Why don’t we think about and analyze our supplements the same way we do with our food?
The Science Behind Excipients in Our Supplements
Changes in Food over the last 50+ years
50’s, 60’s, 70’s 80-90’s, & 2000’s
The 50’s: The End of an Era
In the 50’s, we were still living in a period-of-time where the majority of families lived off of one income source, and shopping was still happening, sometimes on a daily basis, to get fresh ingredients from the local sources. It seems this was the last decade before the food industry started prioritizing efficiency and production over health concerns. This wasn’t a simple decision the sector made; it was a complex macroeconomic movement that the food industry had to follow based on consumer demands.
The years 60’s -> the 70’s: The New Era of Processed Foods
In the 60’s and 70’s, American families started to move into an era where multiple income sources for families became a norm; an age where we started to desire convenience. The food industry saw this progression and began to devise foods that were convenient. Packaged snacks, TV dinners, and processed foods from fruits, vegetables, to our meats. This newfound freedom gave us more time to start hanging out with friends and family, running around & playing with our kids around more and more.
The years 80’s -> the 90’s: Processed Food is King
The 80’s and 90’s were the culmination of this processed food era, and as our society continued to get busier and busier, we were eating more and more fast food, processed and packaged foods. Our health in America has suffered from these lifestyle choices. These choices have led to the health epidemic we now have in America. Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, and over 80 million Americans are pre-diabetic. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic illness that leads to many other diseases. Commonly, diabetes is regarded as the gateway disease; leads to cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, mental illnesses, etc.
The 2000’s: A New Era, Getting Closer to the Source
In the year 2000’s and on, Americans started to realize we needed help; we needed to change. It’s taking time, but with new technologies and the mass spread of information, America is beginning to take back control of their health. We are still just as busy but we are demanding healthier food choices from manufacturers, restaurants, and in many cases, this leads to fresher and more localized food sources; coming full circle to our 1950’s Era choices. Short-term it’s more expensive on our wallets, but if you look at the long-term costs of health care, eating less processed foods and getting closer to the source is allowing us to live our longer lives in a healthier state. ABLE calls this A Better Life Experience.
The Last 10 Years: Processed & GMO Food BAD | Whole Food GOOD
Processed food. Over the last ten years, we’ve been bombarded with content about avoiding processed foods, GMO foods, foods with excessive preservatives, etc. We’re being told to get closer to the source; that is excellent advice, and it seems to have caught on.
But, why don’t we do the same with supplements?
Excipients, binders, flow agents, fillers, etc. are all added to make supplements cheaper to manufacture and so they can maximize machine time. The problem is, these excipients add no nutritional value, and over time, some of them are harmful. Increasing productivity and lowering costs is fabulous, but not when those priorities outweigh the quality and nutritional value of the supplements. They especially shouldn’t be prioritized over a person’s long-term health and wellness.
Common Types of Excipient in Vitamins & Supplements:
What is an Excipient?
A basic definition, excipients are extra stuff or in many cases, the “Other Ingredients.” They are inactive components which many times, these ingredients are used during manufacturing or as part of the encapsulation process.
What are Fillers?
These ingredients are also referred to as bulking agents. The purpose of fillers is to add substance so that the size of a tablet or capsule is filled out. This means that many times, much of the powder you see in the capsules or containers are the active ingredients you need for nutrition. Fillers cost less than active ingredients but give you the perception you are getting more value.
What are Binders?
Binders do precisely what they sound like; they help bind the ingredients in a tablet together. Without something to hold the tablet together, supplements could easily shed some of the powder and even crumble and break apart.
What are Flow Agents?
Some ingredients are added to supplements to help make the manufacturing process more efficient. Flow agents or flow enhancers make sure capsules move through the process smoothly and prevent things from sticking to machinery.
Silicon Dioxide is probably a top five excipient. It’s utilized to help prevent the active ingredients from clumping together.
Magnesium Stearate is probably the most used excipient and is one of the most controversial currently. Magnesium stearate is a white powder that is most commonly used because of its lubricating properties. Magnesium Stearate keeps ingredients from sticking to equipment during manufacturing and lowers manufacturing costs significantly. It can also help keep the mix of elements consistent throughout the process.
Calcium Carbonate is a filler. It is commonly found in the shells of marine animals as well as eggshells. This ingredient is also regularly used in some calcium supplements and for antacids as well as kinds of toothpaste.
Excessive consumption of calcium carbonate could be harmful to your health. So if you’re already taking calcium supplements and getting calcium from your diet – you may want to be careful – because too much can be toxic.
Widely used for coloring
What About ABLE Nutrition Supplements?
ABLE Nutrition’s slogan is A Better Life Experience; and our supplement line is focused on your health and A Better Life Experience first, second, third… We strive to get to the source and challenge the status quo of what ingredients typically need to be utilized in supplements. We are not the cheapest but we strive to be the best, and we stay close to the natural ingredient sources without many of the “Other Ingredients.”
Some Major Differentiators:
-Made in America
-Raw Materials are Purity Tested
-Tested for Heavy-Metal Contamination
-We avoid binders by not offering supplements in tablet form
-Avoid Silicon Dioxide (Excipient used by almost all supplement manufacturers)
-Avoid Added Stearates like Magnesium Stearate (Excipient used by nearly all supplement manufacturers and in most supplements)
-Certified Quality Manufacturer by cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice)
For us to continue to get to the source, that sometimes means that’s some supplements may have stronger smells and in some cases flavors than other supplement brands. Some supplements like Turmeric naturally have nice aromas, but others might be stronger, but ABLE Nutrition strives not to use unnatural excipients that may cover up or counter the natural smells or flavors.
We hope you give ABLE Nutrition supplements a try. You won’t be disappointed, and please give us your review and feedback on your experience with our products.