Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “Some dietary supplements tout the fact that they contain “no fillers or binders”. Are all products that contain fillers and/or binders bad?” — Justin D., Chicago, IL
A. Dear Justin, I am often asked about “fillers and binders,” as some companies market their products to be superior because they do not contain “fillers and binders.” These substances are more correctly called “excipients.” Excipients are those ingredients in a product that do not play an active role. Excipients are used for many reasons. Some are opacifiers, which means they protect key nutrients from light exposure and degradation, or antioxidants that help to resist oxidative reactions. Others help the product resist moisture, or other stressors that might reduce the product’s efficacy. Some are included to make the products easier to swallow, so they do not stick in the throat. There are also excipients that assure that each tablet or capsule contains the same dose, and so they do not stick together, or break. Still others assure that the tablet or capsule disintegrates after ingestion in an optimal time span. Therefore, excipients are tools to be used judiciously to create effective products.
That said, there are problematic excipients that I would never use. Examples of those excipients include phthalates, and other synthetic chemicals derived from petrochemicals, etc. That is why you want to make sure any products you buy are from companies you trust to be ever vigilant watchdogs regarding what goes into their products.
Terry . . . Naturally