Tablet-Taking Tactics

Vitamin-Taking Hints



Food supplements don't do much good in the bottle.
 Here are ways to make vitamin taking easier:

    * Take vitamin and mineral supplements with meals when possible. If between meals, have more liquid (juice, milk or water) than just enough to get the tablet down. Both these methods dilute the supplement so a person is less likely to notice a tablet in the tummy.

    * Many vitamins (notably vitamin C) are available in powdered form. Some multiple vitamins are, too.

    * Persons sensitive to regular vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may take buffered C. It is available as calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, or sometimes as magnesium ascorbate. AscorBATE is non-acidic vitamin C. Some "buffered vitamin C" is just ascorbic acid mixed with some ground up dolomite (a natural calcium-rich rock). This is usually cheaper, but one teaspoon may provide only 2,000 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C. One teaspoon of sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate provides about 4,000 mg of C. Because you tend to get what you pay for, always read the label.

    * For children, there are very tasty chewable vitamins and liquid preparations for infants. For more information, you might want to read another short paper of mine called "How to get little kids to take their vitamins with a minimum of fuss." 

    * The elderly may not fully assimilate the contents of a vitamin tablet because of a weaker digestive system. Powdered supplements are especially useful here.  You can cover the taste best with tasty fruit juice.

    * If you cannot find powdered supplements, you can make your own. Gelatin capsules may easily be pulled apart. Tablets can be crushed between two spoons. The result is utterly unflavored, so mix with juice or applesauce. That, or just take the tablet and be done with it!

    * The shelf life of liquid vitamins is much shorter than vitamins in capsules or tightly-pressed tablets. We often supplement the supplement by adding additional vitamin C powder to liquid vitamins every day or two. Vitamin powders are stable if kept dry.  Of course you should always Read expiration dates whenever you buy vitamins. Some companies state their actual manufacture dates, which I prefer.

    * Any time you introduce something new in your diet you are more likely to notice it (and maybe grumble about it!) I suspect it is much like everything else: it takes time to get used to new routines. Most people easily take vitamin tablets. Surveys show that about two-thirds of all Americans take vitamin supplements regularly. Something good must be happening.

 * If a certain vitamin supplement does not agree with you, you might want to simply try a different brand. Like ice cream, some products are artificially colored or artificially flavored. Natural brands tend to be better in this regard. Always read the label, looking for what is NOT in the tablet as well as what is. It is worth remembering that many times a person is having a problem only with the tableting ingredients (called excipients, or fillers).

    * For brand suggestions, you might ask friends what ones they like and why. Health food stores are very willing to try to help you select an appropriate supplement. Health professionals may have an opinion as well. Heaven knows everyone on the internet certainly does. Beware of "brand partisans" who disparage others to sell theirs.

    * Remember to consider the source of your nutritional information. A store might just want to make a buck. Many doctors have never had even one good course in nutrition. There are some dietitians who are actually opposed to citizens taking food supplements. Few pharmacists take the time to investigate the therapeutic value of vitamins, and even fewer store clerks and cashiers know about what they sell.

    The solution? Let the buyer beware and, to alter Shakespeare a bit, "Get thee to a library, go!" Or a search engine. Take the time and do your own investigation. You need to know what you are doing, and WHY.  May I suggest you begin by borrowing (or buying) HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND FEEL BETTER, by Linus Pauling. My father always said that when you want to know something, go to the organ-grinder, not his monkey. Dr. Pauling is a true expert on vitamin supplementation and his book is outstanding.

    * Remember to always read the label. There is much information there. Some supplements are higher potency than others. Sometimes you need to take two or even six tablets to get the full label claim. 

    * Incidently, I have NO financial connection whatsoever with any manufacturer, distributor, or seller of any nutritional product.  Believe me, there have been plenty of offers.  I think it is important to avoid brand bias or special interests.

    * The most truthful answer I know to "What is the best brand of vitamins to take?" is that there are many good brands. It is a bit like asking, "What is the best car for me to buy?" The decision depends on what suits you, and what you are prepared to pay. There may be a number of good choices. I do not and will not make brand recommendations.  

    * The above answer doesn't satisfy everyone. Here is the ultimate way to find out which supplement brands are the best: write directly to each manufacturer. I suggest you politely ask for a FULL DISCLOSURE OF ALL INGREDIENTS AND EXCIPIENTS IN EVERY NUTRITIONAL PRODUCT THE COMPANY SELLS. There is additional information at , including hints on how to frame your letter.  

Copyright  C  2004 and prior years Andrew W. Saul. Revised 2019.  

 Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )



Andrew W. Saul


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