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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Liquid Vitamins vs. Tablet Vitamins

Liquid Vitamins vs. Tablet Vitamins - what is best for you?  This is probably one of the most widely disputed arguments in the supplement industry.  Some will say liquid vitamins are better because the absorb better.  While others suggest the tablet form not only has a better absorption rate, but also contains more vitamins and minerals.

So who is right?  Before providing one scientist's answer to this question, I need to emphasize the fact that we are talking about pharmaceutical grade table vitamins and not the discount vitamins you will find at your local Walmart.

This excellent answer was given by a scientist at Usana:  a company which produces pharmaceutical grade supplements in tablet form.  The company was voted the #1 supplement company in America just a few short weeks ago by the National Sanitation Foundation.  Take a look at the answer and hopefully it will provide you the information you need to make an educated decision for yourself.

The Claims
Many liquid supplement manufacturers claim that because their product is in a liquid
form that it is more bioavailable. In fact, some even use phony statements regarding the
Physician's Desk Reference to support such claims. The statement they reference about
liquid supplements being more bioavailable first appeared in the PDR under a listing for a
specific nutritional supplement product. That statement has since been removed because
it was false and could not be substantiated. In addition, the PDR organization itself does
not make any such statement about liquid vitamins vs. tablets.


How Are Nutrients Absorbed?
Nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine, unless they are taken sublingually or
injected. When you ingest a supplement in either a liquid or tablet form, it must first go
through the stomach and is then absorbed by the small intestine. If liquids were simply
absorbed directly in to the bloodstream, as some supplement companies claim, would the
same happen when you ate soup?

Bioavailability is defined as the degree and rate at which a substance (as a drug) is
absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity.
Different vitamins and minerals have different absorption rates no matter if they come
from a tablet, liquid, powder, or food. For example Calcium has a pretty standard
absorption rate around 25-35%. The form does not generally make a significant
difference.

The Differences
A well-made tablet provides a very effective delivery system and is the chosen form of
most pharmaceutical medications. This is because tablets have been shown to be a very
efficient delivery system for medications. Why would vitamin and mineral supplements
be any different? Does anybody doubt that an aspirin tablet is less effective because it
comes in a tablet?

Tableted products provide the advantage of an increased amount of active ingredient
(almost 3 times as much as a capsule and much more than a liquid or spray). In general,
the stability of tablets is also superior to liquids.

Determining Factors
There are many factors that can affect the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the
body. Some of these factors are a function of the person taking the nutrient and are
dependent on the age of the person, the integrity of their digestive system, the state of
their health, the time of day, the person's gender, and if the supplements was taken on a
full or empty stomach. People whose nutrient needs are greater, such as growing children,
pregnant or lactating women, and those who are currently deficient, may have
significantly enhanced absorption rates for certain nutrients. Recently, some individuals
and companies have made claims that their products are superior because they are "98-
percent absorbed" or some similar number. This is a misleading statement because there
are too many variables to imply that an individual's absorption is a certain percent of the
material consumed. Even absorption of minerals from food sources can vary
significantly. Boron, molybdenum, and iodine can be absorbed at over 90 percent while
the average absorption rates of zinc, copper, and selenium can range from 30 to 80
percent depending on the form. It should seem reasonable then, that stating an average
absorption rate is very misleading.

USANA Vitamins
The USANA tablets are formulated to meet United States Pharmacopoeia standards
requiring full disintegration within 30-45 min. They are also formulated to meet
standards for dissolution. Because the USANA tablets are formulated to these standards,
the vitamins and minerals found in our supplements are properly absorbed into the body
and are very beneficial. Innovative formulations have been developed to optimize
nutrient bioavailability. Each lot of USANA tablets is tested against finished product
specifications to ensure that it meets standards for: identity, target weight, hardness,
thickness, disintegration, potency, purity, and (microbial counts). USANA provides its
vitamins and minerals in amounts and forms so that, in conjunction with a healthy diet,
you will receive maximum bioavailability, full effectiveness, and uncompromised safety.
A couple of questions to ask:

Liquid Vitamins Are Not Used In Scientific Studies
The supplement industry itself originated on account of published studies in the scientific
literature that contributed to the knowledge and insight into nutritional elements. With the
hundreds of studies connecting calcium and vitamin D supplements with bone health, it is
hard to dispute that tableted supplements provide an effective delivery system. If tablets
weren't any good, why did the researchers get positive results? If liquid or spray
supplements are so much better, why are they rarely, if ever, used in published scientific
research?

Conclusions
Keep in mind that we are speaking of multiminerals and multivitamin formulations.
There may be certain products that may be appropriate in a liquid (just as some
medications are liquid). However, these are the exceptions, not the rule.
Finally, liquid supplement promoters often contend that liquids are better because they
don't contain fillers (excipients used in tablets for disintegration, form, binding, coating,
etc). That is a ridiculous argument since liquid supplements require even more "other"
ingredients such as emulsifiers, solvents, preservatives, stabilizing agents, coloring,
flavoring, etc. The more ingredients in a liquid supplement, the more excipients that may
be required.

To Your Health

Scott Huff has been helping people obtain optimal levels of vitamins and minerals through the use of  pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements.  He is also experienced in helping people create an alternate source of income, simply by educating and helping others with their health.  For more information on this unique opportunity,  send an email with questions to:  huffster@usana.com.

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