A large number of dietary supplements are available in solid oral dosage forms. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be easily pressed into tablets by wet granulation or direct compression, but such tablet formulations require good binders. Commonly used binders in tablet formulations include cellulosic materials, such as hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) or microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), or synthetic polymers, such as polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP). For organically oriented consumers, however, these excipients sound synthetic and unnatural.
The trend toward organic foods has been evident for several years as consumers develop a greater awareness of organic products . Dietary supplement manufacturers are also slowly changing to organic formulations, as consumers increasingly look to avoid chemical or synthetic ingredients. Therefore, dietary supplement manufacturers are under increasing pressure to replace traditional bind-ers with more natural-sounding ingredients.
The same challenge applies to fillers, flow agents, lubricants, disintegrants, and pigments, including magnesium stearate, stearic acid, silica, and synthetic colors. This move toward more natural ingredients is part of the so-called “Clean Label” movement, which also attaches importance to the sustainability of raw materials.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are also beginning to use more natural ingredients as excipients due to their increasing availability, relatively low costs, lower toxicity, and fewer side effects. The application of natural ingredients in pharmaceuticals is expected to expand in the coming years along with consumer demand. The aging population in developed countries is expected to increase the future rate of chronic disease and stimulate demand for pharmaceuticals. At the same time, consumers are looking to natural products to improve their general well-being and prevent illness .