- Number 1 to avoid: Stearates in all forms
- Number 2 to avoid: Maltodextrin
- Number 3 to avoid: Strontium in higher doses
- Number 4 to avoid: Fluoridated water
Here is a more detailed summary of my findings:
1 — Stearic acid and other close relatives
Magnesium stearate (and its many variations such as stearic acid and vegetable stearates) continues to be used in far too many supplements. In our own household, we were using approximately 10 different supplements with this highly suspect ingredient at one point. There are additional unworthy ingredients in many supplements — key examples are carrageenan, dioxides, laurates and sulfates. A number of commercial concoctions contain multiple culprits. For example, Allegra 24-hour tablets have silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate and titanium dioxide; Dr. Tobias multi-vitamins have vegetable stearic acid and vegetable magnesium stearate. After much research, I have personally decided to focus on manufacturers that take the “high road” — one prominent illustration is NutriGold with a highly principled stand concerning magnesium stearate and similar ingredients. However, some of the attempts to avoid these questionable components are likely to be much harder than others. To mention just one frustrating experience, seemingly all of the readily available tablet or capsule alternatives to Allegra tablets have at least one (and frequently more) problematic ingredient. My own solution to reduce congestion and allergy symptoms (developed with the involvement of my ENT specialist) involves Flonase Sensimist. This is a 24-hour product (since February 2017, available over-the-counter without a prescription) that is both alcohol-free and scent-free — an important consideration for anyone who dislikes the often objectionable fragrance of regular Flonase sprays.
2 — Maltodextrin regardless of the source (but it comes from corn more often than not)
Avoiding maltodextrin is also advisable with both supplements and foods. This ingredient is often derived from corn but can also be produced from other starches such as rice, potato and wheat. If you haven’t already noticed, the corn industry has an almost infinite number of corn-related ingredients that have made their way into our foods. For example, in Multigrain Cheerios, you will find whole grain corn, corn bran and corn starch. In other products, corn variations can include citric acid, confectioner’s sugar, sorbitol, corn flour, monosodium glutamate, corn oil, diglycerides, corn meal, corn fructose, dextrose, dextrin, malt and fructose. Even if you’re not allergic to corn, the sturdiest body can begin to rebel from an internal assault due to the numerous and common variations of corn. For example, many versions of vitamin C supplements use ascorbic acid as the source of vitamin C — the source of ascorbic acid is typically either GMO or non-GMO corn. Viable vitamin C solutions that do not include corn are offered by responsible supplement providers such as Garden of Life.
3 — High doses of strontium
Strontium is simply not the helpful ingredient that many of us probably thought — I know that I was initially fooled. While it continues to be acceptable to take in small doses incorporated in some organic plant calcium supplements, larger doses included in most strontium supplements appear to be problematic at best — make sure you do your own strontium research before continuing or starting supplements that have more than nominal amounts of strontium.
4 — Fluoride in your water
For those convinced that all fluoride is a good thing, please think again and examine the issue more closely. A suggested starting point is a discussion of 50 reasons why fluoridation should be avoided by most of us. As for practical solutions, I advocate reverse osmosis for all who are financially willing and able to spend a little to avoid a potentially big problem — for about $20 per month in many cases.
Food (and water) for thought? My hope is that the observations above will at least serve as a starting point for further review and consideration.