What’s In Your Supplement? Grab A Bottle & Let’s Find Out!

What’s In Your Supplement? Grab A Bottle & Let’s Find Out!


You've probably done your fair share of research, trying to figure out which supplements are truly good for you. Maybe you've experienced some unpleasant side effects or felt uncertain about the long list of unpronounceable ingredients.

In part three of our series on supplement ingredients and industry secrets, we’ll uncover 10 often hidden additives in supplements and explain why you need to be aware of them. 

Why Should You Care About Additives In Supplements?

Many additives used in supplements are there to improve shelf life, enhance appearance, or make the manufacturing process easier. Most are safe or low-risk.

Some additives, however, have the potential for unwanted side effects or health risks if taken in high quantities or for a long period of time. Those risks can range from impairing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients – which effectively counteracts the supplement’s purpose –  to potentially causing cancer. The hidden dangers are real and worth knowing about.

10 Supplement Additives To Watch Out For

Magnesium Stearate: The Silent Flow Agent

Magnesium stearate is often used in supplements as a flow agent, making sure the ingredients mix well and don’t stick to the manufacturing equipment, hence "flow".

While this might seem harmless, magnesium stearate in large quantities has been shown to impair neuromuscular transmission, potentially causing weakness and fatigue. It's usually derived from either animal fats or plant-based sources like palm or vegetable oil, and without truly transparent labeling, you may not know which you're getting. 

Additionally, high amounts of magnesium stearate can interfere with nutrient absorption in the intestines, potentially reducing the effectiveness of the supplement you're taking.

Will you find magnesium stearate in Pure Essentials supplements? Nope. Our Ultra Magnesium includes organic bamboo stem and leaf as a natural, non-GMO alternative to the magnesium stearate you'll find on the label of many top selling magnesium products.

Sodium Benzoate: The Hidden Carcinogen

Sodium benzoate is a preservative that, when combined with Vitamin C, forms benzene. That’s a known carcinogen. It can also increase hyperactivity in children and trigger asthma in adults. 

Studies have shown that sodium benzoate can also damage DNA, adding to its potential hazards. Despite its common use by the industry, the potential health risks make it a concerning additive to look out for in your supplements.

If you’ve been taking Pure Essentials’ buffered C powder or capsules, rest easy. You won’t find sodium benzoate in those.

Titanium Dioxide: Whitening Agent With A Dark Side

Titanium dioxide is commonly used for its whitening properties in supplements and other foods. 

It’s been linked to gut issues and immune reactions, and it’s worth noting that the European Union food safety standards does not recognize it as a safe ingredient. Recent research suggests that titanium dioxide nanoparticles can accumulate in the body, potentially leading to inflammation and other health problems.

It's also used in many cosmetics and sunscreens, making its potential risks a broader concern​. 

Where is it not used? In any Pure Essentials supplements.

Silicon Dioxide: Anti-Caking Or Anti-Health?

Silicon dioxide is often used to prevent clumping during the manufacturing process. That might seem harmless since it's basically sand. In fact, long-term exposure can interfere with cell growth in the GI tract, posing potential health risks over time. 

It's commonly found in low-cost supplements, and it's something to be cautious about.

Some scientific research has concluded that excessive intake of silicon dioxide can lead to lung issues, particularly in occupational settings where inhalation is a risk. In supplements or other consumer products, it helps keep powders flowing smoothly through manufacturing, but its safety for long-term consumption, even in small amounts, remains a topic of debate​.

Check your Pure Essentials labels – no silicon dioxide!

Magnesium Silicate: Linked To Cancer Risks

Magnesium silicate, also known as talc, is sometimes used in supplements as a filler. 

Peer-reviewed research has linked high consumption of magnesium silicate to various cancers, including ovarian and stomach cancers. This additive is another reason to scrutinize supplement labels closely. 

In addition to its use in supplements, talc is no longer found in most baby powders but is common in cosmetics, where it has been the subject of numerous health lawsuits. Talc is not banned in the U.S., so it’s worth watching out for.

The potential contamination of talc with asbestos fibers adds another layer of concern, making it a controversial ingredient in many products​.

Does Pure Essentials use it? No!

Soybean Oil: The GMO Culprit

Soybean oil is frequently used in supplements and is often genetically modified (GMO). It's heavily treated with pesticides, which can pose additional health risks. If you're aiming to avoid GMOs and pesticides, steering clear of supplements with soybean oil is a smart move. 

Beyond its use in supplements, soybean oil is a common ingredient in processed foods, and its high omega-6 fatty acid content can contribute to inflammation when consumed in excess. 

Opting for non-GMO, organic sources of soybean oil can help mitigate some of these risks​​.

You know that Pure Essentials is all about non-GMO.

Shellac: Shiny Coating, Serious Irritation

Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, used to give supplements a shiny coating. Yes, from a bug…you read that correctly. It can cause skin and eye irritation, and in large amounts, can be harmful if ingested. Its many names, including "natural glaze" and "confectioner’s resin," can make it tricky to identify on labels. 

Shellac is also used in the food industry to give candies and pills a glossy finish, but its potential allergenic properties make it a concern for sensitive individuals. Being aware of its presence can help you avoid unnecessary exposure to this additive​.

At Pure Essentials, we’re more concerned with potency and absorption than a shiny, glossy coating. No shellac here.

Citric Acid: The GMO & GI Issue

Citric acid is often made from GMO corn and is used to preserve and flavor supplements. It can cause gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, nausea, and heartburn. 

While naturally occurring citric acid in fruits is generally safe, the industrially produced version can contain residues from the fermentation process used to create it, potentially leading to adverse effects for those with sensitivities​​.

Pure Essentials buffered C products are potent and highly bioavailable – and free of GMO ingredients.

Potassium Sorbate: Preservative With Potential Side Effects

Potassium sorbate is another common preservative, used to extend the shelf life of some supplements by preventing mold and bacteria growth. It's generally recognized as safe but some studies have linked the ingredient to allergic reactions and potential skin irritations. 

Ingestion of high amounts can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. For individuals with sensitive systems, it can also lead to more severe reactions like migraines and higher potassium levels in the blood​​.

Will you find potassium sorbate in Pure Essentials supplements? No!

Maltodextrin: Blood Sugar Spiker

Maltodextrin is a common additive in supplements and processed foods, used as a thickener, filler, or preservative. It is frequently made from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat – often GMO varieties – and despite being a carbohydrate, it has a higher glycemic index than table sugar. This means it has the potential to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. That is particularly concerning for people with diabetes or insulin resistance. 

Maltodextrin can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, potentially leading to digestive issues like bloating and gas​.

At Pure Essentials, we’ve been researching tapioca as an alternative thickening agent so that our supplement buyers can avoid GMOs and ingredients that may cause sensitivity reactions.

Supplement Additives & Your Well-being

Understanding the health impacts of these additives is important for making informed decisions about what you put into your body. Many of these additives, like sodium benzoate and titanium dioxide, have been linked to serious health risks, including cancer and metabolic disorders. 

Others, such as magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide, may interfere with nutrient absorption and cellular functions, potentially leading to long-term health issues.

Real-life examples and studies back up these claims. For instance, research has shown that children consuming high levels of artificial colors, including those found in some supplements, may exhibit increased hyperactivity. 

The carcinogenic potential of benzene, formed from sodium benzoate and Vitamin C, is well-documented and has led to stricter regulations in some regions​.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

To protect yourself from these hidden dangers, start by reading supplement labels carefully. Look out for the additives we've discussed and opt for products that use natural, safer alternatives and are made by brands committed to quality control throughout the entire manufacturing process. Brands that are transparent about their ingredients and can display certifications from third-party testing organizations are generally more trustworthy.

Consider making dietary adjustments that reduce your reliance on supplements with questionable additives.

Two approaches that just make sense… Choose a supplement brand that is transparent about ingredients, processing, and quality control, (that’s Pure Essentials!) and eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods to get more of the nutrients you need without the risks associated with synthetic additives.

Essentials For New Routines

Vitamin C Capsules

Our coveted C Buffered powder now in easy to swallow capsule form. With the same formulation and benefits as our C powder. Reduction in Inflammation, oxidative stress, increasing the body's pH levels.


C Buffered Powder

Supports a balanced oxidative stress response, promoting healthy immune function, and reducing inflammation. Aiding in the recycling of other antioxidants, enhances iron absorption, and helps protect cells during detoxification processes.


Ultra Magnesium

With four different forms of magnesium - ascorbate, citrate, glycinate, and malate - it ensures optimal absorption and use of this essential mineral. Each form providing unique benefits helping the body maintain is alkalinity.



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