3

votes

Any merit to Dr. mercola's concern about Magnesium Stearate in supplements?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 23, 2012 at 3:26 PM

No wonder the average caveman had such a stress-free life (except when being chased by animals): cavemen didn't have to worry about all this stuff:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/23/whole-food-supplement-dangers.aspx?e_cid=20120623_DNL_art_1

-Mike

9e5b4c8fe7abdedd3aa116aaf43c86c9

(0)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:19 PM

here is a link from 2009: http://paradiseherbs.com/article/2009/oct/16/why-we-are-filler-free/

2a456fcc9f9216745627615b82f035a4

on March 28, 2013
at 05:23 PM

meant to say that "the magnesium stearate in your supplements is NOT there for nutritional reasons"

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:11 PM

That post by Emily Deans was really irritating. Half of it was her 'bragging' about being a doctor--a Havard-trained one at that! I'd be rather wary of any of her other claims, as she seems rather mired in social status.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 25, 2013
at 02:21 PM

@Crowlover, steric acid is steric acid. The steric acid in the triglycerides we consume may become mag sterate in our guts, or sodium sterate, or calcium sterate... in the small intestine, it likely exists in the salt form.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 28, 2012
at 01:47 AM

A cease and desist from the FDA. Wow. BFD! FDA to me is Fxxking Dumb Asses. Im sure Emily Deans is good and I will check her out. Just hope to God that she isn't doling out the neuro-toxic meds. and has read Anatomy of An Epidemic since psychiatry is actually entirely LESS effective now than every before. Also calling someone a "snake oil shyster" doesn't require further clarification that it is your opinion, that is quite evident. Perhaps you have some actual real and valid concerns about Mercola other than name calling. Btw, Snake oil is very high in Omega 3s (according to Daniel Amen, MD)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Dr. Emily Deans is a Harvard educated MD and psychiatrist. She has a blog - Evolutionary Psychiatry that is very well respected in paleo circles. She presented at AHS11 and will present again at AHS12. Mercola has had cease and desist orders from the FDA. He is a snake oil shyster in my opinion (and the opinion of many others).

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 27, 2012
at 12:40 AM

I've learned a thing or two or 12 from Mercola and for "the masses" who will never read any of those others... he is good. that said, we should all double and triple check everything when it comes to our own health! Who is Emily Deans? I am very wary of any MD who makes a career out of calling colleagues "Quacks and Frauds"...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 26, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Dr. Emily Deans considers Dr. Mercola to be a quack and a fraud. http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2012/01/glorious-cause.html Like Jack Kruse and Ray Peat, he is just not careful enough to be trustworthy. Listen to him at your own risk and double check everything. That said, I've learned a thing or two from Kruse and Peat. But I never take anything on faith from them. Whereas I would tend to believe Sisson/Harris/Deans/Jaminet/Wolf with only minimal checking. Because they are careful about what they say - it's clearly important to them to be as correct as they can.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 26, 2012
at 05:24 PM

I find his information to be GOOD and helpful and reliable, more often than not. Still, I don't buy his supplements and the potential for a conflict of interest is huge. I think he grossly exaggerates the danger of using a small amount of Nutrasweet for instance. On the other hand we can thank Dr. Mercola for "outing" Agave!

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 24, 2012
at 02:29 AM

I have to agree. I have not found his information to be good most of the time.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 23, 2012
at 11:06 PM

Roth: I'm aware, I wasn't suggesting it was. I was trying to point out the dichotomous way Mercola paints stearic acid as bad in one post and good in another.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 23, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Ben: Potentially. Digestion might facilitate its disassociation into magnesium and stearic acid, in which case no it wouldn't make a difference. Even if this doesn't happen, my guess is that mag stearate isn't problematic, but I'm curious to see more evidence before I say for sure.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 23, 2012
at 10:28 PM

Cholesterol =/= immunity btw. Not saying magnesium stearate is bad.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 23, 2012
at 10:13 PM

"Magnesium stearate is formed by adding a magnesium ion to stearic acid." Does that make a difference (between stearic acid and magnesium stearate)? I'm an absolute chemistry dummy, I know :)

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 23, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Don you might notice how many others who seem to be respected on this site, also sell products. Food is most definitely preferable but we live in a toxic world and (I believe) need good food and some supplements.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 23, 2012
at 08:38 PM

pretty sure there is a difference between naturally occurring stearic acid and the crap Vitacost and Swansons is using to bind their supplements. Interesting that you don't see this rarely used by companies like Designs for Health and Pure encapsulation, Innate Response, etc etc.... I believe Mercola on this issue and so do my PhD nutritionist.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 23, 2012
at 05:25 PM

He links to this research to support his claims that stearic acid suppress T-cells: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1384169/?tool=pubmed

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:27 PM

He makes a lot of money differentiating his vitamins from competitors. No one doing that can be considered trustworthy.

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6 Answers

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10
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 23, 2012
at 06:38 PM

So in that article he writes:

"Previous research has shown that stearic acid suppresses T cells???your natural killer cells???which are a key component of your immune systemi. According to that study, stearic acid causes the collapse of cell membrane integrity???an effect that was found to be time and dose dependent???which, ultimately, can destroy cell function"

Yet in this article he writes:

"If saturated fats were of no value or were harmful to humans, evolution would probably not have established within the mammary gland the means to produce saturated fats -- butyric, caproic, caprylic, capric, lauric, myristic, palmitic and stearic acids -- that provide a source of nourishment to ensure the growth, development and survival of mammalian offspring".

Oh goodness, which Mercola do I listen to? The one that says stearic acid is immunosuppresive? Or the one that says stearic acid is "Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels". The one that says stearic acid might "destroy cell function" or the one that says stearic acid has "beneficial effects on thrombogenic and atherogenic risk factors".

Make up your mind, Mercola! I'm so confused!

Seriously though, stearic acid is fine IMO. It's one the most common saturated fats, found in animal fat and (as stearic acid loving Mercola points out) breast milk. There are a number of studies demonstrating it has benefits. And the study stearic acid hating Mercola cites for showing the immunosupressive activity of stearic acid is in vitro. Sorry, but in vitro studies are prone to flaws and not especially convincing.

I'm gonna say the concerns of Mercola #1 do not currently have much merit.

1e443a3241f80129faa05125ce346e47

(734)

on June 23, 2012
at 10:13 PM

"Magnesium stearate is formed by adding a magnesium ion to stearic acid." Does that make a difference (between stearic acid and magnesium stearate)? I'm an absolute chemistry dummy, I know :)

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 23, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Ben: Potentially. Digestion might facilitate its disassociation into magnesium and stearic acid, in which case no it wouldn't make a difference. Even if this doesn't happen, my guess is that mag stearate isn't problematic, but I'm curious to see more evidence before I say for sure.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 23, 2012
at 11:06 PM

Roth: I'm aware, I wasn't suggesting it was. I was trying to point out the dichotomous way Mercola paints stearic acid as bad in one post and good in another.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 23, 2012
at 10:28 PM

Cholesterol =/= immunity btw. Not saying magnesium stearate is bad.

5
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:13 PM

Dr. Mercola is simply not a trustworthy source of information. Whether or not he is correct on any one thing, well even a blind archer will hit the target once in a while. I wouldn't watse my time on anything he has to say.

That said, chemical vitamins and minerals are not food. The biggest takeaway from Dr.Wahl's experience (for me) is that it is far better to get your nutrition from food than pills.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 23, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Don you might notice how many others who seem to be respected on this site, also sell products. Food is most definitely preferable but we live in a toxic world and (I believe) need good food and some supplements.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on June 24, 2012
at 02:29 AM

I have to agree. I have not found his information to be good most of the time.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:27 PM

He makes a lot of money differentiating his vitamins from competitors. No one doing that can be considered trustworthy.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 26, 2012
at 05:24 PM

I find his information to be GOOD and helpful and reliable, more often than not. Still, I don't buy his supplements and the potential for a conflict of interest is huge. I think he grossly exaggerates the danger of using a small amount of Nutrasweet for instance. On the other hand we can thank Dr. Mercola for "outing" Agave!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 26, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Dr. Emily Deans considers Dr. Mercola to be a quack and a fraud. http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2012/01/glorious-cause.html Like Jack Kruse and Ray Peat, he is just not careful enough to be trustworthy. Listen to him at your own risk and double check everything. That said, I've learned a thing or two from Kruse and Peat. But I never take anything on faith from them. Whereas I would tend to believe Sisson/Harris/Deans/Jaminet/Wolf with only minimal checking. Because they are careful about what they say - it's clearly important to them to be as correct as they can.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 28, 2012
at 01:47 AM

A cease and desist from the FDA. Wow. BFD! FDA to me is Fxxking Dumb Asses. Im sure Emily Deans is good and I will check her out. Just hope to God that she isn't doling out the neuro-toxic meds. and has read Anatomy of An Epidemic since psychiatry is actually entirely LESS effective now than every before. Also calling someone a "snake oil shyster" doesn't require further clarification that it is your opinion, that is quite evident. Perhaps you have some actual real and valid concerns about Mercola other than name calling. Btw, Snake oil is very high in Omega 3s (according to Daniel Amen, MD)

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 27, 2012
at 12:40 AM

I've learned a thing or two or 12 from Mercola and for "the masses" who will never read any of those others... he is good. that said, we should all double and triple check everything when it comes to our own health! Who is Emily Deans? I am very wary of any MD who makes a career out of calling colleagues "Quacks and Frauds"...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Dr. Emily Deans is a Harvard educated MD and psychiatrist. She has a blog - Evolutionary Psychiatry that is very well respected in paleo circles. She presented at AHS11 and will present again at AHS12. Mercola has had cease and desist orders from the FDA. He is a snake oil shyster in my opinion (and the opinion of many others).

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on February 25, 2013
at 04:11 PM

That post by Emily Deans was really irritating. Half of it was her 'bragging' about being a doctor--a Havard-trained one at that! I'd be rather wary of any of her other claims, as she seems rather mired in social status.

2
7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:57 PM

What immediately grabbed my attention was the hysteria about stearic acid in light of his general recommendations against vegan diets. The ideal Mercola diet, with raw dairy and pastured animal proteins, is going to contain far more stearic acid than a few supplements that contain magnesium stearate.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 23, 2012
at 08:38 PM

pretty sure there is a difference between naturally occurring stearic acid and the crap Vitacost and Swansons is using to bind their supplements. Interesting that you don't see this rarely used by companies like Designs for Health and Pure encapsulation, Innate Response, etc etc.... I believe Mercola on this issue and so do my PhD nutritionist.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 25, 2013
at 02:21 PM

@Crowlover, steric acid is steric acid. The steric acid in the triglycerides we consume may become mag sterate in our guts, or sodium sterate, or calcium sterate... in the small intestine, it likely exists in the salt form.

0
9e5b4c8fe7abdedd3aa116aaf43c86c9

on April 30, 2013
at 02:11 PM

innate response is using something called "vegetable lubricant". hmmm. i have seen other companies specify vegetable stearic acid. could it be that innate response is hiding stearic acid behind "vegetable lubricant"? kinda like finding "corn sweetner" on the label. is it corn syrup or hfcs? most likely the latter. just sayin.....

9e5b4c8fe7abdedd3aa116aaf43c86c9

(0)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:19 PM

here is a link from 2009: http://paradiseherbs.com/article/2009/oct/16/why-we-are-filler-free/

0
2a456fcc9f9216745627615b82f035a4

on March 28, 2013
at 05:19 PM

The fact is that the magnesium stearate in your supplements is there for nutritional reasons but the keep the raw materials from clogging up the machinery that encapsulates or makes tablets. It is not included to give you magnesium or stearic acid, but rather to save the manufacturer the expense of stopping the machinery when it gets clogged up. In otherwords just to save money for the company.

I would like to see proof that this ingredient is actually safe. I have not seen any evidence that it has passed any safety tests with the FDA, just a lot of speculation.

2a456fcc9f9216745627615b82f035a4

on March 28, 2013
at 05:23 PM

meant to say that "the magnesium stearate in your supplements is NOT there for nutritional reasons"

-1
36390b8442ee9484d2da0429a5f79f8f

(-2)

on February 25, 2013
at 01:56 PM

A quick read of a few sources has convinced me to avoid magnesium stearate as much as possible, mostly not because of possible immune suppression.

Cheaper supplements use magnesium stearate during processing to prevent sticking in the encapsulation machines.

Magnesium stearate is sourced from bovine or vegetable sources. When extracted from palm or cottonseed oil (very high pesticide residues), the oil is first hydrogenated. Hydrogenated fats are not good.

A study showed depressed natural-killer cell function in rats fed a high-stearic acid diet. At what totally unnatural ratio?

Supplements contain a very low amount of stearic acid and would be impossible to accumulate in the body. Stearic acid is naturally in large amounts in the human body.

Supplements contain a range of 0.25%-2% or even 5%. High amounts of magnesium stearate may compete for absorption with the active ingredient within the supplement. It forms a film barrier in the intestinal wall, coats the active ingredient requiring digestive enzymes to break the magnesium stearate down.

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