Excipients, also known as additives or fillers, are like candy or cigarettes because they are devoid of nourishing value and can even be harmful. Like candy and cigarettes, they allow companies to generate income or, in the case of supplement manufacturers, to save money during the manufacturing process, but they are not healthy for us to consume. Fortunately, most excipients are not required during the manufacturing process; they simply save time and money for the manufacturer. Supplement companies that value quality and excellence over cutting corners make it a priority to minimize the use of excipients, additives, and fillers. Interplexus consciously formulates our wholesome supplements with only minimal, safe, and natural excipients. By contrast, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, and food allergens are some of the unnecessary ingredients that supplement companies may add to their supplements.
Magnesium stearate is primarily used as a lubricant. Lubricants are intended to be pharmacologically inactive substances added to the supplement formulation to decrease friction between a capsule or tablet’s surface and the manufacturing equipment. Lubricants are used to smooth the ejection of the tablet or capsule from the manufacturing equipment and for other purposes.1 Companies add magnesium stearate during the pharmaceutical and supplement manufacturing processes to increase efficiency and decrease the cost of production. Unfortunately, research shows magnesium stearate can interfere with the dissolution and absorption of the nutrients in supplements. The detrimental effects of magnesium stearate on bioavailability are highly evident in studies on nitrofurantoin, which is an antibiotic commonly prescribed for urinary tract infections. The nitrofurantoin tablet dissolution rate significantly decreases when the amount of added magnesium stearate increases. Specifically, when the magnesium stearate level increases from 0.5% to 3.0%, the time it takes for 60% dissolution of the tablet increases from 5 minutes to an astounding 75 minutes.2 To increase the bioavailability and clinical efficacy of our supplements, Interplexus does not use magnesium stearate in the manufacturing process.
Silica, also known as crystalline silica and silicon dioxide, is one of the most common minerals on our planet and is composed of crystalline particles formed by silicon and oxygen.3 Silica is so common it makes up 60% of the Earth’s crust and 93% of known rocks. Silica is also found in the body, plants, and food; and is required for healthy bones, skin, hair, teeth, and nails.4 In the world of pharmaceutical excipients, silicon dioxide is a glidant. Glidants, also known as “flow agents,” are pharmacologically inactive substances used to optimize the flow properties during the manufacturing process by decreasing friction and cohesion. Glidants also correct surface irregularities and reduce the surface charge to improve the flow of powders.1 Silicon dioxide is a very popular excipient that manufacturers add to supplements, but it is important to handle silicon dioxide correctly because it can irritate eyes and skin if they are exposed to it.4 Inhalation of the fine silicon dioxide crystals is toxic to humans. Inhalation can damage the respiratory system and cause a condition known as silicosis, which significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer.3 Epidemiologic studies also show exposure to crystalline silica dust is associated with an increased risk of esophageal, stomach, and skin cancers. The carcinogenicity of inhaled silica was reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which then classified inhaled silica as a Group 1 carcinogen.5
Because crystalline silica increases the risk of developing cancer when inhaled, it is included on the Proposition 65 list curated by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.6,7 While silicon dioxide is non-toxic when consumed, Interplexus avoids silicon dioxide during the manufacturing process because it is on the Proposition 65 list.7
Major Food Allergens
According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, major food allergens include milk, egg, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, and the proteins derived from these foods. These eight major food allergens cause over 90 percent of all documented food allergies in the United States.8
Interplexus chooses to formulate our supplements, whenever possible, without fish, shellfish, wheat, gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans, milk, and eggs. Interplexus products are also free of artificial colors, artificial flavors, corn, and yeast; and are suitable for vegetarians.
Note that soybeans and milk-derived cultures are added during the fermentation of our postbiotic blends off-site, but the finished supplements are free from soy and dairy proteins. Since soybeans and dairy are used during the production process of our postbiotics initially, though, caution is advised for those who could experience adverse reactions to dairy or soybeans when taking postbiotics.
In lieu of magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide, Interplexus chooses to use exceptionally safe food-based excipients including organic rice flour, Nu-FLOW®, and Nu-MAG® in most of our supplement formulations.
Nu-FLOW® is a flow agent that replaces silicon dioxide and other excipients with a natural and certified organic option. Nu-FLOW® is made from rice hulls that are sterilized and ground into a fine powder. Rice naturally takes up silica from the soil and concentrates it in the hull, thereby producing a healthy natural alternative to silicon dioxide and other glidants.9
Nu-MAG® is a “2nd Generation Clean Label Lubricant” that offers supplement manufacturers a certified organic ingredient that provides enhanced lubrication in the production of both organic and natural dietary supplements. Nu-MAG® provides lubrication properties that are similar to magnesium stearate.
Nu-MAG® is a unique blend of four organic ingredients, which include:
- Rice Extract
- Rice Hulls
- Gum Arabic
- Sunflower Oil
Nu-MAG® eliminates synthetic ingredients without compromising the quality or clinical efficacy of supplement formulations.10
To ensure the supplements we formulate are only full of the wholesome good stuff, Interplexus avoids the use of many potentially harmful excipients and common food allergens, including magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, fish, shellfish, wheat, gluten, tree nuts, egg, corn, dairy, soy, yeast, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. Interplexus supplements are also made with non-GMO ingredients and are suitable for vegetarians.
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Team PE. Difference between lubricant and glidant. PharmaEducation. https://pharmaeducation.net/difference-between-lubricant-and-glidant/. Published January 8, 2021. Accessed February 9, 2022.
Wang J, Wen H, Desai D. Lubrication in tablet formulations. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2010; 75(1):1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2010.01.007
Sato T, Shimosato T, Klinman DM. Silicosis and lung cancer: current perspectives. Lung Cancer (Auckl). 2018; 9:91-101. doi:10.2147/LCTT.S156376
Silicon Dioxide. Tablet Presses. https://www.lfatabletpresses.com/silicon-dioxide. Accessed February 2, 2022.
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health: Silica: State of Oregon. https://osha.oregon.gov/pages/topics/silica.aspx. Accessed February 2, 2022.
Silica (crystalline, respirable). Oehha.ca.gov. https://oehha.ca.gov/chemicals/silica-crystalline-respirable. Accessed February 2, 2022.
About Proposition 65. Oehha.ca.gov. https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/about-proposition-65. Accessed February 2, 2022.
Kids with food allergies. FAQ About the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act. https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/label-law-food-allergen-labeling-consumer-protection-act.aspx. Accessed February 10, 2022.
Nu-flow. RIBUS. https://www.ribus.com/nu-flow/. Published May 13, 2021. Accessed February 10, 2022.
Nu-mag. RIBUS. https://www.ribus.com/nu-mag/. Published May 13, 2021. Accessed February 10, 2022.
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