Inactive Ingredients in our Medicines & Supplements Not As Inactive As Claimed

The older we get, the more medications, vitamins and supplements we end up taking. I was one who never took anything unless it was absolutely necessary. These days, I take 3 prescriptions and nearly 2 dozen vitamins and supplements. The meds are for blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The vitamins and supplements are to help control blood pressure, blood sugar, prostate health, kidney health and boost my weakened immune system.

In virtually everything that has label with full disclosure, it lists active and inactive ingredients. For example, here is what the labels from 3 of the vitamins or supplements I take read:

“Other ingredients – gelatin, soybean oil, vegetable glycerin, <2% soy, lecithin, yellow beeswax”

“Other ingredients – cellulose (pant origin), <2% croscarmellose, silica, vegetable magnesium stearate, vegetable stearic acid.”

“Other ingredients – soybean oil, gelatin (porcine), glycerin yellow beeswax, water, soy lecithin, colors added (including carmine).”

On the label for the over-the-counter allergy med, it reads:

“Inactive ingredients – corn starch, FD&C blue no.1, aluminum lake, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, titanium dioxide and triacetin.”

If you wonder that they do, they are used to enhance color, texture, make them more absorbable by the body, taste and more.

Most of us take for granted that these inactive and other ingredients are just that, they really don’t actively affect us, but many people resist vaccines because of the so-called inactive ingredients contained in the vaccine.

Just how inactive are these ingredients?

According to a recent report:

“Active ingredients are the ones that provide a therapeutic benefit, while inactive ingredients are just that — inactive — meaning they don’t react in the body and are instead there to enhance the properties of the medication itself, such as its taste, appearance and ability to be absorbed by the body.”

“But it turns out that inactive ingredients may not be as, well, inactive as we think: A new study finds that, in some patients, inactive ingredients can trigger allergic reactions or other symptoms of food intolerance.”

“The study was published today (March 13) in the journal Science Translational Medicine. (Of note, three of the study authors hold a patent on a system that examines the burden of inactive ingredients in pills.)”

“The researchers began looking into inactive ingredients after senior study author Dr. Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, treated a patient with celiac disease who had a reaction to a medication that contained inactive ingredients derived from wheat products.”

“Traverso and his team started by looking through the medical literature for reports of patients reacting to inactive ingredients. The researchers found some studies on patients who had allergic reactions to inactive ingredients such as lactose — present in about 45 percent of pills — as well as certain kinds of chemical dyes.”

It pays to read labels, including the inactive or other ingredients on vitamins, supplements and medications you take, especially if you have other health conditions that could be exasperated by things like lactose, soy or other supposedly harmless ingredients.

Remember that you are the only one that is ultimately responsible for what you put into your body.

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