A product that is considered to be filler free is one that is free from excipients that are (inactive substances/tableting agents) used in the manufacturing process.
Fillers are found in many health supplements. They are all there for a reason, for example to make tablets easier to swallow or to ensure that tablets don’t crumble, but have no real health giving benefit.
The most common types of fillers/excipients are:
- Binding agents to hold tablet together
- Fillers to bulk up supplements so capsules don’t appear to be half empty
- Flow enhancers to prevent powders from clumping together
- Coatings and glazing to make tablets easier to swallow
- Preservatives to extend the shelf life
- Colours to enhance the appearance
- Flavours and sweeteners to improve taste
Some fillers are considered to be quite safe for consumption such as cellulose and gelatin (gelatin is however derived from animal products so vegetarians and vegans will want to avoid this) and are considered to be more like food whereas others are synthetically produced with the sole purpose of improving the manufacturing process so it is more efficient and profitable.