stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid, but i would tend to consider the amount in supplements negligible. the body converts it to oleic acid anyway, from what i've read so far.
some info... http://jas.fass.org/content/86/12/3575.full
"Of the SFA, myristic and palmitic acids have the greatest impact on increasing serum cholesterol, but stearic acid has no effect on blood cholesterol (Ahrens et al., 1957; Hegsted et al., 1965; Keys et al., 1965)."
"Data from the current study illustrate that the difference in SFA was primarily due to a greater concentration of stearic acid (18:0) in grass-fed ground beef compared with control ground beef"
interesting.. when i pick up my locally raised, grass-fed beef this fall, apparently it will have more stearic acid than if i bought it at the grocery store. however:
"Williams et al. (1983) found that grass-fed steers, which were leaner than conventionally fed animals, had greater concentrations of Zn, Fe, P, Na, and K. Ground beef samples had significantly lesser levels of Mg, P, and K, and significantly greater levels of Na, Zn, and vitamin B12 than did strip steak samples"
anyway. regardless of diets like swank, i don't actually think saturated fats are the root of all evil, just because we have societally tended to overdo them and ignore PUFAs. i'll eat my grass fed steak for dinner knowing it contains more zinc and b12 than the grocery store alternative, and deal with whatever stearic acid might be coming along for the ride. then it will be vegetarian night, then salmon night, etc. imho, it's all about balance
as for mag stearate free supps, here's an article with some options. http://www.livestrong.com/article/26328 ... -stearate/
i just checked the nature's way site, looked at the label info for their women's multi, and it has both stearic acid and magnesium stearate listed, so take that livestrong article with a large grain of salt.