The whole purpose behind taking a supplement is to enhance your health and well-being. If you eat right, get enough sleep and plenty of exercise, you’re well on your way to a path of good health, but sometimes you may need some extra help, which is why many people take supplements. Diligent consumers will look at the label before purchasing a product and when they do, they often find ingredients they can’t pronounce let alone know what they are. Most likely, these are fillers added to your “healthy” supplement, but do you need them?  Do they do more harm than good?  Read this before you buy another supplement to ensure you’re being an informed consumer.

Why do so many supplements have fillers?

A functional supplement needs fillers because often the active component of a vitamin or supplement cannot be made into a tablet or capsule form without a stabilizing agent to help keep it active. These are mainly used as bulking agents, to add substance so that the size of a capsule or tablet is filled to the correct proportions. This helps make very small active ingredients easier for people to consume. If you’re consuming a tablet or capsule supplement, you’re consuming fillers.  On supplement labels, many fillers fall under “other” or “inactive” on the ingredient list. An estimated 90% of all vitamin supplements contain manufacturing fillers.

Do fillers add any nutritional value?

Additives and fillers offer no nutritional value. These “other ingredients” are generally not in the product to benefit your health. They are used to inexpensively bind, fill, and lubricate, capsules and tablets to expedite processing.

Can supplement fillers do any harm?

Though the FDA regulates these products, some synthetics regularly added to vitamins and other supplements still have questionable health consequences. Here’s a list of a few you may want to avoid:

  • Artificial colorants
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Stearic acid
  • Magnesium Silicate

These serve as fillers, binders, colorants or coatings but should be avoided for potential health reasons.

Is it possible to find supplements without fillers?

While 90% is a disheartening number regarding how many supplements contain fillers remember this:  they are necessary for capsules and tablets so one of the easiest ways to avoid fillers is to look for high quality liquid extract supplements instead. That’s not to say all liquid supplements are without additives. Flavors and sweeteners are often added to chewable and liquid supplements to taste better. Some liquid supplements may also use artificial coloring to make the product more appealing. To ensure you’re getting a high quality supplement without unnecessary fillers, coloring or flavor, look for a high quality supplement line like Future Pharm. Look for products with organic ingredients, made in the USA, and are manufactured to cGMP standards. If you stop and read the label before you buy another supplement, you’ll be assured that the product you’re buying is giving you the best quality possible. Choose your vitamins wisely because purchasing a cheap vitamin only results in poor quality nutrients.