ABSORPTION: LIQUIDS VS. PILLS
When deciding what is going to be the best natural supplement, medicine or remedy to buy, the question often arises – should one go with Liquids or Pills? There have been many studies done, and the resounding answer is that the benefits of a liquid far outweigh pill-based products. One of the most referred-to statements is found in the Physician’s Desk Reference on page 1542. In this widely used medical reference book, it is noted that liquids can be absorbed up to 98%. Where as it states the absorption rate of pills and capsules is 5% - 18%. This means that 80-95% of the ingredients contained in pills are excreted or eliminated from the body, which in itself can be very difficult on one’s system. When this is translated into monetary terms, for every $100 spent on pills, approximately $90 ends up being flushed down the toilet. In contrast, liquid forms of the same supplement has an absorption rate of up to 98%.
It’s not how much you take but how much your body absorbs that is the most important issue with digestion. With a higher level of absorption, more nutrients reach their intended destination thereby allowing the intended ingredients to treat the issue. What is important is how we can best insure the uptake of desired minerals, vitamins and ingredients.
One way around this problem is to take nutritional supplements using the most efficient delivery system available. More nutrients in a pill or capsule is not necessarily better. Your ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and the supplements you take may decrease significantly by as much as 70-90% as you age. Research on senior absorption characteristics indicates that reduced levels of digestive enzymes, coupled with reduced hydrochloric acid production in your stomach are culprits contributing to this condition. Much of this absorption can equally be attributed to the use of antacids and the use of prescriptions that lower the level of hydrochloric acid that the body produces. These are readily prescribed when a hypo or lack of acids are produced by the body rather than a hyper, or too much acid being produced by the digestive system. It is sometimes this misdiagnosis that creates much of the digestive issues for those with slow metabolic issues in turn causing additional digestive related health issues.
When you can't fully digest your food, your body can't absorb the vitamins and minerals they contain. Vitamin and mineral rich solid, raw foods and supplements that require additional digestion are thus harder to digest and are passed through the digestive system without the benefit of proper absorption. The vitamins and minerals that would normally be absorbed into the bloodstream are "locked up" and passed from the body unused adding little to no benefit to the body and to one’s health.
As shown in the following chart, the rate of absorption is directly related to the delivery system with the inherent nature of liquids being much higher than pills or tablets that require by their physical nature the need to be broken down to a liquid state before being able to be absorbed in the body. Liquids simply eliminate part of the processes that need to be taken by the stomach in processing a solid into a liquid.
Delivery System / Rate of Absorption *(5)
Pill or tablet - 10%
Capsule - 20%
Gel Cap - 30%
Transdermal Patch - 45%
Sublingual Liquid - 50%
Intramuscular Injection - 90%
Oral or Sublingual Spray - 95%
Intravenous Injection - 100%
Stomach acid is responsible for the activation of the specific enzymes needed for digestion as nutrients travels into the small intestine and large intestine. Low levels of stomach acid may allow undigested nutrients to travel farther along the digestive tract hindering efficient absorption. As we age, the acid in your stomach is a key player in the thorough breakdown of food. Those who don't have enough stomach acid often can't digest fiber rich food, whole foods or vitamin pills, and end up having long term issues such as weight gain, gallbladder issues and issues of fatigue and energy loss associated with proper digestion. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies often already exist because of poor food choices, processed foods, high protein diets, diets high in sugar and salts and lead directly to the poor digestion and the additional issues as sited.
Often times we know the therapeutic dosage for a specific condition, but we do not know how much of the prescribed nutrient is absorbed into the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal system when taken orally by tablet, capsule or gel cap. We do know that after age 40 and continuing on as we age, our gastrointestinal absorption rate reduces significantly. (1-4) This problem becomes even more serious when combined with health conditions or digestive disorders that further reduce absorption such as ulcers, diverticulitis, acid reflux, gallstones, sludge or debris, liver enzyme imbalance, and other significantly related issues.
Again, it’s not how much you take but how much your body tissues absorb that is important. With a higher level of absorption, more nutrients reach their intended destination thereby requiring a lower dosage intake. What is important is how we can best insure the uptake of the desired “ingredients”. One way around this problem is to take nutritional supplements using the most efficient delivery system available. More nutrients in a pill or capsule is not necessarily better.
1. Weiner, Dietz & Laue, Senile changes in absorption and elimination processes and their importance in
pharmacotherapy, Zeitschrift fur Alternforschung/Journal of Aging Research, (ZFA), 38(5):355-60, Sep-Oct
2. Dietz, Lane & Laue, Digestion and absorption in the elderly, ZFA, 33(1): 65-78, 1978.
3. Scarpace, J. Am. Geriatr Soc, Decreased receptor activation with age, 36(11):1067-71, 1988 Nov.
4. Baker, Jaslow & Frank, Severe impairment of dietary folate utilization in the elderly, J Am Geriatr Soc, 26
(5):218-21, 1978 May.
5. Physicians’ Desk Reference, NPPDR No. 18:676, 1997.
6. Liposomes a practical approach. RRC New Editor, IRL press at oxford university press. 1990.
7. Liposome technology, Gregodadis Ed. Vol 1, 11, 111. 2nd Edition, CRC Press, 1993.
8. Elias Fattal, Technological aspects of liposomes preparation, University of Paris-Sud, School of
Pharmacy, URA CNRS 1218, Chatenay-Malabry, France.
9. Weiner, Dietze & Laue, Age-dependent alterations of intestinal absorption. Arch Gerontol Geriatr, 3(2):97-
108, 1984 Jul.
10. Scientific American, 256 (1):103-111, 1987.
*While the results and success to eliminate pain, itching and burning have been typical for those who have placed testimonials on our website, the results for all individuals may not be typical. There are many factors that play in to one's health. Among those factors that play a role are genetics, excercise, diet, injuries, and other related issues that may be beyond the function and scope of our products. For this reason, it is always best to consult with a doctor concerning your particular health issues to determine your particular and individual needs and your ability to use with success the products and solutions we provide.
*These statements have not been evaluated by Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this website or in communications is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health condition.