Liquid versus Pill—which is better for supplements?

By Ashley Koff, RD

With so many supplements on the market today, one question I get (or one that I often point out) is does the form of the vitamin—tablet, capsule, liquid, powder, spray—matter? My answer: Indeed, yes!

I spend a lot of time explaining that the type of nutrient in a supplement matters a great deal. For example, d-alpha tocopherol (as a vitamin E source) versus dl-alpha tocopherol: that one extra letter means the difference between natural and synthetic, as in nut versus photo paper—yup, you read right . . . photo paper! And what about magnesium oxide versus magnesium citrate? Major difference in absorption! And vitamin D2 versus D3? Huge! But beyond getting the right ingredients in your supplement, the form of the supplement makes a difference too. Why? It's pretty simple, actually: To utilize the nutrients the body takes in, they must be in a form that it can use; so digestion, absorption and assimilation of a supplement are important to how well it works. Capsules and tablets must dissolve (hopefully) before the ingredients they contain become available. For many reasons, including age, medication use, pH, and functional changes (i.e., surgery), the body's digestive system may not be able to completely (or in some cases, not at all) break down vitamin tablets or capsules into usable material. Conversely, liquids, powders and sprays don't require this step and therefore may result in quicker assimilation into the body. NOTE: This does not mean that any liquid, spray or powder is better than any tablet or capsule. What it does mean is that a quality liquid, spray or powder may work better—especially if you fall into one of the categories above. Some products that I have found (and as such are Ashley Koff Approved or AKA) where the form has proven advantageous include:

Natural Vitality
Natural Calm, Osteo Calm, Organic Life Vitamins, and Kids Natural Calm Multi

adaptogen mists

CoQ10 and liquid CoQ10



omega oils and swirls

Udo's Oil
various blends

Nordic Naturals
ProOmega-D (and other oils)

Designs for Health

Ashley Koff is an internationally renowned registered dietitian on a mission to improve the health of people across America and beyond through raising public awareness of the value of quality eating. Visit her site at: www.ashleykoffapproved.com