Magnesium stearate is a common additive among many supplements – be it vegetarian capsule, tablet, or lozenge. Over the years, people online have demonized magnesium stearate as a potential ‘harmful’ additive that has the ability to impact the immune system. Is there any validity to these types of claims circulating online about magnesium stearate? Not quite. Let’s explore what magnesium stearate is, how this negative perception came to be, and why it is generally regarded as safe in supplements as an additive. What is Magnesium Stearate, and why is it in my supplements? Magnesium stearate is commonly found in supplements during manufacture because it helps make certain ingredients (especially powders) flow more evenly and prevents them from sticking to machines or clumping during the production process. It is created by a reaction of stearate – often derived from coconut oil or palm oil – with magnesium. The amount used in supplements is exceptionally small, with around ~1% being detectable in the final product of the total formulation. In essence, magnesium stearate is a ‘salt’ that is formed when a magnesium ion is bonded with two stearate molecules (often derived from coconut or palm oil). Stearic acid is a saturated fat that is commonly found in plenty of different foods. It is found to be the only long-chain saturated fatty acid that doesn’t raise cholesterol LDL levels. There is insufficient research and evidence to determine that magnesium stearate in these miniscule quantities could have any sort of negative effect. Magnesium Stearate – Plant Based vs. Animal Derived As an important aside, it should be noted that magnesium stearate can come from animal-based sources as well. Those who are strictly vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based will need to check the ingredient list of a product for “vegetable grade” or “vegetable magnesium stearate” to ensure it is derived from coconut oil or palm oil instead of animal fats. While allergic reactions to a formulation containing magnesium stearate are always possible, they are exceptionally rare, and the more common negative feedback on magnesium stearate simply holds no weight in reality. Debunking Magnesium Stearate and “Immune Suppression” The huge ‘claim’ about magnesium stearate is that it is known to ‘suppress’ the immune system. This claim is entirely based on one study that showed immune cells from mice being damaged by large amounts of stearic acid – which damaged the cell membranes of T-lymphocytes. This study does not depict what happens internally for those ingesting or consuming normal amounts of stearic acid (which is present, by the way, in fats like coconut) let alone the absolutely minuscule amount present in magnesium stearate as an additive used in production. This study has nothing to do with magnesium stearate to begin with (it is entirely based on stearic acid which is found in foods like coconut oil, chocolate and beef) and does not depict stearic acid used under normal conditions. Your cells are not dunked in a stearic acid solution, as is the case in this study. Another important note is that compared to the mice used in the study, human T cells have “the ability to desaturate fatty acids.” This means that even in the hypothetical situation where your T cells and immune cells were dunked in an excess of static acid, they would still maintain membrane functionality. Other claims, stating it contributes to “biofilm” growth would be inaccurate as well, as it appears as though stearic acid actually inhibits the formation and production of biofilms and is beneficial for those dealing with bacterial biofilms. Ultimately, the amount of magnesium stearate present in supplements and pills is extremely safe and will provide no ill effect unless you have an allergy to it – of course, it also provides no added benefit nor does it provide any nutritional substance. If you would rather avoid it or avoid the use of fillers/binders in supplements, always keep an eye on the ingredient list.
The ever-popular mineral, magnesium, is needed in over 300 of our daily metabolic reactions. Our bodies rely on magnesium to regulate muscle and nerve function, keep blood sugar levels balanced, make up strong bones and ensure proper liver detoxification. On the other hand, when magnesium stores are low, the risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraines increases. Why do We need Magnesium Supplements? Magnesium is primarily found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. This is because magnesium occurs naturally in garden soil. Today, these foods are grown in soil that is no longer the same as it was decades ago. Conventional agriculture practices include heavy use of imbalanced crop fertilization and potassium addition, which decrease magnesium levels. Heavy rainfall and aluminum runoff can also decrease magnesium stores. The suboptimal growing environment of crops leads to lower magnesium content in crops – even when we eat magnesium-rich greens and grains, it may not be enough. Plus, it is estimated that 34% of Canadian adults do not consume enough magnesium in their diets. The combination of both these factors results in a large portion of the population being magnesium deficient. The Benefits of Magnesium Supplements Because most of us are deficient, magnesium is one of the safest minerals to supplement. The advantage of supplementing with magnesium lies in its many forms – it is easy to choose the perfect one depending on your individual needs! Magnesium Citrate (magnesium + citric acid) One of the most common and cheapest forms of magnesium, this form is often taken to relieve constipation. Magnesium citrate can relax the bowels and pull water into the intestines so that the stool bulks up and is easier to pass. It’s a gentle laxative that will not cause dependency, unlike some herbs. Options: Natural Factors Tropical Fruit 250g, Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon 16 oz. Magnesium Malate (magnesium + malate) Is there anything that magnesium can’t do? This amazing mineral can help improve energy and metabolism on a cellular level. If you are chronically fatigued or have aching muscles, magnesium malate is a great option. Those with high inflammation will also benefit from this form. Options: AOR Mag Malate Renew 240 cap, CanPrev Magnesium Malate 120 cap Magnesium Taurine (magnesium + taurine) To improve your overall cardiovascular health, magnesium taurine is the best choice. Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine can improve blood pressure levels and keep heart contractility normal. It protects the heart from calcification and heart attacks. Options: AOR Mag + Taurine 180 cap, CanPrev Magnesium + Taurine 120 cap Magnesium Glycinate (magnesium + glycine) As one of the most popular forms of magnesium, this form can work wonders for many people. Magnesium glycinate (or bis-glycinate) is highly absorbable without causing laxative effects. It is safe to take at high doses and is commonly used for muscle tension, cramps, migraines, and to improve sleep quality. When taken before bed, it helps to calm the mind and body to ensure a good night’s rest. Options: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate 180 cap, CanPrev Bis-Glycinate 240 cap Are Magnesium Supplements Suitable for Anyone? Though magnesium supplements are relatively safe for most people, it is possible to take too much. If you experience stomach pain or diarrhea after increasing your dose, it may be a sign your body has already absorbed sufficient amounts. In this case, you may need to decrease your dose. If you are taking prescription medications, make sure to consult with your healthcare practitioner before proceeding. Author Grace Tien is dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.
Stress amid the impact of the pandemic two years on has left a lot of people feeling disconnected from family and friends, along with having to adapt to new modes of ‘normal.’ This is, in addition to already ever-present daily stressors people must contend with – work, schooling, family life, relationships, finances… Anything that perhaps felt difficult or strained before is now even more so. Making changes for the better health-wise, amid everything going on in the world, was not a priority for many. Many fell back into bad habits, unhealthy patterns, or perhaps neglected to focus more on themselves. While things may currently be in a state of flux with the increasing case numbers of Omnicron (locally and globally), 2022 still promises the hope of another year to start anew and revitalize healthier habits that can be attainable (and maintainable). New Year resolutions are always going to be personal and specific to an individual and about actualizing change that they feel they need to realize in their own life. This could mean weight loss (or gain), changing dietary habits, quitting smoking or drinking, re-designing their home environment and living space, or taking control of their own health and wellness. That being said, highly personal New Year resolutions and goals can always be supported and encouraged by recognizing that those goals are, in fact, accomplishable. That can mean reading about the success of others through blogs, social media, and peers – and it can mean knowing how best to support your own journey through supplements, vitamins, nutrition, and holistic approaches. Many are looking for a starting point or a ‘plan’ to get a more concrete sense of how to actually achieve what they set their mind to. A huge part of this is ensuring that you support your needs – if your goal in 2022 is to have a healthier year, then a priority is knowing how best to support your health. Supplements and vitamins can play a vital role in this regard to assist pre-existing dietary changes and exercise. Is your goal weight loss? Putting on muscle? Sticking to your workout plan? In addition to finding a workout routine that best works for you and your goals, supplements can provide assistance to reduce appetite cravings, ensure proper carbohydrate metabolism, and boost workout performances. B-Vitamins, particularly Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin), and B12 (cobalamin) can play an important role in helping to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. When there are pre-existing nutrient deficiencies, it can be more difficult to properly utilize or absorb nutrients from food, maintain the energy needed to sustain high-intensity workouts, or to effectively lose weight. A good B-Vitamin multi or individual supplement can assist the body when transitioning over to new dietary changes. They also ensure you maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day, as B12 deficiency is common among those who feel ‘low-energy,’ ‘tired,’ or ‘lethargic’ – especially after eating larger meals or completing daily tasks. Magnesium is another absolutely essential supplement for those who feel constantly ‘low-energy’ or unable to actively strive towards their goals – critical for the proper, healthy functioning of nerves, muscles, and cells. While magnesium is not directly correlated with weight loss, it will ensure proper muscle function and improve sleep quality to support all your workout goals and daily activity for those looking to put on muscle and lose weight or gain mass. Specific “weight loss” supplements like Green Tea Extract, Caffeine, and Garcinia Cambogia can support energy expenditure and the body’s metabolism to help aid weight loss faster – dozens of clinical trials seem to support a reduction in body weight when used in addition to dietary changes and exercise compared to those alone. Probiotics are a continuing area of research and study surrounding the ‘microbiome,’ as we begin to understand more about the role of digestive health and the ‘gut’ on overall well-being, immunity, and metabolism. Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that can benefit both the gut and overall health – these can either be found in supplemental form, or in fermented food like kimchi and sauerkraut. Your gut also feeds off the fiber in plant-based food (leafy greens, seeds, legumes) to nourish the beneficial strains of bacteria present in the digestive system. There are countless plant-based supplements that provide plenty of dietary fiber and act as a pre-biotic for those looking to up their intake. Supplements like Inulin, Psyllium Husk, or Guar Gum can feed beneficial bacteria in the gut naturally, the same way high-fiber healthy foods like beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetables can. Hence the name ‘pre-biotic.’ These can help to regulate appetite so ...
We all deal with it and we all have our own unique ways of battling it. Healthy Planet is working alongside the amazingly talented Nutritionist Kelly Maia Agnew, showcasing some of her favourite all natural products to help cope and deal with stress. Stress is real and touches us all. With all the ways stress can enter our body, it is only natural that it finds ways to relieve itself naturally. For some, a natural calm comes easily, for others, the key to finding balance can be aided by the addition of Magnesium. This essential minerals help regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and are required for producing and storing energy. Simply put, there are no single dietary factors as critical as magnesium for stress regulation. Most of us don’t have enough Magnesium in our body to begin with. Add factors that can deplete magnesium levels, such asemotional stress, heavy exercise, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and too much calcium in your diet and you are left with a body that is stressed and tense. Natural Calm is one of our favourite products out there to help maintain a healthy level of Magnesium in the body. Discover the benefits of less stress and a calmer sense of being with the help of Natural Calm. Help alleviate stress and #livelifehealthy !
The hardest-working mineral in the body does more than you know! Very few people give a moment’s thought to what goes on at the cellular level in our bodies. We have trillions and trillions of cells in our bodies, each one less than a nanogram, each one performing enzymatic reactions, energy transfers every millisecond. Magnesium is a pivotal part of this dance in and around our cells. The Multi-Tasking Mineral Every cell in our bodies relies on magnesium. It’s known as the ‘the spark of life’ because without magnesium, the very process by which our cells derive energy ceases to function. Magnesium is critical for the success of hundreds of biochemical or enzymatic reactions across all bodily systems: for our nerves, brain, muscles, bones, organs and hormones, magnesium is essential. There are only 7 macro-minerals in the body, and magnesium is ranked 4th in terms of abundance. Magnesium’s multi-tasking properties are linked to the way it partners with other nutrients. Magnesium is a cooperative mineral, aligning itself with other nutrients to help them perform their functions. Magnesium and Calcium Magnesium lives in the centre of the cell, and with adequate levels, keeps calcium on the outside of the cell where it belongs – until the body calls for energy and then calcium floods the cell. Too much calcium and not enough magnesium creates an unhealthy balance, allowing calcium to seep into the cell. Calcium in the centre of the cell puts the body in a perpetual state of excitement. There is ample evidence that tension-based conditions such as migraines, restless legs, muscle cramps, PMS and even day-to-day stress can be attributed to the troubling imbalance of too little magnesium and too much calcium. Health Benefits of Magnesium Every muscle and nerve in your body relies upon magnesium to maintain normal function. This includes the biggest muscle of them all – your heart – and magnesium also has a direct connection to the electrical system of your heart, keeping heart rhythm steady. Magnesium supports a healthy immune system, in part through its work with omega-3s. It has a crucial, yet little-known role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Magnesium is the mineral that activates the vitamin D that assimilates calcium into your bones to help keep them strong. This critical mineral also regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is an enormously complicated process that utilizes DNA, RNA, amino acids and ATP (energy) to form proteins at the rate of hundreds of proteins per second in a healthy cell. Magnesium’s multi-tasking properties are so diverse that deficiency is thought to be a key contributor to the diseases described as Metabolic Syndrome. “Metabolic” refers to the chemical processes of an organism. Metabolic Syndrome is so named because the diseases of Metabolic Syndrome – specifically Heart Disease and Diabetes – show similar deficiencies at the cellular level. Magnesium is also instrumental for temperature regulation, electrolyte balance, and activating nutrients including the vitamin B group and Omega 3s, as well as crucial hormones such as melatonin and serotonin. How Much Magnesium Do You Need? According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. and bestselling author of The Magnesium Miracle, most North Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium. Dean recommends 500 mg daily as a healthy starting place, in line with the intake common for adults 100 years ago. Health Canada sets a lower bar, suggesting 350 mg/day as an adequate intake. Even based on this modest figure, up to 65% of us fall short. Today, many Canadian adults are getting only 200 mg/day. Unlike many nutrients, magnesium is depleted every twelve hours. It must be constantly replenished. As a supplement, it’s non-toxic; any excess is safely eliminated. While too much magnesium is almost never a problem, too little can be a health disaster. Who Is Deficient and Why “Both our current diet and tendency to over-supplement with calcium…makes getting enough magnesium almost impossible.” – Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. Author of The Magnesium Miracle We just aren’t getting enough magnesium through food. Lifestyle, processed foods, and modern agriculture’s depleted soils are to blame. What magnesium we do ingest is often poorly absorbed or depleted by medication, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, excess calcium and stress. Low magnesium is even more dangerous given Canadians’ high intake of calcium through dairy, fortified foods and supplements. Calcium and magnesium need to be in balance for the chemistry of our cells to function properly. When calcium is in excess, we may experience symptoms of ...