When purchasing supplements, it's important to read the labels so you know exactly what you're getting. This is especially crucial for anyone with dietary restrictions or preferences such as following a vegan or vegetarian diet or those with allergies to ingredients like gluten.
Today, we've rounded up eight of the most common additives to supplements so you can better decipher what's in a product when shopping:
1. Bioperine: A patented extract from piperine, or black pepper, BioPerine is added to supplements to boost the bioavailability of the nutrients contained in the supplement. This could be vitamins, minerals or other herbal extracts. This means the nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body for greater benefit.
2. Silica: Silica is a naturally occurring mineral that helps support the health of the tissues from the bones to the hair on your head. The silica used as a supplement additive is silicon dioxide, which is a chemical compound made from this mineral that keeps the ingredients of the supplement from sticking together.
3. Magnesium Stearate: This supplement additive is the mineral magnesium combined with stearic acid, which is a fat, to create a chelated form of the mineral. Magnesium stearate is added to supplements as a binder, which means it helps fill in capsules or form tablets. This additive isn't known to impact the effectiveness of the nutrients in the supplement.
4. Tocopherol: Naturally occurring chemical compounds, tocopherols function as vitamin E within the body. Tocopherols are often added to oil-based supplements, like fish oil or flaxseed oil, to keep them fresh. Tocopherols are a natural preservative option.
5. Citric Acid: Found in citrus fruits, citric acid is a weak acid that is also used as a way to prevent ingredients from spoiling, AKA, a preservative.
6. Titanium Dioxide: Used as a coloring agent, titanium dioxide is a powdered form of titanium that can be used to give supplements a distinct hue.
7. Maltodextrin: Used as a filler or binding agent, maltodextrin is a carbohydrate added to thicken a product or to help create capsules or tablets. If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, make sure to avoid this one as it can be produced from wheat or barley.
8. Dextrose: Also referred to as glucose, dextrose is a sugar used to sweeten supplements for a better flavor. You may find it in protein powders or chewable and gummy supplements to make them more appetizing. This is something to check for on children's supplements, which are often flavored, if you want to avoid it.
If you have any questions about a supplement on our site, feel free to contact us and we'd be happy to help you choose the right product. Stay well!