Magnesium stearate can be derived from animal and plant sources. At room temperature, this substance takes the form of a white powder (1). This powder is “greasy to the touch. Practically insoluble in water and in ethanol (2).” The chemical formula is Mg(C18H35O2)2. In the past, the supplement industry used magnesium stearate due to its lubricating properties.
Producing this artificial substance involves a reaction between sodium stearate and magnesium salts. Another production method involves treating magnesium oxide with stearic acid. Some nutritional labels tell whether the sodium stearate in the manufacturing process is vegetable-derived stearic acid or not (3).
Magnesium Stearate is an excipient. According to Merriam-Webster, an excipient is usually an “inert substance that forms a vehicle (as for a drug) (4).” Also known as ‘flow agents’, manufacturing supplements and other products is almost impossible without excipients. Recognized as safe by the FDA, magnesium stearate is valued for its lubrication properties. Specifically, excipients like magnesium stearate keep powders from clumping and sticking together. They also prevent ingredients from sticking to manufacturing equipment (5).
Since magnesium stearate is safe in low doses, soft, and mostly insoluble, it is favored as an excipient (flow agent) by certain industries. The pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nutritional supplement, and nutraceutical industries commonly use magnesium stearate. Companies use this FDA-approved inactive ingredient to manufacture capsules, tablets, and powders.
Many supplements and vitamin formulas contain complex formulas and multiple ingredients with various chemical properties. Because of this, the ingredients can tend to stick together. As a result, manufacturers add excipients to prevent sticking and caking. On top of that, excipients also help to ensure consistency and maintain the correct proportions of supplements and vitamins. If a manufacturer cannot achieve consistency, then the product cannot meet the label claims (6).
Magnesium Stearate as a Flow Agent
As stated above, magnesium stearate is a flow agent used in vitamin manufacturing. Using it prevents ingredients from caking and adhering to the equipment. As a result, it makes the manufacturing process easier and more cost-effective.
Magnesium Stearate Alternatives
To manufacture supplements properly, SMP Nutra must use flow agents. As stated above these substances allow our machines to run efficiently, so we can effectively produce a wide range of products. Due to their crucial importance to the nutraceutical industry, excipients are unavoidable.
However, negative effects may accompany artificial excipients. Although they are deemed safe in small doses by the FDA, artificial excipients also can be harmful beyond certain doses. As a result, there are alternatives to excipients like magnesium stearate.
At the same time, we can choose the types of flow agents we use. Since one of our main goals objective is keeping the nutraceutical industry healthy, we choose to use organic excipients. Below are two specific types of organic excipients along with their benefits.
One of the leading organic excipients is OrganiFlow (7). Made from brown rice powder, this alternative to artificial excipients is totally organic. Furthermore, this patent-pending flow agent represents a breakthrough for the nutraceutical industry. This revolutionary product provides consumers with healthy, clean supplements and also gives our clients an advantage over their competition.
Created by Ingredient Evolution, OrganiFlow keeps supplements free from artificial excipients. With OrganiFlow, Ingredient Evolution has created all-natural, organic alternatives to artificial excipients like magnesium stearate. In the manufacturing process, it “improves water distribution, texture, and consistency.”
On top of that, it also improves the capsules’ appearance. What’s more, as a harmless filler, it helps to fill capsules without harmful side effects. Moreover, using OrganiFlow creates healthier, more attractive products, appealing products.
Below are the major benefits of using OrganiFlow for supplement manufacturing:
- Reduces the risk of negative side effects which come from artificial excipients
- Improves your product by enhancing capsule appearance, texture, water distribution, and uniformity.
- Makes your product more efficient
- Sets your company apart from the competition
- Boosts your company’s image
Another option for replacing artificial flow agents in the manufacturing process is patent-pending Nu-FLOW. Created by RIBUS, this excipient is created from sterilized, ground rice hulls. RIBUS is a leading worldwide producer of rice-based alternatives to artificial excipients. In addition, the company is also a leader in the ‘clean label movement (8).’
These rice husks contain a lot of natural silica which can be made into a powder. This fine powder functions like magnesium stearate and other artificial flow agents. Yet it does not have any of the same ill effects. Nu-FLOW comes in two varieties – Organic Nu-FLOW and Natural Nu-FLOW (8).
Nu Flow Benefits
Some specific benefits of Nu-FLOW are:
- Acts as an effective flow agent and improves processing
- Allows your products to achieve over 95% organic levels
- Replaces synthetics with ‘rice concentrate’ allowing for ‘clean label’ statements
Organic Excipients: The Future of Flow Agents
Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they put into their bodies, and rightly so. With this rising demand for healthy, organic ingredients, supplement suppliers must keep pace with consumer trends. Overall, organic excipients represent the future of the nutraceutical industry.
Excipients like OrganiFlow and Nu-Flow provide the same functionality as artificial excipients, but without the health concerns. What’s more, companies like SMP Nutra which use organic excipients to manufacture supplements give your products an advantage in the marketplace.
The appeal of organic, non-artificial ingredients allows you to meet the need of consumers as well as attract new demand for your products. Consequently, replacing artificial excipients with organic excipients lets you label your product as an Artificial Excipient Free (AEF).
Learn More About SMP Nutra
SMP Nutra is a turn-key contract supplement manufacturer. We specialize in producing tablets, capsules, powders, and softgels. We are known across the industry for our unrivaled commitment to product quality and our exceptional turnaround times. SMP Nutra is ready to produce natural, organic nutraceuticals for your company. To learn more about our manufacturing process, Contact Us today.
Will is a Co-Founder of SMP Nutra, founder of GetKnownPros, and owns a handful of supplement brands. Will has extensive knowledge of trends in the nutraceutical industry after contract-manufacturing for hundreds of brands. Will has spent the last decade learning the best online marketing & brand-building techniques for supplement & vitamin brands and enjoys sharing this unique knowledge with his nutra-entrepreneur community.