Many health food supplements contain any of a number of different additives that have absolutely no nutritional value, may actually cause your body to have a reaction, and should be avoided. Take a look at the label of your supplement, under “other ingredients” or “inactive ingredients” you might see some of these names: microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, silica, vegetable gum, simethicone, stearic acid, propyl glycol, talc … just to name a few.
Some of these items, such as magnesium stearate, are in the formulation as a lubricant. It helps the flow of the principal ingredient to move faster through the encapsulating machine. If a health food company wants to get greater production through their machines, they will add one of these powders to generate a faster smoother flow and run many more capsules/hour. Sometimes, the fillers are just used to take up space in the capsule, so that the consumer perceives that he is getting more product in a larger capsule but in fact is just getting fillers. There have also been many cases of companies entirely substituting fillers for the real active ingredients. Some fillers do serve a purpose in the production of tablets, working to bind the active ingredients during their compression into tablet form.
For this reason Seagate has avoided producing any tablets. We also do not use any excipient or filler in the production process of any of our encapsulated products, preferring to run the machinery at less than high speed and avoid using any lubricant.
Some people report a low level of allergic reaction to some of these fillers; other ingredients can affect the absorption of the actual nutrients, and some can affect your immune system.
Rather than looking for fillers, I am happier looking for sharks. This fellow (or could be a girl) is actually a harmless nurse shark swimming in very shallow water along a Belize reef. You can identify a thresher shark by the 2 dorsal fins running along its backbone.
Sometimes, the little threshers are very friendly, will swim right up to you and give you a ride. It is better to do this without using a tank or any other dive gear so as not to cause harm to the shark.
Compared to the thresher, the grey reef shark (below) which has their jaws filled with teeth, are generally found in much deeper water, usually below 100 feet. They are much more timid than the harmless thresher and very difficult to approach and photograph. You can see a very nervous diver in the top left corner of the photo, with his back against the reef, the usual position that divers take to avoid giving the shark a clear profile. This photo is very blue due to the shark being just beyond the 10 foot range of the strobe lights.