Nutrient Delivery: Liquid vs. Solid
Many people today know the importance of supplementing your diet with natural vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are essential chemicals that take part in the chemical reactions of the body, and allow the processes of life to occur. Vitamins are not the bricks that build the body, but the substances that allow the bricks to be made and that allow the body to function as an organism. Minerals are necessary for every biochemical process in the body and assist vitamins with their work. Without them there would be no human life making a regular intake of vitamins essential.
Choosing the right ones, however, can be difficult. Moreover, supplements come in many forms: pills, capsule, powder and liquid. How do you know which form to take? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Is one form better than the others?
The most popular forms of supplements are pills and capsules, probably due to taste and convenience. But are they in a convenient form for the body to be able use efficiently? To answer these questions, knowing exactly how these supplements work is very important.
While there are people who favor each of these forms, experts generally agree that it is easier for the body to use vitamins in liquid form than in solid. There is also evidence that liquid forms have a much higher and faster absorption rate than pills and capsules. Liquid vitamins sidestep the digestion process and quickly reach the body’s blood stream and cells. This means that liquid vitamins and minerals work faster than pills, but do they work better? Reported absorption rates vary, though the latest studies indicate that around 98% of nutrients are absorbed from liquid vitamins, compared to 10-20% for vitamin pills.
One of the biggest concerns about the benefits of liquid vitamins is potency. Enzymes and other nutrients lose potency quickly in liquid form. Keeping containers tightly sealed and using promptly will only partially offset this concern. There are also liquid vitamin and mineral manufacturers who add water to their products, meaning that customers pay extra and do not get the full amount of nutrients they need. The effects of stomach acid on liquid vitamins is also a question. This effect occurs before the nutrients arrive at the top of the small intestine where best absorption takes place. Consequently, liquid nutrients pass through the body relatively quickly. How do we know that these nutrients have time to be fully absorbed? Pills and capsules, on the other hand, remain in the intestine for a much longer time. When you consume vitamins in pill form, they have to pass through the digestive process, which is why only a small percentage of nutrients are actually absorbed.
Both pills and capsules contain many materials other than the nutrient itself. Tablets contain waxes, fillers and binders to enable the pill to be formed. They can also contain sugars and artificial flavors and colors to make them look and taste more attractive, as well as other substances to help them break apart after swallowing – a major drawback for digestion and breaking down constituents. This compression may mean that pills are packed too densely to allow absorption of all the vitamins.
Capsules can also be too large for some people to swallow, and even the non-gelatin type of capsule may form a hard mass in the stomach, that can be indigestible. Gelatin capsules, of course, may have moral significance for vegans and vegetarians.
Soluble or dispersible powders are an alternative to tablets and liquid supplements. The powder can be formulated to contain targeted doses of specific vitamins, and are an ideal adjunct for water-soluble vitamins. With liquids, however, the supplement can be taken in small doses throughout the day, which is usually preferable to an individual tablet dose.
Both forms have advantages and disadvantages and it is not possible to say that any one particular form of vitamin is better than another. Things get even more complicated when we see that doctors still prefer to prescribe vitamins in pill form. However, no matter what form you prefer for yourself, one thing is certain – that natural vitamins and minerals are essential for the health, growth and maintenance of your body.
The choice of liquid vs. tablet vitamins might be a personal one, or one that is imposed on the 20% of the population that cannot swallow pills. Bioavailability and the natural forms of the vitamins and minerals concerned should be considered. If you are in doubt, check out a reputable vitamin supplement source and find what recommendations are being made. Then you will be better able to make an informed decision that is best for you.
For more info, call Nature Rich 775-331-6490.