Doctors stress the importance of getting an adequate amount of vitamins, even if reaching your daily recommended dosage means taking a vitamin supplement. Supplements do serve a purpose, but you have to find a supplement that doesn’t consist of a lot of fillers and binders. This can be hard to do since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain additives, so these ingredients don’t always appear on the bottle.
A supplement manufacturer adds fillers to vitamins for one of three reasons. For instance, the filler could make the production process faster and easier, ultimately saving the producer money. By adding colors, the drug becomes more appealing, so people are more likely to take it. A filler added to a supplement as a coating will make the pill easier to swallow.
Below is a list of the most common fillers and binders supplement and vitamin manufacturers include in their products.
The organic compound, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), is a fat-soluble solution derived from phenol. Commonly, BHT appears in products to prevent oxidation. This compound is used in rubber, embalming fluid and petroleum products. Additionally, it’s used in jet fuels. Research has indicated a link between bladder, gastric and lung cancer with ingesting BHT. Additionally, it has the potential to damage DNA.
Boric acid works as an antiseptic and insecticide. It coats many flame retardant products. When used orally, it has the potential to cause DNA damage. Unfortunately for supplement users, it’s also found in supplements as a filler.
As an ingredient in some supplements on the market, sodium benzoate preserves a product. This synthesize chemical has been known to damage mitochondrial DNA, the cell’s powerhouse. When you take your pills in the morning, you may be swallowing an ingredient found in pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.
Hydrogenated palm oil undergoes a process where hydrogen gas is added to liquid oils. During the process used to add hydrogen to an oil, trans fats may develop, which could clog your arteries and put you at risk of heart problems or a stroke. Hydrogenated oils may affect the nervous system and hinder the absorption of fatty acids. It might even affect how the body regulates blood sugar. You can find hydrogenated oil as a filler in soft gel supplements.
Potassium chloride improves fermentation, but if given in a large amount, it could cause weakness and gastrointestinal irritation. Circulatory collapse is possible from potassium chloride. Potassium chloride is given as a supplement itself but is also a filler. It’s colorless and odorless and could cause ulcers in the small intestines.
Research has linked artificial colors to hyperactivity in children. Sometimes, the color is derived from toxic coal tar and is used in products like exterior paint, roofing and outdoor sealants.
Some vitamins consist of lactose, which is the sugar found in milk. While this ingredient doesn’t seem dangerous, for those who are lactose intolerant, it could cause symptoms such as diarrhea.
Another dangerous filler is magnesium stearate, a lubricant used to prevent the vitamins from sticking to one another. Studies have linked magnesium stearate to a suppressed immune system and a biofilm forming in the body. The biofilm prevents the body from being able to absorb the nutrients. You can test your pills for stearates by opening up a capsule and seeing if its contents dissolves in water. If the pill floats to the top of a glass of water, it consists of stearates.
Titanium oxide occurs naturally, but this metal gives vitamins pigment. The metal has the potential to cause immune function problems within the body. Stearates reduce the vitamin’s solubility, which means your body doesn’t get as much of the vitamin as you could. A separate has the potential to reduce the potency of a vitamin by up to 80 percent.
Purchasing Safe Vitamin Supplements
Because you can’t just read a food label to tell what’s in your supplement since the label might not include every ingredient, you have to be leery about how you choose the vitamin or mineral you take.
Remember, you get what you pay for, so don’t bargain shop when you’re selecting your supplements. Companies who produce products cheaper use fillers to produce the product cheaply and quickly.
When possible opt for organic vitamins and supplements. These products aren’t allowed to use fillers that are derived via artificial means. They use ingredients that are created from the environment, and they’re better tolerated by the human body and aren’t associated with harmful side effects. Not to mention, the concentration of organic vitamins tend to be higher when they’re processed by the body.
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