Better Family Article Series

Liquid Multivitamins
The Absorption Advantage

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Article Highlights

  • Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins are different and should be taken on different schedules, with different substances.
  • Liquid vitamins are the best in terms of absorption rates.
  • Crushing vitamins does help with absorption into the body.
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Vitamin Absorption Chart

When you take your vitamin, first it travels to your stomach, then it travels to your small intestine. From there, it’s absorbed into the body as a whole.

There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are picked up in the jejunum, which is a section of the small intestine, then picked up again by active transports that carry those vitamin molecules through the small intestine cell walls and deposit them where they’re needed throughout the rest of the body in order for them to properly enter the bloodstream.

Fat-soluble vitamins have to dissolve in fat, as their name would suggest, before they make their way into the body. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which need to be taken every day for the absorption of vitamins and minerals to be successful, fat-soluble vitamins don’t require daily consumption because they build up in the system.

Vitamins have to be able to disintegrate in order for them to work and be absorbed properly. And for vitamin absorption to work in the way that it should, these vitamins should break down within the first 20 minutes of being in the system. What makes it difficult for these vitamins to break down are binders and fillers added by production companies - two things that Better Family steers clear of. Many vitamins in pill form have a shiny, wax outer coating that keeps out moisture and gives the vitamin a longer shelf life, but also makes it harder for multivitamins and minerals benefits to be reaped. Sugar and corn syrup are two other inhibitors, as they might make the vitamins taste better, but they decrease nutrients absorption and encourage weight gain. 

A vitamin absorption chart can help you get the most of the vitamins that you’re taking. Take a look at the way that these vitamin examples interact in a vitamin interaction chart:

  • Vitamin A absorption works best taken with fats and is hindered by alcohol and digestive disorders
  • Magnesium absorption works best when taken with Vitamin D
  • Calcium absorption can be hindered by Magnesium

Is It Good To Take a Multivitamin Everyday?

There are a lot of opposing viewpoints out there when it comes to what vitamins to take and how often. This confusion leads many people to wonder - is it good to take a multivitamin everyday? 

In the case of water-soluble vitamins, it’s essential to take these every day as failing to do so will prevent the vitamins from carrying out the duties that they’re meant to do inside your system. They will leave your body in your urine and taking them will be a waste of money and time. 

In the case of fat-soluble vitamins, taking a multivitamin once a week could prove to be beneficial. As fat-soluble vitamins work in the way that they build up over time in your system, taking them everyday could end up doing more harm than good. 

Other people wonder: What vitamins should I take daily for a woman? And we’ve got the answers there, too. Since multivitamins contain thirteen vitamins and about fifteen minerals (1), they have the ability to produce enzymes and hormones, boost immunity, and keep your nerves and organs functioning optimally. All of these processes put together can benefit reproduction, which many women find helpful and even necessary. If you’re looking for a once-daily multivitamin to take as a woman, check out The Garden of Life Code for Women (2), as it’s packed with the daily nutrients that women need along with probiotics and enzymes to help with digestion. 

The best time to take liquid vitamins varies from person to person (3). But a general rule of thumb is that you should make a habit of taking fat-soluble vitamins around the time that you eat. But on the other hand, water-soluble vitamins are absorbed better on an empty stomach. So, depending on your schedule and the type of vitamins you’re ingesting should be the deciding factors on when you take your vitamins. 

Best Form of Vitamins For Absorption 

In order to make sure that you’re getting all that you can from the vitamins that you’re taking, you want to know the best form of vitamins for absorption. The consensus is that vitamins in liquid form have a much quicker absorption rate (4) because the stomach can absorb this form much faster than it can absorb a pill - in fact, the vitamin might even start getting absorbed by the body before it reaches your stomach. 

So, are liquid vitamins absorbed better than capsules? The answer there is yes. If you want your vitamins to be absorbed quickly, then choosing the liquid route will serve you the best. No matter what type of vitamin that you’re taking, from Vitamin B to Vitamin D and anything in between - is liquid Vitamin D better absorbed? Yes. If you’re looking at the Vitamin B complex liquid vs pill, go with the liquid if you’re erring towards quicker absorption. 

The reason that a liquid vitamin is absorbed so much more quickly is because there’s not as much breakdown that needs to occur. As soon as the vitamin is ingested, the liquid vitamin begins to fraction out the nutrients and the gastrointestinal tract doesn’t have to work as hard to process it. 

Now that we’ve discussed the quick absorption of liquid vitamins, we can move onto something that many might be wondering: What about gummy vitamins vs pills absorption? 

When it comes to Vitamin D, the gummy vitamin is actually the better choice in terms of absorption because of the way that the nutrients from the gummy begin their dissolution in the mouth when they’re chewed and mixed with saliva. This makes the nutrients more available than if the pills were swallowed whole.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are in a different boat. They contain living bacteria that can aid the digestive and immune systems, and these bacteria need to be protected from the external environment until they get to where they need to be - the small intestine. For this reason, pill form for probiotics works best. 

Multivitamin Absorption Time

According to a multivitamin absorption study (5), the people that need to take multivitamins the most are young women and pregnant women, as they can glean the most benefits from them. If you don’t fall into that category, you should take them on a needs basis, because you can get a lot of the nutrients that you need from food alone. 

With as many great vitamin brands as there are on the market, there’s bound to be some that you should stay far away from. If you want the best efficacy of your vitamins along with the best multivitamin absorption time, here are some vitamin brands to avoid: 

  • Centrum (it contains vitamins and minerals that are poorly absorbed within the body and just get flushed out. Taking it tends to be a waste of time and money)
  • One A Day
  • Jamieson
  • Kirkland
  • Equate
  • Up & Up
  • Flintstone Vitamins
  • Spectrate
  • Nature Made
  • Rexall

Staying away from these brands and keeping your focus towards quality products like the ones we create a Better Family will ensure that you’re getting the nutrients that your body needs.

To make sure that those nutrients are getting to where they need to go, they need to be absorbed effectively. As we discussed in the last section, it’s important to keep in mind the absorption rate of gummy vitamins in comparison to liquid vitamins absorption rate. 

The absorption time of liquid vitamins is automatically faster because there are no barriers for the vitamins to break through. The biggest step, breaking down the vitamin, is taking place before you even swallow as the substance mixes with your saliva. Gummy vitamins, though some do get absorbed faster than pills or capsules, must be chewed and sent to the stomach before they can be officially absorbed. 

Does Crushing Vitamins Help With Absorption?

We’ve learned that vitamins in pill or capsule form don’t do as well with absorption as gummies or liquid versions do. But is there a way around this? Does crushing vitamins help with absorption? The answer is yes (6)!

As long as you read the directions on your vitamins first before deciding to crush (or chew) them and the label doesn’t say anything about avoiding this practice, you should be good to go. This can also help if you’re not comfortable with swallowing pills. The smaller pieces of the vitamins allow it to be absorbed more quickly by your body, and therefore go into effect faster.

You can crush these vitamins and mix them with food - and you might be wondering, can you crush vitamins into smoothies? Yes, you can. If the vitamin is cleared to be crushed, you can put it into anything you’d like - just make sure that the ingredients of the smoothie (or food) coincide with the vitamin that you’re taking. For example, if the vitamin is fat-soluble, it would work best to consume it with something like avocado or yogurt. 

To follow are a handful of commonly asked questions about common vitamins and whether or not they’re crushable. We’ve got the answers. 

  • Can you crush calcium tablets?
    • Yes, unless you have extended release tablets. These are formed specifically for delayed release and the nutrients are not meant to be consumed all at once. (7)
  • Can you crush Vitamin D tablets?
    • Yes, unless it is an extended release tablet. (8)
  • Can you crush zinc tablets?
    • Yes, unless it is an extended release tablet. (9)
  • Can you crush One A Day vitamins?
    • No, it is not recommended to crush these types of vitamins. (10)
  • Can you crush chewable vitamins?
    • Yes, as crushing a chewable vitamin before putting it in your mouth is essentially just like chewing it. 

References

  1. Palsdottir, Hrefna. "Do Multivitamins Work? The Surprising Truth." Healthline, 28 Jan. 2021, www.healthline.com/nutrition/do-multivitamins-work#_noHeaderPrefixedContent.
  2. Giardina, Victoria. "The 5 best women's multivitamins in 2021, backed by medical experts." Insider, 5 Mar. 2021, www.insider.com/guides/health/best-womens-multivitamins.
  3. O'Brien, Claire. "When Is The Best Time To Take Vitamins – The 2021 Guide." ActiveIron, 17 Feb. 2021, www.activeiron.com/blog/best-time-to-take-vitamins/.
  4. Bhogal, Ramneek S. "ARE LIQUID VITAMINS BETTER THAN PILLS?" DaVinci Laboratories, 26 Apr. 2019, blog.davincilabs.com/blog/are-liquid-vitamins-better-than-pills.
  5. "Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?" Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/is-there-really-any-benefit-to-multivitamins.
  6. Busch, Sandi. "Is it Harmful to Chew Vitamins?" Livestrong, www.livestrong.com/article/468957-is-it-harmful-to-chew-vitamins/.
  7. "Calcium Chew Tablet, Chewable - Uses, Side Effects, and More." WebMD, www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-74914/calcium-chew-oral/details.
  8. "Calcium and vitamin D combination." University of Michigan Health, www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d03137a1.
  9. "Zinc With Vitamins Tablet - Uses, Side Effects, and More." WebMD, www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-94485/zinc-with-vitamins-oral/details.
  10. "One A Day Women's Complete (Oral)." Everyday Health, 21 May 2021, www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/one-a-day-womens-complete.

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