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Question:
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?

Answer:
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? 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.) 

Also see these related CL Answers:



Are enteric coated supplements better than non-enteric coated ones? >>

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? >>

Is it okay to crush a tablet and consume the powder or add the powder to food, rather than swallowing the tablet whole? >>



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Comments
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hyesun9798   June 15, 2016
That's why I always chew tablets. :-)

ConsumerLab.com   June 15, 2016
Hi Hyesun - This should be fine in general, as long as the tablet is not timed-release, extended-release or enteric coated: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/crushing_tablets/

This CL Answer initially posted on 6/14/2016. Last updated 7/26/2017.

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