Do Your Supplements Contain Toxins and Junk?

You walk into the local grocery store or drugstore and see shelf after shelf filled with what looks like high quality, reputable supplements; vitamins, minerals, and the like line the shelves promising to bring you optimal health and vitality if you take them. But you know better, somewhere along the way you’ve heard that you shouldn’t just pick up the first supplement you see, especially at the grocery store so you move on. (And with the Food and Drug Administrations report of 29,000 different supplements on the market today, you really need to know what you’re looking for and what to avoid.)

The Search for High Quality Supplements Goes On

Next you hit your local health food store. Surely this place will have high quality, health promoting supplements that will propel your health to the next level of good. Sure they may cost a little more but you know taking a high quality supplement is well worth it. However, as you pick up the store’s own signature brand you hesitate and read the label. Now in the back of you head you’re thinking really it’s a waste of time that this supplement must be one of the best, after all it’s a local health food store and they’ve put their name on these supplements. But what you see may just surprise you.

When it comes to supplements many of them are filled with all the wrong ingredients. That is, not only do they have unwanted additives, preservatives, fillers, and even food dyes, the source of the supplement they provide is less than optimal. So read those labels.

What to Avoid in Your Supplements

Now here’s the problem I find with most supplements; many are synthetic or synthetic isolates. That means the vitamin or mineral is only partial and is combined with a chemical. There are two problems here:

2 Problems with Mainstream Supplements

  1. You’re only getting ‘part’ of the vitamin or mineral when your body needs the whole thing.
  2. You’re adding chemicals into your system. This is something you want to avoid doing in all aspects of your life especially with what you eat or ingest.

When you take a supplement it’s already a second choice to getting this nutrient straight from the source via the food. However, if you choose a low quality supplement you’re taking another step further away from the original, most nutritious source. Really these types of supplements are a sad alternative to the real deal – the food source.

I took a trip to my local health food store, picked up their top selling supplements and here are some of the ingredients I found that you want to avoid.

#1 Common Supplement Ingredient to Avoid

Magnesium stearate (reportedly in 95% of all supplements)

Now you may or may not about this ingredient but I’ve written extensively on it and its role in supplements. (insert link to articles) In brief, magnesium stearate is used in many industries including the supplement industry. In this industry it is used as a lubricant to prevent the particles of the nutrients from slowing the equipment thereby allowing them to operate at maximum speeds.

Magnesium stearate contains many toxins as it is made from hydrogenating cottonseed oil. This type of oil has been found to have the highest concentrations of toxins or pesticide residues as the cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops today.

To make matters worse, these hydrogenated oils themselves are dangerous as they have been molecularly altered. There are still no clear implications of long term consumption of these types of oils. In addition, the process of hydrogenation involves a metal catalyst. The impact of using this metal catalyst on the body is still unknown.

According to an article in 1990 in Immunology, magnesium stearates impede the function of the vital T cells. As you probably know, T cells are a vital and integral part of the immune system.

In fact, magnesium stearates are classified as a ‘hazardous material.’ Its described uses include:

  • Ammunition
  • Paint drier
  • Varnish drier
  • Binder
  • Emulsifier
  • Dusting powder

Even without mounds of scientific data, common sense says this is not something you want to be ingesting on a daily basis. What’s more is that these synthetic supplements are hard for the body to digest and absorb so in the end you get very little of the benefits. In other words, you’re wasting your money at best and may be harming your own life at the worst.

Let’s talk about high quality supplements you want to take, not avoid.

What to Look for in Your Supplements

I highly recommend taking whole food supplements. One of the best ways to be certain that you’re taking high quality supplements is to find a reputable supplier and stick with them.

Before you swallow those synthetic supplements think twice and ask yourself if you’re helping or hurting your body.

Sources: onibasu.com, mercola.com, gardenoflife.com

Josh Axe

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

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23 comments so far - add yours!

  1. Shawn says:

    How can you promote Garden of Life vitamins when they contain Vanadium and Molybdenum. these chemicals are toxic.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molybdenum
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanadium

    If magnesium stearates are a hazard then you should also warn your readers about the two chemicals I have listed above.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Jordan’s Garden of Life has great products. There are a few other whole food vitamins like Synergy, Grown By Nature to name a couple. Just google them before there aren’t any supplements anymore.

  3. Gary Wood says:

    Jordan Rubin’s Garden of Life Perfect Food Berry contains magnesium stearate. It is listed right on the label under “other ingredients. That is one you have recommended, yes?

  4. Sara says:

    I love GOL, but many of their supplements contain mag sterate :(

    Premier Research Labs do not use any fillers or toxins and come from live sources.

  5. Brenda Miele says:

    I looked at all the supplements that I take and all but one contain the magnesium stearates. Can you return vitamins back to the store where they were purchased them?
    After reading your research I will not take the supplements with the magnesium sterarates.
    Other than Garden of Life who do we trust in this market?

    • Cortney says:

      I use New Chapter Organics. I have not found them to use anything like mag ster. and they use a whole food, culturing process. They have worked the best for me but you might want to check the lables to be sure. I don’t use all of their supplements so I don’t know for sure about all of them. Hope this helps.

  6. Ann says:

    Is the Magnesium Sterate in the Garden Of Life products not as toxic or should they be avoided also?

  7. Lori says:

    In the article you state, “here are SOME of the ingredients I found that you want to avoid,” yet you only mention one…magnesium stearate. Then you go on to say, “Let’s talk about high quality supplements you want to take, not avoid.” This article is not really helpful…it just sounds like another commercial for Garden of Life. I’m sure there are other companies worthy of mention…it would be nice to see some of them!

  8. Timi says:

    A little confused? I just checked my Garden of Life supplement. Magnesium stearate is listed as an ingredient. Your article says to avoid this, and recommends Garden of Life. Why is it in there?

  9. Robert says:

    When I first saw your mention of Magnesium stearate I was shocked that you’d find that in a vitamin or supplement or for that matter anything that’s taken internally. Magnesium stearate is a chemical compound that took the place of fulminate of mercury in ammunition primers decades ago in order to have a primer that was not corrosive! So the next time that you look at anything with this stuff in it think of the primer that is used to ignite the powder in a round of ammunition and then picture yourself eating this stuff.

    With all of the regulations that the feds want to place upon supplements and vitamins why don’t they start there by eliminating a key compound in non-corrosive ammunition from what we take internally?!

  10. Mike says:

    I can never get Mr AXE to respond to any comments of mine, however, I value what he does. I think YOU MUST GET YOUR OWN EDUCATION, and make your own decision and not wait on a perfect solution. I believe that without a doubt that REAL FOOD is best and then supplement with what you think you need based on your research and how you feel, and, maybe some lab results often to see what your body shows a lack of or too much of.
    Supplements are what they are, supplemental.
    I say get a good Variety of quality real food,spices,and some herbs and keep educated about what to avoid and what you need personally to your specific health needs and keep up with the latest research and let your coomon sense prevail on the research if there is plenty of evidence that points to why you should take this thing vs. that thing.

    • Dr. Axe says:

      To comment again:

      EAT REAL FOOD 1st. Supplements are for supplementing a healthy diet. Also:

      Garden of Life does not use magensium stearate as an ingredient in their supplement. They use vegetable stearate as a Lubricant on the
      machines they make the products on. It’s like a product putting on their label: is manufactured in the lab as peanuts.

      So really it’s just something they still had to put on the label because it is still used in the same facility.

      I am actually at a seminar right now with Jordan and we are about to do lunch at Whole Foods here. Just so everyone knows
      I am not crazy enough to write an article discrediting the very brand I sell on my website and the very brand I take myself.

      I should have made everyone aware that the magnesium stearate was used on the machines and not IN the supplements.

      Sorry for all the confusion this has caused and thanks for all the feedback!

      Blessings,

      Dr. Axe

  11. Tim says:

    I really hope he responds to these facts. I have looked at this site as quite reputable until now, and I just hope this is not turning into another Mercola.com, plugging a product solution for each “problem” highlighted. You are about to lose a subscriber….

  12. Cortney says:

    I just looked through several GOL items and not all of them have the mag sterate. so you may just need to look at each item before you buy.

  13. Melisa says:

    I do take Garden of Life products and do avoid magnesium sterate….the magnesium sterate in the ones I have used is Magnesium Sterate (vegetable source)….is that the same as regular magnesium sterate or is that considered safe? Although I believe I have looked at some of their labels and noticed that Garden of Life does use regular Magnesium Sterate too. Not sure why?

  14. Kelley says:

    Well thank you Dr. Axe for showing me why NOT to buy garden of life since most of their products contain mag. Stearate. Why would you recommend a company that uses the ingredient that you are condemning? Please explain!

    • Dr. Axe says:

      Hi Kelley,

      Garden of Life does not use magensium stearate as an ingredient in their supplement. They use vegetable stearate as a Lubricant on the
      machines they make the products on. It’s like a product putting on their label: is manufactured in the lab as peanuts.

      So really it’s just something they still had to put on the label because it is still used in the same facility.

      I am actually at a seminar right now with Jordan and we are about to do lunch at Whole Foods here. Just so everyone knows
      I am not crazy enough to write an article discrediting the very brand I sell on my website and the very brand I take myself.

      I should have made everyone aware that the magnesium stearate was used on the machines and not IN the supplements.

      Sorry for all the confusion this has caused and thanks for all the feedback!

      Blessings,

      Dr. Axe

  15. CHRIS CHANEY says:

    Dr. Axe, I was eager to check my vitamins to see if they had any magnesium stearates and I am happy to report that my vitamins do not have any. I love them and how much real energy they give me so I keep looking for “what is wrong with them” but to date they are still working amazingly. Have you had a chance to review their contents? they are vitality for life from Melaleuca Inc.. Thanks and keep up all the great content. Must be a lot of work but it is definitely appreciated.

  16. Tracie says:

    I have heard that Usana products are very good. I was wondering what you know about them. I’m not sure if they’re natural, I’m assuming they are synthetic, but I don’t know. Could you share what you know about them? Thanks for all your help!

  17. Dayle A. Gale says:

    Hi,

    I just bought the Garden of Life “Perfect Fruit Berry” and noticed it contains Magnesium stearate, what’s up with that?? I thought I was ordering stuff you said was ok!!! I am a bit confussed, help me understand……..

  18. Simon says:

    Hello doctor. I have a question concerning your probiotic. Here in this article tou are talking about how things such as magnesium stearate are often found in supplements and its not very good. After reading this i went to your on line store to check out your probiotic and i saw that it has vegetable stearate. Does this mean that vegetable stearate is ok? Can you please tell me the difference between the two?(magnesium stearate and vegetable stearate) Thank You so much!

    • Dr. Josh Axe says:

      Yes, vegetable stearate is ok. It is a natural vegetable alternative to magnesium stearate. It is what you will find in most high quality, natural brand-name products.

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