Question: When reading supplement labels, I have noticed a number of things listed in the "other ingredients" section that make no sense to me. Can you offer some guidance?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
In order to pick a quality supplement, it is important to read the product’s entire label, including the section entitled, “other ingredients.” Much information on the quality of the product can be gleaned from that section. Poor-quality supplements often have questionable materials added to their products. These are often listed in “other ingredients.”
Furthermore, this part of the label may reveal whether the manufacturer is using synthetic or natural, bioidentical forms of nutrients. Ingredients found in this section that would cause me to say that this product should not be taken include dyes such as FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, and FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake.
These are coloring agents derived from coal tar, and they contain aluminum atoms. Aluminum can compete with calcium for absorption and elevated aluminum levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems, according to a report in the June 2011 issue of Neuroscience Bulletin.
There is no known health benefit of aluminum ingestion. It makes little sense to add aluminum to any nutritional product. Many products also list hydrogenated oils in the “other ingredients” section. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fatty acids, which are associated with a host of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
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