What’s In Your Pills? A Critical Look At Nutritional Supplements

A Critical Look At Nutritional Supplements

We believe that we are helping ourselves by taking our vitamins.  Unfortunately, our pills may contain substances that may make them ineffective or harmful to us.  This goes for the discount brands as well as name brands that we pay top dollar for.

When making nutritional supplements, companies must bind nutrients with binders and fillers to make tablets and to fill spaces in capsules.  The products that they use for this purpose can include titanium dioxide, lactose, and talc.

Even products labeled “hypo-allergenic” commonly have lactose, sodium benzoate, modified food starch (corn starch), and hydrogenated fats in them.  Because these substances are FDA-approved food additives, they may not be labeled on the packaging.  Some companies may not even know that they are even there.  Many of these companies buy from other companies the raw materials or may outsource bottling to another manufacture.

Steric acid and magnesium stearate are used as flowing agents to ease in manufacturing.  They are fat derived products usually coming from animals.  They are commonly used to manufacture Vitamin C and other products.  Almost all manufacturers use stearic acid or magnesium stearate.  These stearates then hinder solubility.  The potency of a product can decrease by up to 80%.  A simple test for your Vitamin C capsule is to open it up and see if it completely dissolves in water.  If it floats on top, it contains stearates (fat).  Does it completely dissolve in water or does it float on top.

Most manufacturers also use lactose, dextrose, and sucrose.  Tablets contain flowing agents, lubricants, allergenic fillers, binding agents, and allergenic coloring agents.  Vegetable protein coating is a corn protein that is harmful to those with corn allergies.  Pharmaceutical glaze is basically shellac.

Digestive enzymes such as bromelain, pancreatin, pepsin almost always contain lactose.  Many people needing enzymes are lactose intolerant.  B vitamins are usually coated with flow and taste masking agents.  These include hypoallergenic products.

Many EPA (fish oil) products have contaminants such as heavy metals, and PCB’s in them.  Many products containing vitamin A has BHT and BHA
in them. 

A Critical Look At Nutritional Supplements

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