What Are Inactive Ingredients?
On the back of any supplement bottle there should be a nice, easy to read “Supplement Facts” label. This is a list of all the “active” ingredients in the supplement. They are “active” ingredients because these are the studied, tried and documented herbs, vitamins or minerals that are known to help with certain ailments and the reason you are buying that supplement.
Right under the Supplement Facts label will be the “inactive ingredients.” These are ingredients that the capsule is made from, or, the material that keeps the tablet from flaking apart, or, what the soft gel is made from and the name of the preservative if one is needed.
I bring this up because a customer came in, handed me a bottle of a drug store Vitamin D3 and asked if I had an equivalent. I handed her one. She turned both bottles around to the Supplement Facts and said, “Let’s compare ingredients.”
I showed her that both said D3. Then, she pointed to the “inactive ingredients” on her’s which there were eight of. I couldn’t believe she thought she had to match the inactive’s. I explained that the active ingredients are the same and as far as the inactive ingredients are concerned, the shorter the list the better. Furthermore, I told her what you don’t want to see is fillers. Red # dyes, sugars, and metals are all bad for your body but usually make the list of inactive ingredients on some of the supplements you buy at the drug stores and grocery stores. Cheap? Yes. Natural and good for you? No!
The inactive ingredients in my capsules are polysaccharide, another name for cellulose (plant fiber). For my tablets – cellulose and acacia gums (natural fiber from plants that hold that tablet together), and a minimal amount of magnesium stearate so the tablets don’t get stuck in the machinery, and, for my fish oil soft gels – the types of fish used for the oil, and mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) as a preservative. Do I take the best or what?