The nutrient supplement market is booming. Evidence of that is clear from how the drug shelves at your local store get stacked with an ever-increasing, albeit alluring selection of branded vitamins and minerals as each year goes by. Natural vitamin supplements are a neat way to give your overall health a boost, but given the myriad drops and capsules in the industry, how do you determine which one is best suited to your needs and preferences? Which form gets absorbed more quickly? Should you get capsules or try out liquid vitamins?
To make an informed decision and get the most out of your supplements, you need to understand how vitamin drops and vitamin capsules work, how the body breaks down their nutrients, and their pros and cons.
Several factors such as structure, shelf life, absorption and retention rate shows just how different drops are from capsules, and these factors also hold great significance in ascertaining which choice would benefit you the most. Read on to learn more about these two forms that our supplements take and how to pick between them.
How do capsules differ from drops?
Excepting the apparent dissimilarity in physical structure, vitamin capsules and vitamin drops are different in a lot of ways. Let’s have a look at some of these differences below:
|Soft, gelatinous outer covering made from animal or plant material, available in sizes ranging from very small to large||No outer covering, available only in liquid form|
|An appreciable percentage of nutrients is lost to gastric juices, with about 40% to 55% being absorbed in the small intestine. The percentage is abysmally lesser in pills and tablets||The body retains as much as 90% and at least 85% of nutrients during absorption|
|Refrigeration is not necessary, so keeping your supplements with you on the go is easy||Some drops require refrigeration, making them hard to carry around during the day|
|It could take up to 30 minutes for complete dissolution and absorption to occur||Nutrients from liquid drops are dispersed into the bloodstream between 22 to 30 seconds|
|Doses cannot be altered or adjusted. Separate concentrations of the same supplement are needed for different age groups within the family||One liquid supplement can serve the whole family at different doses|
|Unlikely to leave an aftertaste after ingestion||More often than not, drops have a distinct aftertaste upon contact with the tongue. Taste is generally pleasing|
|Capsules have a longer shelf life and a lower tendency to lose potency over time||Vitamin drops tend to lose their potency relatively quickly since some nutrients are unstable within a liquid medium. Vitamin C, folic acid, and one of the essential nutrients for muscle growth, creatine, are typical examples|
|Zinc, vitamin B and magnesium chloride are best absorbed as capsules||Vitamins C and D have optimal absorption levels as liquids|
Which one is better for me?
Relative to solid forms of natural-made multivitamin, vitamin drops are easier to take. Especially for those who have the characteristic tendency to gag when they attempt to swallow pills or capsules or have to swallow them more than once daily. Some would swear that liquid vitamins even get absorbed the most. While the assumption is practical and quite logical, there is hardly any scientific evidence to back this claim.
The truth about supplements in liquid form is that their effectiveness might be thwarted where bioavailability is concerned, depending on who's using them. The state of vitamin drops being liquid, and therefore, seemingly more easily absorbable than capsules doesn’t guarantee that the vitamin is bioavailable within your body. Vitamin C, for example, is a cofactor for iron absorption. If your body is deficient in ascorbic acid, no amount of iron supplements you take, whether in capsule or drop form, will be effectively absorbed. Another example is the vitamin B12 drops. Complications in the stomach, such as digestive issues and gastrointestinal ailments adversely affect the production of intrinsic factors, the crucial substance for the absorption of vitamin B12. Intrinsic factor determines how much B12 an individual can assimilate, and low levels mean low absorption. Although Wellabs liquid vitamin B12 performs slightly better than the solid supplement in people with low levels of an intrinsic factor since it doesn't put any digestive strain on the stomach, the difference is negligible.
Some medications need to reach the intestines intact without getting digested in the stomach to be fully absorbed and utilized. In cases like this, tablets or capsules work best. These capsules are called timed-release capsules. Timed-release capsules have harder outer shells than the orthodox pills and are designed to withstand the stomach's digestive fluids so that their constituents are released deeper down the small intestine. Examples of timed-release substances are melatonin, some probiotics and fish oil.
Drops and capsules both have their advantages and disadvantages, and there are too many supplements in varying physical states to choose from. Instead of worrying about whether they’re liquid or encapsulated, focus more on acquiring a supplement that meets your preference and is most compatible with your purpose, body and state of health.
Healthcare practitioners recommend drops in pathologic cases where higher dosage and faster effect is desirable. Regular doses in liquid form are more tolerable than swallowing a bunch of pills several times daily. For people looking to sustain nutritional levels the whole day through regular doses, it may be more appropriate to get capsules.