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Read the Label: Avoid These 12 Supplement Ingredients

Supplements can be beneficial for your health, but some ingredients are more harmful than helpful. When you know what to avoid, you can make informed decisions about your supplement regimen. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Some supplement ingredients are harmful rather than helpful. 
  • Find out why certain supplement ingredients can cancel out any product’s benefits. 
  • Learn which supplement ingredients to avoid at all costs. 

Find out 12 important supplement ingredients to look for and avoid!

Table of Contents:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  2. Magnesium Stearate
  3. Titanium Dioxide
  4. Artificial Flavors
  5. Artificial Preservatives
  6. Alternative Sweeteners
  7. Talc
  8. Hydrogenated Oils
  9. EDTA
  10. Shellac
  11. Artificial Colors and Dyes
  12. Magnesium Silicate 
  13. Protect Your Health By Avoiding These Ingredients

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Some supplements contain high fructose corn syrup to make them sweeter. This may sound like a great idea; who doesn’t love good-tasting supplements? 

The problem with high fructose corn syrup goes far beyond supplements. It is linked to an increased risk of obesity, blood pressure problems, and other health issues. 

The human body is not meant to consume high levels of refined sugars. High fructose corn syrup is just that — a refined sugar-loaded sweetener. 

Avoid any health supplements that contain high fructose corn syrup, especially if it is one of the first ingredients listed. 

Magnesium Stearate

Magnesium stearate is often used to create certain textures and colors in supplements. It is also frequently used to make the powder inside capsules less sticky. 

Some supplements contain magnesium stearate to regulate the rate at which they are absorbed into your system. Unfortunately, magnesium stearate isn’t worth the risk. 

Magnesium stearate has been linked to health problems, including:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Loose and frequent bowel movements
  • Harmful film buildup in your digestive tract
  • Exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals
  • Poor digestion and nutrient absorption

You can avoid these uncomfortable and inconvenient problems by steering clear of magnesium stearate. At Quality of Life, every supplement is magnesium stearate-free. 

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a compound that makes supplements lighter in color. Specifically, this compound is used to whiten supplement capsules and powders. 

Some studies suggest that titanium dioxide may build up in your body and impact the genetic contents of your cells. This is known as genotoxicity. 

Genotoxicity can lead to serious, chronic health problems down the road. No supplement is worth risking your long-term health. 

Titanium dioxide is considered highly unsafe in food and beverages. The EU banned titanium dioxide across the board, which displays just how harmful this additive can be. 

Do not purchase any supplement that contains titanium dioxide in its ingredients list.  

Artificial Flavors

“Artificial flavors” is a deceptive ingredient label that has numerous meanings. Many brands will not disclose the actual ingredients behind their artificial flavorings. 

Any compound used to flavor a supplement and not from a natural source is considered artificial. You could be consuming harmful, toxic, and unhealthy ingredients without even knowing it!

Avoid any artificial flavorings in the supplements that you take. 

Artificial Preservatives

Similarly to artificial flavorings, artificial preservatives are not from natural sources. They are used to extend the shelf-life of certain supplements, but there’s a downside. 

Artificial preservatives can negatively affect your gut health, digestion, and weight. Scientists are still figuring out how artificial preservatives alter the bacteria in your gut microbiome. 

For this reason, you should avoid the following preservative ingredients:

  • Propylene glycol
  • Carrageenan
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Nitrates
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Sulfites

This list is not exhaustive. Always research the preservatives in supplements to make sure they are not artificially derived. 

Alternative Sweeteners

Alternatives to sugar are controversial for many reasons. Artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose, may be harmful to your health. 

Alternative sweeteners are often advertised as zero-calorie, zero-sugar substitutes for regular sugar. This sounds appealing, but your gut microbiome tells a different story. 

Some artificial sweeteners can negatively impact your gut health and some parts of digestion. When it comes to artificial sweeteners in health supplements, just say “no.” 


Talc is added to many supplements for its non-stick properties. This makes the manufacturing process easier, as powders and capsules don’t stick to equipment and each other as easily. 

Research has suggested that talc consumption may be linked to long-term health problems. Currently, scientists say there is not enough data on talc to make it safe for consumption.

This means you should avoid supplements that contain talc. There are other non-stick agents that work just as well without risking your health. 

Hydrogenated Oils

Not all oils are created equal. Hydrogenated oils overload your body with lots of trans fat — the worst kind of fat for your health. 

Many supplement brands use hydrogenated oils for preservative and freshness purposes. However, hydrogenated oil consumption is linked to higher risks of heart problems.

Avoid supplements that contain hydrogenated oils for freshness or increased shelf-life. 


EDTA is a special acid used in supplements that claim to treat metal toxicity. Metal toxicity is a complex and challenging health problem that should always be addressed by a physician. 

Taking EDTA in supplements can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies. This acid binds to metals and can cause toxicity in high amounts. 

It’s best to avoid EDTA altogether unless prescribed by a medical professional. 


Many people have heard of shellac as a nail polish ingredient. Some supplements contain shellac to give softgels their coating. 

Any supplement with shellac is no longer vegetarian or vegan, as shellac comes from a parasite. Whether you have ethical concerns or just want to avoid this gross ingredient, we highly recommend you don’t allow it in your supplements

Artificial Colors and Dyes

Artificial colors are in many food, beverage, and supplement products these days. They are very controversial because of their potential to negatively affect your mental and physical health. 

Some artificial dyes and colorings are linked to attention problems, mood swings, and genotoxicity. Ingredients like Red 40, Citrus Red No. 2, and Orange B should be avoided at all costs. 

Magnesium Silicate 

The powder form of magnesium silicate is used as a non-stick agent. It is the chemical precursor to talc.

There is not enough scientific evidence to suggest that magnesium silicate is 100% safe. We recommend avoiding this ingredient out of caution. 

Protect Your Healthy by Avoiding These Ingredients

At Quality of Life, we use safe, science-backed ingredients that will not pose risks to your health. Your well-being is our top priority! 

Avoid these supplement ingredients to protect your health and defend against adverse effects later. 

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