What Is Magnesium Stearate?

by Amy Long Carrera

Capsules pouring out of a bottle.

rvlsoft/iStock/Getty Images

It's important to know exactly what is in a dietary supplement capsule before you pop it in your mouth. When magnesium and stearic acid are bound together, the compound is known as magnesium stearate, an anti-caking agent that helps keep the ingredients in tablets and capsules from sticking to processing equipment. This results in consistent amounts of active ingredients in each tablet or capsule.

Magnesium Stearate Explained

Essential for life, magnesium is a mineral that is necessary to turn food into energy, transport nutrients across cell membranes, maintain bone structure and make DNA. Stearic acid is a saturated fat that occurs naturally in animal and plant foods, such as chicken, grass-fed beef, coconut oil and chocolate. According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, magnesium stearate is safe for humans.

Photo Credits

  • rvlsoft/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Amy Long Carrera is a registered dietitian in Los Angeles who has been writing since 2007 for such publications as The Insider, On the Other Side and Arthritis Today. She is a certified nutrition support clinician and her writing employs current research to provide evidence-based nutrition information. Carrera holds a master of science degree in nutrition from California State University, Northridge.