A Glossary of Terms for
Inactive or Other Ingredients
One of the new sections of the label is entitled, "Other ingredients.” Products also contain some inactive ingredients which provide such functions as helping tablets to hold together, gelatin for the actual capsules, and so on. These components appear in the "other ingredients" section of the label. Here is a glossary of all of the inactive ingredients you should find on all DSHEA-compliant labels; right under the Supplement Facts Label or under Active Ingredients List. Inactive ingredients pass through the body, but do not provide nutritive value and are not absorbed. Acacia Gum
See Gum Arabic
A pharmaceutical-grade, pure form of calcium, also found naturally occurring in eggshells: considered a good source of dietary calcium. This allows for better compression of active ingredients into tablet form.
This is a naturally-occurring gum (non-digestible carbohydrate) from several species of red algae, such as Irish moss. Carrageenan is used as a thickener and emulsifier and is a source of dietary soluble fiber.
A pharmaceutical-grade, pure form of both essential minerals: calcium and phosphorous. It helps to bind active ingredients into tablets. Dicalcium Phosphate is considered a good source of dietary calcium.
A processed resinous extract collected harm-free from tropical rain forest trees. This produces a smooth, shiny coating. Sometimes used as an enteric coating to delay disintegration and to protect the tablet from moisture. Food Glaze is widely recognized to provide an extremely safe and stable coating material.
A common sugar found in most plants, abundant in fruits (grapes are often used as a source) and honey. Used as a sweetener in chewable tablets and drink mixes.
It is derived from beef tissues (mainly skin and bone) that are rich in collagen. It is used in pharmaceutical and nutritional formulations mainly to form either hard or soft gelatin capsules, which support excellent product stability.
It is also known as Dextrose, a common simple sugar (a carbohydrate) which is readily absorbed by the body. It also is manufactured by the body (blood sugar). This allows for better compression of active ingredients into tablet form.
A carbohydrate produced by fermentation of sugar beet molasses. Glycerin is used in tablet coatings for even distribution and to prevent chipping. It is also used as a component in gelatin capsules.
It is a nonessential amino acid that the body manufactures and uses as a nutrient. This is an important component in the chelation process for several mineral components.
Natural plant gum obtained from the Acacia tree. It is used in foods as a thickener, and in tablets as a binder and to help meet USP* standards for gastric disintegration.
A natural plant gum (carbohydrate), used in foods as a thickener, and in tablets as a binder and to help meet USP * standards for gastric disintegration.
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC)
A highly-purified carbohydrate, derived from specially-selected vegetable fiber (cellulose) that is composed of glucose units. It facilitates easier swallowing, and provides a more uniform coating with smoother, more even color. HPMC adds no calories, is Kosher certified, and is widely accepted as nontoxic and non-allergenic.
Hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC)
It is a sweetener that is a mixture of equal amounts of glucose and fructose. It is more soluble than sucrose and it has improved microbiological stability.
It can be used as an emulsifier and as an aid in the breakdown of fats. Lecithin is known for its lipotropic properties and for its phosphoglycerides (such as phosphotidyl choline and inositol). It is found in milk, egg yolks, soybeans and certain other vegetables.
An inert, pure, pharmaceutical-grade mineral powder used to prevent food-glazed, coated tablets from adhering together during production.
The magnesium salt is made of stearic acid. This vegetable-source compound is vital for keeping the tablet ingredients from adhering to equipment during the manufacturing process.
Derived from rice and corn starch, and used in tablet formulations to allow even distribution and/or mixing of active ingredients. The safety and efficacy of this component is well established.
It is a pharmaceutical-grade, pure form of plant vegetable that helps to hold the tablet together. It is milled into an extremely fine powder to assist the product to meet USP* standards for gastric disintegration and to enhance nutrient bioavailability.
It is a natural emulsifier, derived from a vegetable source. Emulsifiers assist to disperse oils (such as fat-soluble vitamins) into water or water-based bodily fluids, to enhance bioavailability.
Natural and Artificial Flavors
Substances added to impart or help impart a taste or aroma in a food or supplement.
It is obtained from the fruit of olive trees. Olive oil is a natural source of unsaturated fatty acids. It is used as a natural base for suspension of active ingredients in soft gels.
This is a natural plant gum (soluble dietary fiber), obtained from citrus peel and apple. Pectin is used in foods as a thickener.
It is a pure, pharmaceutical-grade ingredient used as an inhibitor of yeast and mold growth in high water content formulations.
A complex carbohydrate used in some formulas to protect active ingredients (e.g. nutrients) from degradation in the gastric environment.
It’s an indigestible carbohydrate (fiber) that comes from the cell walls of plants. Powdered cellulose facilitates a smooth flow of material during manufacturing, keeping powders free of clumps. This also insures an even distribution of nutritional components throughout the batch.
It’s an extract from rice that consists of two glucose polysaccharides. Rice starch is used to hold all active ingredients together, and also allows even mixing and distribution of ingredients. It also aids products to meet USP* standards for gastric disintegration.
It’s a form of silica, the most abundant substance on Earth. This pure, pharmaceutical-grade silicon compound is insoluble and is not digested or absorbed in the intestinal tract. During manufacturing, it enhances the flow of powders and prevents material from forming clumps. This also insures an even distribution of nutrient components throughout the batch so that the products uniformly meet or exceed nutrient label claims.
It’s a pure, pharmaceutical-grade silica-based component with a long history of safe use. Simethicone is used to help seal the coating and promote a smooth tablet surface.
A seaweed-based complex carbohydrate used as a binder to meet USP* standards for gastric disintegration, and to thereby enhance nutrient bioavailability. Sodium Alginate is widely recognized as being biologically inactive in the body. It is internationally recognized as being non-irritating and non-toxic.
This is a plant cellulose-based component, actually a form of dietary fiber, that encourages a timely breakdown of the tablet in the digestive tract. Sodium Croscarmellose helps insure that the tablets or capsules meet strict USP* standards for gastric disintegration and dissolution, and helps to promote nutrient bioavailability.
Sodium Starch Glycolate
A form of potato starch, used in tablets and capsules, that helps to meet strict USP* standards for gastric disintegration and dissolution, and to thereby promote nutrient bioavailability.
This is a vegetable-derived emulsifier. Emulsifiers have the major functions of reducing surface tension between two components at their interface allowing those components to mix more easily.
A natural sugar alcohol found in many berries. Used as a sweetener.
A natural fatty acid obtained from edible vegetable sources. It supports the flow of the product during manufacturing from initial mixing to final from, ensuring the ratio of nutrients is consistent from tablet to tablet, capsule to capsule and serving to serving. It also acts as a tableting aid and prevents tablet ingredients from adhering to production equipment.
A natural sugar, derived from sugar cane or sugar beets, which the body digests into glucose and fructose. It facilitates uniform compression of active ingredients into tablets.
This is a pure, pharmaceutical-grade naturally-occurring mineral that is widely used to make product appearance more uniform. Titanium dioxide is broadly accepted in the scientific community as being biologically inactive in the body and is internationally recognized as being non-irritating and non-toxic.
It is a pharmaceutical-grade, pure form of both calcium and phosphorous. Tricalcium Phosphate allows even distribution and mixing of active ingredients and aids in tablet compression. It is considered a good source of dietary calcium.
A plant-based sugar alcohol that has been combined with acetic acid derived from vinegar. Triacetin enhances product stability, helps to prolong shelf life, eases swallowing, and provides a more uniform coating with smoother, more even color.
It occurs naturally in the vanilla plant. It is used as a flavoring in foods and to mask odors in tablet-based supplement formulas.
A complex carbohydrate derived from glucose fermentation. It is used to promote even distribution of active ingredients.
It is naturally-obtained beeswax from honeycomb. Yellow wax is used in both topical and ingestible products, as an emulsifier and stabilizer.
Used as a natural emulsifier and stabilizer. It’s derived from the yucca plant.
United States Pharmacopoeia (
) is the organization that establishes standards for pharmaceutical quality and purity.
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