What’s That Doing In My Supplements? Exploring Excipients

Old Days, Nowadays

I think a healthy level of questioning is growing among people about excipients in their food, drugs, and supplements, but maybe a bit too slowly. If we think back to the time of our grandparents, and further back, we will know that when it comes to food, the ingredients lists were short and simple. 

These days, with the push of the busy lifestyle in which we eat on the run, we now have the option to get our nutrients from supplements and we are fortunate to have drugs that can be helpful.

However, the additives in drugs, supplements, and packaged food often far outnumber the proper ingredients that hold any nutrition. This includes many products in what is known as the Health Food Industry.

Is it really pushing healthy stuff? 

Pills Among Bullets

The Remedy Take-Aways — Excipients

The Remedy podcast on March 12th and 13th, 2019, hosted by Tony Pantalleresco, included discussion of this sort. 

Tony Says –> The health food industry are drug lords, almost as bad as drug stores due to the excipients put in their products. Firstly for some definitions:

excipient (noun) – an inactive substance that serves as a vehicle or medium for a drug or other substance (Macbook dictionary).

So I wondered, A vehicle for what purpose?

Well, it could be used as an SR agent (sustained release, i.e. slow-release) or for the purpose of viscocity (a state of being thick, sticky, or semi-fluid, so basically just for texture. (I’m not sure why texture needs to be changed if people are going to just eat it in a capsule anyway. Is it for packaging reasons?). Others could be sweeteners.

Here is a list of excipients you may find:

silica

aluminum lake

titanium dioxide

any colouring

soy & other names for soy (see below)

cellulose

coscarmellose

hypromelose

hyper-coscarmellose

micro-crystalline cellulose

How about that soy?

Soy can be hidden under names, or is put into stuff in an obscure way, such as:

HPP – hydrolysed plant protein

HSP – hydrolysed soy protein

HVP – hydrolysed vegetable protein

to hyrdolyse(verb) – to break down (a compound) by chemical reaction with water (ibid). 

We must ask why these things are added to almost everything these days like our food, supplements, vitamins, protein powders, and vegetarian capsules?

And what the heck is “natural flavour”?

My Take –> This got me investigating a few different things. I recently checked on the few pharmaceutical drugs I take (only three, and one is only occasionally).

Pharmacist With Drugs

I asked the pharmacy student on the phone, “Do any of my drugs on files have silica or titanium dioxide in them?” 

She looked them up and said, “Yes, two of them have titanium dioxide.” 

“Are they in their nano form? Are they used as a nano-delivery method?” 

She had to talk to her manager and the pharmaceutical company, Sanis, and call me back. She reported back that when she posed this question to Sanis, they refused to answer the question, stating that they would not release that information.

I have not yet called Sanis myself to dig further and ask why they would not release that information. Doesn’t a patient have a right to know what they are ingesting, especially if it is a drug that you take on a daily basis? I think so. 

On the other hand, with an additional drug, a compounded one, I was able to talk to the pharmacist and tell her what I want (or rather don’t want) in my medication. She did some research and called me back with options that I was happy with.

Tony Asks –> What does it mean today to be healthy? 

It means being informed, behaving correctly, like not wasting your money. 

Be informed, Tony says, about the additives in your drugs and supplements. In other words, Read the labels! Ask for ingredients lists.

Our Take-Away –> Take a look at any (actually all)of the painkillers, cold medicines, regular prescriptions, vitamins, supplements, and nutraceuticals in your house. How many of them include one or more than one of the ingredients listed above? 

Now, granted, you may not be able to avoid everything especially if it is something that is helping you on some level.

For example, I take a migraine medication, when a migraine hits, which includes titanium dioxide. This drug works like a charm, and I would rather ingest a tiny bit of poison if it takes the pain away. Migraines are not something to play around with. 

Also, I place my medications under a magnetic pulsing fan before taking them to neutralize any program that might be held within the pills, and they still work. Thankfully, I only have to take this particular medication perhaps one, two, or three times per month, so I feel the trade-off is worth it. It’s the continuous, every day drugs we should have the most concern for. 

Order What You Want in Your Medication, Just Like You Would in a Restaurant

Therefore, if you take medication that you just can’t go off of right away, call your pharmacist and see what you can work out. It just may be that they can simplify your drugs, remove some of the excipients. As a result, your meds cause you less harm and you feel better.

As for the stuff in health food stores or sections of stores dedicated to “natural” foods, read the labels, and if you’re not happy with what you see, put it back and find a source of pure powders or liquid of what you’re looking for (check out the Shop & Resources Page for some ideas). It takes more work on your part, but it’s worth it to prolong your life and reduce your symptoms.

Resources:

Soy: Masquerading As a Whole Lot of Other Stuff https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/soy-masquerading-as-a-whole-lot-of-other-stuff/

Veggie Cap Crap https://herbscientist.com/veggie-cap-crap-supplements-can-harm/

Israeli Health Minister Issues Soy Warning https://www.wellbeingjournal.com/ministry-issues-soy-warning/

More on the dangers of soy, Tony’s site: http://augmentinforce.50webs.com/ANTI%20SOY.htm

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