Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Natural Health And A Culture Of Fear

Magnesium Stearate Is Not Dangerous - Stop The Hype

Earlier this week I received an email from a supplement company whose products I use with clients very often about magnesium stearate.

It was about misinformation being spread online that stearic acid is some sort of poison which damages the digestive system and prevents absorption of nutrients.

The email stated:

It seems that a very small minority of nutritional supplement marketers and manufacturers, including a brand in the professional supplement realm, have decided it is in their best interest to disparage the vast majority of nutritional supplement companies.  They are doing so by reporting false claims regarding a formulation ingredient that supplement manufacturers use to assure homogenous, multi-ingredient nutritional supplement blends.  Without optimal blending of therapeutic agents one cannot consistently produce products with maximum health benefits, and which meet label claims.
The ingredient in question is stearic acid, also commonly referenced as vegetable stearate and/or magnesium stearate.  I fear the net effect of these negative marketing efforts is to scare the general consumer away from the use of any nutritional supplements.

I have three points to make out this.
1) Stearate acid is safe
2) The dangers of using fear to sell product
3) Should I be scarred to say anything about this?

Stearate Acid Is Safe

A  Dr. Myatt has posted an extensive and very scholarly video on youtube about this. Click here to watch.

If you have any questions on magnesium stearate please watch above video. There is really no need for me to repeat the same information put forth by D. Myatt.

Designs For Health also has a fact sheet available at this link

Not to mention the anecdotal evidence

If magneseum stearate was so dangerous, it would cause illness among all the millions of people consuming supplements with it.

Besides, I (and lots of my colleagues) have helped many people who have digestive issues with these supplements. I am repeat lab tests of clients, showing huge changes in secretory IgA and inflammatory markers for GI after taking supplements with magnesium stearate. And I'm just one of thousands of practitioners who sees this.

Using Fear To Sell Product

When people start educating themselves about health, something happens... they learn our world is full of poisons; Flu shots, GMO foods, xeno-biotics in plastic, metals in tap water, amalgam fillings, antibiotics, pesticides, acrlyimides, etc...

The fact of the matter is that our species has created a very toxic world, and now we are paying for it with our health.

With that being said, is there really any reason for people to spread fear about things that are safe?

Honestly, it seems that a reflex develops where you just tell someone some sort of chemically sounding name is dangerous and they'll jump on board.

This has been somewhat demonstrated with the hydrogen dioxide petition experiment. This was made more well known when Penn and Teller got people to signs a petition to ban water, by calling it "hydrogen peroxide."  In some respect I find this piece to be a propaganda smear against environmentalism, as I think members of any philosophy (environmentalism, a religion, libertarianism, the democrats, the republicans, or any of "ism") will tend to just automatically jump on board with other people claiming to be of the same philosophy.

Nonetheless, the point is that simply telling people who are interested in natural health that some dangerous sounding chemical is dangerous, will get many to believe it, regardless of the actual science.

What I see with the magnesium stearate smear campaign is a few people in the field of natural health, trying to make money, by telling the public that what I, and my colleague recommend to patients is dangerous.

Just about anyone in natural health who uses supplements, is recommending products with magnesium stearate. So while it is not an attack against naturopathy, it is my extension an attack on the supplements recommended and sold by most naturopathic doctors.

Seriously. Most Naturopathic Doctors are good hearted people. Most put themselves tens of thousands into debt, in order to get a degree because they want to help other people. I think it's disgusting to claim that the products they use are dangerous. I don't want people who are taking supplements given by a qualified practitioner to flip out and throw them away because of something they read from Dr. Mercola. I'm sorry, but I think sabotaging patient relationships with their doctors, with false information is dangerous. Dangerous because we are talking about supplements that people need.

Should I be afraid to voice my opinion?

A major person who has pushed the attack on magnesium stearate is Dr. Mercola. My first thought honestly, was that I should say nothing. Because Dr. Mercola is very popular. Maybe someone who is considering making an appointment with me will see I don't agree with Dr. Mercola and then not see me. After all (as stated in above video that I linked to), many people will automatically believe anything Dr. Mercola says, without any fact checking.

Well, this is my opinion of Dr. Mercola:
  • 99% of the information he puts out in his newsletter is great. Dr. Mercola is one of the leaders in this country when it comes to spreading information on natural health. Personally, I've read his newsletter for years.
  • I also believe that Dr. Mercola is a good person, who is doing his best to help people improve health. Because I have issues with his views on magnesium stearate, that doesn't take away from everything else he has done.
  • Dr. Mercola uses fear to sell product. For example, the headline of his latest newsletter was
    "The Popular Meat That May Be Too Contaminated to Eat." The newsletter uses fear to pull in the reader. But it's not just this days newsletter. It's virtually every days newsletter. After a while I stopped reading most of his newsletters. Often by the fear mongering headline I can guess what the article is about. I also don't think it's healthy to start each day with fear and negativity. I mean, sure vitamin B12 deficiency is common, but do we really need to read "Warning: Potentially Life Threatening Vitamin Deficiency Affects 25% of Adults."

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