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Are Liquid Vitamins Better?

Question:
Are liquid vitamins better than pills?
liquid-vitamin-medicine-dropper
Answer:
There are pros and cons to liquid vitamins.

Pros:
A benefit of a liquid is that you avoid the risk that an improperly made pill will not break apart and fully release its ingredients. ConsumerLab subjects the tablets and caplets it reviews to a disintegration test for this reason and has come across many pills that don't break apart at all or, more often, only partially break apart. For example, in 2017, multivitamins from two different companies failed to break apart fully after 30 minutes (the required time as per the U.S. Pharmacopeia) and still had not fully disintegrated after another 30 minutes.

Another issue avoided with liquids is the trouble some people (particularly young children and older adults) have with swallowing tablets or capsules.

Liquids may be preferable for people who have trouble with digestion due to gastric surgery or other reasons.

Having a supplement in liquid form also makes it easier to modify the dose. For example, if a supplement, like vitamin D liquid drops or a fish oil liquid, is being shared among family members, it is very easy to give each person their specific dose by changing the number of drops or fraction of a teaspoon that you administer.  

Some ingredients in supplements are hygroscopic, i.e., they attract water, and pills containing them can quickly become "wet" from moisture in the air. Magnesium chloride a good example of this, but it is also the preferred form if you need to take high-dose magnesium as it is less likely to cause diarrhea than other forms. It is therefore better to take magnesium chloride as a liquid than as a pill. See our Magnesium Supplements Review for our Top Picks for magnesium supplements, including magnesium chloride.

Cons:
A risk of a liquid is that some ingredients are less stable in a liquid environment, resulting in a loss of ingredient over time. This is of particular concern with vitamins such as vitamin C and folic acid. ConsumerLab has also come across this problem with creatine supplements, where creatine breaks down to creatinine.

You will also need a pill form rather than a liquid if you need to delay the absorption (such as with a timed-release melatonin), or are trying to deliver the ingredient intact to the intestine without being digested in the stomach, such as with some enteric-coated probiotics and fish oils.

Some liquid supplements may require refrigeration making it difficult to take with you during the day or when travelling.

Learn more about vitamins and supplements in liquids, powders and gummies:



Is there cause for concern with "gummy vitamins?" There are many different gummies out there. Are some better than others? >>

Are vitamin D oral sprays more effective than vitamin D pills or drops? >>

Are lozenges and sublingual pills considered dietary supplements? >>

Do probiotics that come in different forms, like gum or lozenges, really work? >>

Sometimes my powdered supplements get clumpy. Should I be concerned? >>

A representative in a store selling vitamins and supplements advised me that it was better to use a powdered product that you mix with liquid than to take a pill, because the vitamins will be more completely absorbed. Is that true? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

JARKKO16921   July 1, 2018
"ConsumerLab has also come across this problem with creatine supplements, where creatine breaks down to creatinine".

After I have mixed my own drink that contains Creapure creatine monohydrate, berry powders and many other powders + water or carbonated water, how quickly should I drink it to avoid harmful levels of creatinine?

ConsumerLab.com   July 2, 2018
Hi Jarkko - To reduce the breakdown of creatine in that drink, it would seem best to drink that right after you make it, and not stored for later use.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 6/23/2018.
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