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Name: Adrian
Status: other
Grade: other
Location:  CA
Country: N/A
Date: October 2006

Question:
are liquid vitamins and minerals absorbed more rapidly and more efficiently than pills? I read a web site that claims the body absorbs 80-95% of liquid vitamins and only 10-20% of vitamins in the pill form.



Replies:
Adrian,

In general, liquids are absorbed quicker by the body than solids. You know that this is true because after a meal, you will tend to have to urinate well before you have to drop a deuce. The intestine is the primary area in which absorption of nutrients and vitamins takes place. Your body can process a stomach full of water in about 10-20 min whereas it takes 3-4 hours to process a stomach full of solid foods. The reason for this is that solids need to be broken apart by the hydrochloric acid in your stomach so that your body can in essence, perform a liquid extraction. This means that while the solids flow through your intestine, liquid is around the solid food, which dissolves the soluble nutrients to pass through the walls of you intestine into your blood stream and to other parts of your body. The left over solids cannot pass through your intestinal wall and keep on going down the usual path until they are passed. Liquids, on the other hand, can skip this extraction process and pass directly through the intestinal wall. Due to this, the absorption rate is much faster and so is the amount (percentage-wise) that is absorbed.

Matt Voss


I suspect this is marketing hype by vendors selling liquid vitamins. The first question to ask is, "Show me your data, not your advertisements." Data from third parties who have no financial interest in the outcome of the research. Think about it for a moment:

1. Most vitamin pills are taken with water and would dissolve rather quickly in the stomach and small intestine.

2. Other vitamins are not water soluble to any great extent -- for example vitamin E. So whether it is consumed as a "solid" or "liquid" wouldn't make any difference.

There is an even more subtle, but important factor. When a vitamin (or other substance) is swallowed does not mean that it isn't changed chemically somehow before and/or after it is ingested. So the form in which it is taken could be irrelevant. Of course you also have to remember that a vitamin in "liquid" form is already diluted with some sort of solvent (usually water) so the amount of "active ingredient" is lowered by the amount of water present. This is not to say that there may be circumstances in which one form is preferred over another. For example, it may be easier to give a vitamin supplement to a young child or baby as a liquid rather than as a pill. But that is a different issue.

Vince Calder



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