The Liquid Vitamin Difference

In the world of nutrition we aren’t what we eat, we are what we absorb.  The bioavailability and usable content of a vitamin is an important issue when it comes to supplementation.  I believe that successful absorption of a product depends on 3 factors, quality farming, quality manufacturing, and individual absorption.

First fresh quality ingredients are key.  Farming includes soil content, harvesting technique, and transit time to processing.  When dealing with natural products, each of these steps plays a major role in ensuring active and bioavailable ingredients.  The choice of farmers or suppliers and verification of product by techniques such as NIR spectroscopy are two of the most important parts of a quality product.  If your supplier isn’t reputable or doesn’t have the scientific ability to verify product you may not be getting what you paid for and you can’t absorb what isn’t there.

Second, Manufacturing.  Manufacturing differs greatly between pill and liquid formation.  Pill formation may include heat processing, pressurized shaping, and added ingredients such as fillers and binders.  These processes can destroy active ingredients or make them difficult for your body to use.  Liquids vitamins are often formed without pressure or heat, and involve fewer steps in manufacturing.   While liquids involve less steps in manufacturing they do still contain natural flavorings and preservatives to maintain safety and freshness.

The Liquid Vitamin Difference

Finally, individual absorption.  Absorption starts with a person’s ability to ingest or swallow a supplement.  For many such as the elderly or children it doesn’t matter how well a pill is made if they can’t swallow it.  For these populations liquid forms provide an excellent advantage.   Once swallowed liquid supplements begin to be broken down and absorbed to some degree by enzymes in the mouth and acids in the stomach, but most absorption occurs within the small intestine.  In the intestine many factors at this point come into play including current nutrient status, other competing ingredients that may impede absorption, intestinal disease (such as inflammatory bowel disease or those who have had gastric bypass) or other disease states like celiac or those with gluten sensitivity that may reduce absorption.

Depending on the quality of a pill and its coating, pills can vary widely in their breakdown and nutrient release.  A poorly formed pill can be bound tightly to ingredients allowing little usable absorption.  In terms of breakdown however liquids are ahead of the curve as they are already in liquid state which can lead to quicker delivery to the bloodstream.

In conclusion, while pills have had a dominant presence in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industry, for certain populations liquid vitamins have some definite advantages over pills:

•    Easy to swallow for kids and seniors
•    Superior absorption
•    Less fillers, excipients, binders, gluten or other substances found in pill forms
•    Less processing including No heat or pressurized processing

To your health,

Dave Rigby MS, PA-C, Member ASN