Magnesium stearate is a metal derivative which is composed of magnesium and stearic acid. It is white in color. It remains in solid state at room temperature. Magnesium stearate is also known as octadecanoic acid. It is naturally found in various types of foods such as cocoa, milk, coconut, fish, egg, meat, poultry, etc. It is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly for manufacturing vitamin supplements. It is used as a filler in the supplements of vitamins available in drug stores.
The vitamin supplements may be prepared without the use of magnesium stearate but the process takes a longer time. Therefore, it is added to speed up the rate of production of the supplements. The usage of this salt in medicines and drugs is a topic for debate. Some believe it to be safe for human health while some think it is dangerous.
Magnesium Stearate Side Effects
Palm oil and hydrogenated cottonseed oil are among the natural sources of magnesium stearate. These two substances are used as a lubricating agent for machines used for the manufacture of dietary supplements. These oils are commonly known to contain harmful toxins and hazardous pesticides, which are dangerous to human health. This is why, many medical professionals take magnesium stearate to be unsafe for consumption. According to studies, it does not cause any serious side effect when taken in small doses but may do so when taken in large amount.
There is another magnesium stearate side effect. Various health websites claim that magnesium stearate's regular usage may suppress the immune system. A large dosage of it may have a negative effect on T-cell functioning, thus adversely affecting the immunity of the body. T-cells are a type of lymphocytes which differentiate in the thymus. They possess highly specific cell-surface antigen receptors. Therefore, frequent or continuous consumption of magnesium stearate may badly hinder the functions of the immune system of the body.
Again, the large dosage of magnesium stearate may cause a decrease in the level of absorption of the nutrients. Many doctors believe that the drugs or nutritional supplements without magnesium stearate have a very high absorption rate, almost 90 per cent. The presence of magnesium stearate drops the absorption level to 25-35 per cent. Over consumption of magnesium stearate may inflame the membrane lining of the stomach and the intestines. The condition of inflamed stomach and intestine lining is medically termed as gastroenteritis. It produces some characteristic symptoms. They include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
Magnesium stearate affects the respiratory system as well. When someone inhales the powder or fumes of magnesium stearate side effect, he may get some of the structures of the respiratory system inflamed. He is most likely to develop asphyxia, which is physiological condition wherein there is either no or insufficient oxygen and carbon dioxide available to the body. It may result in unconsciousness or even death. It may trigger allergic reaction in people. Such people mostly include those who are sensitive to food additives.
These are some of the magnesium stearate safety issues. A point worth mentioning here is that not many cases have been reported to have shown the signs of magnesium stearate toxicity. Research is still on to scientifically prove the given possible magnesium stearate dangers with sufficient evidence. Therefore, it is advisable not to believe any kind of claim about it. For the most accurate information about the effect of this salt on your health, you should visit a doctor. He is the best person who can relate your medical state with the possible negative effects of magnesium stearate. Hope, the present article helped you in getting some useful information on magnesium stearate.