Our Members Asked:
Is it okay to buy supplements as tablets? I've heard that tablets may go through our system without dissolving. Is there any way to know whether tablets will properly dissolve?
Although tablets should disintegrate in a short period of time in your stomach, not all do. ConsumerLab.com has found that about 5% of products sold as tablets don't disintegrate as fast as they should, and some fail to disintegrate at all.
So how do you know if the tablet you are taking is among those that don't dissolve properly?
- See if your product was tested in a recent ConsumerLab.com Product Review. You can look it up by type of product or by brand to find the relevant review. Then, check the results table.
- Try ConsumerLab.com's Home Test for tablet disintegration, which, while not foolproof, can provide some helpful information.
Be aware that passing a disintegration test does not guarantee bioavailability — which depends on additional factors such as how well ingredients are absorbed.
Although you are unlikely to have disintegration issues with regular softgels and capsules, ConsumerLab.com has found issues with some enteric-coated (delayed-release) capsules and softgels.
(ConsumerLab.com uses USP standards for tablet disintegration (United States Pharmacopeia [USP] "Disintegration and Dissolution of Dietary Supplements" method <2040>), which require uncoated and plain-coated tablets to disintegrate completely within 30 minutes. Enteric-coated (delayed-release) tablets and soft shelled capsules are required to disintegrate within one hour in simulated intestinal fluid after an initial hour in simulated gastric fluid during which they should remain intact.)
In addition the results of its expert testing, ConsumerLab uses only high-quality, evidence based, information sources. These sources include peer-reviewed studies and information from agencies such as the FDA and USDA, and the National Academy of Medicine. On evolving topics, studies from pre-print journals may be sourced. All of our content is reviewed by medical doctors and doctoral-level experts in pharmacology, toxicology, and chemistry. We continually update and medically review our information to keep our content trustworthy, accurate, and reliable. The following sources are referenced in this article:
- United States Pharmacopeia [USP] "Disintegration and Dissolution of Dietary Supplements" method <2040>