What Is Microcrystalline Cellulose (E460), and What Is Its Use?
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is a naturally occurring polymer, which means that it is composed of many small repeating units (monomers). In this case, the monomers are glucose molecules.
In other words, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is a purified, partially degraded form of cellulose. It is derived from natural sources such as wood pulp and cotton linters, and is used as a food additive and flow agent. MCC has a fine, powdery texture and is insoluble in water.
When used in food, it can help to thicken, emulsify, and stabilize various products. It is commonly used in dairy products, desserts, sauces, and processed meats. In addition to its use in food, MCC is also used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and papermaking. It is used to prevent ingredients from settling and separating in liquid products. Due to its versatility and relatively low cost, microcrystalline cellulose is an essential ingredient in many industries.
How Is Microcrystalline Cellulose Made?
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is a refined wood pulp that is commonly used as a food additive and pharmaceutical excipient. It is produced by treating wood pulp with chemicals and heat to remove the amorphous regions of the cellulose molecule, resulting in a highly pure product that consists largely of crystalline cellulose. MCC has a number of desirable properties, including high viscosity, low hygroscopicity, and good compressibility. These attributes make it an ideal ingredient for numerous applications.
While MCC is typically derived from natural sources such as softwoods or hardwoods, it can also be produced from other cellulosic materials such as cotton linters. Regardless of its source, MCC must undergo a rigorous manufacturing process to ensure that it meets the highest standards for quality and safety.
MCC as an Excipient
In pharmaceuticals, MCC is used as an excipient, which is a substance that serves as a vehicle or medium for the active ingredient in a drug.
Microcrystalline cellulose is used as a binder in tablets and capsules, as well as a filler. It can also be used to help control the release of active ingredients from a tablet or capsule. The porosity of MCC gives it a large surface area, which makes it an ideal binding agent. Excipients are inert substances that do not interact with the active drug. It can also be found in oral suspensions, lotions, creams, and ointments.
MCC can also be used to create a “mouthfeel” in products such as ice cream and cheese. In the cosmetic industry, it is used as a filler in powders and creams, and it can also help to prevent caking.
MCC has many desirable properties that make it an ideal excipient. It is odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, and non-allergenic.
In addition, it is insoluble in water, which makes it ideal for use in products that are taken orally. MCC is also compressible, which makes it useful for manufacturing tablets. The particle size of MCC can be customized to meet the specific needs of a given formulation.
When Should You Not Use Microcrystalline Cellulose?
MCC is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, some people may experience side effects such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If these side effects persist or become bothersome, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.
MCC is also a source of fiber, and as such, it may cause digestive distress in people who are not used to consuming high-fiber foods.
Why Should You Use Microcrystalline Cellulose?
Unlike other forms of cellulose, MCC is easily broken down into small particles, making it ideal for use in tablet manufacturing. In addition, MCC is non-toxic, making it suitable for use in many types of medications. MCC can also help to improve the flow properties of powders, making it easier to fill capsules and other containers.
Does Microcrystalline Cellulose Contain Gluten?
A gluten allergy or intolerance is the result of an immune response to the protein gluten found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats. A gluten allergy may cause digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation, and can lead to serious health issues like malnutrition if left untreated.
Does microcrystalline cellulose contain gluten? Microcrystalline cellulose is a food additive and a dietary fiber. It is made from wood pulp by manufacturing a cellulose gel, followed by drying and grinding. Microcrystalline cellulose contains no gluten, so it is completely safe for people with gluten allergies. As a matter of fact, this ingredient is commonly used in gluten-free products.
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