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Are Polysorbates Safe?

Posted by Evangeline Stacy on

Open your refrigerator, cupboards, or medicine cabinet, and chances are you will find polysorbates listed as an ingredient. Polysorbates are used in many applications, but are they safe for your body?


What are Polysorbates?

Polysorbates are synthetic compounds used as emulsifiers, fragrance ingredients and surfactants. They are found in everything from cleaning products to commercially produced ice creams and puddings. Have you ever wondered why the ice cream you buy at the supermarket stays frozen even after a long car ride home? You can thank polysorbate 80 for that. When added to ice cream, it makes the ice cream smoother and keeps it frozen longer. This compound is also found in some vaccines, and many commercially produced soaps and cosmetics.


The Problem with Polysorbates

If polysorbates are so widely used, they must be safe, right? Not necessarily. Polysorbates come with many risks, including being linked to skin allergies, reproductive issues, bowel problems, and even some cancers. These emulsifiers appear to allow harmful bacteria to cross the intestines' cell linings, which can change the makeup of the gut microbiota. This damage can cause inflammation leading to Irritable Bowel Disorder. And while polysorbates might make a product look better aesthetically, it should always be remembered that not everything that looks good, is good.


How to Avoid the Additives

Polysorbates are added to so many products available on the market that it may seem impossible to avoid them. Here are some tips:

  • Only buy organic – synthetic additives are not allowed in products listed under the USDA National Organic Program.

  • Read labels – sometimes, the wording on labeling makes these additives challenging to spot. "Tween" and "sorbitan" are commonly used labeling names for polysorbate 80 and polysorbate 20.

  • Avoid artificial colors and flavors. Natural is best.


Nature is the best provider when it comes to taking care of our bodies. From boosting immunity, relieving sore muscles, and promoting a balanced mental state, products derived from natural ingredients not only nourish us but nourish the planet as well. Contact us if you have any questions about our products, and we will be happy to help.

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