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Killer Fillers: Are They in Your Supplements?

Killer Fillers: Are They in Your Supplements?

When living a healthy lifestyle, supplements can be used to fill in nutritional gaps. For many individuals, such supplementation isn’t just beneficial – it’s necessary. It’s important to realize, however, that not all supplements are created equal.

Many products contain harmful ingredients and additives that include anything from artificial colors and hydrogenated oils to talc and lead. One particularly concerning additive that has the world’s attention lately is titanium dioxide.

What Is Titanium Dioxide?

Titanium dioxide is a nanoparticle made from titanium that is used to give something a white color. You can find it in paint, sunscreen, cosmetics and even food products. It’s termed an "inorganic" compound, but that title only serves to mask its harmful nature. When used topically or internally, it can cause serious side effects.

Where Is Titanium Dioxide Used?

Widely used by commercial food brands, this compound may be hiding in some of your favorite snacks. Up until recently, Dunkin’ Donuts used titanium dioxide in their powdered sugar. Now that people are shedding light on the dangers of it, the company announced they would no longer use it.

Despite the fact that it doesn’t change flavor or texture, titanium dioxide can be found on countless labels, including mayonnaise, peanut butter, sausage, canned fish, processed desserts and chocolate candies. Unfortunately, titanium dioxide is also commonly used in supplements as a pigment for improved appearance.

How Does the Body React to Titanium Dioxide?

Titanium dioxide is quite potent once it reaches the body, especially when taken internally. Proven by multiple studies, it’s been shown to cause cancer and create pre-neoplastic cells, which can become cancer. It affects the lungs, colon, brain and immune system and is associated with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

How to Avoid Titanium Dioxide in Supplements

Consumers can’t trust every supplement found at their local supermarket or even health food store. Taking charge of your own health, you should always read packaging carefully and know the different names that fillers go by, such as magnesium silicate (talc) and E171 (titanium dioxide). 

When shopping for supplements, look for plant or food-based varieties rather than synthetic and be sure to read their ingredient labels in full. If at all possible, stick with organic options, verifying the products are GMO-free.

Such vigilance and label reading may cost a few extra minutes of your time, but your health – and that of your family – is well worth it.