While there is no better source of vitamins and minerals than a well balanced diet, it is no secret that the majority of people do not eat a well-balanced diet no matter where they live or their income level. The ease of purchasing and using highly processed foods in our fast-paced society has led to the necessity of taking a multivitamin to make up for the poor diet and lack of fruits and vegetables.
Supplements and vitamins will not compensate for a diet high in fatty fried foods, high carbohydrates or loaded in sugar. It will however complement your nutritional intake to reinforce your immune system and top off those vitamins which you do not get enough of. It is critical that you eat a well-balanced diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds in order to help your body work in an optimal fashion.
So when you’re considering a multivitamin, which is better-liquid or pill?
For the sake of argument we are going to consider that the vitamin and mineral content in either the pill or the liquid will be equal in order to fully evaluate which format is best.
Much of the new literature suggests that liquid vitamins are better absorbed by the body because of the format in which they are introduced into the body. Claims by manufacturers of liquid vitamins suggest that over 90% of vitamins taken in pill form will be flushed down the toilet and are never absorbed.
The fact of the matter is that statement may be true and it may not be, but it does not depend upon the method by which the vitamins are delivered to the body, i.e., pill form versus liquid. This is because there is a huge variation in the way that vitamin supplementation is manufactured.
Before discussing which format is best let’s take a quick look at how nutrients are absorbed in the body. When we take food in through our mouths we chew it and mix it with saliva which starts the process of breaking down the food. Next the fluid goes to the stomach where it is broken down even further by stomach acid and passed along into the small intestines. It is in the small intestines that the nutrients from the food is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.
This means that the claims by liquid vitamin manufacturers that their product is absorbed better because of the form in which it is delivered is actually false. It isn’t the format in which the vitamins are delivered but rather the quality of the vitamins which are delivered that makes the difference.
Other than active components in a vitamin pill, there are products called excipients. These products, excipients, are responsible for delivering vitamins to the right place in the digestive tract so that they can get absorbed in the small intestines and not broken down in the stomach acid. A good multivitamin will use high quality excipients to deliver the vitamins exactly where the body can absorb it best.
On the other hand, poor quality multivitamins use poor quality excipients and therefore deliver a smaller percentage of vitamins because the remainder of the vitamins get dissolves and broken down by the gastric acids in the stomach.
Many of the high quality multivitamins also claim to be more bioavailable, meaning that the body has access to a higher percentage of vitamins delivered to the bloodstream and therefore at the cellular level. This claim is dependent upon the delivery system that the vitamin uses and the excipients to which they are bound.
Before deciding on the exact type of vitamin you wish to use do your homework. Unless you have trouble swallowing a pill, liquid vitamins are really no better absorbed then the solid pills are. The difference comes in the quality of excipients used in either the liquid vitamin or the pill form which should be the criteria upon which you make your decision.