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For Immediate Release:

What do you want in your supplements? EXCIPIENTS!

What exactly are excipients – the ‘other ingredients’ – found in dietary supplements?

An excipient is an inactive substance that is added to a tablet, capsule, or liquid in order to make a more effective supplement. Period. 

Only used when needed
Enzymatic Therapy, Inc. minimizes the use of excipients in our products. We only use them when necessary to stabilize or protect ingredients so your body can use them. And that call is made by our experienced Product Development team. They know the characteristics of each raw material and understand how multiple ingredients work together when processed.

Excipients carpool ingredients to work.
They’re in there for a reason; to perform important tasks:
  • They help transport key ingredients to the best absorption sites in the body.
  • They keep ingredients from being released too early.
  • They help the tablet or capsule to disintegrate (break down) into particles that reach blood stream quickly.
  • They protect the product's stability for maximum effectiveness at time of use.

ETI uses excipients from natural sources whenever possible, and always uses the minimum amount necessary to ensure an effective product.

Simply put, without excipients, you’re not getting what you’re paying for!

So, is it even possible to make a supplement without excipients? How will I know when an excipient is necessary or when it is just being used as ‘filler ?’
Great question! While a few products can be manufactured without excipients and still be effective, the only way to know you are getting product that releases its key compounds and remains stable throughout shelf-life is to look for a manufacturer who tests for both of these aspects… An FDA-registered drug facility!

FDA-Registered Drug Facility – quality you can trust.
Only FDA-registered drug facilities, like Enzymatic Therapy, Inc., are required to perform stability and bioavailability testing. These tests ensure the product remains potent throughout the shelf-life, and it releases its key compounds for absorption in the body.

Keep in mind, that though the new dietary supplement GMPs are a step in the right direction, this is an area where they fall short. These tests are NOT required under the new guidelines.

Long story short – unless you’re purchasing from an FDA-registered drug facility, it’s anyone’s guess whether the excipients have any benefit or not.  

Common Excipients & Their Purpose
Carnauba wax A coating ingredient that makes tablets easy to swallow (it becomes slippery in presence of saliva); this improves swallowing safety and helps prevent choking.
Cellulose A common excipient that help break up a tablet or capsule when ingested. In short, it enhances bioavailability. It also helps uniformly disperse key components to ensure every dose provides exact same levels and same effects.
Lecithin Another coating ingredient that makes tablets easy to swallow. Like cellulose, lecithin also helps uniformly disperse key components so that each and every dose provides consistent levels for consistent effects. Additionally, this fatty compound can helps with absorption of certain ingredients.
Magnesium stearate A critical ingredient that helps assure uniformity of dosages by preventing the ingredients from sticking during the manufacturing process. By doing so, it helps assure safety and efficacy of each produce dose.
Silicon dioxide A common excipient used to reduce stickiness of ingredients. It helps products resist atmospheric exposure, protecting stability and potency.
Titanium dioxide A tablet colorant, which protect ingredients from light and moisture

Excipients – Fact vs. Fiction

I heard that stearates, like stearic acid and magnesium stearate, caused cancer. What’s the deal?
Yes, we know. Many web-sites proclaim that magnesium stearate is harmful, but few provide any substantiation to this claim.

One study versus the real world
The concern is due to one cell study using unrealistically high levels of stearates that found administration suppressed T-cell immune responses. However, no connection has ever been documented in humans, where far lower levels are commonly and safely consumed.

Isn’t soy lecithin dangerous? I thought it could trigger allergies.
Not at all. In fact, there is a lot of debate in the medical community as to whether lecithin causes allergic reactions or not.

Not even allergists advise against it
According to the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP), lecithin may contain trace levels of soy proteins. However, it “does not contain sufficient soy protein residues to provoke allergic reactions in the majority of soy-allergic consumers. Many allergists do not even advise their soybean-allergic patients to avoid soy lecithin.”

I thought that magnesium stearate prohibits the break down of tablets and capsules in stomach. Doesn’t that mean supplements containing it won’t work?

As with all oils, magnesium stearate has been shown to slightly reduce the dissolution (break down) rate of some dosage forms. This effect is negligible.

Every product ensured for effectiveness
And Enzymatic Therapy, Inc. formulates every product to meet USP dissolution or disintegration requirements ensuring bioavailablity and effectiveness.

Learn more about these important bioavailability tests in next month’s QA Alert!

I’ve heard that titanium dioxide builds up in the body and can cause cancer.
Titanium is one of the most common trace minerals naturally occurring in the earth’s crust. It is poorly absorbed in plants, animals, and humans.

Do you inhale your vitamins? Probably not.
While some research has found that miners—chronically  exposed to high levels of titanium—had a greater risk of lung cancer, levels used in dietary supplements are very low in comparison and are not inhaled.

Furthermore, absorbing titanium via digestion is very poor versus inhaling it. It is just NOT a valid comparison. Inhaled calcium and iron can also cause disease, yet both are crucial for health with oral use.