Our Members Asked:
Is it okay to break vitamin tablets, pills or capsules to change the dose or make them easier to swallow?
It's often okay to break or open a vitamin or other supplement, either by splitting or crushing a tablet or twisting open a capsule. However, if a pill is labeled as enteric-coated (to protect contents from stomach acid or avoid an unpleasant aftertaste), timed-release (to slow the absorption of a key ingredient), or indicates some other type of special coating, you should not break it, as you will lose the benefit of the coating. Some coatings also mask the initial unpleasant taste of an ingredient.
Capsules are usually two-part shells, with their open ends facing one another. Twisting the capsule will separate the two. If you want to reduce the dose of a capsule without wasting the remainder, you can purchase inexpensive empty capsules, twist them open, and pour a portion of the contents from the original capsule into one of the empty capsules and then reclose each capsule.
If you want to break a tablet, you can purchase a relatively inexpensive pill cutter to more precisely cut a tablet into parts. You can also use a pill crusher or mortar and pestle to turn a pill, or part of a pill, into a powder that can be taken with food or in a drink.
While you won't want to break a softgel in half, since it is a one-piece shell that typically contains a liquid ingredient, you can puncture the capsule, squeeze out the contents, and swallow the liquid directly or in food or a drink, although, depending on the contents, it may not have a pleasant taste.
Regardless of whether you cut, twist, squeeze, or crush a pill, be aware that you are exposing the contents to more oxygen, which can cause oxidation and accelerate decomposition. Use the product soon afterward rather than producing batches for storage.