Microcrystalline cellulose sources, health risks

Saturday, October 28, 2017 by

Microcrystalline cellulose is purified, refined pulp obtained by treating fibrous plant material-derived alpha-cellulose with mineral acids. There are numerous uses for microcrystalline cellulose, with the most common one being that of a pharmaceutical excipient, or inactive substance that serves as the medium or vehicle for a drug. In addition to this, microcrystalline cellulose is often used as a texturizer, anti-caking agent, extender, and bulking agent in food production.

Harmful effects that can be caused by microcrystalline cellulose

A number of people have reported experiencing side effects after taking products that contained microcrystalline cellulose. Since this material is not absorbed by the stomach, it can lead to some mild digestive issues like gas, bloating, and increased stool production. These effects have been observed in the consumption of large amounts of microcrystalline cellulose, however. Taking a small amount will not yield the same effects.

Others have reported feeling exhausted, becoming forgetful, and experiencing an increased frequency of headaches. This is most likely due to the fact that microcrystalline cellulose is not easily absorbed by the body and may interfere in the absorption of dietary nutrients.

Microcrystalline cellulose allergies are rare though they have been known to happen. The most common symptoms of microcrystalline cellulose allergies are diarrhea and/or gastrointestinal problems. One woman claimed to have lost her hair and developed an irregular heartbeat due to an allergic reaction to microcrystalline cellulose.

Body systems harmed by microcrystalline cellulose

Microcrystalline cellulose can be harmful to the digestive system, though this is an issue associated with the ingestion of great amounts of this substance. As such, individuals who have sensitive gastrointestinal tracts should be careful when taking medication or food that was made with microcrystalline cellulose.

Where to learn more


Microcrystalline cellulose is a relatively safe substance for the most part, though it can cause issues in the digestive systems of certain individuals. These people were said to have experienced diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Others have had problems with forgetfulness, exhaustion, and headaches.

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