Supplements all use some form of filler. However, which fillers are used and the quantity of fillers used can make a huge difference in the final product. You can find a complete list here, but we want to focus on Dimethicone and Magnesium Stearate/Stearic Acid.
Dimethicone is a silicone emollient which coats the skin, not allowing toxins out. It may promote tumors and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. It is commonly found in lotions and creams.
Magnesium Stearate/Stearic Acid may contain phosphatidyl choline, which collapses cell membranes and selectively kills T-cells, which breaks down the immune system. It is an execeptant that is used to bind medicinal tablets and make them smooth; it is also used in pharmaceuticals, foods, talcum powder, ammunition, and as a drying agent in paints.
In the past (2 years ago), Life Choice used a maximum of 2% magnesium stearate or stearic acid as a flow agent, and only when the raw material was clumping. Since 2015, we have substituted it for ascorbal palmitate, the fat soluble version of vitamin C. Some older labels may not reflect these changes yet, but they are currently being updated and replaced.
So, why make the change?
As stated in the journal Neurotoxicology, “it is well established that certain toxic substances have the potential to disrupt normal brain physiology and to impair neurological homeostasis. As well as headache, cognitive dysfunction, memory disturbance, and other neurological signs and symptoms, disruption of brain function may also manifest as subtle or overt alteration in thoughts, moods, or behaviors. Over the last four decades, there has been the unprecedented development and release of a swelling repertoire of potentially toxic chemicals which have the capability to inflict brain compromise.”
An Immunology study found that stearic acid damaged T-cell membranes, ultimately destroying the T-cells. Prevent Disease also covered the dangers of magnesium stearate. They found that up to 5% of the average 1000 mg capsule or tablet is magnesium stearate–this is 50 milligrams. The EPA classifies concentrated magnesium stearate as a hazardous substance. And, besides these core dangers, magnesium stearate is also sourced from cottonseed or palm oil, which means it may also be loaded with pesticides.
One study found that magnesium stearate also interacts with and binds to the raw materials it is mixed with.
For another example, some companies use Crospovidone (cross linked polyvinyl N-pyrrolidone, or PVP) in their melatonin. PVP is a common inactive ingredient used by the pharmaceutical industry. While its swelling properties make it useful for absorbing active drugs, PVP is not absorbed orally. Pulmonary emboli have been reported in autopsies of intravenous drug abusers who have crushed tablets, such as hydromorphone, for injection. The long-term effects of crospovidone in the lung are unknown, but topical application has resulted in allergic reactions.
As you can see, there is more to a supplement than meets the eye. Read labels carefully and know what fillers really mean–your health will thank you for it.