The Importance of Knowing What’s Inside Your Supplements
Supplements are a great way to ensure you’re getting enough essential nutrients and support to maintain and improve your health. So, what if your supplements contain ingredients that are harmful to your health? The truth is that not all supplements are created equal.
When it comes to choosing supplements, it’s important to pay attention to more than just the active ingredients. Knowing what’s inside your supplements allows you to make informed decisions about which products are best suited for your health goals.
Additives or non-medicinal ingredients are included in supplements for a variety of reasons, such as improving stability, enhancing taste and appearance, or extending shelf life. However, not all additives are safe or necessary. When looking for a clean supplement it’s important to consider which additives a company has chosen to use.
Let’s explore some of the ingredients that you may want to be aware of when choosing a supplement. While this list does not cover all possible additives, it does include the most common ones that should be on your radar.
1. Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide is primarily used as a white pigment and colour enhancer to improve the appearance of products such as supplements, sunscreens, cosmetics, and paint.
A review of current evidence has raised concerns about the safety of titanium dioxide leading it to be classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Class 2B carcinogen (i.e., "possibly carcinogenic to humans"). It has also been removed from Europe’s list of safe ingredients and deemed “unsafe” by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
2. Magnesium Stearate
This is one of the most common additives used in the manufacture of supplements. It is a lubricant or flow agent used to speed up the manufacturing process by preventing ingredients from sticking to each other and the machinery involved.
The safe use of magnesium stearate is a topic of great debate in the supplement world. Research has raised uncertainties, suggesting magnesium stearate may reduce the overall bioavailability of nutrients. Although the research remains inconclusive, Pure Encapsulations prefers to be cautious when safety is in question and chooses to leave it out.
3. Coatings & Shellac
Coatings and shellac are used to improve the appearance of tablets, mask bitter-tasting ingredients, extend shelf life, and modify the absorption of ingredients.
Coatings can include any number of different compounds including polyethylene glycol (PEG) which is often contaminated with known carcinogens such as ethylene oxide and 1,4, dioxane.
Shellac is a resin derived from the secretions of lac insects and found in supplements, mascara, lipstick, tattoo ink, and other products. Apart from the “ick-factor” surrounding this, not enough is known about its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Avoiding shellac in production provides more options for pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or vegan consumers.
4. Artificial Colours, Flavours & Sweeteners
Their use is simple, to alter products in a way that is more appealing to consumer tastes. Artificial versions are less expensive for the manufacturer, but your health may pay the price instead. Many artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have been linked to insulin resistance and high blood sugar. Others such as saccharin have been shown to cause cancer in animal studies and lack strong supporting evidence for safety in humans.
Artificial colours and dyes pose possible health concerns and are not necessary for inclusion in your supplements. As for flavouring, well, we prefer to keep it natural.
5. Hydrogenated Oils & Trans-Fats
Hydrogenated oils and trans-fats may be used as fillers or to extend the shelf life of products. Well-accepted as being harmful to our health, they are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and inflammation. The use of trans-fats has been deemed unsafe for many years, but some products still contain small amounts. So, it’s something to watch for.
Taking the time to understand what’s in your supplements is essential for making informed choices about what you put into your body. This information is also a great indicator of the quality, efficacy, and safety of your supplements.
Pure Encapsulations is a manufacturer of hypoallergenic supplements. This means supplements that avoid common allergens (such as gluten, tree nuts, and peanuts), GMOs, unnecessary binders or fillers, as well as other substances commonly avoided by sensitive consumers, such as coatings, shellacs, artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, and artificial colours. Our products are also screened for environmental contaminants.
At Pure Encapsulations, we believe that what’s NOT in your supplements can be just as important as what is.