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

  1. Jul 10, 2011 #1
    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."
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2011 #2

    Ygggdrasil

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    Science Advisor

    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.
     
  4. Jul 15, 2011 #3

    That's helpful. Your insight is much appreciated :)
     
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