later, i’ve been diagnosed with ALS.

    i was also diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago so i need to be gluten free. was checking the ingredients and a questionable one is magnesium stearate.

    any thoughts, please?

    • MR PALEO says


      Without more information (your age, medical history, test results, etc.) it is difficult to ascertain the cause of your problems, but all three of your “conditions” have a dietary component… you appear to have a “biological cascade” in effect… that is, in plain English, it would appear your body is breaking down, probably due to gastrointestinal concerns, and possibly to other factors as well… and Mag stearate would probably be the least of your problems… paleo works to improve some of these conditions, but you may need both genetic and methylation pathway testing, as well as B-vitamin analysis, and possibly a few other tests to ascertain what exactly is occurring, and to determine the correct treatment. I can recommend several qualified physicians, if you like…

  91. Shawn says


    I appreciate your point, and have repeatedly said that if those few people experiencing problems want to avoid any substance, then they should. My problem is with people who come onto an informational blog like this one and try over and over again to convince the general public that their problems mean that no one should take anything containing something. Peanuts are deadly to some people, you don’t hear any outcry that peanuts should be banned and people are not whining that because they have a problem with them then everyone should avoid them.
    As I have pointed out, Magnesium Stearate has been used for decades, in many thousands of medications, foods, cosmetics and supplements. If there was a serious problem, then I am quite certain it would have come to light.
    Lactose is the second most common excipient, and there are a lot of people who cannot process it, but those people are free to check the label and avoid it. The rest of the population should be free to use it if they want.
    Yes, I can be blunt when addressing those who make clearly wrong statements in an attempt to convince the rest of the world that their difficulty constitutes one for everyone. It is absurd and they should just give it up.
    Chris wrote a very good, fact based, blog and the fake claims have been clearly debunked, so these people need to find something else to do.

  92. Susan says

    Depends on if they changed what mag stearate is made of. What is its base?
    There are things that used to be harmless that are now harmful because the something in the ingredients changed.

  93. Terri says

    I have a family member who is a Nutritionist and continually giving us feed back on the safety implications of certain things. Magnesium Stearate being the most recent. She likens it to degreasers because it is in solvents? So I investigate her comments and more often end up debunking them. With all of the misinformation going around the internet, how do we know we are reading a trusted article?

    • says


      Mg stearate is used as a “flow control agent” (lubricant) in supplement production… it also has other uses in other industries… I am now recommending my clients avoid it, if at all possible, simply because it MAY be problematic…
      MR PALEO

      • Shawn says

        LOL! So they finally wore you down. It’s exactly the kind of crap that causes some supplement companies to give in. A few loud voices keep making unprovable claims over and over again. Meanwhile the millions who are unaffected don’t even know the prices of their supplements are about to get more expensive solely because a small percentage of the population claims they have problems with “certain” ingredients.

        • MR PALEO says

          @Shawn, et al…
          As a caregiver, I have a responsibility to my clients to err on the side of caution… if YOU have read the entire thread, then you would know I am still questioning people with respect to their assumptions and/or conclusions…. and I would advise you to be careful about being so arrogant about your assumed knowledge as to slander people, e.g., Dr Mercola… whatever you may think about him, personally or professionally, and while I do not recommend his supplements, his website has made a positive impact on advancing nutritional awareness in the “general” population, and much of what he reports nowadays is accurate… especially since coming around to the “PALEO/PRIMAL” approach… just my “opinion”…

          • hedles says

            Well said, Mr. Paleo.

            We need to exercise caution in assessing the complex truth and not jump to conclusions where more understanding is required to explain and deal with symptoms that some – but clearly a significant few – are experiencing.

            Individuals who are not professional scientists can only experiment on themselves and generate their own theories based upon their own (and possibly others’) anecdotal evidence together with whatever scientific data *can* tell us already.

            If a significant number are experiencing negative health effects and their self-experimentation leads them to associate those symptoms with certain products or ingredients, it calls for further scientifically-based studies NOT mere assertion of what is and what is not.

            IMHO, the jury is still out on this one, until a cause has been found for the negative symptoms that are being experienced – even if only by a few – and an effective remedy that demonstrates its accuracy.

            • Alice says

              As a reading Disabilities teacher, I worked with students in 7th through 10 grades (many old for their grade due to being “flunked”). I actually worked with students at this age level who didn’t know anything about reading, (had no knowledge of what sounds letters stood for or even knew the alphabet). One particular 7th grade guy, I’ll call John Doe, had a genius IQ level but was a struggling reader. When my program took this John Doe out of the Basal Reader, one “Shawn” teacher was horrified, saying how could you dump the Basal reader when it has come through years and years of structured reading for students. My reply, it didn’t work for my John Doe or the numbers of other John & Jane Does I have worked with through the years. AND I WILL say my system WORKED as I turned non-readers and very poor readers into readers and good readers. (the result/end experience didn’t lie) This is life. We are not the same in many, many ways and to stick to close-minded ways that one calls science because they work for the majority leaves a significant number behind. Everybody is not histamine intolerant or gluten intolerant or has asthma or can eat peanuts and on and on. So it makes sense that not everyone can tolerate mag stearate. Just as some people do not tolerate aspirin or penicillin or peanuts/nuts and so on. Where is the science behind such things? Medical forms acknowledge such intolerances in individual medical records. Generally the so called science behind it is that the patient reacted to the substance so it is not prescribed for that person again and again only to experience the negative reactions over and over or to end in death. There are insane/wrong ‘scientific’ studies that show that heart disease is caused by Cholesterol and many people live by that standard but in actuality, die early by adhering to the science behind that standard. What about the thousands of people who die each year from prescription drugs or food allergies or the thousands who have bad reactions to a drug or substance such as MAG STEARATE. Why is mag stearate in such a different category as penicillin and all the rest of those “common” substances that cause Many people to have bad reactions or death??? Where has Common Sense gone? I can guarantee you that my Common Sense works where science has it all wrong. To cry like a baby because you don’t get YOUR way says one is functioning somewhere at the 2 year old level. That’s those who name call/say they know it all and Mercola does not know…that’s supposed to be a science minded person??? Well, I will rely on my Common Sense instead. Maybe the philosophy of “I think, therefore I am” comes into play here!

              • Shawn says

                LOL! I cannot believe you went there. You really have become desperate because you can’t be right. I will take my education, intelligence and science above your “common” sense any time. You have tried one failed theory after another, trying to prove a scientific link and had them all debunked. Now all it takes is “common” sense?

                Your incessant whining has been a childish cry because you can’t be right. You have been wrong, over and over again. Get over it and get a life.

                • hedles says

                  Hey Shawn,

                  You are really letting yourself down by being so dismissive and acidic to people.

                  If people are experiencing negative symptoms that they find seem to be associated with preparations including Mg stearate but don’t occur when they substitute other preparations without Mg stearate, how is it you know that it isn’t anything to do with the Mg stearate without a proper study to find out what actually is causing those symptoms?

                  At least a handful of people have found their way here who are apparently experiencing this.

                  That would imply that “out there” there are more than a handful of people who are also experiencing such.

                  Without a study of some of those particular people and their symptoms, you simply cannot say that it has nothing to do with Mg stearate in their tablets or, to be more accurate, the specific Mg stearate product used in their manufacture – its possible contaminants, its provenance or its mode of manufacture, etc.

                  There are just dozens of variables that cannot be known without investigation.

  94. gracie says

    I have been suffering miserably with acid reflux for the past several months and know it’s not being caused by food intake. Lying in bed last night I was making a mental inventory of what I do consume and it hit me that many of the supplements I take contain magnesium stearate. Is anyone else having a similar problem that can be related to this?

  95. johnnyw says

    Very surprised Chris K is defending, no–apologizing for this crud. Some of it comes from cottonseed oil, and that’s OK with Chris–who hasn’t seen any info that the highly refined product retains residues of the inevitable pesticides in cotton and it’s products. Very hypocritical. Take a stand, Chris, get on the good foot, the stuff is junk and requires bodily resources to process in exchange for yet more entropy. No good comes from it.

    • Shawn says

      You should really read a thread before commenting in it. Your cottonseed oil/pesticides angle has already been thoroughly debunked.

      • JohnnyW says

        I read the thread. Yer off the truth if yer defending this chemical only a step or two above hydrogenated fat. Matter of fact, it’s a substitute for hydrogenated fat. Find and use whatever supps you can without this junk Shawn. It’s not always possible, but it’s the way to go Best of health to you.

  96. maria says

    Dr. Mercola says magnesium stearate should be avoided as it is a source of aluminum. Do you agree? Also, if the magnesium stearate is “derived from vegetables” does that make it any less harmful?

    • Pam says

      Maria, magnesium stearate is not a source of aluminum. It is only magnesium and stearic acid, which are two natural nutrients found in food. The only exception might be very cheap, low quality supplements that may be contaminated with aluminum, but this would not be due to the mag stearate. It’s a good idea to stick with pharmaceutical grade supplements, since they use very pure ingredients. Also, no it does not matter what the source of the mag stearate is, because it’s the same molecule either way.

  97. says

    I have been taking vitamins and supplements for years without any problems, until recently. It now seems that whenever I take any supplement or even an OTC medication that contains magnesium stearate, I get serious stomach problems.

    My stomach gets a bloated feeling, gassy feeling and just sick feeling. After switching between different supplements, I am now certain it is the magnesium stearate that is causing the stomach problems.

    Any idea why?

  98. says

    Thank you so much for writing up this article alaying the alarm I just had reading Mercola’s opinion on the subject and finding 85 percent of my affordable supplements have it in them. You present a reasonable arguement that supports what my intuition hinted at!

  99. says

    I’ve been reading a lot about excipients and I’ve determined to remove as many of them from my diet/supplements as possible. While the jury is out on Magnesium stearate I am scanning labels on the many supplements I take, just like I scan labels on packaged foods. Although I’m not discarding supplements that I have already purchased, I am upgrading them as I run out of old and buy new. I will only buy ones that do not contain Magnesium stearate and other excipients. For me there is peace of mind in buying pure powder supplements and putting them in capsules myself. I look forward to the day I can stop taking supplements. When my gut is healed I believe my diet will provide most if not all the nutrients I need.

  100. Colin says

    The stress that some of you are working yourselves up with will cause more damage to your body then the trace amounts of Magnesium Stearate that you consume.

  101. sophie says

    To further prove my point, HCL (hydrocholoric acid) does not have the properties of either of its components hydrogen and chlorine both of which are gases. This is very basic science/chemistry. It scares me to think that most people on here, including the author believe that magnesium stearate should be harmless because hey, magnesium is a necessary nutrient and stearic acid sure enough is a part of beef fat! Stearic acid is also an ingredient in soap but that doesn’t make soap harmless if ingested, does it?

    • Susan says

      Can you tell us any more about Mag Stearate? Or give us any links to understand it further. It’s in quite a lot of supplements that my family is taking. Kind of hard to avoid.

        • Susan says

          I take the info on Wikipedia with a grain of salt. I was interested in her perspective. Thanks though.

          • hedles says

            One ought to take ALL information that someone tells one or writes for one with the proverbial grain of salt. Due diligence is always required. Compare one source with another.

            To be sure about anything you need to confirm it yourself. However, most of us don’t have the time, hence we rely upon culture and the preserved records of others’ work.

            As a science-educated individual I would express the opinion that at least as far as science goes on Wikipedia it is nearly always accurate and consistent with current scientific understanding.

            That’s because of it’s editorial policy and because the vast number of well-educated editors who constantly check the writings of others. The policy is that everything written must be not simply the opinion of the writer but must be sourced and referenced from some other attested published material. Of course, this does not always happen – some people write just anything – but you can always check the references to confirm or otherwise what is written. (If there are no reference to support as statement, treat it like that – an unsupported statement.)

            When it comes to something that is contentious or in dispute – such as the current debate about harmful health effects of Mg Stearate – you can expect Wikipedia to be conservative and in line with general scientific opinion and it probably won’t contain any contentious statements such as the current assertions of negative health effects, precisely because these have not yet had any amount of scientific research applied to them and therefore there is no such published scientific literature to reference.

            Thus Wikipedia (as any encyclopaedia) will always be behind the cutting edge. But as far as the basic science of Magnesium Stearate is concerned, it is very likely to contain exactly that (and not much else). But check against any other material you can find.

      • johnnyw says

        Check out Paradise Herbs website. I’m not hyping the company, but their stance on Mag Stearate is revealed in an article about it. Good info about it, better than here.

    • Alice says

      Sophie, So agree. What is Science??? It is some person PICKING/CHOOSING variables to work with. Quite subjective if one really, really looks at this with a true open-minded mind, a mind that can see beyond the chains of those CHOSEN variables. (in fact, the big criticism with science is that a so called scientist can handpick variables to result in his/her particular DESIRED outcome. Just look at all the so called scientifically produced products that result in injury and lawsuits. For example, it is ironic that when a drug is ‘studied’, participants must be a selected group of people. That would leave out those with allergies to peanuts, dyes and such who may react terribly to the product. At any rate, if SOME people react to mag stearate, it is not an OK ingredient for ALL people, yet it is on the books as being nonreactive or inert or harmless. To the people who say it should be science over empirical, in plain words, reality instead of hand-picked variables, I don’t even respond back to them. I have a right to say that our very negative empirical evidence should be evidence that mag stearate is not an inert ingredient. The number of responses to this article alone that indicate bad reactions to mag stearate indicate a problem with mag stearate so it just should not be some ubiquitous ingredient in foods/supplements/drugs ESPECIALLY since it has NO nutrient value at all. It’s just used for the machines to be oiled so they don’t wear out processing the stuff.

    • Shawn says


      There are thousands and thousands of examples of harmless man made chemicals. I will grant that there are good examples of where the combinations did not work out so well, but you cannot condemn the entire practice because of a small percentage of failures. BTW, HCL is a necessary chemical combination used by our own bodies. It is not a great example as CL gas is extremely dangerous on it’s own. H2O is just as good an example of gases that form something else… only the most important substance on our planet.

      Magnesium Stearate has been used in medicines, foods, and cosmetics for decades. It is used in over 2,500 medications and is by far the most common excipient found in the top 200 medications used today. Just because a few whiners have made an anecdotal link to it as a problem for them is not enough to write it off as a safe compound. I am amazed at the irrational lengths some of you will jump to in your attempts to demonize this longtime safe compound.

      No Alice, you have anecdotal evidence that proves nothing. The only empirical evidence available on Magnesium Stearate indicates that it is perfectly safe. The hubris you display when you snub your nose at good solid science in favor of your subjective guess that MS is the root of your problems is ludicrous. Even if you were right, it does not make it a problem for billions of others. I would recommend that you avoid it, if you feel you must, and let the rest of the world make their own judgments. Every argument you have thrown at this wall has failed to stick.

      You need to get a hobby… or a life.

  102. sophie says

    If I can recall my basic chemistry lessons from school accurately, magnesium stearate isn’t a water soluble salt. Yes it is derived out of Mg and stearic acid but magnesium stearate itself is a different animal than either of its precursors and it will behave differently than stearic acid which is found in the aforementioned beef, chocolate and coconut oil. Mg stearate does not readily break down into Mg and stearic acid as soon as it is ingested simply because it is not soluble in water. So please people, A+B = C and C is neither A nor B!

  103. Ronnie says

    Wow thanks so much to the guy who blogged this! I recently saw enough of these alarmist claims about the supposed dangers of magnesium stearate to finally become worried. If I hadn’t finally clicked this page in my search results (it seems to be the only non-alarmist result btw) I’d probably would’ve started obsessing about it! I’m really glad someone has taken the time to get to the real truth of the matter.

  104. says

    You mentioned that a young woman developed hives taking magnesium stearate in her vitamins. I have been itching all over ever since I changed my vitamins to ones containing this product. I have been searching for the cause for a month. Thanks for sharing her story. I plan to discontinue this brand to see if the itching stops

  105. MR PALEO says

    To everyone,

    I have spent a serious amount of time researching this topic, primarily because I want to know… all I find is article after article like this… http://www.nleducation.co.uk/resources/reviews/magnesium-stearate-hypothesis-nocebo-and-adverse-halo-effect-a-critical-review/#
    All touting the safety of magnesium stearate, with several exceptions that were not “scientific” studies, but personal commentaries.
    I think that those of you who have had “negative” experiences should get together and start a blog or website, and gather all the personal stories you can, and then present this to the general scientific community, and see if there is interest in actually determining the truth…
    Just my opinion…

    • Shawn says

      Hear, hear!!! These folks with all of their “empirical” evidence are convinced they are RIGHT, and will holler to the rooftops until people give in and admit they are RIGHT!!!!

      It would make sense for them to gather on a site of “like-minded” people where they can trumpet their “beliefs” to each other.

      Then, once a large consensus of information has been compiled, hopefully someone in the scientific community can be convinced to perform peer reviewed testing that can help settle the matter once and for all.

      • Cali says

        Shawn, Alice and others are not presenting “empirical” evidence. They are presenting “anecdotal” evidence. Empirical evidence is scientifically-based. Anecdotal evidence is based on personal experience.

        • Shawn says

          ROTFLMAO!!!! I let her crap get me so worked up that she managed to confuse me. Naturally I know the difference. I just let her screwy reasoning mess with my thought processes. Hey at least it was good for a laugh, eh?

          • hedles says

            Hey Shawn,

            You were right, though, in what you clearly meant. Anecdotal evidence is nearly always the precursor to the gathering of empirical data by scientifically designed studies.

            Once the empirical data is in, we can dispense with the anecdotal – unless the research fails to account for the anecdotal evidence AND it continues to present, unexplained, in the light of new understanding gained by the empirical studies.

            In this case we simply need more studies to examine other possible causes for the unexplained.

            • Shawn says

              Thank you Hedles. I have a ton of stuff going on in real life, so that post was not well thought out. On top of the normal stuff, I went and let the extremely dysfunctional Home Owners Association here make me the President. I hate bickering and whining but as I read my posts here, I have not been very charitable while making my points. In acting that way, I have allowed myself to drop to the very levels I so detest. Fortunately, I now realize I have been letting the stress get to me and can take action to alleviate it.

              Again, thank you for your kind response.


  106. sonya young says

    I don’t know about tests or anything on magnesium stearate. However, I cannot take it period. This is curious because I took it all last year after developing A fib and BUT I took Natural Calm for a year or more and all of a sudden one dose gave me hives forever. I was miserable. I told my nutritionist and he gave me some Standard Process mag. Same reaction. SO after stopping all supplements and adding back one at a time, doing mag last, it was absolute confirmation. I have since been using magnesium chloride brine transdermal and it works fine.
    Having a little adrenal problem this past week, my nutritionist gave me some Standard Process Adrenal Complex. I did not look at the ingredients as he and I agreed no mag stearate. After taking 3 pills, the reaction came just like the magnesium. Looked at the ingredients and sure enough mag stearate. It is a puzzle. All I know is, my body is rejecting it big time and I have no idea why.

  107. Susan says

    I’m skeptical of that study on rats. Let’s examine who funded the study. Also, did they use just one form of mag stearate? Can’t it be made up of different things? Instinctively, I would not feel comfortable nor feel it justified to take supplements on a regular basis that were made from cottonseed oil or corn (knowing that the source was probably GMO), no matter what ‘study’ proved it harmless at those amounts.

    • Alice says

      Susan, well said. I think when it is all done and said, the ones here who are making money from the sale of supplements/drugs, they will find the ‘so called’ studies to support the use of what makes them the most money. It is almost funny listening to drug commercials on TV. They show people having the most wonderful time cuz they took a drug WHILE the drug side effects are softly stated in song like voices. MY GOSH, The side effects are always worse than the symptom the drug is supposed to relieve. That’s what it comes down to with additives like mag stearate in supplements and drugs. If some real research was done and the bad side effects were discovered, supplement and drug producers would just get some sing/song language and even make it sound positive like, if you get an erection that lasts for 4 or more hours, go to the ER. (What a backwards way to advertise) If nothing else in that ad convinces the man that this is what he needs, that so called ‘bad side effect’ will get him running to get the drug. Bottom line, I don’t take drugs, stay away from doctors. If one eats right, don’t need them. I also don’t take supplements excepts for a few that I seek out in pure powders. IF one eats right, don’t need them. Side effects from additives in supplements will continue to be denied by the makers of them cuz money talks.

      • Shawn says

        Aha Alice! Gotcha!!!

        You state:

        “Bottom line, I don’t take drugs, stay away from doctors. If one eats right, don’t need them. I also don’t take supplements excepts for a few that I seek out in pure powders.”

        You are here telling everyone else how to live their lives when you state that it minimally affects yours. You claim to be disease free and that we could all be disease free if we “eat right.” That my dear is the ultimate in hubris and hypocrisy. Of course, given your posts here, I should not be surprised.

        Chris Kessler wrote a well reasoned article, which Mr. Paleo, Hedles, and others like myself, defended in the face of specious empirical evidence and total falsehoods.

        Your best course of action is the advice found under this heading:

        MR PALEO
        FEBRUARY 4, 2014 AT 11:56 AM

    • MR PALEO says


      As I have stated previously, Chris may (or may not) be omniscient, but, in my opinion, he does know his biochemistry, and practices due diligence when analyzing and reviewing a given subject. Just because one does not understand something does not mean it is necessarily appropriate to criticize the messenger… but it is your choice…

      • Alice says

        Did you open the website??? WOW, THERE this is said:

        “Magnesium stearate affects the respiratory system as well. When someone inhales the powder or fumes of magnesium stearate side effect, he may get some of the structures of the respiratory system inflamed. He is most likely to develop asphyxia, which is physiological condition wherein there is either no or insufficient oxygen and carbon dioxide available to the body. It may result in unconsciousness or even death. It may trigger allergic reaction in people. Such people mostly include those who are sensitive to food additives.”

        Now that is exactly the reaction I get, not when I inhale it of course, but when I ingest it. While I Love Chris, my EXPERIENCE says he, as a messenger, didn’t realize the ill health effects including possible dangerous reactions to the heart and air pathways of our body. The fact that mag stearate is added solely for the machines, just CHUCK IT. I believe IF the research was done, mag stearate would be found to affect many people.

        • MR PALEO says


          Yes, I reviewed what was presented, however, there were several misleading statements which, for me, cause concern about the accuracy of the material presented.
          Let’s just take the one you emphasized, ok ?
          Just about ANY “powdered” material can cause the symptoms described if inhaled, this is not necessarily due to the chemical nature of the material, but rather the lungs reaction to an irritant… many persons who are “sensitive” to inhaled irritants, such as asthmatics, would react this way. All I am saying is that Chris is not perfect, you are not perfect, I am not perfect, no “one” is perfect, none of us “know it all”. So one must pick and choose their sources based on a certain level of proficiency… and for me, Chris meets that required minimum. Now, as an addendum, BECAUSE of what has transpired on this particular blog, I now make it a point to recommend supplements which DO NOT contain Mag stearate, just to be on the “safe” side…

          • Alice says

            Mr Paleo, Your statement:

            “Just because one does not understand something does not mean it is necessarily appropriate to criticize the messenger… but it is your choice…”

            THAT statement made by you shows inability to discuss. If an opinion does not fit with you, then it is me or us that do not understand. Those of US who have had horrible lung reactions NOT FROM INHALING but from INGESTING mag stearate, we have EMPIRICAL evidence so we DO FULLY understand. IT is people/doctors like you who are CLOSE minded and think they found the ONE RIGHT answer that can make life miserable and even deadly for some people. Just look at the statistics of how many people die from dyes in contrast exams. Yet the medical system continues to use them. Attitudes that say just because some SO called experts say it is OK cause this end result. Same goes for mag stearate, a group of people (probably much larger than imagined) DO react very negatively with digestive issues and lung issues and fast pulse/heart palpitations. Just cuz you don’t react negatively to mag stearate does not mean you found the ONE right answer or the ONE right person that shows mag stearate is safe. BOTTOM LINE, a USELESS MAN-MADE QUESTIONABLE ingredient should not be a ubiquitous ingredient in supplements and drugs. To say it appears naturally in foods is as crazy as saying that processed junk food is as good as the apple. Something chemically processed is not the same as the apple. Ingredients that are chemically processed to BECOME an ingredient found naturally in a food are not the same as eating the apple with that ingredient in its natural form in context with whole apple. Chemically made stuff is not the same as the natural food. As Nurse said
            January 24, 2014 at 9:23 pm,
            “WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T.” There is NO room in a discussion like this to tell us we just do not understand cuz our opinion/EXPERIENCE differs from yours. I perceive you as the one who does not understand this one. While I do appreciate all that you do understand in your position, this one I feel you missed the boat. AND let me also reiterate, I admire Chris and believe in his work and FULLY appreciate his knowledge but we are ALL continually learning and by coming to a conclusion along my path that differs from a conclusion he made along his path in not way degrades Chris in my eyes. It is only when one is so close-minded that they have to be right just because their evidence worked for their experience that I loose faith in them. That IS NOT Chris for sure. I follow him because he is so open-minded and presents cutting edge knowledge.

            • Shawn says

              I have spent hours researching this subject, and discussing it on various forums. The simple fact is that every single objective breakdown of the “controversy” surrounding magnesium stearate concludes that there is absolutely no reason to believe that it presents any danger. I brought up some of the studies I found, and was pointed to many reasonable arguments why the studies were not relevant to this discussion. I am sorry for those few people on this forum who feel they suffer one malady or another that they blame on magnesium stearate. It is important to note that even if they could be sure, it doesn’t mean the other 99.9% of the population needs to get worked up over their issues. The protestations a few of you are “loudly” adding to this discussion are not made valid just because their .1% of the population claims “empirical” evidence.
              Note: definition of empirical? “relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory.” Your choice of words, not mine. That leads back to the point by the more reasoned responses that are informing the public that ignorance of the facts does not strengthen your argument. Instead it demonstrates that you refuse to face up to the FACTS we have available to us and prefer to judge using conjecture instead.

            • Shawn says

              Another important point. The stearate molecule is the same regardless of it’s origin. You can call it crazy all you want, but it is an immutable fact. When the facts don’t square with your hysterics you tend to fall back on unsupportable arguments like this one.

              • Alice says

                YES Shawn, You don’t have true empirical experience, you just have some SO CALLED BOOK evidence, which is someone deducting something about how a particular thing is OK. No true study has been done, just deductions of how mag stearate is OK cuz it is natural in veggie/fruits. You can ingest it, I never said you could not have it. LAP it up but don’t sit on your high horse and say it is OK cuz it works for you. MAYBE it does not work for you and you just don’t realize it. Anyway, I don’t care who ingests it, I will continue to say that some ingredient that is chemically processed and used only for a MACHINE should not be in everything. Empirical experience is real, your way of someone just making deductions without any study is not real. You can research yourself stupid (that is what really must have happened) by reading deductions made by various authors. Now you are a slave to those authors who seem to have said what you want to hear. NO where is there an actual double blind type study on mag stearage, just deductions. It is people like you who statistic around with 1 Percent and such do react that makes our products full of junk and with risk. Are you not able to think of things like WHY has asthma suddenly jumped up to epidemic rates. For all you know, everyone of these asthma patients may react to mag stearate but so what according to you. Since it does not bother you, just let them ALL suffer. I am not going to say more here as money is at the heart of this issue. MOney matters and not how many people could be hurt, just sell those supplements How many times have things come around to be changed cuz some study brought to light how a particular thing really is very harmful after all. Well, along with “oleo” and all the rest, mag stearate could join those ranks as really open-minded intelligent people do real studies instead of so called research of opinions.

                • Shawn says


                  So, simply insulting me and dismissing all of the logical data on the safety of magnesium stearate is now going to be your approach. You are operating on multiple fallacies, and believe that a few people who think magnesium stearate may be causing them problems (none of you can actually prove it). You slam, so called deductions made on logic, but consider “empirical” evidence to be the end all on the subject. Your narrow-minded way of deciding your course of action on this subject may work in your mind, but anyone using logic would give it the attention it deserves… very little. At no time in the discussion have you presented a single bit of creditable evidence that magnesium stearate is anything but harmless. You have attempted, and failed to tie it to other supposed health scares, but they are not relevant. The only way that money matters in this discussion is that the few people who claim magnesium stearate is harmful are doing so to sell their overpriced, and sometimes inferior products. You present “empirical” evidence, which by it’s very nature is biased, as being superior to actually researching the facts regarding this subject. I’m sorry, but that makes me much more open-minded than you. Get over it. Logic trumps your biased opinion every time
                  You have the ability to choose the products that do not include magnesium stearate and the rest of the world can safely choose from the thousands of products containing magnesium stearate if they so desire. Just let it go at that. You are beating the proverbial dead horse here.
                  P.S. Calling me stupid does not make you any smarter. I am quite confident in my intelligence.

                • Pam says

                  Alice, it’s not true that magnesium stearate is “only for the machines”. It is used to make ingredients flow, because sometimes they stick and clump together. If they clump together, you won’t get accurate dosing in your supplement. This is not a cost-saving measure for a manufacturer, it’s a quality control measure. Your claim that it’s all about money is way off the mark.

  108. Nurse says

    WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T. For many years, most of the supplements I purchased have contained stearic acid and/or magnesium stearate. Having done my own research on these two additives, I will definitely be switching to organic whole food supplements from now on. One report stated that the presence of these particular stearates in a formula reduces the absorption rate of the supplement to only 25% – 30%. No more for me. Yes, it will cost me more initially, but not as much as I have already spent on products that have done me very little good and may have even harmed my system, thanks to these two culprits that I assumed were safe for consumption.

  109. Angiw says

    I was told by my holistic doctor that it is converted into a trans fat (hydrogenation process)…and trans fats are bad so I am confused..is it trans fat or isn’t it? Thanks!

    • says

      There are statements of “prediction” and “interpretation” (i.e. “mag stearate is good for you/bad for you”). Then there are statements of irrefutable fact, i.e. regarding the chemical structure of a substance. This is an issue of FACT. Simply put, a fatty acid may be a trans-fat; it may be a saturated fat; but it cannot be both. Period.

      Hydrogenation is a process which can turn polyunsaturated fats into both trans-fats and saturated fats. But the same process can have different results.

      And let’s not forget, even if we were talking trans-fats, 2% pill weight of a 500 mg capsule is 10 mg, of which about 70% is stearic acid, or around 7 mg. 1,000 mg in a gram. 28 grams in an ounce…. You do the math! :)

  110. JR says

    I dare say, there is one common denominator that is not being given the attention it so richly deserves, and that CD is GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). If what you are consuming contains ANY ingredients derived from GMO products, then you can expect gastric upset, amongst other repercussions. Cottonseed Oil was originally used as machine oil. I consider myself to be much more than a mere machine. At last finding from those in the agricultural “know”, all cotton grown in the US is GMO. So if what you are eating contains cottonseed oil, you are most likely getting all the wonderful benefits or should I say side effects of eating GMO products, which are too numerous to recount here, but one of which is gastric upset. I do maintain a belief that GERD is caused by ingesting GMO products, due to my own personal experience. Take all GMO products out of your diet, or go 100% Organic, and see how much your own health will improve, first of all your digestion. And yes, if you have been taking antibiotics, replace the beneficial flora in your digestive tract with pre- and pro-biotics, and include digestive enzymes for your stomach. GMO’s were designed to destroy the digestive tract. Destroy the digestive tract, and you destroy the organism. For future reference, check out Super Natural Silver Sol(ution), to use instead of antibiotics. Silver Sol has no known side effects, including argyria, and kills bacteria, viruses, fungus, mold, and pathogens like malaria, which are parasites. Surgeons are spraying it on surgical masks, and finding the solution to be as effective dry as it is when wet, killing pathogens on contact. Silver Sol does NOT promote the growth of candida. I will have to agree with Alice, as I no longer see any benefit to antibiotics as long as I have Silver Sol, which is also available under the Natures Sunshine label. This solution taken via nebulizer, is the best way to get the silver into your system, and as an added bonus, it will clear up respiratory infections. In the gel form, when applied to moles and warts, the skin lesions eventually fall off. These conditions are caused by viruses, and this silver solution kills them most effectively. (A word to the wise, this is not ionic or colloidal silver, and it is produced under a patented process, making it the only one of it’s kind). Awesome! After all, YOU are the only one ultimately responsible for your own health, as you will be the one who will pay the ultimate consequential price if you don’t practice due diligence on your own behalf. Carpe Diem!

    • Rudy says

      Well said JR, I was going to make a similar point. The author merely glosses over the GMO aspect and instead was concentrating on the pesticide residue. This stuff is built right into the plant’s genetics itself, and I find this glossing over and nonchalant dismissal of the GMO aspect to be alarming, given what we know about GMO’s from true independent studies.

      • Hedles says

        Assuming you accept that the fundamental picture of modern chemistry and atomic physics – for all practical purposes – accurately represents the world we live in (but don’t get me started on philosophy of science!), then whether the raw stearic acid is derived from GM cotton seed or any other source has almost nothing to do with this debate.

        For a short explanation, please see my reply above, beginning, “Linda, you are right that no-one yet knows all the effects that GM …”.

        In short, there is only one form of stearic acid and all molecules of this are identical, no matter where they are sourced from. Only in the unlikely event of some genetic material or other contaminants such as glyphosate making it through the extraction and manufacturing process into the final magnesium stearate product could this have any effect. See my above referenced comment for the reasons why this is very unlikely.

        • Rudy says

          Would have to disagree. Some say synthetic vitamins are the same, structurally, as natural vitamins. Even though mainstream science believes this, I do not. Some have argued that all fluoride is the same because it is the fluorine ion that makes it so. I would argue that the toxic waste they dump in our water supply is far different than that occurring naturally. Mainstream science is limited and much of it is used for propagandistic purposes.

        • Rudy says

          And there is a big component that your missing. There is a nonphysical component to reality that most people leave out and which is very difficult to prove because we do not have equipment to measure it yet. Example: We all have the same components that make up our DNA, yet some people have extraordinary abilities, while others do not. Wim Hof is able to raise his body core temperature at will. Science cannot explain it, yet there it is. Perhaps it goes beyond what we can perceive physically.

          • Adam Stark says

            We all have the same components that make up our DNA. Sure, why not say it that way? In the same sense, my reply has the same components that make up your reply: letters, punctuation, spaces. Yet they say very different things! This does not mean that the meaning and content of one piece of writing vs. another transcends words and grammar…

            • Rudy says

              The point I was trying to make is that there are anomalies that are verifiable that science cannot explain….yet. Just because things “seem” to be that way now “scientifically” doesn’t mean they always will. And mainstream science is limited. We are all made up of the same building blocks…more or less…yet some possess abilities that are far beyond others or “impossible”. Just because things look the same from a mainstream science point of view doesn’t mean they are. I used the example of Wim Hof earlier who can raise his core body temperature even when submerged in near freezing water. Science can’t explain it, yet how much different is his physical, scientific make-up?

          • Hedles says


            I agree with a lot of your ‘sentiment’, but I would express it differently.

            I did issue a warning not to get me started on the philosophy of science, but there is really no other alternative to reasonably address some of the issues you have raised in all your posts to date – not just the one above.

            “Science” means knowledge. What do we actually ‘know’, and what components of ‘science’ are actually knowledge as opposed to opinion, guesswork, theory or (political) propaganda?

            I would argue that the only components of what is commonly understood as ‘science’ that can reasonably be regarded as true knowledge are the data that are the results of scientific observation and measurement and the mathematical relationships between those data.

            Everything else is ‘theory’ or ‘working hypothesis’ or just pure guesswork or wishful thinking or propaganda.

            Every time a scientist draws a conclusion about the nature of physical reality from experimental data, s/he is doing one of three things: either extrapolating (or interpolating) from the actual results to a larger domain than the results can prove, or proposing a picture or an image of reality that we can visualise, or proposing a mathematical model of that picture which can be used to predict the results of further experiment. Normally these three activities follow in approximately that sequence but with a great deal of feedback from later to earlier stages that modifies the earlier output. All three of them can be classified as scientific theory.

            Once a mathematical model has been proposed, it can be tested – first, to see if it is self-consistent, second to see if it correctly predicts the results of previously untried experiments.

            Once it has passed these tests for a reasonable length of time without failure, confidence grows in the model and it can become elevated to the status of an accepted scientific theory.

            In my opinion, a big problem is that once a theory has been accepted for a good length of time, many people, sadly including many scientists, begin to confuse the theory with reality.

            In fact, the theory is only ever a model of reality – one that usually expresses much of the knowledge (experimental data) that we have collected so far.

            So when you say that there are some observations that science cannot explain, I agree with you completely. “Science” is a work in progress and biological science is particularly complex and ‘never-ending’, so perhaps at some point science will catch up with some of these unexplained observations and incorporate them into its model.

            This is precisely why I began my first post with, “assuming you accept that the fundamental picture of modern chemistry and atomic physics … accurately represents the world we live in”.

            That accuracy is a big assumption! But there is very good reason to make it. Much of the scientific model we currently work with has been exhaustively tested over many decades for compliance with reality – not just by direct scientific experimentation, but by engineering applications from the construction of skyscrapers to the manufacture and use of electronic devices – and it is able to correctly predict many experimental results as accurately as we are able to measure them.

            However, none of that means that the model is complete or that there are no future results that will cause us to revise the model. Nor does it mean that there might not be some completely different model that predicts as well as or better than the currently accepted model.

            Even, for example, the atomic model of reality could be challenged. Nobody has ever seen
            an atom with their naked eye, nor heard one, smelt one, felt one or tasted one. We have seen pictures of atoms, generated by scientific instruments. But I could easily create an image of what I imagine an atom looks like and that would not prove that the atom exists. The difference is that these so-called ‘images of atoms’ are generated by an instrument that is supposed to be sensing the atomic structure of some piece of matter. However, the logical flaw is that the instrument is constructed and the image generated based on many layers of theory that assume the existence of the atoms being imaged.

            Nothing in science or logic can prove that atoms must exist. So, logically, it is entirely possible that some day an alternative mathematical model not invoking atoms might be constructed that delivers results as or more accurate and consistent to reality as the atomic model we have today.

            For the time being, however, the atomic model is extremely successful and it is the only model we have that fits so widely into our intuitive understanding of reality.

            – – – – –

            Some synthetic vitamins may have the exact same structure as the naturally occurring, others definitely do not – and any biologist who has knowledge of the subject would agree. What is often different, however, between vitamin supplements and vitamins in their natural context, is precisely that – the chemical context – the soup of other enzymes, proteins and chemicals of all kinds that are part of the natural package.

            Naturally fluoride is not the same as “the toxic waste they dump in our water supply”. There is no question about that. Anybody who says otherwise is suffering from an overdose of propaganda.

            You speak of “a nonphysical component to reality” and then cite as an example “Wim Hof is able to raise his body core temperature at will.”

            To me this does not sound like a nonphysical component to reality. Body temperature, is surely a physically measurable value. If Hof has found a way to control his bodily control system by application of his decision making power, then there is some prospect that scientific observation of his feat might be able to understand the physical processes involved and even eventually be able to teach others to do the same.

            However, I do not dismiss your suggestion that there are nonphysical components of reality. It is certainly possible that there is a spiritual world ‘within’, ‘around’, ‘above’ and ‘beyond’ the physical realm. To me nothing else could explain the existence of the physical universe. Big bang or no big bang, the universe is not a logical necessity.

            However, the difficulty for scientific exploration of such metaphysical reality is that what we cannot observe and measure repeatedly and reproducibly cannot form the basis of scientific data – certainly in the sense of modern science since Galileo. Where the spiritual impinges upon the physical with a measurable physical impact we might begin to investigate, but where there is no such impact science cannot begin.

  111. Paul E. Ryan says

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of magnesium stearate. However your article fails to discuss the only issue that really matters when it comes to magnesium stearate — namely, is the magnesium stearate made from hydrogenated oil?

    • Alice says

      manufacturer’s safety data sheet, brilliant Kay to look at this AND it is not good. (skin & liver toxin) Also, Paul, YES, is it a hydrogenated oil? That is what I said a number of times, why would we put a little bit of hydrogenated oil into our body every time we take a capsule for nutrition or supplement. Over the weeks/years, a little ends up as a lot. And for some reason, I get heart/lung reactions from it.
      Why is this not said about it or is it really a hydrogenated oil or what???

      • Hedles says

        If the magnesium stearate is made from stearic acid extracted from a vegetable or animal source, then it is NOT hydrogenated.

        Hydrogenation is a process for saturating (or partially saturating) unsaturated fats.

        Stearic acid is a saturated fat. There would be absolutely no point in trying to saturate it, because it is already saturated.

        If you made stearic acid from an unsaturated fat, by hydrogenating it – unlikely because it is readily available direct, it would still result in a saturated fat (stearic acid) and as I wrote in one of my other replies, stearic acid is stearic acid is stearic acid.

        The danger of hydrogenation is not in the word ‘hydrogenation’ or in the fact that certain products have been made by hydrogenation. The danger is in the damaged fats (e.g. trans fats) that can be produced by the process. However, if the product you seek is a (fully) saturated fat such as stearic acid, it matters not a jot whether it was made by hydrogenation or extraction from a ‘natural’ vegetable or animal source or otherwise, because there is no trans or other damaged form of stearic acid. Stearic acid is stearic acid is stearic acid.

        [There is some chance that a small amount of damaged fat that had not been fully saturated could be left in the stearic acid product after hydrogenation then separation, but since it is likely that there will be at least two further extraction/filtration/separation processes following that after hydrogenation, it is very unlikely more than an insignificant amount would contaminate the Mg stearate. Then consider that the amount of Mg stearate actually used in tablets is tiny and all you will get is a very tiny percentage of extremely small.]

        • Adam Stark says

          Thankyou, Hedles! Always a pleasure to have someone address issues of fact…. er — how do I put this? — FACTUALLY! :)

  112. Kay says

    I spent a long time writing about my own research and opinion about magnesium stearate and it suddenly disappeared.
    So here’s the short version: Just do an online search for the MSDS (manufacturer’s safety data sheet) and you will see that it is considered a skin and liver toxin.

  113. Adam Stark says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a voice of sanity and intellectual rigor in this wilderness of self-proclaimed “experts” and alarmists and wanna-be natural med celebrities. I read your piece on mag stearate, and I’ve skimmed another few now. There aren’t that many of us out there who are doing what you do. Keep up the good work.

  114. michaelzz says

    My #1 question is “does Mr. Kresser have an axe to grind regarding magnesium stearate”?

    Additionally, in reading his article, one must be aware of the #1 greatest human frailty, i.e., tending to believe what one wants and needs to believe.


  115. Joanne says

    I came to this site because I have two overlapping auto immune diseases both of which cause a lot of pain. I do not take pain medicine on a regular basis but when I do I have noticed that if I take Hydrocodone I get mouth sores and gum boils. This does not happen if I take the same dosage of Oxycodone. I researched the ingredients of both meds, active and inactive, and compared. The only thing I found different is that Magnesium Stearate is used in the Hydrocodone pills and not the Oxycodone. I am wondering if this could be the cause of the mouth sores and gum boils. I have not found anything referencing this side effect.

  116. Tom CHHC says

    In my mind there are enough concerns (scientific and testimonial) that have been raised about magnesium stearate that I try to avoid it. I advise my clients to choose additive-free supplements whenever there is a choice– these are almost always the highest quality anyway.

    The fact that magnesium stearate does not occur anywhere in nature but is man made through a high heat process bothers me. One could argue that man made trans fats ingested in minute amounts are also safe, but hopefully all of us here are smart enough to avoid consuming those at all. I place magnesium stearate in that same category.

  117. says

    Thank you for your summary and analysis of some of the research. As a nutritionist who uses a lot of supplements in practice the subject of excipients interests me. I have always explained to clients that since magnesium is an essential mineral and stearate a dietary fatty acid, this excipient has nutritional value–unlike the cellulose fillers. It seems however that some of the professional brands like Thorne have used the claim ‘no magnesium stearate’ as a marketing tool, and now Metagenics is phasing it out. It does seem strange because these two companies really do their research! I will be following up with Metagenics to find out what gives.

  118. vizeet says

    I think MSG should be also not harmful. Glutamate is natural occurring compound. “Monosodium glutamate (MSG), also known as sodium glutamate, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids” –wikipedia

      • Kamasand Bakhurat says

        While I avoid the use of MSG at all costs, it is rather hypocritical of you to criticise another user of basing their facts off of Wikipedia (apparently it’s unreliable), and then you go on to base your facts off of an anti-MSG website, which is hardly going to be impartial than Wikipedia.

        • MR PALEO says


          I try to avoid being “critical” in my comments…
          I was suggesting that Wikipedia is perhaps the “least reliable” source out there… Anyone who has been in this business as long as I have, knows about MSG. I am not “basing my facts” on a particular website or study, but on thirty plus years experience. I don’t have all day to find sources to quote, as I am busy trying to help seriously ill people. If you feel so inclined, I am sure you can find numerous sources yourself… instead of criticizing someone trying to help. And just for your information, I recommend against MSG consumption not because it is a “neurotoxin”, but because it is a KNOWN food allergy or food sensitivity that can be avoided, everything else aside.

  119. Jay says

    Chris, I found this article after I read about claims from Dr Mercola. My wife has gone through a bout of diverticulitus and was treated with antibiotics. I was taking a probiotic that I thought might be good for her. Then I read the ingredients listing both Stearic Acid and Magnesium Stearate. OK, I must admit I got scared. I think your article put it into perspective, but with so much information out there, I don’t know who to believe. Thoughts?

  120. Chris Saunders says

    Thanks Chris,

    I’m a little less concerned now, but I feel you missed the biggest issue. My understanding is that these substances become trans fats, and that there is no safe level of trans fats. They can stay in you body for 2 years doing damage. Now when you may take 20 or 30 supplements a day it could really add up.

    • Alice says

      This is exactly a concern of mine too, even if I didn’t react to mag stearate, I would not want to take a trans fat every time I swallowed a capsule.

    • Hedles says

      Stearic acid is a saturated fat. There is no such thing as a saturated trans fat.

      ‘Trans’ and ‘cis’ refer to the orientation of two carbon atoms either side of a double bond – cis orientation introduces a bend into the carbon chain – a geometric property which is important for many of the roles played by saturated fats in cell membranes etc.

      Trans orientation keeps the chain straight – so the trans version of the specific fat the body seeks for cell construction material will not do the job properly. This can lead, for example, to breakdown of electrical insulation of the myelin sheath around a nerve.

      Saturated fats have no double bonds between adjacent carbon atoms in the chain so cannot be either trans or cis.

      The meaning of “saturated”, in this context, is that all the available carbon bonds have been ‘saturated’ with hydrogen atoms – a double or triple bond is ‘unsaturated’ because, instead of linking to more hydrogen atoms, at least one pair of adjacent carbon atoms each link to the other with two (or three) of their bonds.

      The human body can convert stearic acid into an unsaturated fat (oleic acid – also the main component of olive oil) , but not into the important ‘omega-3’ and ‘omega-6’ “essential fatty acids” – which is why they are essential.

      [‘Omega-3’ and ‘omega-6’ oils are all unsaturated – the ‘omega-3’ or ‘omega-6’ nomenclature refers to the number of carbon atoms from the ‘omega’ end of the chain to the first double bond.]

      However, the biochemical pathways available in the body for creating unsaturated acids can usually be trusted to make only chemicals that the body needs – not the ones that will injure it!

      • Hedles says

        Correction: 2nd paragraph above should read, “a geometric property which is important for many of the roles played by UNsaturated fats in cell membranes etc.”

  121. Amy says

    Hi Chris, Interesting article. I was never concerned about magnesium stearate until I did some lab testing on myself that showed an immune response to this substance. This did explain why I just was not feeling well/not getting better while taking some very high quality supplements.

  122. NevadaSmith says

    I had previously read about the concerns re: magnesium stearate but what I read did not strike me as being an issue so I was not all that concerned.

  123. Pamela says

    What about people whose gastric pH is higher than normal? There are a lot of people like that walking around who don’t realize it.

  124. says

    Read the article, which I found interesting, but what really hit home with me was the comments by Alice. I take thyroid medication for an auto immune illness and, for people who understand anything about auto immune illness they will also know that it can have a big inpact on the gut. I have been struggling with my thyroid medication due to the fillers (the main culprit, I think, being magnesium sterate) but cannot get my GP or endocrinologist to take me seriously so reading what Allice had to say was a light bulb moment for me.

    I was also a little alarmed as to how easily the GM element of this product was dismissed. GM is an unproven entity and we will not know the full inpact of what GM does or does not do to us for years to come.

    • Kelly says

      Yes, good point about how Chris avoided the discussion of the safety (or not) of genetically modified sources of excipients…

      Chris? :)

    • Alice says

      What is insane about adding mag stearate to everything is that no real information is known about it. It could be an allergen as bad as shell fish or peanuts and so on. Many people would be horrified if they had to avoid supplements because they contained shellfish or peanuts and such, yet a probable allergy ingredient is put in about everything because the capsule machine needs it. Bottom line, mag stearate is a completely processed, man made product that causes problems for a number of people and probably many more people who don’t realize what is causing their issues.

    • Hedles says

      Linda, you are right that no-one yet knows all the effects that GM foods are going to have on humans (or other animals) – although there is already a growing catalogue of harmful effects that are linked to them.
      However, Mg stearate is a very simple chemical – orders of magnitude smaller and less complex than a section of DNA (a gene). The raw chemical absolutely cannot suffer any effect whatsoever from the genetic modification of the plant from which it was extracted. As Chris says, “Stearic acid is an 18-carbon molecule with a specific chemical structure that will be the same whether the stearic acid is from a genetically modified cotton plant, a bar of Hershey’s chocolate, or a grass-fed ribeye steak.” In short, magnesium stearate is magnesium stearate is magnesium stearate. The only possibility, therefore, of genetic influence from the source would be if the stearic acid from the source were not filtered/separated carefully from the other constituents in the source leaving some of the genetic material in the stearic acid before it were converted to magnesium stearate.
      The manufacturing process is likely to be:
      1. extraction of fats (triglycerides) from source material (cotton seed)
      2. separation of different fats, by distillation
      3 ‘saponification’ of the separated stearic triester
      4. extraction of the ‘soap’ product
      5. substitution of sodium by magnesium
      6. extraction and purification of the product.

      Step 3, above, “saponification”, involves reacting the triglycerides with sodium hydroxide (‘caustic soda’). This is such an aggressive chemical that even if the previous separation process were not at all thorough and some genetic material did succeed in reaching the reaction vessel, the chances of any of this delicate genetic chemical remaining in any condition that could be recognised as a gene by any DNA-controlled organism after being stirred in a vat with large quantities of caustic soda are as good as negligible, not to mention the two further extraction and cleaning processes before the final product is delivered.

      Chris is not being at all cavalier in ‘dismissing’ “the GM element of this product”. It is just a question of the chemical realities of the product and its production process.

  125. Linda Ries says

    I must be “sensitive” to magnesium stearate and avoid it . If I happen to take a pill with it as an ingredient, I usually have some shortness of breath within 3 days. I’m not saying that I’m allergic because I know there would be an immediate reaction. It’s very difficult finding supplements without it!

    • Alice says

      You react as I do, with histamine reactions. Histamine reactions are not immediate but can easily come 8 to 24 hours after ingestion. You might check out high histamine foods and avoid them and also freeze leftover proteins (meat and egg foods) as they make histamine in regular fridge temps. That made a huge difference for me!

      • Susan says

        Good to know! I cook a lot of meats at home. I noticed I would my skin/ eczema would get worse after eating leftover duck this time.

  126. Linda Rivera says

    Thank you so much for this very important article! Unfortunately, because Dr. Mercola said how dangerous magnesium stearate was, I threw away big supermarket bags full of expensive supplements which I am now unable to purchase at this time (because of finances), but I definitely need them!

  127. Alice says

    IF someone is gluten intolerant with inflamed gut/digestive issues, magnesium stearate CAN cause huge problems. IT DID for me. Why??? The possibilities are could be a number of things. It could be Processing agent contamination, OR it could be high in histamines (like most food additives such as dyes, preservatives, etc.), OR may affect an inflamed gut as a sugar/starch which can create huge problems for fructose/sugar intolerance, OR the oil base of it may not be digestible as often oils are for gluten intolerant inflamed guts and for other unknown reasons.
    I can say it affected me terribly when a compounding pharmacy ‘sunk’ it into my compounded meds. I got horrible digestive and constipation issues as well as labored breathing problems and increased heart beat. (the same symptoms I get from histamine intolerance – which I know all too well as a histamine intolerant person). I really thought I would die as my symptoms were so severe. I am also someone who had to be rushed to the ER with shock from a fire ant sting. Since this is a histamine reaction, I feel that mag stearate could be high in histamines and there are a lot of allergy and asthma people who cannot stand any more histamines in their system. So whatever it is, Mag stearate is an ADDED variable that can cause harm for a good percentage of the population especially since it has no known benefit EXCEPT for the capsule/pill machines to be oiled so they perform optimally in making pills/capsules. So it should not have a place in meds/supplements that one is generally taking to overcome or prevent health issues.
    Lastly, it is in about EVERY pill/capsule of supplements & meds. People easily consume half to a dozen and more capsules/pills in one setting and more than three times that in taking 3 times a day doses. So the DAILY amounts will add up through the months/years/decades of ingesting a substance that is a highly processed item that has uncertain side effects. Bottom line, it is a processed, man-made ingredient that could affect people in negatives ways that are not established. I KNOW it does create huge problems for me.

    • MR PALEO says


      How did you determine that it was the magnesium stearate ? There are MANY causes of severe histamine reaction…

      • Alice says

        I had figured it out from taking supplements. Like, I had vitamin C and added mag stearate and I had histamine reaction symptoms, then got it without mag stearate and did not have that problem. I learned it through trial and error with a number of supplements over time.

        • Alice says

          I should have also added that experiences like when the pharmacy unbeknownst to me, put it in a compounded med on the refill and I suddenly reacted terribly, and when I asked what was added that was different and was told mag stearate but the pharmacist quickly stated that mag stearate was an inert ingredient and would not cause this problem. Goes to show how much is known about this man-made processed ingredient and what it can do to some people.

        • says

          I’ve read that vitamin C suppresses histamines. If true, it’s possible in this case that the magnesium stearate didn’t provoke elevated histamines but that it prevented the vitamin C from having that effect… or that the quality of the supplement varied between the two manufacturers. Just tossing out ideas….

          • Alice says

            No, vitamin C was just one of the too many (wasted money) products I tried until through trial and error, I came to realize that it was the mag stearate in ANY supplement that caused me to have digestive issues, heat/lung reactions, disrupted sleep and mood problems. About the worst reaction I had was to a compounded med refill (no problems with previous batch) & when I asked pharmacist what was different he admitted mag stearate had been added to the refill.

            I have come to realize that one can not just go off of gluten when gluten intolerance is diagnosed. One has to do what it takes to heal the inflamed digestive system that gluten caused. For me that meant going off of all grains and fruits but no one told me that so I limped along doing so much better off of gluten until I hit that bump in the road. Like a fractured wrist for me, even though surgery was not complicated since it was a clean break and only needed to be moved 10 degrees back into place, the antibiotics/pain meds caused me to have such severe histamine reactions that eating and sleeping became impossible. I was now reacting to about everything, even smelling organic coconut oil gave me horrible headaches. (thankfully I am past that severe part now and gaining weight back and what a relief) Bottom line, processed foods are full of additives like mag stearate, dyes, preservatives, flavorings; so people in general are getting their mag stearate type food additives in daily “NOT” so small doses WITH added doses every time they take a supplement and then add the many drugs so many people take with that type of additive. So the end daily dose of food additives does not end up small for the average SAD (standard American diet) people consume. For those of us who do not eat processed foods, and need to heal back our digestive system from once eating SAD, that mag stearate can be an added addition to the obstacle course of healing the digestive system/gut/long tube from mouth to other end; in other words, that entire part needs to be fixed and I now know that for sure. No grains, no fruits, no processed foods, even few supplements, and those I do take have been sought out to be in powder form or free of additives. Eating very selectively paleo diet until I heal enough to add more of it. Now, no high histamine/amine foods on that list but I am slowly improving. I learned that I will never take antibiotics again except, well probably never.

            • Kelly says

              I’m not saying that magnesium stearate didn’t cause your problems, but I’m wondering if the pain meds you were/are taking exacerbated the integrity of your gut. Many pain meds like aspirin and NSAIDS are known to cause intestinal permeability.

              Glad to hear you’re improving.

              • Alice says

                I was given 2 big pills of ibuprofen when I was coming out of my surgery sleep, didn’t realize or even remember swallowing them. The stupid nurse gave them to me even though I had written on my surgery instruction to follow, NO aspirin type meds as I am allergic to them. No question that made my reaction worse as well as the dye in the pills and I know they also had mag stearate in them. Needless to say, I reacted horribly to those two pills. I could not eat anything that day, just wretched up bitter vomit and battled nausea from late morning way up to nearly midnight. If I had it to do over, I would have let my fractured distal radius wrist bone heal up the 8 degrees it was off and keep my gut. I could have lived with a hand that didn’t work the best but a gut that does not work is deadly.

              • Rachelle Harris says

                Interesting. My gut issues took on a whole new meaning when I had surgery and took copious amounts of Ibuprofen. I then had 12 courses of antibiotics in the space of one year. I have seriously never been quite the same. I have developed sensitivities that I was not previously aware of over the years, making my management more complicated.

            • Li says

              I am allergic to Ibuprofen in any form, also to Voltaren gel with pounding headaches & severe vomiting after 1 tab. I had several Ibuprofen brands and not all of them contained magnesium stearate. My Gyn prescribed Ibuprofen as it seems to reduce the menstrual flow, which indeed it did. This is also one of the reasons why Ibuprofen is the standard analgesic given after surgery.

    • Doreen says

      I am histamine intolerant too and I agree that it can have a negative effect on digestive health. So many supplements cause me problems that I am super careful about only getting those with out any additives. When I do that I can usually tolerate them.
      I wanted to mention one thing to you off topic. I recently learned that taking a Claritin or other anti histamine daily can be quite helpful and also taking something callee Histame as well. I learned this from the Microscopic Colitis website. I decided to try them and they have made a huge huge difference to me, I cant tell you how huge. I feel they are helping my gut to heal as well.
      BTW Histame is an enzyme supplement that breaks down histamine in your system from food or from excess that your body produces.

      • Amber says

        I’ve suffered from chronic non-allergic vaso-motor rhinitis for 15 years. I’ve taken a daily dose of anti-histamine (neoclarityn or levocetirizine) for the last 7 years and my symptoms are massively improved. I’ve also gone dairy-free and this really helps too.

      • Alice says

        Histamine is something I could look into. I also wonder about Deerland enzymes. They actually customize enzymes so I would have to have some help in which ones to include in my formula. They also do probiotics so I would have to look up which specific probiotics to take AND be sure not to take for histamine intolerance. I just learned of this company and plan to look into a customized formula.

    • Adam Stark says

      Mag stearate is not high in histamine. Mag stearate is only mag stearate. The only thing it is “high” in is itself. If your mag stearate is high in histamines, or creates a histamine response, then it is contaminated. This does not mean mag stearate is toxic. It means that the contaminant is toxic.

      As an analogy, if I give you water downstream from an outhouse, and you get giardia, that does not mean that “water is infectious.”

    • Susan says

      Thank you for this. I too have histamine intolerance. I sometimes get severe allergies – this time expressed through a really bad eczema outbreak on my skin. I started taking Culturelle Lacto. GG and Nature’s Way Primadophilus Reuteri because they are supposed to be histamin-lowering bacteria strains… and the eczema which was contained to my neck and above started spreading to the rest of my body, and I started getting constipation. I asked Culturelle about the magnesium stearate and titanium dioxide in their supplements, and got one of those company schpiel responses. They said if I want to avoid titanium dioxide, I could open the capsule and just consume the contents inside. I wish someone knew a lot more about histamine intolerance and how to heal yourself of it.

      • Alice says

        I can say without doubt that when I consume something with magnesium stearate, one of the bad effects for me is constipation. Since constipation is also an effect of having too much histamine, I know somehow that mag stearate causes histamine issues. It is either high in histamine OR it causes gut/stomach inflamation which then causes the body to produce histamine. For people dealing with histamine issues, this puts histamine over the top for us and thus the reactions. From what I have read about histamine intolerance, everyone with asthma is dealing with histamine reactions. Histamine intolerance is becoming common but the medical field does not see it. Instead they treat the symptoms it causes. A good book that explains this is ‘The Plot Against Asthma and Allergy Patients’. Another book that explains what one can do to heal from histamine intolerance is ‘What HIT me? Living with Histamine Intolerance’.

        • Hedles says


          Happily for me, I have never suffered from either asthma nor any severe allergic reaction as you do, so I have no personal testimony. However, I remember listening to a lecture some years ago – given, if my memory is accurate, by Barbara Wren, then, Principal of the College of Natural Nutrition , in which she stated that Histamine reactions cannot occur unless the body is dehydrated.

          So asthma is frequently related to a habit of drinking dehydrating sugary and carbonated beverages and asthma attacks can often be reduced in severity by drinking a glass of water. Again, this is all from memory of about a decade ago, so it might be good to check up exactly what she did say! There may still be tapes of the talk available.

          I also remember her saying that hydration is a complex issue and not simply a question of how much water you drink – every cell in the body needs to be supplied with the appropriate amount of water, not just the alimentary canal, and achieving this frequently requires taking in water in the form of ‘gloopy fluids’ such as ‘linseed tea’ which can hold water in the gut, not just pure water which is quickly removed to the bladder.

          Her mantra seemed to be: “Stress equals dehydration, dehydration equals stress”. I have often remembered this when my body is reacting to some external circumstance (like an impending deadline) which is causing me to panic and preventing me from being able to focus – drinking a glass of water has often helped me to calm down and stick to the task.

        • Hedles says


          I just read this and thought it may be of help to you to try when you get histamine reaction:

          “Dr. Batman in his book, ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus on pages 144-150:
          Salt is a powerful natural antihistamine. The next time you get a runny nose or watery eyes from allergies, try drinking a glass of plain water, then put a pinch of salt on the end of your tongue and let it dissolve.”

          It is quoted at about half way down the page under the heading, “What salt does for you”.

          Bear in mind that the page is about the benefits of natural sea salt compared with the dis-benefits of commercial “table salt”.

  128. Nilofer says

    On the topic of magnesium, my neurologist, who is a headache specialist, recommends magnesium glycinate because it apparently absorbs well and does not cause diarrhea generally. The main ingredient is magnesium glycinate, in the “other ingredients” section, stearic acid and magnesium stearate are listed which must be in negligible amounts.

  129. J says

    Thanks for addressing this topic with a good dose of thoroughness. Always appreciate reading your educational and informative contributions. I realize health information shouldn’t live in a static state.
    Is important to continually review and present the next evolutions of information destine to maintain balance of health, in this ever increasing toxic place we inhabit.

  130. Jennifer Lehr says

    Thanks for this article. I take a lot of supplements and magensium stearate is in almost everything so I’ve wondered about it but didn’t know.

  131. Jane says

    Thank you for addressing this issue. You are always so level-headed and I feel I can always trust your thoughts, research and opinions.Thank you so much.

  132. Adrienne says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! I have been MOSTLY avoiding this additive but even so, there are some suppliments that I love that aren’t available from another manufacturer that contain magnesium stearate. Thank you for your level headed approach to research, I look forward to reading your research on the other additives! :)

  133. says

    Great article! This is consistent with the research I’ve done on magnesium stearate too – although, I haven’t had the chance to write anything up on it. Thanks for all of the writing you do! Honestly, I have no idea how you have the time to do it, but I’m glad you do! I’ll make sure to send my clients/readers over to this great resource. Thanks!

  134. says

    Thanks for this research and all the research you do. Magnesium stearate was on my list of things to research but you answered all my questions and provided me with some great studies and background. Thanks again!

  135. stephanie maricich says

    Could you make a comment or address if possible, the benefits and/or any contraindications of bathing in epsom salt? It appears to us to be beneficial, a couple of times a week, for muscle aches, pain, athletic exertion etc. I’d be grateful for your thoughts. Thank you

    • MR PALEO says


      Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) has a fairly good safety record, when used externally.. If it works for you, you might consider using magnesium oil (mag chloride solution), which does not require the facility to soak, but I would discuss this with your personal health care provider…


  136. says

    I think that the use of magnesium stearate as a flowing agent when producing supplements or drugs is purely a financial issue. Using it apparently prevents machines from clogging and makes the production faster and cheaper. I choose supplements without magnesium stearate because of this financial aspect. I believe companies who make a greater effort in not using any unnecessary ingredients probably have a higher standard in general. So I think it’s worth to pay a little more for a high quality product that will dissolve better when I use it. Of course, when you want to create a product with delayed release then I suppose magnesium stearate would be great for that.

    • Doreen says

      I agree with you. I don’t want extra stuff in my supplements. Its obvious they can make the supplements without it so who needs it. I choose to use supplements made by companies that go to the extra mile to make them without extra unwanted additives, like you said they probably have a higher standards. Pure Encapsulation doesn’t use it either as well as some of the others mentioned above. I usually do a lot of searching to find what I need without additives but occasionally I cant find certain supplements without it so I take a few that do contain it but mostly not.

      • says

        Hi Sylvia-

        Have you ever toured a manufacturing facility? Stearic acid is the most prevalent fatty acid in the entire plant and animal kingdom. So when it’s complexed the most widely used mineral in the body, magnesium, it’s suddenly bad? Flowing agents are a MUST in manufacturing. If you don’t use flowing agents, you’ll have inconsistent dosing and capsules won’t make a slug. Every manufacturer uses them. You can use MCT oil, fat soluble vitamin C (asc. palmitate), laureate or Stearate. Leucine too can be used. In all honestly, the type excipient used is commensurate with the physical properties of the material being encapsulated. Betaine for example is hard to work with. Any manufacturer that tells you they don’t use fillers is fibbing.

      • Mike Mutzel says

        They still use a fat for flow. Look at every Pure label, they use palmitic acid instead of stearic acid (every product has 10-20 mg ascorbyl palmitate per dose). Blends don’t mix well and hard to make a slug if you don’t have fat. People still use it. They just list it in other ways (vitamin C claim).

  137. Jeff says

    Thanks a lot for this, Chris. I had my doubts about how unsafe magnesium stearate it. I’ve found some quality products with the additive, and am glad I have one less thing to worry about. Excellent work as always!

    • Chris Kresser says

      It is possible to manufacture supplements without these binders and fillers, and companies like Klaire, Pure Encapsulations, etc. do that. But it costs more, and you’ll see that reflected in their prices.

      • Mike Mutzel says

        They still use a fat for flow. Look at every Pure label, they use palmitic acid instead of stearic acid (every product has 10-20 mg ascorbyl palmitate per dose). Blends don’t mix well and hard to make a slug if you don’t have fat. People still use it. They just list it in other ways (vitamin C claim).

        • Marcia says

          Mike, do you know what the source of the ascorbyl palmitate is? Also, would you think it’s overall a better choice than magnesium stearate?

  138. Norma says

    Thanks so much for a sensible even-keeled, non-alarmist approach to this article. With wild claims being made by so many, I’m grateful for this well-researched and written piece. Thanks!

    • says

      “It should be pretty obvious that the intestinal lumen is a vastly different environment from a shower door…”

      — Absolutely classic. I could not agree more, Norma.

  139. says

    You are right, it may not be that big of an issue. But it is becoming easier to purchase supplements without magnesium stearate, as many “food-based” products are on the market. The consumer may pay a little extra, but the quality is generally better (MegaFood comes to mind).

    Thanks for keeping up with the research!

  140. Robert Jacobs says

    Thank you for this item. The magnesium stearate issue just does not seem to go away. Misinformation travels fast and is hard to overcome. I am much more concerned with items like di-calcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose and carrageenan. Hope you also review the safety of titanium dioxide, which I understand is also a relatively safe item used in supplements.

    • Honora says

      Yes, regarding microcrystalline cellulose there was an issue with Eltroxin (levothyroxine) a few years ago when they changed the formula in New Zealand. The doctors are still denying it (hysterical) but the Pharmacy took the issue very seriously after 1300 notifications vs only 5 and 9 for the rival brands and conducted their own study. Absorbtion was delayed and reduced.


  141. Laurel says

    Thanks for addressing this, Chris. I remember that the issue of magnesium stearate came up in my Nutritional Therapy training program. Gray Graham did a presentation for our class about Biotics Research supplements (because they were the sponsor of the training program), and he had basically the same view you have on magnesium stearate, although he didn’t go into as much detail. But I remember him saying that based on the studies available, you would have to eat an insane amount to get any toxic effect. Of course, he works for Biotics, so I didn’t want to take what he said as definite fact. And then you have folks like Dr. Ron, who claim that it’s a toxic substance, but of course he is also using that claim as a selling point for his supplements, which don’t contain magnesium stearate. I always figured it was no big deal, because magnesium is obviously fine and so is stearic acid, so why would they present a problem when bonded together? Thanks again.

    • MR PALEO says


      Two (or more) “non-toxic” substances can combine to create a toxic substance…. there are numerous examples in organic chemistry… and “toxicity” can be a misleading term, as ANY chemical compound can be “toxic” to humans at sufficient dosage.

    • Hedles says

      Exactly, Mr Paleo! The most screaming example is the three simple elements, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen. The first you drink in large quantities in every drop of water, the second you eat more of in every food than any other element, the third, you breath in, four times as much of as oxygen in ever breath, but one of each atom combined as a simple molecule of HCN and you have one of the most toxic substances known – hydrogen cyanide!

  142. says

    I appreciate your addressing this issue as I was concerned and I do believe I got the initial concern from Dr. Mercola’s website. I do have quite a few supplements that contain magnesium stearate and have been hesitant to take them. I shall no longer worry. I will anxiously await your report on carrageenan as I love coconut and nut milks but am not loving the additives.

    • Diana says

      I have only found one brand of coconut milk that only contains coconut and water. I would prefer to get it full fat, but I’m happy that it contains NO carrageenan. Since the cost is inexpensive, I usually use about 3/4 of the can. If you don’t shake it first, the last portion is the water and you can toss it if desired.
      The brand is Trader Joe’s light coconut milk, with the green and black label. On the downside, the can does appear to have a plastic film liner and doesn’t state that it is BPA-free, so it probably is not BPA-free, unfortunately.

      • Renee says

        Diana, You may be happy to learn Trader Joe’s is somewhat tuned in to the issue of BPA and has been working to create BPA free cans for its beans – and now most are. In fact, I was there tonite, I asked them about it — and the baked beans are now BPA free.
        If you go to their site and voice your concerns as an interested consumer, and let them know what you want that helps build a fire under them to respond to consumer requests.
        JUST THINK — If we ALL took a couple minutes to communicate out concerns to those who supply our food products — how powerful an effect we would have!

        • Kelly says

          You are aware however that Trader Joe’s refuses to confirm in writing that their corn, even the organic corn, is GMO-free.

          They also seal their frozen fish in plastic wrap and have labels on them that say to take them out of that plastic wrap before defrosting the fish in the refridgerator. Why is that I wonder? They’ve never been able to answer that question…

      • Elliott S. says

        “Natural Value” brand makes full-fat coconut milk, no additives, and uses BPA-free cans. To my knowledge, there’s only one store in Los Angeles that carries it, so you’d have to go exploring wherever you are.

    • Chris Kresser says

      I will avoid it with sensitive patients, but even taking 100 pills a day wouldn’t get you close to a level that causes harm—as I mentioned in the article.

      • says

        My twin sister has been seriously allergic to Magnesium Stearate for years, first discovered when she developed mouth sores after taking Dramamine. This weekend she developed a stomach bug that is going around and was prescribed Ondancetron for nausea – same reaction. I went out for Benadryl. Unfortunately that also contains Magnesium Stearate and, as I write, her arms are swollen, red and burning as are her upper legs as a result. My next step is to visit a health food store with a medical aisle to see if there are any antihistamines that do not contain MS. Yes, she is in the tiny percentage of those allergic but there is no question that she is.

  143. Suresh says

    I read an article where Dr. Mercola stated that magnesium stearate is very annoying ingredient and it may interfere with active ingredient and may reduce the bioavailability of that ingredient. I got so worried and checked all my supplements and to my horror almost every supplement contains that ingredient. But I cannot afford to stop them and at the same time, I could not find a product that does not contain that magnesium stearate…so I continued taking my supplements with a concern in my mind :(. Now, after reading your article…I feel super happy and I pledged myself not to read Dr. Mercola’s blogs again. 😀

    • MR PALEO says


      No one is infallible… Dr. Mercola is one of the most dedicated physicians out there… and his site has a tremendous amount of valuable information… “don’t cut your nose of to spite your face” !!!

        • MR PALEO says


          (LOL) Anyone who has ever been at the forefront of functional medicine has been considered “controversial”. If you think that Chris isn’t controversial, think again…. and “theories” are just that, theories… no one is perfect, not even Chris…. or me…. or you….

        • Shawn says

          Dr. Mercola is a self promoting nut job. He is all about promoting his products and makes claims like the ones involving Magnesium Stearate in order to do this. It only took me a few hours reading his stuff before I realized this. Because I research everything thoroughly, I still read what he has to say, but find that most of it is just self promoting garbage.

          • Brad says

            Mercola may be self promoting, and he may be out there on a few things, but he gives away a lot more than he sells.

            He is only a nut job to those who are looking for a middle of the road approach, but being a pioneer in anything has the potential to get you labeled a “nut job”.

            • Shawn says


              The problem is that Mercola has tons of information posted, some of which is helpful, but unless one educates oneself it is easy to not know the truth from the falsehoods. I used to defend Mercola for the same reason you posted, but as I became a more educated consumer I became more and more disturbed by the outright falsehoods found throughout the information he “gives away.” I will try to remember where it was posted, but someone actually spent a lot of time on his site and enumerated the true and false statements, as well as the misleading ones. I never take anyone at their word, so I did a lot of fact-checking, and found the author was accurate in every case I checked. The two highest profile Dr.s I have ever heard of are both dispensing false information about supplements. Dr. Mercola and Dr. Oz.

      • Maynard James Keller says

        I’d take EVERYTHING questionable that Dr. Mercola posts with two two grains of sale, except then I’d have a way too high sodium intake.

        A classic self-promoting, product-pushing pimp, who happens to leaven enough accurate info among his nostrums to make his mongering sound plausible.

        And not that all the products on his site are awful (tho’ I’m not paying $130 for a 90 day supply of a “whole food multi-vitamin” when I can get virtually the same product from a trusted source for much less), rather the issue is that the site’s goal (IMO) is much more your wallet than your unbiased education on matters of health, nutrition, supplementation, etc..

        I’m much more impressed with this site’s common-sense, more truly science-based approach – with open forums where Chris’ assertions can be questioned, fleshed out and debated – and where he takes the time to participate IN the forums as well.

        • Ed Propst says

          Hi James,
          I’ve been evaluating supplements by comparing opinions from sites like this and Mercola. Could you give more specifics about areas where you think Mercola is mis-guided? I also started evaluating his products and The People’s Chemist. My feeling is that these guys are at least trying to provide supplements that they believe in, (although their pricing is really high), but are not as misleading as the bigger public vitamin/supplement companies who allow more dangerous ingredients and poorer quality in their products.

          My intent is not to discredit but to find the truth and better yet, where to get the best supplements that really promote health! So my question is — what are the primary resources you use from a research perspective in evaluating these products, and who sells the best products for the best price?

          • Maynard James Keller says

            Consumer Reports did a study of what’s actually in supplements sold by a number of “natural” brands – including pricey ones sold in health food stores and others. This was some years ago, btw.

            The company I’ve been buying from from for several decades, is Puritan’s Pride (online and catalog sales). They also produces under other brand names – often for re-sale in other outlets – so one of the largest with the greatest “economies of scale.”

            The company came out to be closer to what’s stated on their labels than nearly all of the others – while often charging a fraction of what the “prestige” and “boutique” brands ask.

            In general, I’m a belt and suspenders guy. I read what the mainstream press/web science guys are saying – the Web MD’s, MSN healths and others – and also graze many of the natural oriented sites (focusing on those who publish more and sell less or no products themselves – lessening the inherent conflict of interest that hangs over the Dr. Mercolas of the world).

            And keep studying nutrition in general. There are many great sites.

            So the larger the mental (and other) databases of info you have for context, the more you can begin to make sense out of all the claims running around out there – but understand the state of knowledge will continue to evolve at a fairly rapid pace, even about the things that have been accepted wisdom for centuries or longer.

            Also one site/publication that’s even more conservative about this than I – the Nutrition Action Newsletter put out by the Center for Science in the Public interest is an excellent resource.

            I don’t want to post links here – but the info here is easily “googleable” – except maybe the CR Report since it’s older. I have the hard copy stored in another state, so can’t cite it here.

            And I’ll grant that Dr. Mercola may not be entirely motivated by his bottom line, but I saw him on a national TV show last week saying a few things I know were ridiculous on their face.

  144. Glenn says


    You write about Magnesium Stearate above.. I take Magnesium Citrate.. I once read that it will help with constipation. I do have that. (1) Is there anything wrong with Magnesium Citrate ? (2) What is the best Paleo Solution for constipation. I would like not to have that anymore

    I signed up to hear when your new book will be available, so I look forward to that

    • MR PALEO says


      There are several ways to deal with constipation, but it would come down to WHAT is causing your constipation… vegetable juicing and coconut oil are two simple ways that would be of benefit regardless of the cause of your constipation….

      • Glenn says

        Ok. good point.
        I eat veggies (salads and cooked veggies -> broccolisk Cauliflower, squase, carrod…..raw veggie, carrot, celery, pepper, cucumber, tomatoe, cilantro….. my protein sources in order of eaten, chicken breast, salmon, walnuts, sour cream). Now would you please be able to inform what is the food causing the constripation ? This has been very helpful !

        cc: Allysa.. I will check the site for input. thanks much also !
        Thanks Much.

        • Alice says

          If you take calcium supplements and or consume milk products daily (consume calcium in excess of magnesium), too much calcium can cause issues such as constipation and calcium build-up in the body. I mean, one can consume too much calcium in milk products alone and then taking calcium supplements on top of that would cause magnesium to be deficient and constipation results. Magnesium deficiency causes huge problems (goggle magnesium deficiency symptoms/health problems) and since calcium and magnesium work together, too much calcium will make one deficient in magnesium.

          • MR PALEO says


            Yes, that is one possibility, but there are many potential causes that will create a magnesium imbalance, such as excessive potassium, etc.

    • says

      Hey Glenn! Chris has a lot of info about constipation and magnesium on his site already, so I’d recommend looking at some of his past articles and podcast transcripts. You could always search the site for ‘constipation,’ but since the search function on his website doesn’t always work that well, you could also google ‘constipation chris kresser.’

      Here are a couple to get you started: http://chriskresser.com/overcoming-low-stomach-acid-asthma-and-night-time-depression
      http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-12 (in this one he mentions that magnesium citrate isn’t really the best choice; magnesium glycinate is better)

    • Bet says

      Glenn, I got great relief from constipation adding Magnesium Glycinate and probiotics (both on Chris’ suggestion). Make sure you get the one that says Glycinate.

  145. Nancy says

    Hi Chris, my naturopath had warned me about selecting supplements with magnesium stearate and this has caused me a lot of grief as so many supplements do contain it. I was worried maybe I was doing more harm than good in taking these supplements so this is a bit of a relief to know that it’s safer than I thought. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lionel says

      Don’t change everything about your life just because one guy tells you one thing or another, and I wouldn’t take this article at face value.

        • Shawn says

          Chris backs up everything he says with copious research. I found that 95% of the reputable sources regarding Magnesium Stearate came to the same conclusions So, in this case I will certify that you can take this article at face value. (that being said, it is still good advice to do your research before accepting the advice of a single source)

    • John R says

      In her book “Primal Body,Primal Mind” Ms Gedgaudas at p. 317 regards Magnesium Stearate as an unnecessary additive as well as a toxic excipient.
      Another Supplement additive often found in vitamins and possibly with carcinogenic effects on humans is Titanium Dioxide(p.317).
      Thus, read labels carefully, especially other ingredients, and whenever possible avoid these and other additives until long term studies on humans prove them safe.

    • Carmen says

      Hey Chris! Every time I take herbs or vitamins in pills or powder form I break out in eczema all around my lips. When I take raw herbs and liquid tinctures and liquid supplements like floradix my mouth doesn’t break out. I am definitely reacting to something in the pills and powders and I believe it could be the magensium stearate or stearic acid. Every pill and powder that breaks me out has one of those listed in the ingredients. By the way, I’m a student at AIMC Berkeley and have been following you since my nutrition teacher required us to subscribe to your newsletter. Thanks for keeping us informed!

      • Hedles says


        You could try a test to see if it might be stearic acid, by just eating a tiny bit of cocoa butter or shea butter . Both are mainly composed of a triglyceride made up partly of stearic acid. I stongly suspect that there may be some free stearic acid in them both, but I don’t know for sure.

        If you get any similar reaction from these it might corroborate your suspicions if not it would probably suggest it is not the stearic acid.

    • Robin says

      As a Cardiac RN, I would have to say no. Low magnesium levels would be of far greater concern. If mag levels go too high, they are excreted via the gastrointestinal tract.

    • Mark M says

      I believe YES!!
      I have been in an out of the hospital with tachycardia in excess of 200bpm. Without any good explanation I have been keeping track of everything I have been around. This last episode after returning from the doctors I have taken stock of everything I had taken in recent days. I purchased the typical generic ibuprofen, ant-acids, and other sundries but I bought them at a different store. A few days later a began feeling fatigued and finally breathless feeling, Heart rate was 155 so I took xanax, that I was prescribed but rarely ever take. I felt better but symptoms were still there just less concerning the following day I was feeling really bad, resting heart rate of 160bpm took more xanax and called doctor, he said come in. I did and took another half xanax and a couple ibuprofen for headache. When I arrived at the doctors I was feeling much better and a lot less concerned. When the doctor began to exam me I noticed he was really listening to my hear and promptly ordered up ecg my heart rate was romping 189 and I felt no anxiety just tired, of course I had a couple mg’s of xanax in me which I am not used to, so I was feeling happy. Anyway I have been dealing with this on and off for 2 years. My average resting heart rate over the 2 years was 110bpm. After all this I went home on beta blockers and began to investigate everything I ate drank was around and I could only find one common thread. Magnesium stearate was in the ant-acids, ibuprofen, and even in the xanax. All of which I picked up 3 days prior from a different store than I normally frequent, and NO it was not in the old ant-acids, or ibuprofen. So yeah I am currently pointing the finger towards magnesium stearate. Its a frightening thing dealing with something the doctors have no idea why its happening. I was one of those guys that never thought twice about an allergy or any reactions to anything.

      • Leander says

        Let me see if I have this straight. You claim to have been having heart troubles. After a doctor’s visit you then claim you decided to go home and check medications you claim came from a different source than usual and they contained magnesium stearate. You do not indicate whether or not the previous medications contained magnesium stearate but it seems we are supposed to assume by the exclusion of it’s mention. You then claim to have made the connection to magnesium stearate as the guilty party and came to a web page that talks about how magnesium stearate is harmless. …and you want us to believe this entire thread actually happened by chance. I’m sorry, but this is all to scripted for me. I believe NO! Because I am pointing my finger at the fact you are making this up to make up for your poor health, poor exercise habits and bad eating habits.

        • Mark M says