Stearic acid (also known as Octadecanoic Acid) is a long-chain fatty acid found in both natural animal and vegetable fats. Its structural description is an 18-carbon chain fatty acid (18:0) with the chemical formula C36H70MgO4. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines stearic acid as a mixed triglyceride that has several long-chain acids. It is found more in animal fat than in vegetable fat.
But what exactly is magnesium stearate? Is it safe for the body, or does it pose hidden dangers? How about magnesium stearate supplements? Are they safe to purchase over the counter? Here are the things you need to know.
What is Magnesium Stearate?
Have you ever been curious about the coating on your meds and vitamins? It’s a magnesium stearate-based ingredient. Magnesium stearate is a thin white powder that is oily to the touch and adheres to your skin. It’s a simple salt of two components: stearic acid, a saturated fat, and magnesium, a mineral. Stearic acid can also be found in a variety of foods, including chicken, various types of oil, eggs, cheese, chocolate, walnuts, and salmon.
In the human diet, stearic acid (stearate) is the most common saturated fat. Stearates are nutrients that are found naturally in all types of fat. Stearates are commonly taken in amounts of several thousand milligrams per day from everyday foods. A 200-calorie portion of dark chocolate can contain up to 5 grams of stearates, for example.
Stearic acid is the only long-chain saturated fat that does not raise cholesterol levels, according to experts. The salt, in the form of a powder, is what gives drugs and vitamins their coating. When you touch magnesium stearate, it may adhere to your hands and feel greasy. Magnesium stearate is used in the production of numerous processed foods, cosmetics, and medications.
Magnesium Stearate is utilized as a ‘flow agent’ in supplement tablets. It prevents different supplement ingredients from clinging to one another as well as the mixing and pounding equipment. A flow agent, such as vegetable magnesium stearate, is required to ensure a uniform blend of contents and a constant dosage in each capsule or tablet.
Despite the terrible rep that additives like vegetable magnesium stearate have in the supplement industry, they are vital and serve a variety of important tasks in supplement production. It may even be harmful to human health if magnesium stearate or an alternative is not added, as capsules or tablets may not contain the necessary dosage constantly.
The Benefits of Magnesium Stearate
Magnesium stearate is typically safe to take, although excessive amounts can cause constipation. In addition, it can irritate the mucous lining of the bowels in big doses. This could cause you to have a bowel movement or diarrhea.
Immune system. The powder may impair the function of your immunological T-cells. The research into this phenomenon is still in its early phases.
Concerns about pesticides. Cottonseed oil is sometimes used to make stearate. Some individuals are concerned that it may contain pesticides that are harmful if consumed. Before being used in pharmaceuticals, magnesium stearate undergoes a rigorous purification process.
Cottonseed oil is also genetically modified, which is a source of worry. However, no matter where it comes from, stearic acid has the same chemical structure.
Drug absorption and nutrient absorption. There is considerable concern that magnesium stearate may prevent the body from properly absorbing nutrients. According to one study, magnesium stearate tablets take longer to dissolve than those without.
According to other studies, the time it takes for magnesium stearate to dissolve has no bearing on the drug’s effectiveness. It also has no effect on the tablet’s dissolving or the supplement’s or drug’s potency.
Biofilms. Magnesium stearate has also been linked to the creation of toxic biofilms in the digestive system. When a group of bacteria forms a protective barrier, it is called a biofilm. The fact that soap contains magnesium stearate and forms a scum layer is the source of these assertions. Your intestinal lining, on the other hand, is not the same as the scum layer on your bathroom walls or doors.
Allergens. Although allergic reactions to magnesium stearate are uncommon, you should avoid it and consult your doctor if you experience any symptoms.
Magnesium Stearate in Cosmetics
Magnesium Stearate is a common ingredient in pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. It has lubricating properties, preventing chemicals in supplements from sticking to each other and to the machine. To a considerable extent, the components and material requirements of these businesses are similar.
Magnesium Stearate is found in lipsticks, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, face powder, and other cosmetics and personal care items. It’s found in foundation, blushes, eyeshadow, and compact-friendly pressed powders.
Magnesium Stearate and Hair Loss
Can a magnesium deficit harm your hair? According to a medical study, men should consume roughly 400 mg of magnesium each day, while women should consume at least 310 mg. So, how does the average American fare in terms of magnesium consumption? In a nutshell, it’s not fantastic.
It’s estimated that more than 80% of adults don’t obtain even the bare minimum of magnesium they require. And nearly none of them are aware that they are lacking in magnesium.
Does a magnesium deficiency cause hair loss? Absolutely. Calcium has free reign due to a magnesium deficit. Put another way, tiny calcium deposits in and around hair follicles can lead to hair loss. In addition, when protein synthesis isn’t working correctly and producing enough melanin, premature graying might occur.
It’s also possible to pose the converse question: may too much magnesium lead to hair loss?
That isn’t apparent. However, an increasing number of specialists now believe that even the RDAs for magnesium, which are 400 mg for men and 310 mg for women, are too low and that they should be closer to 500 mg and 400 mg, respectively. So there’s a slim risk you’re receiving too much magnesium. There appear to be few doctors with patients who are experiencing hair loss due to eating too much magnesium.
Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. If you’re worried about an addition or supplement you’re considering taking, do your homework first. If assertions posted on the internet aren’t backed up by scientific papers, they’re probably wrong. If you’re unsure, consult your doctor.
Before considering a new vitamin or drug, talk to your doctor. Although magnesium stearate isn’t one of them, several goods and chemicals can have an impact on how medications are absorbed by your body. Your doctor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of adding a new supplement or prescription to your daily regimen.