Mysterious Ingredients Harmful or Safe: Magnesium Stearate, Titanium Dioxide, Polysorbate 80
Polysorbate 80 is used as an emulsifier to improve the consistency of gel capsules and to make pills disperse in the stomach. Studies have found correlations between the consumption of polysorbate 80 and increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and of tumor growth or recurrence in patients with certain types of cancer.
And a recent study has found a strong connection linked to bowel problems. Relatively low concentrations of polysorbate 80 induced low-grade inflammation, obesity, and prompted robust colitis in mice. They suggest that the consistent use of emulsifiers might be contributing to an increased incidence of metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
Titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent in many supplements and topical products. It has been shown to cause lung inflammation and damage. There is also strong evidence that the nanoparticles can damage DNA and compromise the immune system. Those are the risks from just being constantly exposed to it. When you ingest this stuff then we are talking about kidney damage and intestinal inflammation. It can impair enzyme activity and lead to nutrient absorption issues at the very least. Studies have shown that iron, zinc, and fatty acid transport were significantly decreased following exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles.
Then we have the artificial sweeteners conveniently hidden away in most protein powders and many other supplements that come in powder form. As we all have heard from the health community, “sugar is evil” so many products are taking advantage of this craze by promoting zero sugar on everything they can. They also make sure you know that they use “natural sweeteners” like stevia, xylitol, or erythritol. But at the same time many of these products also squeeze in some sucralose or acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) which are artificial sweeteners. Go down the protein powder aisle sometime and you will be amazed at how many products have both of these sweeteners in them.
Sucralose may actually lead to diabetes and insulin resistence. And this has even been studied on humans. All the subjects were deemed insulin sensitive to begin the study and were given either sucralose or water. Oral glucose tolerance tests were given after consumption and found that those consuming the sucralose showed a 23% decrease in insulin sensitivity.
Acesulfame K contains the carcinogen methylene chloride. Long-term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, liver effects, kidney effects, visual disturbances, and cancer in humans. Do I need to say more? The FDA does not require any further testing on this sweetener, therefore leaving it in limbo and available to all manufacturers for further use.
Then we have the artificial colors, things like Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Green 3, etc. Many people seem to be aware that these agents are not optimal for great health. These synthetic dyes are especially harmful to children. They have shown to induce allergic reactions and increase symptoms of ADHD. Many of these contain the compounds benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, in which research has linked to cancer. Always look for the natural food colors that come from beets, carotenes, or annatto.
Next up is talcum powder, often denoted as talc has been associated with cancers of the lungs and ovaries. And mesothelioma (yeah the one from those commercials). Talc contains asbestos but apparently there is also asbestos-free talc. I don’t know about you but I would rather just avoid it all together than take a risk here when there are plenty of other options out there without talc.
And the final ingredient I want to talk about in this video is the highly polarizing magnesium stearate. This is actually an extremely good flow agent in the manufacturing of supplements. I know because I worked with it while manufacturing supplements. Very little is needed in the process compared to many other agents. The rap sheet on this compound is that it can cause digestive problems, suppress T-cells, and contain formaldehyde.
The digestive tract issues aren’t a factor unless massive consumption of the mag stearate is occuring. It’s very unlikely you’d ever meet the consumption requirements for this. The suppressed T-cell study has later been shown to be quite flawed in many aspects. No better study has ever been able to prove this theory. And the formaldehyde thing is a bit overblown as mag stearate produces far less formaldehyde than many regular fruits and vegetables do.
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