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Cap Vs Pow

Supplement Absorption: Pills Vs. Powder

Getting the amount of vitamins we need can be difficult. The best way to get vitamins is through food, but sometimes that isn’t enough. That is why supplements were made. Supplements make it easier to get the vitamins and minerals we need.

There are many kinds of supplements to choose from. There’s capsules, tablets, softgels, powders and more.

The most common question asked about supplements is how quickly the nutrients are absorbed. Some supplements allow for faster absorption, while others absorb slower. No studies have shown a significant benefit to either method.

The question we should really be asking ourselves is how much of a specific vitamin or mineral you need rather than how quickly the nutrient is absorbed.

Types of Vitamins

There are two types of vitamins: water soluble and fat soluble.

Water soluble vitamins are nutrients that are absorbed quickly. They are used immediately and not stored in the body. As a result, they need to be replenished often. Some water soluble vitamins are vitamin C and B.

Fat soluble vitamins are stored in your fat, so they are used when needed. They all have important roles and functions in maintain your health. They are more easily absorbed when eaten with fatty foods such as nuts and avocados. Fat soluble vitamins include vitamin A, D, E, and K.

Which Supplement

It is important to know the difference between the two types of vitamins so you can make a better decision about what type of supplement you need.

Tablets & Pills

You will generally get enough fat soluble vitamins through food, as long as you have a balanced diet. But if you do need supplements, take the vitamins with fatty foods.

Also, you most likely do not need as much of the fat soluble vitamins, so tablets, pills, or capsules are the best supplement options. All these options have delayed releases. This delayed release will discharge the nutrients slowly allowing the body to absorb more. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes for the nutrients in these forms to be absorbed because of the dissolvable coverings.

The body can only absorb so much nutrients at a time. Any excess will be excreted. Supplements are often expensive, so choosing the best option for how much nutrients your body can absorb will get you the most bang for your buck.


You may be more deficient in water soluble vitamins compared to fat soluble vitamins. The best supplement option for water soluble nutrients is powders. Powders allow you to take a large amount of nutrients at one time.

Since there is no protective outer layer like there are for tablets, powders can be absorbed immediately. You may still excrete much of the nutrients, but if you are depleted or if your body needs the nutrients immediately, you should be able to absorb more.

Another benefit of powder is you can mix it into a smoothie, or other tasty liquid, so it is easier to take. Also, if you prefer powder supplements for fat soluble vitamins you can measure out the amount of powder you need so you do not take more than necessary.  So, if you hate taking pills, powder might be the way to go.

Proper Nutritional Pairing

Also, when choosing a supplement, make sure you find one that will allow for optimal absorption. Vitamins and minerals often have complimentary nutrients that allow for better absorption. For example, vitamin D is better absorbed with calcium. For the specific vitamin or mineral you may need, make sure the complementary nutrient is in the supplement.

Basically, there is little difference between the various kinds of supplements. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of nutrients at a time, so choose the type of supplement that will provide the closest amount of nutrients to your absorption level.


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Niedzwiecki, A., Dr. (n.d.). Forms of Supplements. Retrieved November 1, 2018, from

NOW Health Group. (2018, May 10). The Tablet Vs. Capsule Controversy: Which Is Better? Retrieved November 1, 2018, from

Steelsmith, L., Dr. (2016, December 03). Figuring Out Supplement Forms: Which Are Best to Take? Retrieved November 1, 2018, from

Stowell, A. (2014, July 28). Your Body Won’t Absorb Vitamin Supplements The Way You Think. Here’s Why. Retrieved November 1, 2018, from

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