Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Don’t Give Your Dog Supplements That Contain Magnesium Stearate - Its Bad for Your Dog's Health

Magnesium Stearate can be found in about 95% of supplements sold in pharmacies, stores and/or supplied by doctors and veterinarians to their patients.

Magnesium Stearate is a lubricant that acts as a 'slipping agent'. 

It is created by adding a magnesium ion to stearic acid. 

Magnesium Stearate is added to pills and capsules to:
  • Keep the pills/capsules from sticking to each other;
  • From sticking to the machinery, which in turn...
  • Means that they processing plant can run the processing/production machinery at a higher speed...
  • Which means that they can increase production while requiring less inspection on the production line to ensure uninterrupted processing.
  • Culminating in better profit margins. 
Magnesium Stearate may be good for company profit but it is seriously bad for yours and your dog's health and here is why...

The Problem Is...

1.0 Stearic Acid is Typically Made Using Hydrogentated Cottonseed or Palm Oil.

These oils pose a real health risk:
  • Of all commercial oils, cotton seed has the highest content of pesticide residue.  
  • Cottonseed oil is used to coat the supplement – which means it is coating the nutrients in the supplement.
  • As a coating agent the cottonseed oil slows down/delays the absorption of the nutrients in the intestines.
  • The other problem with cottonseed oil is that it often comes from Genetically Engineered seed crops – long-term studies on the health effects of ingesting GE is not known.
  • In large amounts magnesium stearte damages the skin and liver…remember that most dogs are smaller than adult humans it would take less magnesium stearate to damage a dog.
2.0 Why is the Delay in the Absorption of Nutrients Bad?

Depending on what your dog is eating with the supplement the food may be pushed through the GI tract at a faster pass than the nutrients in the supplement can be absorbed. Your dog may not get to benefit from some or all of the nutrients meant to be delivered by the supplement. At best your money is thrown away, at worst your dog may be in serious trouble from lack of the required nutrient.

3.0 Magnesium Stearate - as Noted Above Contains Stearic Acid. 
  • Stearic acid suppresses T cells. 
  • Why does that matter? 
  • T-cells (T lymphocytes) are part of the lymphocytes group of white blood cells.
    Lymphocytes play a key function in cell-mediated immunity. 
  •  T Cells are killer cells, and are very important to good immune system function. 
  • Stearic acid causes the collapse of the cell membrane in these very important T cells. 
  • Collapse occurs when the T-cells are exposed over time to damaging doses of the acid. Collapse of the cell membrane leads to the destruction of cell function.

In my opinion the above provides sufficient reason to steer clear of magnesium stearate. 

It seems to me that the pharmaceutical companies are incredibly unethical as is the pet industry…here are a few more examples...

Fish Meal (included in many Dog Kibble formulas) http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/fish-fish-meal-and-ethoxyquin-danger-do.html

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld. 


  1. I have canine with food allergies and IBD. Can you suggest good hypoallergenic multivitamin?

    1. Contact http://peterdobias.com/ and see if they have a supplement you can use - the ingredients they use are good quality, organic, holistic.

  2. Thank you for your speedy response. I will certainly check out his website.

  3. Is it safe to rub magnesium chloride(liquid) to the outside of a dogs leg that has a muscle injury. I know this speeds up healing and decreases inflammation in humans, but is it safe for a dog.

    1. Yes magnesium chloride liquid, oil or gel is safe to use topically on a dog. It has the same healing properties for dogs as it does for human :>)

  4. Dear Karen,
    My 16yr old toy poodle has an enlarged heart and has been falling over when excited with completely outstretched legs, immobile for a little bit, but it does not seem to hurt. I have finally realized that this may be a magnesium deficiency. Is there any form that you would recommend? Chloride oil or a pill with food or in water? She is a small dog, so I'm not sure about the dosage.

    Many thanks!!!


    1. Hi Marina - you can use Magnesium chloride gel or oil - rub a little on to her tummy 2x per day.
      Cheers, Karen

  5. Do you think my 10yo beagle would benefit from Magnesium Gel? She has had several small seizures over the years and I was told that magnesium would help her. Thanks in advance. Coralie.

    1. Hi Coralie - studies correlate low magnesium levels with epilepsy. So yes I think it would be well worth your while rubbing some magnesium gel of oil on his tummy daily.
      Cheers, Karen

  6. If I opened the capsule and only gave my dog the powder, would that be okay? (Basically, is the magnesium stearate only in the capsule?) Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily, yes the magnesium stearate is an ingredient in the capsule - so if you just open the capsule and use only the powder you can avoid the ms.

  7. I finally found one that contains vegetable stearate. Is this safe, or it too poses the same problem? Thanks!

    1. Again same thing - open the capsule and just use the powder - the vegetable stearate accumulates in the body over time and can contribute to toxic load. The source of the vegetable stearate is typically GMO oils - high in herbicide residue.

  8. My 10 yr old Boston Terrier has Cushing's Disease and his entire body is now starting to calcify horribly. How much magnesium chloride gel is safe to apply on his skin daily?

    1. Hi Art,

      1) A dime size amount 2x per day
      2) I recommend that you seriously consider http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca/diet-nutrition-wellness-plans/

    2. Karen, thank you for your response. I'll be sending you an email regarding a customized diet for my Frodo.

  9. My dog has severe anxiety & noise phobias. He is uncontrollable whenever it rains, thunders, is windy or when fireworks go off. He destroys everything in the house, excessively pants & drools, rips up the rugs by digging excessively & just doesn't calm down for hours. I don't want to put him on Prozac, but I have tried almost everything "natural" out there.....thundershirt, DEP, calming collars, melatonin etc. Have you ever heard of a dog acting like this & would you have any recommendations? My vet will only provide me with tranquilizers, but that doesn't even work.

    1. Yes,as I specialize in dealing with dogs with extreme behavioral issues, I have worked with many dogs that exhibit the behaviour your dog is currently doing. Feel free to read the many articles I have written related to this subject or you can engage my phone consultation service. The pet industry loves to market contrivances such as DEP, spray and pheromone collars, thunder shirts etc. which in reality do NOT work other than for the most mild of cases. For dogs with great intelligence and sensitivity such items do not work as they fail to address the root cause. The dog's human must be taught how to better understand their dog, how to communicate effectively, and how to mentor the dog to a healthier psychological state which is NOT something the majority of trainers and behaviourists have the skill set to do. If you decide you would like to work via phone consultation with me you can choose to do so.


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats