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Nutrition

Liquid Multivitamins vs. Tablets Or Capsules

by Christian Baker - 8 months ago

Finding the right liquid multivitamin is tricky.

It sounds like such a lovely, easy way to stay healthy. We don’t even have to taste it, because it is so effectively disguised by our morning smoothie!

But have you ever found it a bit odd that we, the consumers, are offered bottles filled with varying combinations and percentages of “essential” vitamins and minerals, as though the contents were as innocent and interchangeable as gummy bears?

Then again, it’s difficult to imagine something like vitamin C—the champion supplement, derivative of juicy fruits—could be harmful.

Sadly, it turns out that the recommended daily dose of nearly every primary supplement is under scientific scrutiny and has been for years.

What is consistently affirmed by healthcare professionals is that food is typically the best source of nutrients and that multivitamins are not a casual affair.

1. What You Don’t Know About Multivitamins
2. Capsules Vs. Liquid Multivitamins
3. The Best Way To Get Essential Vitamins
4. Natural Forms Of Liquid Multivitamins

What You Don’t Know About Multivitamins

Did you know that there isn’t a standard nutrient requirement for multivitamins/minerals (MVMs)?

Because of this, manufacturers may apply the term to any product at their own discretion.

Incidentally, there is no single MVM that is medically recommended and none are encouraged without first having taken into consideration the patient’s diet.

Confidence is only expressed in that, “nutritional needs should be met with primarily by food” and interestingly, those most likely to partake of multivitamins are, in fact, the ones who need them the least.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have access to diverse and healthy food choices have the best supply of nutrients and, in this case, supplements are often over-generous.

For those of us whose diets are necessarily more limited, there is the potential to benefit from supplements.

It follows that a doctor might prescribe one vitamin or another to compensate for something very specific, but that would require a professional diagnosis and an informed prescription that took into account all the particulars of chemical interactions, bioavailability, and the individual’s physical characteristics.

The human body is too complicated and our nutrient needs dictated by too many factors for tablet or liquid multivitamins to be much more than weak-kneed suggestions.


Capsules Vs. Liquid Multivitamins

Speaking of bioavailability!

Bioavailability refers to the extent to which an ingested substance is absorbed and used by the body and how much is excreted, unused and unchanged.

In this case, we’re curious as to whether liquid multivitamins are better absorbed than multivitamins in a capsule form, as well as how many nutrients we receive from supplements in comparison to food.

The level of complication associated with bioavailability and human metabolism is such that no one article could possibly communicate all the factors involved. However, some gracious researchers have provided summarized and standardized information to give us a place to begin.

For example, our ability to absorb nutrients (whatever the source) is largely dictated by…

  • The regularity of our meals
  • How much we eat
  • The overall health of our GI tract, such as how much microflora is present
  • Internal inflammation or—as is preferable—lack thereof
  • The state of our kidneys
  • Our state of hydration
  • How much we exercise
  • How much and what type of nutrients are already in our system
  • Our age and genetic makeup

Of course, needs and activities are highly variable per the individual. So, in order to develop a detailed understanding of how these bullet points may apply to you and your health would require a documentation of your habits (diet and otherwise) and medical assessment.

On the other hand, certain standards of nutrient absorption can be based on a subject who is well-hydrated, young, well-fed, fit, with an alkaline system, no genetic health complications, and without any other supplements or drugs to complicate matters.

For example, based on the above model, ingested vitamin K is metabolized and excreted very quickly, with the body absorbing 30-40% and excreting 20% in the urine and 40-50% in the feces.

The relationship between nutrients themselves is more consistent. Some vitamins and minerals can be expected to work as agonists or antagonists with/against each other. Meaning certain materials can either enhance or cancel out the effects of the other.

Take vitamin D, which enhances the absorption of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, but it also enhances the absorption of phytates, such as those found in sesame seeds, and these actually inhibit the absorption of minerals and niacin.

That being said, nutrition provided by food does have a different bioavailability than that provided in supplementary form.

Studies suggest that the isolation of nutrients in the process of creating supplements causes the product to then lack the interactive effects of vitamins and minerals naturally occurring together in foods. The digestion of these supplements is then altered and the quality of absorption is questionable.

This is true of liquid or capsulized multivitamins alike.

So, long story short, when comparing liquid multivitamins with capsules, the liquid form may get into your system faster, but neither form may be effectively absorbed.

Are there better options? Most definitely. Read on!

The Best Way To Get Essential Vitamins

We are designed to receive our essential nutrients from food. However, because of contemporary systems of farming and food production, a great deal of food is not nearly as nutrient rich and those nutrients are not so bioavailable as they once were, when freshly plucked from healthy soil by the bubbling brook sort of thing.

Regardless, it’s still best to look to diet before looking to supplements.

It’s true that sometimes we do need an extra boost so for those occasions, we’ve created a free supplement buyer’s guide to help you make informed purchasing decisions. You can download your copy free below.

What Are The Essential Vitamins And Minerals?

Our bodies are complicated and intricate systems that require a long list of nutrients, but there are a few to pay particular attention to. These include vitamins C, E, A, K, D and B-complex, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.

The good news is, there are many foods we can get those nutrients from. Take a look below.

Vitamin C

  • Kiwis
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Papayas
  • Raw cabbage
  • Raspberries and strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Black currants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cherries
  • Rosehips
  • Kale and spinach
  • Parsley

Vitamin E

  • Certain vegetable oils, like olive oil or avocado oil
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Almonds and sunflower seeds
  • Gluten-free whole grains such as, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley

Vitamin A

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, like apricots, sweet peppers, carrots, mangoes, and pumpkin
  • Beef liver
  • Eggs
  • Shrimp and other fish including, salmon, tuna, and herring
  • Pistachios
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chicken breast

Vitamin K

  • Sprouts
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Milk (unless pregnant, see if you can source locally produced, unpasteurized milk, as this will have maintained its nutritional value)
  • Collards, spinach, kale, and other green veggies

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is best found in fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), cheese, and sunshine. Its more limited sources can make obtaining it a bit difficult for some. Other solutions, like fortified milk or cereal, are not ideal.

The trouble is, researcher’s have not yet been able to determine its threshold of safety, as far as synthetic supplementation goes.

This being the case, it is a good idea to have your doctor see whether you are deficient in vitamin D and, if so, scheme a healthy way to change that!

B-Complex

  • Brown rice
  • Garlic
  • Watermelons
  • Mushrooms
  • Acorn squash
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Cheese (preferably hard cheese)
  • Red meat, poultry, and fish (meats and dairy products can play a vital role in supplying us with B vitamins)
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Gluten-free whole grains such as, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley
  • Avocadoes
  • Tomatoes

Iron

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Green vegetables

Iron, like vitamin D, can present a challenge to certain groups. Namely women, who are often deficient. That is, with the exception of certain countries where, from an evolutionary standpoint, greater iron intakes would be rather more harmful than helpful.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include…

  • Rapid heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding heart (palpitations)
  • Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in menstrual pattern
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Skin thinning
  • Hair or nails thinning/becoming brittle

Though these symptoms have been identified in relation to many health complications (including a magnesium deficiency or hyperthyroidism), it might be helpful to discuss with your doctor whether you should increase your iron intake, since this is a common need.

Sometimes, getting more iron just means eating more iron-rich foods, but you may also be advised to take a weekly iron supplement.

To reiterate the importance of having your dietary changes guided by a medical professional: Iron and vitamin C have a very specific threshold of tolerance for each other. Therefore, your body chemistry, your diet, or any environmental/lifestyle factors, at all, should all be taken into consideration.

Zinc

  • Oysters, crab, and lobster
  • Sardines, salmon, flounder, and sole
  • Legumes (best in moderation)
  • Nuts, including pecans, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, and hazelnuts (also best in moderation)

Calcium

  • Yogurt and kefir (absolutely fabulous for you, as well as delicious)
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Salmon and sardines
  • Green, leafy veggies such as, spinach, swiss chard, and kale

Magnesium

  • As always, green and leafy veggies seem to contain everything under the sun
  • Cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, etc.
  • Halibut
  • Gluten-free whole grains such as, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley
  • Milk

Incidentally, magnesium is needed for the efficient uptake of calcium and potassium.

Recommended daily intakes of each nutrient either vary per person, are unknown, or are in flux. So, a comprehensive diet is a good place to begin.

We are designed to obtain our vitamins and minerals from food, after all.

The most consistent and reliable piece of dietary advice is to eat a wide variety of foods with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

If you feel that something is still not quite right and, perhaps you’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, it’s best to discuss the issue with your doctor. They might recommend you eat more of one thing than another.

Natural Forms Of Liquid Multivitamins

If you find you’re in a rush…

Or your kids just won’t eat their asparagus…

Then, why not try making life a bit simpler and stick it all in a blender?

You can make delectable soups, drinks, and smoothies out of any fruit, grain, veggie, root, or herb you can think of.

There is very little that you, a large soup pot, a blender, and the fresh produce section can’t achieve.

When you start combining pineapple and mint (yum!), apples, carrots, and coriander (yum-yum-yum!), or yogurt, dill, and garlic (tak proszę!), you’ll see how different your body feels.

These and other recipes can be found in a lovely little book called, Healing Drinks, by Anne Mcintyre.

Another option, if the above is a bit too involved, is to consider products like our own Athletic Greens. That is, powdered whole foods that can be easily mixed into a glass of water and provide you with your daily servings of veggies, along with all the natural nutrients.

And most importantly, enjoy what you eat! Life is too short to live on supplements, don’t you think?