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Question:
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?

Answer:
Powdered supplements that are mixed with liquid may be preferable for people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, or have conditions that reduce the ability to digest foods. Normally, however, assuming that a pill is properly made to disintegrate in a short period of time in your stomach, it should not matter if you take a powder or a pill.

Nevertheless, be aware that 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. In those situations, a powder would be preferable. You are unlikely to have any disintegration issues with regular capsules and softgels, although ConsumerLab.com has found that some enteric-coated and timed-release products release ingredients before they should. You can check the test results within our Product Reviews to see whether a tablet or enteric-coated or timed-release pill passed or failed our testing. You'll also see how powders fared because, absorption aside, some have failed our tests for other reasons.

If you do use a powdered supplement, be sure that when you mix it with a drink, you stir thoroughly and consume the full contents of the drink -- as some material may remain at the bottom of the cup. See our CL Answer to the question about moisture and clumping with some powders for tips about using and storing powdered supplements.



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William9801   June 15, 2016
I prefer powders since they are often more economical; more importantly, they do not contain extra ingredients (e.g., magnesium stearate, titanium oxide) that are used in the manufacture of pills or capsules. It is debated whether some of these additives might be safe or not, so I avoid them altogether by using powders whenever possible.

Dave6932   September 9, 2015
Is the plastic in plastic capsules harmful?

ConsumerLab.com   September 10, 2015
Hi Dave - Capsules are not made with plastic but, typically, with gelatin (animal-based), cellulose (vegetarian) and/or other ingredients which are easy to digest and safe.

You can read more about this in the article about Inactive Ingredients, here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/inactiveingredients/

Elizabeth248   October 23, 2014
I'm less likely to get to a powder that requires mixing, etc. than to just pop a pill. So in my case, I get more of the product by just taking a pill.

Robert247   October 23, 2014
I take Condroitin in powder form along with Milled Flax Seed mixed in a potion of watered down Vegetable juice. Neither Condroitin nor the Flax are very soluble thus suspending these products in the Veggie juice works well.

tauno k249   October 24, 2014
some say supplements are not properly absorbed within two hours of taking flaxseed

Idelle251   October 25, 2014
I've read that flax seeds can interfere with absorption of vitamins, minerals and medication. You may want to check whether you should take it alone.

Ronald245   October 22, 2014
I understand tablets mostly come from China where controls are very lax if not impossible. Also tablets are more likely to contain undesirable ingredients.

thanks

ConsumerLab.com   November 3, 2014
Hi Ronald - Many raw materials used in dietary supplements do come from China, although tableting and encapsulation are commonly done in the U.S.

richard244   October 22, 2014
I buy tablets for all mu supplements and just chew them rather than swallow, believing it speeds the absorption

Donald243   October 22, 2014
Those using a powder should also be told to drink it right after preparation. Once dissolved in liquid, the rate of "deterioration" and potential interactions increases significantly. Do not store the mixture.
Don Goldberg, R.Ph.

This CL Answer initially posted on 10/22/2014. Last updated 8/8/2017.

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