The Importance of Each and Every Component
“The cleanest and simplest process is my first choice—this eliminates the guess work of the unknown.”
When making professional therapeutic, nutraceutical medicine every component matters, even the smallest one. If you have not focused on elements like the capsule or the flow agents yet, this newsletter is for you.
Many people live their lives with preferences making informed decisions based on multiple reasons ranging from ethnic upbringing, religion or diet restrictions, for medical reasons or based on being vegans or vegetarians. We often focus on the content paying little to no attention to packaging, assuming all things are created equally and produced safe when in isolated cases this is simply not the case. Only a few years ago it came to light that plastic bottles were leaching the chemical bisphenol A (also known as BPA). Once revealed, consumers protested, the industry listened, and BPA was removed from the manufacturing process of most plastic bottles. A single word brings a clear image to mind when the origin is known. The problem is that many times we are not completely aware of the origin of some components or ingredients. When you hear the word gelatin—that is used in making vitamin capsules, gummy bears and multiple food items like Jello—you would never think it was made from discarded slaughter house waste, produced from collagen which was extracted from the skin, hides, bones, and connective tissues from domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs, and fish. Soft gelatin capsules also use plasticizers (e.g. sorbitol-based softgel plasticizers) that can impact the quality of the product since they compose 20-30% of the wet gel formulation.
The cleanest and simplest process is my first choice—this eliminates the guess work of the unknown. When we create our products, we opt for capsules over tablets as the binders, fillers and coating agents are reduced. We choose vegetarian capsules over gelatin capsules because all the animal components are eliminated and they do not offend anyone. Yes, we pay 100% more for going clean and vegan but when making a quality nutraceutical you start off limiting anything that could cause an allergic reaction. Many people have allergies and they do not know why, they quickly react being extremely sensitive and the solution could be as simple as choosing the right capsule. The Vcaps we use are 100% non-allergenic so our customers can be sure that they are getting their products in the best capsules possible.
The ingredients used in making capsules could directly influence the purchasing decisions from a cross section of society and could be of great interest for those who are allergy sensitive. When purchasing a supplement, look for brands that are animal gelatin-free, environmentally conscious and made from non-GMO sources. We use the cleanest and purest vegetarian capsules in the world made from plant-based Hypromellose (HPMC) which is a purified form of cellulose, obtained from sustainable cultivation from wood pulp. The Vcaps are third-party certified and have low moisture content.
Most people do not think twice about the process how raw materials fit into capsules. This process requires flow agents used for their lubricating properties to prevent ingredients from sticking to manufacturing equipment during the compression of chemical powders into capsules or tablets.
The most common flow agents are magnesium stearate and stearic acid and they may be problematic. Studies performed showed the immunosuppressive action of stearic acid on T cells. “The increased abundance of disaturated [to become unsaturated] phosphatidylcholine species may enhance membrane rigidity to an extent that plasma membrane integrity is significantly impaired, leading to a loss of membrane potential and ultimately cell function and viability.“
Neurological studies have found evidence that magnesium stearate may collapse cell membranes and selectively kill T-cells, breaking down the body’s immune defence system. This discovery is of great debate and we would not have raised the issue had we not seen the evidence first hand. Doctor’s Choice produces a product called Neurotransmitter Support and it is used by multiple clinics to help treat individuals with neurological disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We used to use magnesium stearate as a flow agent and some very sensitive neurological patients reacted negatively to NTS—this was highly unusual since the ingredients are so pure. After reading the studies on magnesium stearate and steric acid how these ingredients can affect brain health we changed the flow agent to eliminate the possibility and used ascorbal palmate, fat soluble vitamin C instead. We selectively requested that the reactive patients be the first to try the flow agent change and with great joy all negative reactions were eliminated and from that day forward we have never looked back.
- Tammaro, A et al. 2012. Magnesium stearate: an underestimated allergen.” Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents 26,4 (2012): 783-4.
- Tebbey, P W, and T M Buttke. 1990. “Molecular basis for the immunosuppressive action of stearic acid on T cells.” Immunology 70,3 (1990): 379-84.
 Magnesium Stearate is a commonly used diluent in the manufacture of medical tablets, capsules and powders but, according to research, it is also an allergen. See Tammaro, A et al. 2012.
 Tebbey, P W, and T M Buttke. 1990.