NOW (Bloomingdale, IL), the largest independent and family-owned manufacturer of natural products in the U.S. health food store channel, said in its goal to continually making product improvements, will transition away from animal-source gelatin to Veg Capsules for almost all of their capsule products. The company is also phasing out most use of the common flow agent, magnesium stearate, to accommodate consumer preference.
Capsugel’s Veg Capsules are made of vegetarian-friendly cellulose material from pine trees, which is preferred by a wide variety of health-conscious consumers. They have both kosher and halal certification, are certified by the Vegetarian and Vegan Action Society, are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free and preservative-free.
“To date 97 percent of our capsule products are in Veg Capsules,” said Dan Richard, vice president of global sales and marketing. “NOW is Capsugel’s largest U.S. customer for Veg Capsules.”
NOW has also been eliminating magnesium stearate from most encapsulated products in response to customer requests. Commonly used in encapsulated products as a flow agent and derived from palm oil, magnesium stearate is on the FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, but consumers have expressed a preference for avoiding it. NOW has mostly substituted stearic acid, a common dietary fat, in place of magnesium stearate; though NOW believes that both ingredients are entirely safe and without known health concerns, as initial test tube studies suggesting otherwise have not been supported by better human clinical studies.
Additional information about magnesium stearate can be found at https://www.nowfoods.com/now/nowledge/magnesium-stearate-faqs.