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Why Additive Free?


Why would you have additives in your health supplements, it makes no sense does it?

We've been the UK's Number 1 supplier of 100% natural and additive free health supplements since 2007.

There are 323 approved EU additives. 

You will not find any of them in our carefully selected range of products

Additives are often allergens, and can reduce the effectiveness of your supplements.

And the more additives there are, the more complex reactions may be.

But ultimately. It's simple, a health supplement should be healthy through and through for the best results. 


Why Are We Additive Free?

Additives ensure a consistent look. They add bulk. They ensure machinery runs quickly.  But they don’t do anything for your health and vitality.  We want supplements to be healthy through and through, and totally kind to your body. We've been Additive Free since 2007. 


Is "Free From Artifical Additives" good enough?

We don't think so!  Let's take magnesium stearate, usually described as a "natural". This is one of the most widely used additives. It is made by hydrogenating plant and animal fats - definitely not natural nor healthy.  There are many additives listed as natural, but in fact have been very heavily processed.  You can read more on the natural issue here.  Using these adulterated ingredients is absolutely NOT Additive Free in our opinion.  How much of a concern this is varies by individual, and sometimes, we all have to compromise and take a product with additives, but choose carefully. And choose additive free AND natural in the first instance if you can. 


More Additives Means More Potential for Reactions

The more additives, the greater the reactions that may take place in the body.  In the study "The influence of additives on the presentation of a drug in hard gelatin capsule", it was found that large changes in response occured by the addition of a third factor (3).

It is not uncommon to see multiple additives.  Whilst the better brands may only use one or two, you can often see 10 - 20 additives in a single product (especially in tablet form). We can only ask the question, WHY? 


The Potential Health Risks of Commonly used Additives

The additives and excipients used are not bio-available and many are potential allergens, in particular in sensitive individuals and those with a compromised digestive system. (4) Some research even shows that certain additives may be immunosuppressive in some individuals (5). 

Certainly in our experience, and with many sensitive people turning to our natural products, many get on very well with our supplements, but did not with other brands where they had experienced various symptoms and discomforts. You will find a list of some of the most commonly used additives at the bottom of the page.


Additive Free Means up to 65% Better Absorption

Additives can interfere with absorption meaning some of the nutritional value may never even reach your system. In the most famous study of its kind, published in Pharmaceutical Technology, the dissolution of capsules without stearates was 90% after 20 minutes compared to 25% with stearates. (1). In another study Lee et al also found increasing the concentration of magnesium stearate decreased the dissolution rates (2). Small studies, yes, but interesting and valuable still.

So Why Do They Still Use Them?

First and foremost - profit.  Additives ensure the quickest manufacturing runs.  They are cheap to buy. And the supply chain is relevant in many cases - lets not forget pharmaceutical companies own many supplement brands. It makes commercial sense to use the same ingredients across all their brands.

Shelf life - some additives serve to increase this, but do customers really need a three year shelf life?

The "look" - although we dont understand why we need all the crazy colours?

And finally, perhaps some of these big multi-million companies just dont care?

(That would be an unfair accusation to level at some of the small, dedicated companies who are passionate about what they do, and keep additives to the absolute minimum).

Ultimately, we want supplements to be as pure, natural and fresh as possible!


Additive Free Gives You Better Value!

When you buy additive free, each and everything within that capsule is for your good health.  Do you really want to be buying pointless additives that do nothing for you?


Just some of the additives they use...

Aspartame - absolutely no place in the food chain or supplements considering its neuro toxic effects.  Accounts for 75% of all adverse effect reporting in America. When you see this in a health supplement, you really have to ask some questions.  The issues with aspartame are well documented. 

Calcium Stearate - used as a stabilizer for plastics, in cosmetics and supplements. Also used in lacquers, coatings & inks, and as an additive in concrete, textiles and paper. May cause gastrointestinal irritation. Recommendations if it comes into contact with skin - "flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes"

Carnauba Wax - obtained from palm leaves - highly refined then bleached. Used as an anticaking and coating agent.

Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate - widely used in supplements "may be safely consumed in moderate amounts. Ingestion of large quantities may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps"

Glyceryl monostearate - an emulsifier also used in shampoos

Indigo (E132) - A blue synthetic coal tar dye, normally produced by a synthesis of indoxyl by fusion of sodium phenylglycinate in a mixture of caustic soda.

Magnesium Stearate - (the magnesium salt of stearic acid), hydrogenated fat used as a lubricant in manufacturing, generally derived from plant sources, but pork is also used. The molecular structure is substantially altered. As much as 5% of many supplements consists of magnesium stearate. It is probably the most widely used of all of the hundreds of different additives. 

Malitol - a sugar alcohol made by hydrogenating maltose from corn syrup.

Microcrystalline Cellulose - (E460) a binding agent and excipient, starts off as a natural wood pulp, but is subjected to considerable processing to create a free flowing product.

Propylene Glycol - a solvent also used in antifreeze and paints and many cosmetic products. Regarded as a "safe" food additive, but excessive exposure is thought to cause metabolic problems.  It’s use in large volumes in children is very much discouraged: PG has been associated with cardiovascular, hepatic, respiratory and CNS adverse events, especially in neonates where the biological half-life is prolonged (~17h) compared with adults (5h). PG also has a laxative action at high oral doses through high osmotic pressure effects.

Polysorbate 80 an emulsifier also used as a food additive, derived from polyoxylated sorbitol and oleic acid, known to be a contact allergen.

Polyvinylpyrrolidone (E1201) PVP - a polymeric material used as coating agent also used in inks, hair products, pesticides, paints and toothpaste.

Sorbitol - a sweetener and thickening agent, found naturally in fruits, but highly processed.

Sodium Benzoate - a preservative shown to have toxic effects in numerous studies, including non-immunological contact reactions in young children such as urticaria and atopic dermatitis. Coca-Cola removed this from their drinks in 2008, yet still found in some "health" supplements.

Sunset Yellow (E110) colouring linked to behaviour problems in children.

Talc - some will argue talcum powder is a natural substance (magnesium silicate hydroxide) and indeed it has been shown to have some therapeutic value.  For example Chinese Medicine considers it has some value for the kidneys (as a short term treatment). In the West, it can be used as an injection to treat fluid build up around the lungs (with noted side effects). But, and these are big buts, the grade and type of talc can vary tremendously - no standardization exists for talc production, and there have been many issues with contaminating agents.  It has been noted for an ability to provoke an inflammatory response, and talc deposition in various organs has been observed.  There have been some links with ovarian cancer, but it must be emphasised these are tenuous. But make no mistake, talc in supplements is there for free flow and definitely not for any potential therapeutic value. And there are far too many questions for us about potential long term risks.

Titanium Dioxide (E171) - also known as titanium (IV) oxide or titania - colourant, although generally considered safe, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer believes that it may be a possible carcinogen to humans.

These are just a few examples.  But it's easy to see why Additive Free is the very best choice when it comes to your health and vitality.  And remember we have been additive free for over ten years. We didn't jump on a bandwaggon, we created the bandwaggon! 

You can view our range here

If you have any questions about any of the issues raised in this article, please do get in touch.

Why Additive Free - References

  1. Effect of magnesium stearate or calcium stearate as additives on dissolution profiles of diltiazem hydrochloride from press-coated tablets with hydroxypropylmethylcellulose acetate succinate in the outer shell. Eiji Fukui, Nobuteru Miyamura and Masao Kobayashi. Product & Technology Development Laboratory, Tanabe Seiyaku Co., Ltd
  2. The effect of formulation on I-131 dissolution in vitro from sodium iodide capsules. Lee YY, Shaw SM, Peck GE Drug Dev Ind Pharm 1995;21:663–673
  3. The influence of additives on the presentation of a drug in hard gelatin capsules.Newton JM, Razzo FN J Pharm Pharmacol. 1977 May;29(5):294-7
  4. Stearic Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Calcium Stearate, Palmitate, and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils are lubricants which enable manufacturing equipment to run more efficiently but inhibit eventual dissolution of the nutrient. Stearic acid may prevent absorption by individuals with compromised digestive systems. Magnesium stearate and stearic acid also present the problem that delivery of the active ingredient may be considerably further down the intestinal tract than the site originally intended. This may result in the nutrient being delivered away from its optimal absorption site. Not only can this impede absorption, in some cases it might be harmful to the liver.” Czap, AL. Townsend Letter For Doctors and Patients, July 1999, Vol.192; Pg. 117-119
  5. Molecular basis for the immunosuppressive action of stearic acid on T cells. P W Tebbey and T M Buttke. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville 27858-4354
  6. Ferrer J, Villarino MA, Tura JM, Traveria A, Light RW. Talc preparations used for pleurodesis vary markedly from one preparation to another. Chest. 2001;119:1901-5



And remember, we've endorsed additive free supplements for 12 years. We didnt jump on a bandwaggon, we created the bandwaggon!

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