Photo courtesy of fantasista at

Photo courtesy of fantasista at

Magnesium stearate is used as a filler, lubricant and binder material in tablets and capsules, as a binder and emulsifier for cleaning products, a binder and emulsifier in cosmetics, an anticaking additive for processed food, an anticaking agent in fire extinguishers. It’s also used as a drying agent in paint and varnishes.

Simply put it is used as an antifoaming agent, an anticaking agent and a lubricant.

Manufacturers also use it because it makes the machines run smoother, saving time and money.

Magnesium stearate, as a chemical compound, a salt also known as stearic acid, stearic acid magnesium salt, vegetable stearate, vegetable lubricant, octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt, magnesium salts of fatty acids or E number E570. It contains two equivalents of stearate and one magnesium cation. It is a saturated fatty acid with 18 carbon atoms.

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NOW Health Group, Inc., a supplement company, says, “Manufacturers need to utilize excipients like stearates to fill capsules or form tablets.”

TOXNET Toxicology Network reports magnesium stearate in, “human exposure studies, (shows) slightly toxic by ingestion.”

photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

In 1980, Toxicology reported a study using magnesium stearate that was fed to 40 rats using levels ranging from 0% to 20% over a three month period. They reported, “Decreased weight gain was found in males in the 20% group. Urolithiasis was found in 8 males and in 7 females in the same group. Reduced relative liver weight was seen in males in the 10% and in the 20% groups, and an increased amount of iron was found in the livers of the 20% group.”

In layman’s terms use of magnesium stearate caused failure to thrive, great liver stress, formation of stony concretions in the bladder or urinary tract and increased iron in the liver.

The Journal of AOAC International posted a study that found, “Magnesium stearate levels in 5 out of 25 supplements exceeded 2500 microg/g, which indicated the possible admixture of magnesium stearate.”

Nutrigold, a supplement company says, “Magnesium Stearate is a synthetic additive created in a lab by adding Magnesium ions to Stearic Acid. Synthetic ingredients are NOT recognized as food by the body and can, therefore, cause both short-term and long-term cumulative health issues for those who consume it on a regular basis from supplements.”

The Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Codex Committee On Food Additives says in the US, “Magnesium stearate is used in food with no limitation other than current good manufacturing practice.” It was considered for removal by the committee in 2010, “Since there were no food uses reported to JECFA at that time (WHO TRS 733).”

photo courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at

photo courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at

Due to “technological justification” it was determined to not delete the additive.  

Research on how magnesium stearate impacts the body is thin, this is all that is found. Many Canaries In The Coalmine say magnesium stearate give them liver pain.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.



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