Some of the raw materials used in dietary supplements, especially those from a botanical source, vary from lot to lot in terms of moisture, stickiness, and tapped density, and these present challenges during manufacturing. So, supplements manufacturers use “additives” to help overcome production challenges and ensure finished product integrity and overall quality.

Additives are considered to be “inert” or “inactive” ingredients added to raw materials to achieve a desired consistency and ensure overall product integrity. In reality, however, there is no such thing as an “inert” additive, and companies would do well to pay as much care and attention to their additives as they do to the active ingredients in their formulations if they want to stay true to their basic professional, ethical, and moral obligation to look out for the consumers’ health. It is both illogical and irresponsible to assume that additives are inert and have no pharmacological activity in the body, and therefore, companies can choose whichever ingredient they want as an additive without worrying about potentially adverse consequences.

There are over 10,000 chemical additives in processed foods, and over 7,000 of those food additives are not required to be individually listed on product labels. This basically means that manufacturers have considerable flexibility in not only determining which additives to use but also how those additives should be declared on labels.

STEARATE FREE

NutriGold was one of the first companies to reject the use of Magnesium Stearate and other additives

At NutriGold, we are proud of our pedigree as one of the first companies in the industry to reject the use of additives, especially magnesium stearate, in manufacturing. In fact, we work very hard to manufacture products without any additives, when possible, and when necessary, use only food-grade, natural, plant-sourced, hypoallergenic additives because we believe that it is fundamentally unethical to put profitability ahead of consumer safety.

At NutriGold, we do not believe in sacrificing consumer safety for manufacturing expediency or squandering our integrity in the pursuit of profitability, which is why we do whatever it takes to ensure that our products are manufactured as far as possible without the use of any additives. If a particular formulation requires an additive, we choose safe, natural, plant-based, food-grade, and hypoallergenic additives and list the additive clearly on the label so consumers can make an informed purchasing decision.

The 9 most common additives used in supplement manufacturing

Fillers

Fillers are a type of additive used to fill empty space in a capsule or add volume to a tablet. Because most encapsulation and tableting machines offer only a limited number of capsule or tablet sizes, fillers are added to either ensure a perfect fit of the ingredients to a particular capsule size or to a particular size mold for tablet compression.

What other brands use: magnesium stearate, talc, silica, stearic acid, dicalcium phosphate, corn starch, corn maltodextrin, dextrose, citric acid, cellulose powder

What NutriGold uses: natural, GMO-free, hypoallergenic rice concentrate

Preservatives

Preservatives are added to supplements to help maintain the nutritional quality and freshness of the product and prevent undesirable chemical changes that may render the product unsafe for consumption. Antimicrobial preservatives are used to inhibit microbial growth, and antioxidant preservatives are used to minimize degradation of potency and freshness due to oxidation. Preservatives can be natural or synthetic, and the decision to use synthetic preservatives over natural ones almost always indicates cost-cutting to boost profits.

What other brands use: sodium benzoate, ascorbic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium propionate, nitrates, nitrites, sulfites, sodium ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, vitamin A, vitamin E (synthetic and natural forms), citric acid, sodium citrate, parabens

What NutriGold uses: natural astaxanthin, soy-free, GMO-free, natural mixed tocopherols

Anti-Caking Agents

Anti-caking agents are mostly a type of synthetic additive used in supplements to prevent the formation of lumps, making encapsulation, tableting, and consumption easier. Anti-caking agents work by absorbing excess moisture, preventing ingredients from sticking to each other as well as the encapsulation and tableting machines, and protecting the contents of a capsule from clumping or hardening.

What other brands use: aluminum silicate, bentonite, bone phosphate, calcium silicate, magnesium silicate, silicon dioxide, sodium bicarbonate, sodium ferrocyanide, stearic acid, tricalcium silicate, talcum powder, tricalcium phosphate

What NutriGold uses: natural, GMO-free, hypoallergenic rice concentrate

Binders

Binders are additives that are included in powdered formulations to add volume to low-dose active ingredients, make ingredients more cohesive, and help hold ingredients together during tableting. Although the FDA classifies binders as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), even vegetable-sourced binders like acacia or gum arabic have the potential to cause mild to severe allergic reactions in some individuals.

What other brands use: gelatin (usually pork), cellulose and cellulose derivatives, modified food starch (usually corn derived), sucrose, polyethylene glycol, lecithin, honey, sorbitol, xylitol.

What NutriGold uses: none/not applicable

Emulsifiers

Emulsifiers are additives used to help form or maintain a homogeneous, consistent mixture of two or more [immiscible] ingredients, prevent separation of ingredients during encapsulation, and minimize the risk of variations in composition between capsules in a product.

What other brands use: soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin, polyglycerol ester, polysorbate 80, guar gum, acacia gum, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), ammonium phosphatides, diphosphates, triphosphates, cellulose

What NutriGold uses: GMO-free sunflower lecithin and beeswax

Disintegrants

Disintegrants are added to tablet formulations to help break them down and release the active ingredients at the appropriate site in the digestive tract. Disintegrants expand and dissolve when wet, and this causes the tablet to break apart into smaller fragments, thereby facilitating both disintegration and dissolution of the active ingredients.

What other brands use: modified cellulose, crospovidone, croscarmellose sodium, sodium starch glycolate

What NutriGold uses: none/not Applicable

Coatings

Coatings, also called pharmaceutical glaze, natural glaze, natural vegetable coating, aqueous enteric coating, natural protein coating, or vegetable coating, are additives that are used to coat capsules, softgels, and tablets to facilitate swallowing, protect the active ingredients from being degraded by stomach acids, or control the release of the active ingredients (e.g. time-release and controlled-release formulations).

What other brands use: shellac, phthalates sodium alginate, carnauba wax, tallow

What NutriGold uses: none/not applicable

Lubricants / Flow Agents

Lubricants, also called flow agents, are used to facilitate the smooth flow of raw material through the machine. They help prevent the raw material(s) from clumping or caking during extraction and storage and from sticking to the machinery during encapsulation and tableting.

What other brands use: magnesium stearate, vegetable stearin, calcium stearate, stearic acid, fumed silica, talc, citric acid, cellulose powder

What NutriGold uses: natural, GMO-free, hypoallergenic rice concentrate

Colors, Flavors, Fragrances, & Sweeteners

Colors, flavors, and sweeteners are additives included in dietary supplement formulations for aesthetic reasons and to increase consumer compliance with recommended product dosages. Colors make capsules and tablets look more attractive by masking the composition of active ingredients and additives. Flavors help mask unpleasant taste and offensive odors, while sweeteners are used to improve taste profiles. Unlike other additives that serve a functional purpose by helping ensure finished product integrity and overall quality, the inclusion of this group of additives is largely optional, and most manufacturers choose synthetic forms of these additives instead of the natural alternatives to minimize cost, and consequently, boost profits.

What other brands use: caramel, titanium dioxide, carmine, ferrous oxide, limonene, vanillin, citric acid, tartaric acid, fumaric acid, aspartame, sucrose, fructose, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin

What NutriGold uses: Natural turmeric extract is used as a colorant/light barrier in products with active ingredients that are sensitive to heat and light. No flavors, fragrances, or sweeteners are currently used in any of the NutriGold products.

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