What is Magnesium Stearate E470b? Uses, Safety, Side effects

Table of ContentsMagnesium stearate E470b is widely known and categorized as a lubricant. However, it has other properties that are not widely known and this makes it an effective ingredient in antacids, vaccines, and tablets. Let us take a look at the uses, safety, side effects, and ingredients of aluminum stearate.

What is magnesium stearate?

Magnesium stearate is a white powder that is used as an anti-caking agent in food and pharmaceuticals. It is also used in cosmetics, soaps, and detergents.

Magnesium stearate is a mixture of magnesium salts of stearic acid. The salt form of the compound is the predominant component, while other forms are minor components. It is prepared by reacting stearic acid with magnesium hydroxide or chloride in the presence of a solvent.[1]

The chemical formula for magnesium stearate is Mg(C18H35O2), which indicates that it contains one atom each of magnesium, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen per molecule. It belongs to the class of compounds known as fatty acids.

What is magnesium stearate in food?

Magnesium stearate is a salt of magnesium and stearic acid, commonly used as an anticaking agent in foods. It is also used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals as a lubricant and flow aid.

In food products, magnesium stearate may be added as an anticaking agent to flour or sugar. Magnesium stearate is also used as a lubricant to prevent the formation of gas bubbles in carbonated soft drinks and beer. It is often used in conjunction with other anticaking agents such as silicon dioxide (E551) and calcium silicate (E551b).

What is magnesium stearate used for?

Magnesium stearate is an anti-caking agent, used in foods and cosmetics to prevent ingredients from sticking together. It also increases the flow properties of powders by reducing their particle size. Magnesium stearate is a food additive that helps keep products from clumping together and improves flow properties. It is also used in cosmetics as an emollient, lubricant, and thickening agent.

In foods, magnesium stearate acts as an anti-caking agent — it helps prevent ingredients from sticking together before they are added to a formula.

In cosmetics, magnesium stearate is used as an emollient (a substance that softens or soothes the skin). It also functions as a lubricant (a substance that reduces friction between moving parts) and a thickening agent (a substance that increases viscosity).

Magnesium stearate is also used as a tablet binder in pharmaceuticals, especially for prolonged-release formulations.

Magnesium stearate is used in a wide variety of consumer goods, including baked goods, chewing gum, and hard candy. It can also be found in products such as cosmetics (e.g., moisturizers), toothpaste, hair conditioners, and shaving creams. Magnesium stearate is a white powder or granule with a neutral odor and taste. It dissolves easily in water and alcohol but is insoluble in fats and oils.

What is vegetable magnesium stearate made from?

Vegetable magnesium stearate is made from vegetable oils such as palm oil, coconut oil, and soya bean oil. The term ‘vegetable’ refers to the source of the oil and not the food it is used to make.

The exact manufacturing process varies from company to company but generally involves heating the oil in a pressurized vessel to create a paste. The paste is then dried into a powder and ground up into smaller pieces.

Some manufacturers use synthetic chemicals during this process, but others are able to produce the powder using only natural ingredients like plants and oils.

What is magnesium stearate made of?

Magnesium stearate is made from mixed fatty acids extracted from palm oil and palm kernel oil, which are natural ingredients found in plants. The mixed fatty acids are Grade Chemical  then dissolved into water to form an emulsion or suspension; this process creates the magnesium stearate crystals that are then filtered out of the solution using centrifuges or filters before being dried at high temperatures to make them into fine powders.

How is magnesium stearate made?

Due to the weak nature of stearic acid, it cannot be directly converted into magnesium stearate by reacting with magnesium sulfate.

A solution of sodium hydroxide must first be used to saponify stearic acid, resulting in sodium stearate, before reacting with a solution of magnesium sulfate or magnesium chloride t Anbu Chem o produce magnesium stearate.

Three of the above processes are briefly described below:


Stearic acid and metal salt characteristics combined. In addition to its lubricity, stearic acid is also hydrophobic.

In the presence of strong acids, it will decompose into magnesium salt and stearic acid.

The surface area of the product is very large, it is highly adsorbent and hygroscopic, it feels slippery when in contact with the skin, and it sticks easily to the skin.


To the touch, it is greasy and off-white to white in color.

Magnesium stearate structure


The solubility is 0.004 g/100 mL (25°C), which makes it practically insoluble in water, unlike two other metallic stearates (sodium and potassium stearate).

Ethyl ether and ethanol are partially soluble.

Why is magnesium stearate insoluble in water?

Two nonpolar fatty acid molecules can be bound by divalent Mg2+, whereas only one fatty acid can be bound by monovalent Na+ and K+.

Mg2+ is insoluble in water due to two fatty acid molecules protecting it from water molecules.


A magnesium cation and two stearate anions compose this salt. The molecule structure consists of 36 carbon atoms in total.

What’s the application of magnesium stearate?

In cosmetic products, pharmaceutical tablets & capsules, food supplements, and plastic products, magnesium stearate serves a multitude of functions.


This food-grade product can be used as a flow agent and anti-caking agent, as a lubricant, and as a magnesium supplement in dietary supplements.

In the production of vitamins or multivitamins, magnesium stearate helps to bind with other ingredients to prevent them from sticking or clumping to machine surfaces.

This additive may be present in the following foods:

  • The vitamins
  • Sweets and confections
  • Gum chewing
  • Candy
  • The mint
  • Formulas for babies
  • Spices and herbs
  • Ingredients for baking

Medical tablets and capsules

In the manufacturing of pharmaceutical tablets and capsules, magnesium stearate is used as a lubricant, glidant, and anti-adhesion agent.

Its primary purpose in the formulation of tablet and capsule formulations is to serve as an excipient (inactive ingredient):

  1. Ensure that other ingredients in the formulation do not stick to the compression equipment.
  2. Provide smooth flow when chemical powders are compressed into solid tablets.
  3. Final products will be more consistent and quality controlled.


Powdered cosmetics (such as talcum powder makeup) are often enriched with magnesium stearate for improved adhesion and smoothness on the skin surface.

As well as thickening and emollient properties, magnesium stearate can also be used as a cosmetic additive and a personal care ingredient.

Aluminum stearate, zinc stearate, and magnesium stearate are commonly used adhesives. After adding the metal salts of stearic acid, the powdered cosmetics are not permeable to water because they are enclosed by other powder particles.

As aluminum stearate is rough and calcium stearate lacks smoothness, magnesium and zinc stearate are commonly used in this field.


This chemical stabilizes polyvinyl chloride, acts as a mold release agent and smoothes the surface of plastic products.


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