As consumers, we are getting better at reading labels. We look at ingredients, analyze our food, where it comes from and what’s in it. We look for transparency and traceability. Yet the supplement ingredient list can be a little trickier to dissect. This is because unnecessary ingredients aren’t listed on the label in a visible way.
What many consumers don’t know is that in addition to vitamins and minerals, supplements also contain many unnecessary ingredients, just like processed foods. However, on supplement labels, many of these fall under “other” or “inactive” on the ingredient list. In fact, an estimated 90% of all vitamin supplements contain manufacturing fillers.
Why are fillers used in vitamins?
They help to bind ingredients together and are used as flow agents to help supplements run through manufacturing machines without gumming up equipment. Many times, the additives make supplements look more appealing to consumers. They can even make them taste better. And the list goes on
List of popular additives found in vitamins:
Unnecessary additives include
- Hydrogenated Oils
- Silicon dioxide
- Magnesium stearate
- Titanium dioxide
- Artificial Colors
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Stearic acid
- Vegetable gum
- Talc and propylene glycol.
Ultimately, what we do know is that these additives and fillers offer no nutritional value. Let's dive a bit deeper on a few.
These oils are found in bakery products and highly processed foods. They are used to increase the shelf life of products. They are also found in supplements for the same reasons. While these days we laud healthy fats, there is nothing healthy about hydrogenated oils. In fact, partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, which increase our bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease our good cholesterol (HDL). These fats can also contribute to heart disease, affect our nervous system and limit our ability to both absorb essential fatty acids and regulate our blood sugar.
A red gummy bear or an orange vitamin is so much more enticing than a white or no-color vitamin. Right? Not so fast. These additives defeat the purpose of taking vitamins. Some of these same bright colors have been linked to various cancers and hyperactivity in children (Red #40). Artificial colors are used to make vitamins more appealing to consumers. They also cover up any degradation of ingredients that can occur in the manufacturing process. Yet, not only are colors linked to health issues, some colors are derived from toxic coal tar, which is otherwise used for roofing, outdoor sealants, exterior paints and heating.
The FDA states that these artificial colors in your vitamins are added to: “Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to colorless and ‘fun’ foods.” Do we really need our vitamins to look “fun”? We think not.
Magnesium stearate is used as a flow agent. And its purpose is to keep equipment from gumming up during the manufacturing process. This synthetic ingredient can help a vitamin company increase its output and maintain the efficiency of production. But, magnesium stearate is also thought to hinder the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Basically, it interferes with the body’s ability to absorb the contents of the pills it is used in.
Titanium dioxide is used in vitamins as a pigment, for similar reasons to why artificial colors are used. Yet research has shown that it is a possible carcinogen and could possibly affect immune system function and induce inflammation amongst other things. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists titanium dioxide as a Group 2B carcinogen. In other words, it’s “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Tespo Vitamin formulas contain no additives
At Tespo, we started with premium raw ingredients and developed an innovative vitamin delivery system.
So what does “no additives” mean to Tespo? It means that we don’t use any ingredients in our products that aren’t necessary. We use only what your body needs. And we can do this because of the system we use to create our formulas. We don’t use pills. We don’t need to worry about machines gumming up. At Tespo, 76% of our formulas are made up of premium quality vitamins and the other 24% is used for natural flavoring. Compare this to gummies which contain only an approximate 4% of quality ingredients. Pills contain roughly 20% quality ingredients.
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