What You Need to Know About Magnesium Stearate

by Christine Hronec

Magnesium stearate is an artificial compound generated by adding magnesium to stearic acid. Stearic acid is naturally derived from vegetable or animal fat sources and contains no nutritional value to those who consume it. This ingredient has become more and more common in a wide variety of health and nutritional supplements. Magnesium stearate is functionally used in the capsule manufacturing process for proper compaction of active ingredients in many supplements. Although this chemical has no value for the human body, its function is to aid in manufacturing efficiency. This ingredient is commonly referred to as a “flow agent” because it keeps the active ingredients in the supplement from becoming stuck to the encapsulation equipment. The inability to clear the equipment of active ingredients can lead to expensive accidents or cross-contamination.

Magnesium stearate and is not a necessary part of the development of any supplement, although it does make many supplements more profitable. Due to its growing presence in dietary supplements experts have researched the possible effects of this ingredient on the human body. Although magnesium stearate does not occur naturally, its components do occur in food. Magnesium is an important trace element that supports health. Likewise, stearic acid, which is not necessary for the body is found in many different foods. While some has raised concerns regarding this ingredient, it is still being used in a variety of commercial food and medicine product offerings.

If you have any concerns about this ingredient, seek out encapsulated products that were manufactured with non-synthetic binding agents such as hypoallergenic rice flour or natural oils. At the end of the day, this ingredient is considered GRAS by the FDA (generally regarded as safe) and is suitable for human consumption.

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