Is Magnesium Stearate Harmful or Harmless: 6 Supposed Dangers
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Magnesium Stearate: 6 Supposed Dangers That Need Attention to Determine if It Is Harmful or Harmless

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Last updated on

Reviewed by Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD, MPH

One of the benefits of ancestral eating is that you avoid potentially harmful food additives like artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and artificial sweeteners.

magnesium stearate
Magnesium stearate is commonly used in supplement manufacturing. iStock/PeopleImages

However, 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.

In this series, 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 a dangerous chemical? Check out this article to find out. #healthylifestyle #chriskresser

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. 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 the risk of heart disease.

Uses and Function

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. It can also be found in some cosmetics.

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.

What Are the Supposed Side Effects and Dangers, and Are They a Cause for Concern?

1. 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 destabilizing 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 desaturate fatty acids. However, human T cells do have the ability to desaturate 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.

2. Concerns about Pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms (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 rib eye steak.

3. 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 information 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.

4. Biofilms

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. (Biofilms are immobile communities of bacteria that form when bacteria adhere to a surface and generate a polysaccharide matrix.) 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 film on your sink or shower, magnesium stearate creates film 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.

5. Magnesium Stearate Allergy

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 result, 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.

6. Magnesium Stearate in Cosmetics

Magnesium stearate has several uses in the cosmetics industry: it’s an anti-caking agent, a bulking agent, a colorant, and more. In the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, magnesium stearate is marked as “low hazard,” although it’s noted that limited data are available on this ingredient.

So, Is Magnesium Stearate Safe or Bad for You?

As a final note, a rat study determined that you’d have to take 2,500 mg of magnesium stearate per kilogram of body weight per day to start seeing toxic effects. (5) That means a 150-pound 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.

768 Comments

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  1. I had a skin reaction to a b vite that had magnesium sterate in it. My naturalpath/RN believes it was because Im already immune suppressed. I will do my best to avoid it! Terry

  2. Since Magnesium stearate is the “lubricant” that should only be coated on the surface of the vitamins, is rinsing the pills slightly sufficient to get rid of it?

  3. Wow, huge amount of comments. So you say that MS is harmless in small amounts, however, some people take LOTS of supplements, as did a friend who found she was getting worse rather than better. I found MS in almost EVERY supplement she took. She re-bought supplements without MS & started to recover. Personally when I eat ANYTHING with a magnesium compound in it, I get sick. Pure magnesium is no problem. So obviously chemical extractions are mostly poisonous to us. Better eat pure unadulterated food.

    • I agree with you, I know that magnesium stearate makes me sick and very anxious and it affects my respiratory as well. There is no way that I want to take anything with this ingredient in it. There is enough people having reactions to this that it should ring an alarm about using another ingredient. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies knows this and the more you can be sick, the more they sell their drugs.

    • I just wish that the companies would stop putting this magnesium stearate in all of their products, is anyone making them aware of this, it seems that a lot of us are getting sick from this so this cannot be good.

  4. Chris
    Just so you know. I have digestive issues. I simply cannot take magnesium sterate. I have read that is possibly manufactured using corn?

    Trying to live healthy
    Regina

    • I have to say that I have problems with certain acids, such as citric acid. Terrible races, itching, and dry skin. I can’t eat citrus at all. Stearic acid seems to act the same way when I consume it. So I have no doubt that some people will have allergic reactions or intolerance’s to it. So many pills have stearic acid, magnesium stearate, or calcium stearate. Because of the allergic reactions I get, I am leery of all of them; but they are hard to avoid.

  5. Magnesium Stearate shouldn’t be used in ANY supplements or vitamins EVER.

    The fact that it is even questioned if it can harm you or not is enough for me not to take the risk.

    Ingredient Evolution is pushing supplement & vitamin manufacturers to stop producing their products with magnesium stearate. They discovered dried brown rice powder is actually a better performing excipient!

    They call their organic flow agent: “Organiflow”

    • To comment what you said, then I suggest that you eat nothing at all because with the fumigations (Chemtrails containing Aluminium, strontium, barium just to name a very few of the components) taking place as a geo-engineering project in the stratosphere , you get worse than magnesium stearate. ? Look up at the sky once in a while and notice those unusual white lines spreading large as to form a white blanket over the blue sky. Know that these compounds eventually fall down on us. We breath it, we eat it and drink it. Theses particulates are everywhere and for sure intoxicate everything. Carnicom.org

      • That’s nice, so who cares right, you get other toxins so whats one more right? Hahahaha

  6. I sneeze violently within a few minutes of having a chewable calcium tablet (to supplement my dairy-free diet on account of allergy to both milk protein and lactose.) The ingredients are calcium carbonate, Natural Sweetener (granulated cane sugar), Natural Flavours (vanilla and coconut), Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Silica. The manufacturers and suppliers have failed to identify which ingredient might cause me to sneeze.

    • Are you allergic to coconut, vanilla, or cane sugar? Those would most likely be the culprits. Also are you positive you are allergic to dairy? Allot of people that think they are allergic to dairy are just simply lactose intollerent.

      • I was diagnosed by an allergist as having a moderate allergy to milk. Can’t have milk or yogurt. If I do, I get awful itching and a rash on my upper body. I can eat small amounts of certain ice creams when the largest ingredient is cream. And I can eat moderate amounts of cheese. I cannot consume coconut products at all. A food intolerance with allergic symptoms. This has only been a problem for about five years or so now.

    • Would that be Country Life CAL-SNACK? I bought that for my husband who hates swallowing pills but notice it does contain ms. I will try to notice any correlation as I take it now and then. But the magnesium glycinate from Doctor’s Best that I purchased as a supposedly superior form has it, and the magnesium oxide/chelate in Country Life Chelated (somewhat) Magnesium does not. I would love to know what Chris and others deem the best forms of magnesium. Some folks I know swear by the CALM powder but that has citric acid which bothers my esophagus.. not sure about ms. This is an interesting conversation. I would think that if a lot of people seem to have allergies to a substance that it should be banned in supplements. Folks, call the manufacturers if you are reacting this way.. they need to hear feedback.

  7. Mr. Kresser also said that carageenan is safe but Dr. Russell Blaylock (a Neurologist and brain surgeon; look for him on YouTube) says that carageenan is a potent inflammatory agent–so potent that it’s injected into lab animals for the purpose of inducing inflammation when they want to do studies on inflammation. So I wonder about the validity of Mr. Kresser’s opinion on magnesium stearate.

    • Dr. Blaylock is conflating carrageenan with poligeenan (formerly called degraded carrageenan), a substance which is derived from carrageenan, but is NOT the same thing.

      Unfortunately, he has not seen fit to correct this error.

    • Joanna, Dr. Andrew Weil also says it’s not safe and references studies done by a Dr. Tobacman. But if you check the article on followyourheart.com about carrageenan, there is evidence that her research was not done properly but with high dosages of carrageenan, so is not really applicable to what we might take in with a normal diet. Her “research” seems to have been biased. The writer of the article sounds very well-versed on the subject and uses a lot of references, so I would tend to not get overly fearful about foods containing carrageenan. Of course, some individuals do have food sensitivities that others don’t have, but you can’t use that as criteria for branding an ingredient as unhealthy or dangerous. It’s an interesting article, though a little long, but I would recommend you check it out.

    • Mr. Kresser has undoubtedly been approached by either Monsanto or Dupont, maybe both,(i hope not) to state GMO oils, which make up Magnesium Stearate and are designed to be unaffected by Glyphosate, (the pesicide used to kill unwanted weeds) is harmless to humans, when science has proven this changes the bacteria in our gut (not for the good)-or he just hasn’t done his homework, yeah, I’ll be sure to take his advice on other subjects

      • if you think that round up is safe, mmmmm, they sprayed the back woods near my home and I woke up with a lump the size of an egg on my breast, as much as the doctor said it could not be cancer, it was and very aggressive, so don’t believe everything they tell you and several years later, they sprayed the driveway next door to my dad with his little dog outside with him and same thing happened, very aggressive cancer in the bowels and his little dog got sick the same afternoon and as much as he tried to save him, his organs were affected and had to be put down 3 weeks after spending thousands on the dog and 2 months after, my dad died, so I saw what this poison does and it is deadly, don’t need any scientific proof, I experienced it first hand, man are trying to play God and they are destroying lives

      • if Monsanto is behind magnesium stearate, then we know why we get sick, I got cancer, aggressive cancer, a big lump that appeared overnight after a big company had sprayed glysophate (round up) in his park which is in the back of my home, same thing happened to my dad and his dog, when the guy sprayed next door while they were outside, they both died within 2 months, what Monsanto makes is unsafe and they buy the silence of scientists and we pay the price with our health.

  8. Recently I ordered some Viter Energy caffeine mints because I am trying to cut sugar out of my diet but I still need my caffeine… anyway, I took two of these mints (totalling 80 mg caffeine) and I have been feeling very light-headed and sick. I’ve been looking up all the ingredients that sound weird – Sorbitol, Xylitol, niacin, silicon dioxide – but magnesium stearate is the only one where people seem to be having similar reactions that I am…

    Should I stay away from this stuff?

    • Caffeine in supplement form has always felt that way to me. I think it’s the caffeine.

    • any problems with corn? I find the same happens to me when I eat Sorbitol, Xylitol but I have a allergy to the protein in corn, it should be removed by processing but sometimes companies cut corners and it’s not as pure as it should be.

    • Caffeine alone is not as good for you as you might think. Coffee would probably have the same effect if it did not have loads of antioxidants.

    • I have taken caffeine pills off and on for about 25 years. They used to give me a ton of energy and clear thinking, but not so much now. And I feel very light-headed taking them now even in half or 1/4th pill form. I have wondered if it was the caffeine or the added ingredients.

  9. everything that I use that has this ingredient, I get lightheaded, rapid heartbeat, fast breathing, nauseated, get very anxious and feel like I am going to pass out and have to take some benadryl and since this is into every medications, this is probably the reason why I have allergic reactions to everything and I am terrified of taking anything. I even look in some candies and some of them uses this and I reacted the same way. How can you get something without this ingredient, it is into everything and the doctors thinks that I am just paranoid, but it is not them who is having this reaction. I am and I know my body. I am taking One a Day Gummies because they don’t have this ingredient and everything is ok, all other vitamins has magnesium stearate so I don’t dare to get some. What happens to the people who are allergic or very sensitve to this ingredient, what can you do?

    • I too have found that any supplements I take with the mag. stearate in it raises my anxiety levels to an alarming degree, with heart palpitations if I continue taking it and I get headaches also. There was only one supplement I have tried that did not give me this reaction, and when I looked found it was the only one that had no magnesium stearate. It is my doctors theory that it is a pretty benign substance, but that there are sensitive people that can develop allergies to anything. Since I have been struggling with chronic lyme disease and it has affected my digestion/absorption and caused me to develop some food sensitivities I’m guessing this is another sensitivity I have developed also since years ago I could take supplements without issue. She is working with a compounding pharmacy to get me meds/supplements without it added and I am doing much better. And there are companies making a lot of supplements without it now, you just have to seek them out and pay a bit more, but I am finding they are better quality ones anyway.

      • Thorne is a good company that does not use them, and I find I get much better results from their products anyway.

      • I never had allergies or food intolerance’s until I developed digestive issues. Then acid reflux. Over the last five years or so, a tremendous amount of intolerance’s to food, drinks, medications, and topical products. Very frustrating because I went most of my life with none of this. So now I have to read every label and have eliminated many foods from my diet. I have been to the doctor and an allergist about it. All they can do is prescribe meds and tell me to eliminate offending products/foods.

        • No gluten, no insulinic carbs, no sugar a pat from some fruits after the meal, and you will see a big improvement. Kind of a ketogenic diet. No fried food, too.
          On Mg stereate, I prefer to avoid it, it’s uselss.

        • With acid reflux…you need more salt, sea salt. Take one little spoon with some water. Salt is needed to digest. It means that you have eaten too much sugar. (100 grams of bread, rice, etc…is equal to about 80 grams of sugar…just adding it as a quick note).

    • I’m no doctor, but with those symptoms, you could just as easily be having an anxiety attack.

      A allergic reaction would likely be accompanied by things like:

      – Difficulty swallowing or breathing (like your throat or lungs tightening up);
      – Swelling in the face, eyes or mouth;
      – Vomiting or (awful) diarrhea;
      – Hives and itching;
      – Fever.

      • it does the same thing even with candies that has magnesium stereate, and it does the same thing, so I know what is a panic attack because I suffered from this in the past, but it would not just come on when I take anything that has the ingredient of magnesium stereate unless this product causes someone to have a panic attack and why would I start to feel much better upon taking benadryl, the symptoms goes away? When I used to have panic attacks, benadryl did not stop my panic attack. Went to see a Ford’s pharmacy and upon some tests, he told me that I was allergic to this product and if I ever needed some medication, they would prepare it without this ingredient.

      • Jason,I believe you’re mistaken,toxic shock is more likely,many women are being treated for anxiety,when the real problem stems from cosmetics,hair products,and health and meds containing a combined overdose of chemicals.Summer is a great time to go natural!Don’t forget coconut oil instead of tanning lotion will increase your absorbtion of vitamin D.

        • don’t need to have hives to have an allergy, depends on the person, ate one bite of an orange and my throat started to swell up and I felt so light headed and nauseated, right away I knew that this was an allergy because of the tightness in my throat and I took benadryl liquid and it took about 10 min before it started to take effect and the tightness in my throat started to go away and the symptoms were getting much better… not everyone reacts the same way, don’t need hives when the allergy is immediate, your throat will swell up first

        • Toxic shock is a very specific ailment that is caused by bacteria. It is a potentially fatal problem that would not just go away without treatment.

          Also: We don’t absorb Vitamin D from the sun; we make it in our skin. There are indeed problems with most commercial sunscreens, but slathering on coconut oil is probably not a good idea unless you want to elevate your sunburn (and therefore skin cancer) risk.

          • Jason,massive production of bacteria is the body’s natural response to heavy metal poisoning.That’s why renal failure is the end result.You should also look a little further into the benefits of cold processed coconut oil,in addition to skin and dental health.I and my cats “swish it” daily.We also have very shiny hair!PS mushrooms are the highest natural food source of vitamin D.

    • There is a simple solution. There are alternatives to artificial excipients such as mag. stearate. Manufactures use mag. stearate to have better margins on their product, not caring what kind of side effects it may have on the consumer. OrganiFlow™ is an organic brown rice powder that functions the same as mag. stearate. When looking to buy supplements look on the bottle for a “artificial excipient free” and “OrganiFlow™” logo. This will solve the issue of the negative side effects people are getting from mag. stearate.

      • I am glad you brought this up, it is most certainly an aid to the manufacturers, to lubricate their machinery; they don’t put magnesium stearate in their products for the consumers benefit, not in the least.

        I treat manufacturers like this to be the lowest of the low, and they are…They are likely to cite “studies” that are funded by Monsanto and other chemical corporations who have proven to be pathological liars and such, all in the name of profit..

        Nature’s way, yeah right. It’s an adulterant.
        Boycott these shady companies by supporting the herbals and vitamin companies that do not find a need to cut corners and adulterate their products.

        • not so. some companies feel that folks are MAGNESIUM DEFICIENT so the add it as a suppliment
          ie threshold lifeforce.

      • There are brands without any fillers, I want to avoid even rice, as I don’t eat insulinic carbs at all. 😉

    • Certainly not ALL supplements contain magnesium stearate. The company I am partnered with has very high standards and does not include magnesium stearate in their products.

  10. I was concerned because yesterday I received an email from the pharmacist Suzy Cohen that was about additives to supplements and she asserted that Mg. Stearate was to be avoided at all costs. she said though that although it wasn’t found to be a dangerous substance by itself I understood that because of the issues that you mentioned one should stay away. It is so hard to know what to do about so many things in this field; the appropriate way to eat, the best supplements, etc. Sometimes I just want to stop reading altogether.

    • Yes, I also read the e-mail by Suzy Cohen. She had quoted that the additive could decrease the absorption rate from 15-85 % of supplements.

      • The fact that it reduces ‘some’ percentage (only God knows if it’s not 100%) of the effectiveness of the supposed supplements make a lot of sense. The pharmaceutical companies or any corporations are there only for profit. If you feel better it is not good business. The all for profit government is not working for the so called medium class. We go to work everyday half alive and while we need some supplements to absorb fast (so we don’t feel like shit at work) in our cells it does just the opposite. We were taught to support government but they (public school and religion) never told us that the support was for big profits for the benefit of big corporations that feed the government which is for profit too.

  11. This is a great article, very easy to follow. I was questioning this substance because it is in one of the supplements I take and love, Brain Boost https://vtallabs.com/products/brain-boost . It helps me stay focused and I was worried about having to give it up after hearing someone’s opinion. I blog for this company on the side so I was going to be very disappointed if their was something harmful in their products. Thanks for clearing this up!

  12. I have had a problem with magnesium stearate and steric acid for years. I don’t want to get in a discussion about the pros and cons of this additive. I have elevated blood pressure , rapid heartbeat, feeling of suffocation when I take any supplement or tablet with this ingredient. My heart Drs. who put a stent in my heart said it wasn’t possible as this ingredient is in so many things and they could desensitize me. After the first two doses, I suffered cardiac failure and hospitalized 5 more days.I now avoid all products, tablets , deodorants, lotions, etc. and am fine. I take Bayer childrens chewable aspirin, Dayquil for colds,Stearate free TUMs, most are liquids. Just be sure to read the labels. I have several M.D.s and pharmacists who have helped me many times. Just wanted to give you my experience .

    • Hi Roberta,thanks for helping get the word out to those who aren’t yet aware that metal toxicity is what’s really their main health issue.Do be careful of alum,i.e…tap and spring water,powdered mixes and spices,as it will also be affecting your health.By avoiding the products that contain these ingredients,and speaking out about about it you help everyone.Thankyou again.

    • Roberta, very interesting. I don’t get such drastic reactions, but I do get fuzzy thinking, rashes, and itchy & dry skin (eyes, etc.) with all kinds of acids. Which makes it difficult because most foods have some form of acid in them; and a lot of products also. I was just looking at my vitamin pills and they have magnesium stearate too. Very disappointing. So, anyway, when I start feeling allergic reactions, I have to take an anti-histimine. Mine are not life threatening, but make my life miserable.

  13. Although stearates are in minute quantities in pills, it does not sound as if it is healthy. A small amount of stearates plus a small amount of another substance that is unhealthy plus another and another, before you know it, these unhealthy substances could potentially have a serious adverse effect over time. Is there something more benign that could serve the same purpose?

    • Natural plant gum like guar gum,is what they used before profit became the only important factor.Thankfully there are becoming more quality products available,as the word gets out about the cumulative effect of additives in water,food,health,and hygeine products.Choose the best products,with the least additives(even whole milk has no measurable amount of vitamin D,it is chemically added)yet most mushrooms are loaded with vitamin D.

  14. You mention MSG…just a reminder, MSG is naturally occurring in seaweed, etc. It is also NOT the cause of ‘Chinese food syndrom’. As a matter of fact, few if any people have a reaction to it. More urban legend than anything else, that is traced back to speculation made by one columnist once….

    • BEWARE!! MSG (monosodium glutamate) is an exitotoxin, which permanently kills brain cells. It is one of many, many forms of exitotoxin found in processed foods.

  15. Regarding Magnesium Stearate –
    I really appreciate the clarification on this additive. I am wondering however, if it is safe for dogs? I had read online that this additive would be unsafe to give to pets. I have a 14 lb. Havanese that is 12 years old and has some health issues. I have been giving him slippery elm and l-glutamine dissolved in liquid and added to his food to heal his intestines and keep his stools formed. This has been a very nice minimalistic supplement but the slippery elm does have magnesium stearate added. I have ordered a powdered form that does not contain the additive, however I am wondering if it is something that I really need to be concerned about at all because I have noticed that there are other supplements that have either vegetable or magnesium stearate. I would greatly appreciate your input. Thank you.

  16. Can anyone recommend brand names of Vitamins B, C, & D3 that don’t have harmful or potentially harmful ingredients?

    • I get many of my supplements through my chiropractor who recommends Standard Process Laboratories. I also but directly on line products by NuMedica.

      • Hi Steve

        One of the best companies for B a Vitamin complex is The Synergy Company. They are made from whole foods, totally natural and organic with no GMO’s. The make a great Multivitamin/Mineral supplement. There are no synthetics in their products.
        Mother Earth Labs- also makes a liquid Multi Vitamin/ Mineral supplement with fulvic/humic acid, herbal blends, Coq 10 and much more. Their products too are not synthetic, 100% natural, organic and NO GMO’s. I spoke to reps. from both of these companies and really threw them some questions. They were very straightforward and I could tell from a bit if researching that they are the real deal. I personally give the edge to Mother Earth Labs because it is really inclusive without the need to add some other supplements.
        Hope this helps.

        Sam

          • You are welcome. Keep in mind that 99% of the vitamins out there are synthetic in part or completely. Your body knows the difference.
            One other point that has nothing to do with supplementation is staying away from Toxins. Stay away from glyphosate contaminated foods. Don’t drink or shower in water that contains flouride or chlorine.

            • I don’t know if you know much about Standard Process Laboratories supplements but they have been around since the 1920’s and are all made from whole foods, mostly organic.

              • I don’t know anything about Standard Process Labs or any other ones. I used to rely on Whole Foods and lately have been buying brands such as Country Life and Solgar through “iherb.com.

              • I found that many of the Standard Process supplements contain oat, which can be cross reactive for gluten. The last time I purchased Standard Process, the allergen disclaimer said that it was processed in a facility that also processed products with common allergens like wheat, nuts etc.

                • My body totally rejected standard process supplements, in fact it made it worse. I love dr Hulda store brand. It’s pure because I feel the difference.

    • Seeking health. Not only do they avoid junk forms of b12 aka cyanobalamin(b12 bound to a tiny amount if cyanide which your body can’t utilize without covering… And we’ll probably pee out first), but also (unnatural) folic acid which many people can’t process correctly. They favor natural folate. Etc.

      Pricey but probably worth it because they aren’t using the cheapest ingredients around.

    • I like the food-sourced supplements.

      Pranin PureB powder – full spectrum B supplement; organic, whole food derived and perfect in a smoothie!

      Vitamin C- I always use an organic powder like camu camu or triphala. Organic Traditions is reputable and ethical. Smoothie again!

      D3 and K2 liquid drops by Innovite or CanPrev. Highly bioavailable. If you’re supplementing D you need K.

      • Dr. Hulda store dot com sells thorne too but when I check images of their labels it contains fillings. Dr Hulda store purity brand doesn’t. So I always get my vitamins free of magnesium stearate with them.

    • Don’t buy Vitamin C in supplement form – it is only ascorbic acid and is only one part of the C complex the body requires. The German scientist who “discovered” Vitamin C once wrote that ascorbic acid by itself could not cure a single case of scurvy – that a simple potato or lemon could.

      Get your C from organic sweet peppers (yellow, orange and red). They have the highest C content of any food.

      I had scurvy back in the 1980s as a hermit. I have struggled with C supplements (ascorbic acid) for years without results. Switching to natural C foods wiped out my issues.

    • I like Co-enzyme B Complex Caps by Country Life. They have the methylated forms of B12 and Folate so if you have methylation issues and/or MTHFR gene mutation they are designed to work around those.

  17. I ran out of my usual biotin supplement and just picked up a “natural” one at the grocery store. Immediately my face began to break out. I stopped taking the supplement and my face stopped breaking out. There are only 4 ingredients in the product: Microcrystalline cellulose, Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (capsule), Silicon dioxide, and Magnesium stearate (veg). I have a coconut allergy, so I’m wondering if the magnesium stearate is coconut derived resulting in the breakouts. I’m happy that I was able to identify what caused the breakouts and that the product had so few ingredients to research. I have pollen allergy diagnosed by the allergist – so it’s possible it could be the wood pulp of the microcrystalline cellulose. But I appreciate this article and the conversation about it. I can incorporate it into my research on my allergic reactions.

    • You may want to look up low Histamine foods. Also, some people just do not breakdown histamine, then it becomes an inflammatory problem…..
      I have been to the Standard Process organic Farm. 80% of what they put in the little brown bottles is grown there.
      I have been using them for over 30 years. Check with a doctor about using them that has studied and has experience.

  18. I’m not sure the study of mice exposed to stearic acid is relevant to the question: “Is magnesium stearate – which is in many supplements – a health risk?” And not just because the study was with mice and not humans, but because stearic acid is different than magnesium stearate (which is a magnesium ion plus stearic acid).
    “Distrusting 99% of supplements” seems excessive unless you can point to scientific studies that came up with that result. There are irreputable supplement manufacturers. But there are also credible manufacturers with independent 3rd party labs verifying dosage as well as contaminants of raw materials, that follow industry standards (ISO and Good Manufacturing Processes) and don’t put fillers in their products. Beyond this, brands that ND’s consistently recommend have been vetted for these things.

  19. So many people here have shared how they’re taking various supplements: calcium, glucosamine, msm, magnesium, multi-vitamins, b-vitamins, and so on, and yet they blame any reactions on the magnesium stearate?! Folks, listen up: vitamins, minerals, and amino acids taken as supplements can cause SERIOUS reactions in and of themselves. So, before you go blaming magnesium stearate for whatever you are reacting to, maybe you should consider that taking that supplement in the first place is “unnatural.”

    • Hi Paul,

      Most of what you said is correct, but not totally correct about supplements being not natural. While it is true that our ancestors 100 generations ago never took supplements, they didn’t have to. The soils were virgin and full of natural vitamins and minerals. The soils were rich and not depleted.
      I would never touch 99.9% of any Vitamin/ Mineral supplement as they are synthetic and poorly absorbed. A person needs to choose a supplement that is organic and 100% natural and plant based. As we k ow today it is nearly impossible to find D good that will full fill our body’s requirements. Even organic foods are many times deficient in minerals. Applying manures and composts won’t cut it in organic gardening as not enough minerals are being returned. Much of the food tastes good today, but essential nutrients such as common minerals and especially trace minerals are lacking. There is some great research regarding adding rock dust from quarries to mineralize soils that bring it back to life. Fulvic and humic acids addded to these soils are producing remarkable results. Try writing down what you eat per day and see if it comes close to the RDA (these standards are too low) Even if you try to eat wisely and healthy, it’s still difficult to get complete nutrition. That’s why it’s important to to supplement with a whole food all natural Vitamin and organic product.
      There are very few companies out there like this. Many companies say Vitamin C as Ascorbic Acid on their vitamins. But Ascorbic Acid is synthetic. Natural Vitamin C is complete and different than plain Ascorbic Acid. Ascorbic acid lacks bioflavinoids and cofactors needed for the body to synthesize itand get full effectiveness. When Ascorbic Acid enters the body, your body says where’s the cofactors and bioflavinoids. So, it searches elsewhere and pulls them from somewhere else.

      • And plant based? LOL. Show me scientific studies that demonstrate the advantage of that. Animal based is fine and in the case of many nutrients MORE NATURAL.

        We are evolved as omnivorous mammals(which means milk too). I understand people have moral objections and while I don’t share that view I can respect it. However don’t confuse your moral stance with nutritional science.

        A vegan caveman would be massively deficient in many key nutrients which herbivores are typically evolved to produce themselves if not a part of their diet.

    • The other correction is about ascorbic acid not being absorbed without flavonoids or cofactors. If you take L-Ascorbic acid supplements, it is the same form as what is available from food. “D-ascorbic acid” on the other hand, is synthetic and cannot be absorbed by the body.

    • Ha ha want to talk about “unnatural”? You ought to have what is called the Alpha Galactose Sugar Allergy. An allergy/disease that is increasing at an alarming rate. People “catch” it from insect bites. The become allergic to the alpha galactose sugar that is present in all mammals (except human, great apes, and old world monkeys, but not new world for some reason). It is present in every product made from beef, pork, sheep, etc., all four legged mammals and swimming mammals.

      And people have various degrees of this miserable and strange allergy, even in the magnesium stearate you are talking about, if it is from pork or beef. All of the supplements you mention could cause a reaction in sensitive people because of the ingredients and coatings from mammals. The symptoms of this danged allergy are all over the map, from rashes and hives and body pain misdiagnosed as arthritis, to full blown anaphylaxis. Like Lyme disease, it is known to be transmitted by tick bites, and there is a possibility of transmission by fleas and chiggers.

      If you haven’t heard of it, you are not alone. Only a few medical facilities are seriously working on it. But thousands of people are being diagnosed around the world, as word is slowly spreading. The sad thing is that people are suffering because too few people know about it. People are being made sick by the very medications that are supposed to be helping them.

      • Di – I have Alpha-Gal. I’m having a bear of a time finding a simple decongestant. Everything contains magnesium stearate, stearic acid or lactose, all of which I’m deathly allergic to. All I want is to find something to prevent sinus infections. I’m currently using a neti pot, sinus rinses, etc. I can’t be the only person out there with this issue.

        • MoWalker give a look at Mountain Meadow Herbs. I was researching excipients and saw your comment and want you to see if herbal respiratory &/or some of the immune boosters can help. Although my responsibility is manufacturing for 3rd parties that care about their ingredients and lack thereof when it comes to magnesium stearate, etc., I’m happy to help if I can.

    • Oh good Lord where to begin…

      I’m not sure. You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. Ignorance itself is nothing to be ashamed of, but then you insist upon offering your input despite it… It’s like a person who can’t change a spark plug offering advice on high octane gas. Just stop…

      The thing about referring to vitamin/mineral/etc supplements as inherently “unnatural” is that isn’t true overall. You’re taking extracts from FOOD mostly. Supposing you eat a healthy balanced and complete diet with no particular medical circumstances… Then no you don’t need a supplement.

      Problem is most people don’t do that or even close. Others have issues absorbing things like b12. And the antibiotics we are routinely exposed to kill off helpful bacteria in our gut that otherwise produced many things we need. B12 deficiency is a major problem currently for example… And that’s critical for a some major chemical processes in the body.

      But then the problem comes where most major vitamin companies often substitute cheaper artificial versions which aren’t as good, or even for some people harmful(such as folic acid instead of natural folate).

      And I mentioned b12 but most companies use unnatural cyanocobalamin instead of active/usable methylcobalamin which can also be stored by the liver. It is produced by bacteria into hydroxocobalamin(which is natural and can pull some bad things from your body) but filtered through charcoal where it binds with cyanide… Hence the name cyanocobalamin. It isn’t much but it can’t be used until converted and will probably be urinated our first. So it is basically useless.

      Now even saying all this, nutrition should be balanced. You really can overdo some things. There is an incredible amount you need to educate yourself upon before deciding what you do and don’t need. Since most won’t invest that sort if time it really is best to discuss these things with your doctor. Especially considering your labs and genetic screening can paint a more accurate picture of what you really need and what you should avoid.

    • The fact that it reduces ‘some’ percentage (only God knows if it’s not 100%) of the effectiveness of the supposed supplements make a lot of sense. The pharmaceutical companies or any corporations are there only for profit. If you feel better it is not good business. The all for profit government is not working for the so called medium class. We go to work everyday half alive and while we need some supplements to absorb fast (so we don’t feel like shit at work) in our cells it does just the opposite. We were taught to support government but they (public school and religion) never told us that the support was for big profits for the benefit of big corporations that feed the government which is for profit too.

  20. oh dear I am taking a magnesium stearate supplement because I have autoimmune thyroiditis. Can someone tell me which magnesium I can supplement with please?

      • We agree to disagree. Dr. Dean is the one that many trust. I’ve never seen this side effect with Citrate. I’ve had great results with Magnesium Citrate and so have my contacts and family members. I have a Functional Medicine Doctor and none of my blood work indicates iron issues. Read Dr. Dean’s book, “The Magnesium Miracle”. Dr. Dean is not the lone expert. Why do I trust her and it’s not just because what she writes works. It’s because she sent me a free E book at no charge to pass on to others. Another good form us Magnesium Chloride. But, the best if it’s not a supplement is a plant based source.

        • I just have to add, that I have an allergic reaction to citrates. So, if someone is sensitive to citric acid, citrus, etc., please take magnesium citrate with caution.

    • Doctor’s Best has has a high-absorption magnesium chelated with the amino acids glycine and lycine. Check it out on iHerb (look for Doctor’s Best High Absorption 100% Chelated Magnesium). You will find good info their as well as customer reviews and the product label. Their prices are usually much lower than in health food stores .

    • I don’t know that exact disease but I can tell you done things that are generally helpful in the autoimmune area. Vitamin D. Avoid folic acid and instead get natural folate such as from green veggies. If you happen to have a mtftr defect, you might take methylfolate instead paired with methylcobalamin. Ask your doctor about the dose.

      Get more electrolytes. Yes that matters. Oh wait your already taking magnesium… Good. When cells multiply too fast, things like that get used up. Without sufficient supply the cells fail. Cellular necrosis takes place and that prompts the autoimmune response! Too much folic acid makes it worse because that can be used in dna synthesis. Higher levels will result in more cellular division(which is why pregnant women need more). Thus you see the problem. You might also supplement glutathione for the same reason you need electrolytes. It can really help.

    • I have autoimmune Thyroiditis also and have been using magnesium citrate. This form of magnesium can have a laxative effect, which can be helpful for the sluggish digestive systems of those with Hashimoto’s. But I read recently that the citrate portion is derived from corn, which would make it contraindicated for those of us with corn allergy. Other absorbable forms are magnesium glycinate and magnesium orotate. The glycinate form can tend to slow the digestive process down.

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