Sorbitan monostearate is a fatty acid that has many uses in the food industry and in health and beauty care products. It is not a health supplement.
Sorbitan monostearate is used as a food additive that works as a surfactant, or blender. Other food uses are as an emulsifier, wetter, disperser, flavor enhancer or other form of food additive.
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How Sorbitan Monostearate is Made Sorbitol is a kind of sugar alcohol that is derived from fruits such as apples and apricots. It is allowed to lose most of its moisture through dehydration; the new, dehydrated product is call sorbitan. The saturated, fatty acid stearic acid is added to th... more
Sorbitol is a kind of sugar alcohol that is derived from fruits such as apples and apricots. It is allowed to lose most of its moisture through dehydration; the new, dehydrated product is call sorbitan. The saturated, fatty acid stearic acid is added to the sorbitan to form an ester. An ester is a waxy or fat-like substance. This creates the sorbitan monostearate.
Sorbitan monostearate is used as a surfactant food additive; it is manufactured under variations of the name Span. Surfactants are substances that are made up of parts that are soluble in water as well as parts that are soluble in oils. This allows mixtures that have both oil and water as ingredients to stay mixed together because of the surfactant.
Sorbitan monstearate is also used as an emulsifier, or chemical that allows mixtures to stay well blended. Cake mixes, icing, cookie coating, and puddings all use sorbitan monostearate. It is also used as a stabilizer in foods such as imitation whipped cream and other foam-like products.
It is a good substitute for the water content and fats found in milk; but with the added advantage that it does not spoil like milk. It is a common ingredient in non-dairy coffee creamers.
Sorbitan monstearate is also used to protect yeast from drying out; it also helps the yeast to dissolve in water when the yeast is used for baking or other applications.
Due to its ability to help different ingredients to blend, sorbitan monostearate has many applications in many industries. It is used in machining metal, in pesticides, in leather working, and in the plastics and synthetics industry.
It is also a common ingredient in many beauty products such as moisturizers, creams, lotions and make-up applications. Medical applications include itch creams and hemorrhoid creams.
Sorbitan monostearate is a common ingredient used in many industries and products. Extensive human and animal testing have show little to no adverse health effects.
Even when administered in doses much higher than those that would be ingested in an average diet or from a beauty regimen, sorbitan monostearate is safe for human and animal use.
There is always concern about the safety of food additives, especially those that have long, complicated names. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of sorbitan monostearate as a food additive when it is used in the smallest amount required to produce the desired effect.
Testing reported on the Hazardous Substances Data Bank of the National Institutes of Health states that human testing with a 6g daily dose for one month has shown no ill effects. Single doses in the amount of 20g have also shown no adverse effects on health.
The Hazardous Substances Data Bank further states that a lethal dose of sorbitan monostearate would probably be upwards of a quart. It is not classified as a human carcinogen.
Laboratory testing on animals also showed little to no adverse effects, carcinogenic effects or toxicity to animals. Repeated doses did produce some irritation to the mouth, kidney, liver and blood of mice and rats.
The Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) does report that in one test, two of the participants showed increased digestion and movement in the stomach. Non-medically reported side effects include diarrhea, increased gas and stomach pain.
The HSDB also reported that sorbitan monostearate showed mild skin irritation in laboratory testing with rabbits. It is known to be a skin irritant when the compound alone is handled without protection.
Anyone who is thinking of starting a new diet, supplement or medication should first discuss it with a medical professional. There are no known interactions between sorbitan monostearate and any medication, over-the-counter medicine or health supplement.
There are no medically known health conditions associated with the use of sorbitan monostearate when used at normal amounts that would be ingested through foods or applied topically to the skin through moisturizers and beauty aids.
Sorbitan monostearate is not a health supplement. It is not an ingredient used in home baking or cooking.
Sorbotan monostearate is generally found in processed and manufactured foods and beauty products. It is recommended for all people to eat a diet that is high in whole foods rather than processed or manufactured food products.
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