Magnesium stearate is an artificial compound that is generated by adding an ion of the element magnesium to stearic acid, an acid that comes from vegetables or animal fats. It is not believed to have any nutritional value for those who consume it.
Despite this, it is becoming a more and more common ingredient in a wide variety of health and nutritional supplements. Magnesium stearate is used as part of the capsule containing the active ingredients in many supplements.
Although this chemical has no value for the human body, it can make the manufacturing process much faster and more efficient. Magnesium stearate is called a “flow agent” because it keeps the active ingredients in a supplement from becoming stuck to industrial equipment. Such “stickiness” can lead to expensive accidents or cross-contamination.
Do We Need Magnesium Stearate?
Magnesium stearate is not a necessary part of the development of any supplement, although it does make many supplements more profitable. As time has gone on, more and more experts have explored the possible effects of magnesium stearate.
Although magnesium stearate does not occur naturally, its components do occur in food. Magnesium is an important trace element that supports health. Likewise, even stearic acid, which is not necessary for the body, is found in many different foods.
While some people have raised alarms about magnesium stearate, it continues to be used in a very wide range of supplements and medicines. Considering its main ingredients are consumed regularly by most people, it will likely continue to be available on the market.
Some vegetarians and vegans have chosen not to use products that contain magnesium stearate. If you are concerned about your consumption of magnesium stearate, be sure that you partner with a physician in selecting any supplements you use, and source products that use non-synthetic binding ingredients and flow agents.