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The "No Fillers" Secret


Devin Houston, Ph.D.


"Why do you use fillers?"

We often hear this question from consumers eager to learn about enzyme supplements.

Fillers are used in encapsulated products for several reasons and it ultimately depends on the manufacturer as to what filler is used.

Nearly all the products in our current enzyme line need a small amount of filler that has a certain level of "oiliness", so that the encapsulation machines work better. The amount of oil needed is very small. A number of materials could be used: mineral oil, vegetable oils, or plant products with a certain amount of natural oiliness.

When needed, Houston Enzymes uses a tiny amount of medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil) derived from palm kernel. The amount of MCT is approximately 1 milligram per capsule.

In some of our products, teh MCT oil is combined with cellulose (from spruce tree bark). Cellulose is inert, not digestible, but gives a "cleaner" look to the capsule contents (whitish vs. brown color). Cellulose won't dissolve in water, so you may see it as sediment if put in liquids. The enzymes themselves readily dissolve, however.

Another reason to use fillers is to achieve consistent capsule weights, so dosing is consistent from capsule to capsule.

There are manufacturers who do not use any extraneous material as filler during the encapsulation process, and some enzyme companies tout their products as being free of filler. However, this is not quite true, and depends on your definition of "filler". And this is where we touch upon one of the "secrets" of the supplement industry.

All powder supplements - at some point in their manufacturing - go from a liquid form to a solid form. To do this, the liquefied supplement is sprayed onto a very thin film of maltodextrin, which is referred to as a "carrier". This is true of enzymes as well. The carrier also serves to stabilize the enzyme activity so that it remains effective even after months of storage.

Regardless of which company you buy your enzymes from, there will be maltodextrin present. Sometimes, companies will dilute an enzyme to a smaller activity level by adding more maltodextrin. Since this is a component of the enzyme, it is often not considered a "filler" in the strict sense of the word. But it actually is.

So what does all this mean? Any enzyme will have some kind of filler, whether it's maltodextrin, rice bran, or cellulose.

No one filler will please everyone, but a good formula can minimize the amount of all filler. Houston Enzymes does this by using the most concentrated enzymes available. This decreases the ratio of maltodextrin to enzyme. Also, we use enzyme as filler as much as possible. We put together formulas so that a capsule is filled as much as possible with extra enzyme, so that only 1 to 35 mg of filler need to be used, depending on the formulation.

We are always striving to deliver the best products to our customers with as much information as possible. We hope our honesty and forthrightness is appreciated.