Why Do We Use Excipients In Supplements?

So, what are “Other Ingredients”?

Most of the extra stuff listed under “Other Ingredients” are also known as excipients – inactive ingredients which are added to supplements to help with manufacturing and stabilisation.

A functional supplement needs excipients and fillers. Often the active component of a vitamin or supplement cannot be made into a tablet or capsule form without a stabilizing agent to help keep it active and to enable it to be made into an effective delivery method such as a tablet or a capsule.

Excipients usually don’t contribute any form of nutritional value or influence, and the type that is used in each supplement depends largely on the objective. There are many different types of excipients – such as fillers, binders  flow agents.


Also known as diluents or carriers, fillers are mainly used as bulking agents, to add substance so that the size of a capsule or tablet is filled to the correct proportions. This helps make very small active ingredients easier for people to consume.

Trace and micro ingredients – like chromium, selenium, iodine, folic acid and biotin – are measured by micrograms, and can be very difficult to detect with the naked eye. Even if portioned into the tiniest of capsules available, without fillers, the capsule would appear to be virtually empty.

That’s why some supplement manufacturers use fillers to make dosage forms a reasonable size. Common fillers include starch, calcium, salts and sugars like lactose.


Binders are used to hold the ingredients in a supplement together. Without binders, tablets and pressed supplements would easily break apart, chip, crack or crumble.

Binders are also used to add volume to low active dose tablets. Most binders are usually sugar derivatives, but some are made of cellulose, a simple wood pulp derivative which comes from vegetarian sources and becomes a non-digestible fiber when consumed.

Flow agents

Flow agents are ingredients which are added to supplements in order to help make the manufacturing process more efficient. These usually consist of powder excipients like non-toxic lubricants and anti-caking agents which are used to help tablets and capsules flow through processing steps with minimal resistance.

While flow agents are not strictly necessary, some supplements cannot be made without them. However, they are usually kept at low levels (less than 1% in a blend).

Flow agents also help in the following ways:

They help ensure the right amount of active ingredients gets in each capsule, thereby assuring quality control.

Flow agents are used in supplements ensure the right amount of active ingredients gets in each capsule, thereby assuring quality control. They serve as densifiers, helping particles stick together resulting in smaller capsules to swallow.

They allow tablets to be punched and ejected without sticking to the equipment, which results in products of much higher physical quality.
They serve as densifiers, helping particles stick together. This results in smaller capsules or tablets.
Overall, they help to keep the cost of manufacturing supplements down, makes supplements more affordable for consumers.


Disintegrants allow for rapid breakdown of capsules or tablets in your digestive tract, so that the active ingredients within can be quickly released and absorbed into your body. These excipients are formulated to instantly dissolve upon contact with water or other liquids.