Supplement Q and A with Ron Sturtz

Dear Reader: All questions are genuine and come to us mostly from customers or visitors to our website. Also, because questions arrive mostly by email, often the person's city and state is not included, and I have avoided using full names, even when available, given the sometimes personal content of the questions.

Although we are a manufacturer of nutritional supplements, I try to avoid any product promotions and only mention a product if required by the question. On the other hand, I am happy to mention products made by other companies, and we receive absolutely no favors or compensation for doing so. Please send an email if you have any suggestions. We love to hear them!

My body doesn't do too well with magnesium stearate.

I realized your product has a filler, vegetable stearic acid in it, and my body doesn't do too well with magnesium stearate… Are these products related? I haven't taken it yet and am a little afraid until I get some info.

Please advise.


Hi Alicia, Our products do not contain Magnesium stearate. Magnesium stearate and stearic acid are different but related. Stearic acid, to the best of our information, is the most abundant fatty acid in humans and animals, but it is found in vegetation as well, and is one of the most common fatty acids in nature. Our body seems to produce pounds of stearic acid as a storehouse of energy, and it is important to the health of our nervous system, so it must be critical to life. The amount in a capsule of L-Tryptophan is between 2mg and 5mg and is barely visible when viewed with the naked eye. The amount in our diet, whether vegetarian or not, typically is many grams, especially if we are a meat-eater. So the average person gets several thousand times as much stearic acid in their diet as in a capsule, and most of that tends to be from animal sources.

In regard to L-Tryptophan, the stearic acid is not a filler, actually, it is a flow agent that assists the flow of L-Tryptophan into the capsule. Without some kind of help, L-Tryptophan tends to jam up because of its normal fluffy nature. Some manufacturers do not list it on their labels, and some manufacturers use a variety of alternatives... magnesium silicate, magnesium stearate, silicic acid, calcium phosphate, hydroxymethylcellulose, etc.

Nevertheless, I believe that we may have found an alternative to using stearic acid, and as soon as our test results are confirmed, I expect our formulation could be changing. Thank you again for your question, and let us know how you are doing!

How much phosphatidylserine is in each capsule?

Hello again, I'm looking in detail at the MemorEase label and cannot fully understand what percentage of phosphatidylserine is actually included. According to the label there is also 50 miligrams of the proprietary blend of what I assume to be other forms of phosphatidylserine. My question is this: is there 100 mg of phosphatidylserine, or 50 mg of phosphatidylserine and 50 mg of the proprietary blend bringing the total to 100 mg? I'm sure this question is probably quite basic for you and maybe even ridiculous, so forgive my ignorance on this one. Best regards,

Hello Regina, and thank you for your question. MemorEase contains 100 mg of phosphatidylserine, plus 50 mg of the other phosphatides, including phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylinositol. Therefore, you have 150 mg of biologically useful phosphatides in all. The reason that MemorEase provides 100 mg of phosphatidylserine is that three capsules per day, containing 100 mg phosphatidylserine each, is the amount that has been shown in research, over and over in dozens of clinical studies, to be effective. I hope this helps, and please feel free to give us a call and let us know how you are doing!

Why put potassium iodide in capsules?

Please tell me the reason your Potassium Iodide comes in capsules. My question is two-fold: first, that the shelf-life of capsules is less than that of tablets. Second: that gelatin capsules will soften and become soft and become partially-dissolved "mush" inside the container (inside my backpack) the Arizona desert heat, of the coming Summer!! Thank You!

Hi Max. Thanks for your question. As we know, potassium iodide is naturally found in seaweed, and up until recently, Lidtke offered pure potassium iodide both in tablets and in capsules. Both products had 32.5 mg each, and both came in 90-count bottles. However, demand for tablets seems to be greater, and after reviewing the results of recent tests, we now extend a 15-year guarantee on every bottle of our potassium iodide tablets.

We believe that many of our customers are interested in stocking up for the future, so changing over to tablets exclusively seems to make sense. Tablets, of course, are slightly less expensive to manufacture than capsules, and yet they still have the advantage of meeting pharmaceutical standards for dissolution and purity. And, they are vegan.

Of course, you may have other supplements that come in capsules that you take along on your back-packing trips. Whether or not capsules begin to stick together depends on several main factors. One is the humidity of your environment, another is the permeability of the bottle to moisture, another is whether or not a bottle is left in the direct Sunlight, and another is the type of gelatin capsule used.

The soft gelcaps frequently used for vitamin E and other fat soluble vitamins are much more prone to sticking together than two-piece hard gelatin capsules. I have heard of packages containing two-piece hard gelatin capsules being left in a metal mailbox in the blazing Summer Sun in Texas, with no mention of capsules sticking together. On the other hand, the owner of a health-food store in New Orleans told us that capsules of nearly every brand tended to stick together over time due to the high humidity.

By contrast, tablets never seem to stick together unless they become soggy. Furthermore, to increase shelf life and performance, our potassium iodide tablets have a coating that provides a barrier to the environment and controls the rate at which they dissolve.

A final consideration is the fact that potassium iodide is extremely stable and readily absorbed - not unlike salt - as long as it is not mixed with salt. A few brands choose to sell potassium iodate (KIO) because it is more stable when blended with table salt. When potassium iodide is mixed with sodium chloride, over time the chloride ions tend to replace the iodide atoms that are attached to potassium. This reaction can happen with other oxidizing agents as well, however this is not a concern with coated potassium iodide tablets because the coating is a barrier both to chloride ions, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

As a caveat, consumers should be aware that 32.5 mg of potassium iodide provides considerably more than the RDA for iodine. Hence, this product is not intended to be taken for simple, daily maintenance. When needed, however, tablets can be broken into much smaller pieces, and the importance of iodine to good health and proper mental development should not be underestimated.

Surprisingly, even after the United States introduced iodized salt in the 1920's, iodine deficiency still is claimed to be the world's leading cause of mental retardation and is linked even to leprosy, though the primary vector of this ancient disease is Mycobacterium leprae. Furthermore, simply adding iodized salt to the diet of those in iodine-poor regions in the United States is credited with elevating IQ scores 15 points. Sadly, we estimate that iodized salt and other forms of supplemental iodine will increasingly become important as the oceans - and every living thing in them - become more toxic and barren.

Where does the soy come from in your products?

Where is your soy sourced for your products? Is it GMO or organic? Thank you.

Hi DCS. Thank you for your question. At present, we only have one product that is derived from soy. Phosphatidylserine was first introduced by prescription in Europe in the 1980's, and at that time I was reading many research papers about it. In the medical literature, in fact, I could find nothing that worked better for improving memory. Back then, the only source for phosphatidylserine was bovine, but the mad-cow epidemic changed all that. Since then, manufacturers have learned how to make phosphatidylserine from soy lecithin, and now nearly all PS products comes from highly refined extracts of soy lecithin. For most of those years, GMO soybeans did not even exist.

Nevertheless, the world continues to change, and we have been monitoring the GMO status of phosphatidylserine for some time, now. Although there have been assurances that no GMO proteins are present in soy derived phosphatidylserine (all proteins are removed in the purification process), we have not seen any certification, yet, that the soybean starting material is free of GMO's. Hence, the purification and testing that is conducted on the final product, phosphatidylserine, still seems to be the best safeguard against GMO's.

Even so, we do not wish to subsidize GMO practices in any way, and for this reason when Lidtke learned of the availability of phosphatidylserine derived from non-GMO sunflower, we took steps to acquire it. I have reviewed the claim that the sunflower lecithin (from which our soon-to-be-available phosphatidylserine is derived) is non-GMO, and we have now received the certification. The cost for this raw material is about 25% higher than for non-sunflower phosphatidylserine, but it should not add that much to the price of the finished product.

I estimate that our sunflower-derived product will be available in the next few weeks (February 2014) and you only need to specify the sunflower-source phosphatidylserine when ordering. If customers prefer the sunflower-derived formula, then we will offer it exclusively. Let me know if I can be of further help!

My mother is having nightmares / night terrors.

Hi there, My mother had phoned Lidtke and was speaking to somebody about nightmares / night terrors, and the representative had provided information on L-Tryptophan Complete, am I correct in this? A timely response would be greatly appreciated, Thank you.

Hi Tia, Thank you for your email. I do have a question: was your mother taking any kind of medicine when she had the nightmares / night terrors? If the answer is yes, then it's a good rule-of-thumb to stop taking any products that might be causing the adverse reaction, at least until you have time to see your doctor or your pharmacist to find out if there is a conflict with other medicines or supplements or if there are other contraindications.

Although we cannot diagnose the cause of the nightmares / night terrors, we will be happy to talk with your doctor and provide any medical research or information that may be useful, including information on Lidtke products such as Tryptophan Complete. There certainly is research and anecdotal evidence suggesting that nutrition can benefit night terrors, depending on the cause.

I would agree, however, that nutrition is not the only source of help. It's a deep subject, and I am happy to share with you some of the experiences that have been shared with us by customers over the years. In the meantime I will try to answer any questions your doctor may have. With more information, perhaps your doctor will be able to pinpoint the cause. Please let your doctor know that he/she is welcome to contact me directly. Thank you again, Tia, and I hope your mother begins to feel much better.

How does your L-Tryptophan compare to some I found on a website?

Hello, cheers for the information just received. This is the description I found on a website, L-Tryptophan pure powder, free base form, with US Pharmacopeia (USP) Quality. It is pharmaceutical quality grade. There is not any additive or filler inside. Manufacturer assayed as 99.65%. It is fresh enough for use.

However, I feel yours might be better quality, can you explain how so comparing the description above. What do you feel about adding C0q10 to the recipe? Any chemical understanding and information would be greatly appreciated. How much would 1kg of tryptophan cost plus shipping.

Hello Felix, and thank you for your questions.

Here are just a few of our views and the statements that we make about quality.

"It is well-known that European pharmaceutical standards for L-Tryptophan are far higher than U.S. or Japanese standards. The Europeans take safety seriously, as we do at Lidtke. The European standard not only demands testing for known toxins that are ignored in the U.S. and Japan, but European standards have much lower limits on contaminants, overall. Although many products claim to meet pharmaceutical standards, clearly not all pharmaceutical standards are the same - not even close.

From our beginning in 1994, it has been our crusade to meet the highest standards in the world. We question the quality-control documentation we receive, and we look beneath the surface. Contamination of every kind, world-wide, continues to increase, and it takes work to keep up. That is our job: to stand between you, our customer, and the nearly incomprehensible chaos of the world, and to look out for your interests, your health and your safety.

Also, "A point that rarely receives much notice is the cosmetic reworking of amino acids to make them appear "pure". There are milling and whitening procedures that often are applied just to make amino acids sparkle and have that bleached, pure look.

Manufacturers know that consumers often judge by appearance, but what consumers may not know is that reworking a nutrient to improve appearance can actually degrade the quality of that nutrient.

If a crystalline ingredient has never been "flattened" to give it that shine, you will end up with a cleaner, but fluffier material that probably takes up more space in a capsule. In turn, this makes the encapsulation process much slower, more labor-intensive, and more expensive. In the end, though, by taking the extra time, you avoid the mistake of introducing contaminants into your product simply to improve the appearance."

Another factor to keep in mind is the general un-reliability of laboratory results, as presented on a certificate of analysis. As one independent laboratory owner explained, manufacturers shop around for laboratories that will give them high results, so the manufacturer can show impressive results to their customers. All the laboratories know that if they test ingredients and the results are low, the customer often will not come back. So, in order to keep customers, a laboratory may recalibrate their equipment or testing methods to give higher readings.

To give one of many examples, about one year ago we sent three samples of L-Tryptophan - each from a different source - to an independent laboratory in order to compare assays. The results that came back had all three samples above 100%. Now, there always is a margin of error in testing, and for this reason an assay can sometimes be over 100%, but for all three to have an impossibly-high result seemed remarkable. It happens that all three manufacturers were among the very top-quality producers in the world, and they really did not need any "extra help" from the laboratory.

In regard to pricing, I will get back to you soon with a price for one kilogram. We used to have the one-kilogram size on our price sheet, so I will go back in our records to find the pricing.

In regard to CoQ10, CoQ10 tends to be fat soluble, so mixing it with chocolate that has a high fat content - as you suggest in your other email - might actually improve the absorption of the CoQ10.

I hope this information is helpful. Let us know!

I would like to manufacture and sell chocolate with added L-Tryptophan.

Greetings, I run an organic store in Melbourne Australia. I had an idea to make raw chocolate and add tryptophan to it, is there anything I should know in order to make it safe for consumption? I would like to purchase top quality and effective tryptophan, pure in its structure and clean in its effect. Do you sell 100g to 150g, what are your wholesale prices? Do you distribute to Australia?

Dear Felix, Thank you very much for your question.

Yes, we do distribute to Australia. The 250 gm size is our largest container of Tryptophan powder, however kilogram and multi-kilogram sizes also are available. We can provide a quote for larger sizes depending on your exact needs. Also, we have had a recent price reduction on the 250 gm size.

Over the years we have tested many sources of Tryptophan, and we are somewhat fanatical about safety and quality. The highest pharmaceutical standard for Tryptophan that we have found is in the European Pharmacopoeia, yet it always is our objective to surpass even this standard by a substantial margin.

It is interesting that you mention chocolate mixed with Tryptophan. We tried a chocolate chewable tablet in the past, but one of our largest customers of the chewable was an addiction-recovery clinic, and some of their patients were dealing with chocolate addictions. For this reason, we changed to carob flavor, and then maple-cinnamon, and we have just now introduced our chewable in a new, maple-vanilla flavor. Good luck with your recipe!

If there is any further information that I can provide, please feel free to email us again. By the way, the pictures that I have seen of Melbourne are beautiful!

Milk is not a good source of L-Tryptophan, NY Times says.

There was an article published recently in the NY Times stating that the L-Tryptophan in milk doesn't cross the blood brain barrier. Can you explain this in terms of taking the Tryptohan capsules? Thank you very much.

Hello Eileen,

I have not yet seen the NY Times article, but a well-known property of Tryptophan is that it competes with several other amino acids for passage through your blood-brain barrier.

These amino acids are the branch-chain amino acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine), and the aromatic amino acids (Phenylalanine, and Tyrosine), Because milk is a significant source of these amino acids, not much of the Tryptophan is likely to get through.

Pure Tryptophan either given on an empty stomach or with a carbohydrate snack will pass through your blood-brain-barrier much more easily... especially when given with a carbohydrate snack, which tends to drive other, competing amino acids out of your blood stream, leaving Tryptophan to pass through your blood-brain-barrier virtually without competition.

This is one reason that a chewable Tryptophan tablet works so well, even though the actual dose of Tryptophan is lower than in a capsule.

I hope this helps, and if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me!