Substances Added to Commercial Food Supplements

In addition to the various nutrients they are intended to provide, supplements in the form of tablets and capsules contain other ingredients added in the manufacturing process. These include:

500 mg calcium supplement tablets, with vitami...
500 mg calcium supplement tablets, with vitamin D, made from calcium carbonate, maltodextrin, mineral oil, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, glycerin, Vitamin D3, polyethylene glycol, and carnauba wax. These supplements are distributed by Nature Made Nutritional Products. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Saturated animal or non-animal fats give the supplement the right consistency. Natural lubricants (calcium and magnesium stearates) are preferable. Natural non-animal lubricants such as silica are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.


These give supplement tablets bulk and consistency. Products manufactured with natural binders and fillers such as cellulose (from plant fibre) and alginic acid (from seaweed) are preferable and provide extra nutrients.


Protein coatings prolong the shelf-life of supplements and make the tablets and capsules easy to swallow. Natural coatings such as brazil wax (from palm trees) are preferable to artificially coloured coatings.

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