What are those "Other" Ingredients (Excipients)?
You are a health-conscious person, you eat organic, exercise daily, try to get enough sleep, and you take vitamins and supplements. You read labels because you care about what goes into your body. As you are reading your vitamin and supplement labels, you may see some curious ingredients, such as Magnesium Stearate, Stearic Acid, and Cellulose. You may wonder, “What could these be? These “other ingredients” are also known as excipients. What is an excipient and why are they in my organic vitamin and supplements?
An Excipient is….
Any component other than the active ingredient(s) that is present in a dietary supplement or pharmaceutical medication. These are substances that contribute to functional and structural characteristics to various forms of dietary supplements, without necessarily delivering any significant nutritional benefit. Excipients simply make it easier to maintain the integrity of the supplement during and after production.
Excipients aid in the manufacturing process, assist in product formulation, and serve as carriers, fillers and anti caking agents for the main/active ingredient(s). Excipients may also be used to enhance the finished product’s appearance, stability, and bioavailability. Protecting, supporting, and enhancing stability improves overall safety and function of your supplement.
What are some examples of Excipients and their functions?
- Stearic Acid, Cellulose – Binding agents that help keep tablets together and add volume to capsules.
- Silica – Anticaking agent/Moisture Absorber: Prevents foods/powders from caking or sticking together in clumps, helping them flow smoothly. This may help ensure a product’s shelf life, protect against the effects of moisture.
- Magnesium Stearate – Flow Agent – It helps prevent supplement ingredients from clumping together and sticking during the manufacturing process.
Excipients are commonly used in pre-workouts and many powdered products, as well as most capsule and tablet formulas. Excipients allow for manufacturing equipment to operate smoothly and without jamming. Excipients also help safeguard the integrity of the supplements during and after production. And, in general, excipients do not contribute any significant nutritional benefits.