Stearic acid / magnesium stearate in vitamins? Is it safe to consume?

In summary, the conversation discusses whether stearic acid is harmful to the human body. One source claims it is toxic and should not be ingested, while the other person argues that everything can be toxic in large enough doses and that our bodies are equipped to handle stearic acid. It is also mentioned that vitamin A, an essential nutrient, can also be toxic in high doses. The conversation concludes that while stearic acid may not be essential, it is unlikely that the small amounts found in vitamins would be harmful.
  • #1
Neopets
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Does stearic acid do bad things for the human body? Apparently stearic acid is in most vitamins if you take vitamins, it says it in the ingredient list, most people until now it seems did not even know that it is bad for you, but no other article anywhere else on the web says this except for one article, so what do you think? Or are there other sources stating that this substance is bad for you?

It says in this article that it does several bad things. Can anyone else find any others, or any actual claims with data supporting any of this:
http://www.hoodiaprime.com/stearic_acid.php
It makes about 20 different claims in the article such as:
The Damage Stearic Acid Does to Your Body
-"You should never, ever use any product that has stearic acid or magnesium stearate in it. If you do, you’re risking your health for no reason. You’re playing right into the hands of the greedy supplement companies who think they can mistreat their customers and load you full of toxins. You’re spending money on a product that will quite possibly make you sick."
-"These supplement manufacturers may say that you are getting a safe amount, and if you were only to take one pill a week they might be right, but no one takes only one pill a week. Just think about it. Most capsules/pills have as much as 50 mg of Magnesium Stearate and/or Stearic Acid in them. If you take 6 of these capsules each day, a number well below what some people ingest, you are getting 180 capsules each month, more than 9000 mg a month."
-"If you ask most manufacturers, they will probably tell you that small amounts of this substance are supposed to be harmless, but why would you want to ingest anything that is toxic, no matter how small the dosages? The only reason these substances exist is to make the machinery move faster so these companies can make more money."
 
Chemistry news on Phys.org
  • #2
I will take issue with one of the claims from the article you cite:
-"If you ask most manufacturers, they will probably tell you that small amounts of this substance are supposed to be harmless, but why would you want to ingest anything that is toxic, no matter how small the dosages? The only reason these substances exist is to make the machinery move faster so these companies can make more money."

Everything is toxic in large enough doses, even water. Many other components in vitamin pills are necessary for life at low doses but are toxic at high enough doses. For example, vitamin A is an important nutrient that helps maintain healthy skin and bone, and is essential for vision. However, consuming too much vitamin A can result in a condition called hypervitaminosis A (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A_poisoning) and cause a number of problems including birth defects, liver problems, and osteoporosis. To paraphrase Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, the dose makes the poison.

Although not an essential nutrient, stearic acid is a naturally-occurring fatty acid found in any animal fats we ingest. Our bodies are equiped to deal with stearic acid and metabolize it to produce energy or build important biomolecules. While I have not reviewed the literature on its toxicity, I find it doubtful that vitamins would contain enough of it to induce toxicity.
 
  • #3
Ygggdrasil said:
I will take issue with one of the claims from the article you cite:

Everything is toxic in large enough doses, even water. Many other components in vitamin pills are necessary for life at low doses but are toxic at high enough doses. For example, vitamin A is an important nutrient that helps maintain healthy skin and bone, and is essential for vision. However, consuming too much vitamin A can result in a condition called hypervitaminosis A (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A_poisoning) and cause a number of problems including birth defects, liver problems, and osteoporosis. To paraphrase Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, the dose makes the poison.

Although not an essential nutrient, stearic acid is a naturally-occurring fatty acid found in any animal fats we ingest. Our bodies are equiped to deal with stearic acid and metabolize it to produce energy or build important biomolecules. While I have not reviewed the literature on its toxicity, I find it doubtful that vitamins would contain enough of it to induce toxicity.
That's helpful. Your insight is much appreciated :)
 

Related to Stearic acid / magnesium stearate in vitamins? Is it safe to consume?

What is stearic acid / magnesium stearate?

Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid that is commonly found in animal and vegetable fats. It is often used as a lubricant and emulsifier in dietary supplements and medications. Magnesium stearate is a magnesium salt of stearic acid and is also commonly used as a lubricant and flow agent in supplements and medications.

Why are stearic acid / magnesium stearate used in vitamins?

Stearic acid and magnesium stearate are used in vitamins to help with the manufacturing process. They act as lubricants and flow agents, preventing ingredients from sticking to the machinery during production. This helps to ensure consistent and accurate dosages in each vitamin.

Are stearic acid / magnesium stearate safe to consume?

Yes, both stearic acid and magnesium stearate are considered safe for consumption by regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are commonly used in a variety of foods, supplements, and medications and have been found to have no significant negative effects on human health when consumed in small amounts.

Do stearic acid / magnesium stearate have any potential side effects?

While stearic acid and magnesium stearate are generally considered safe, some individuals may experience minor side effects such as stomach discomfort or allergies. It is important to note that the amounts of these substances used in vitamins are very small and have not been shown to cause any significant adverse effects.

Are there any alternatives to using stearic acid / magnesium stearate in vitamins?

Yes, there are alternative ingredients that can be used as lubricants and flow agents in vitamin production. Some common alternatives include vegetable stearate, calcium stearate, and silica. However, these alternatives may also have their own potential side effects, and it is ultimately up to the manufacturer to determine which ingredient is best for their product.

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