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Forms of Supplements

Supplements can come as:


Many vitamins and minerals come in this form, particularly Vitamin C. It will provide extra potency with no binders or additives, which is useful for people with allergies.


These are easy to store and easy to take. Fat soluble vitamins usually come in a capsule. The capsule may contain an oil or a powder.


These are appropriate for people who have difficulty in swallowing tablets or capsules. Many children's supplements come in liquid form. They can be mixed with food or drinks.


Most vitamin and mineral supplements are in the tablet form. They are a practical form for most people because they can be stored and kept for a long time. Check the label to see what is added to the tablet by way of binders and fillers which are added to preserve or bulk out the active ingredients.

Many people have allergies or sensitivities to these substances. Quality products will be free from those that cause problems and label packaging accordingly, so check carefully.


Some vitamins are readily absorbed through the skin and have been used as topical preparations, that is, in creams that are then applied directly to the skin. Vitamin E, which is used in the treatment of skin conditions and scarring can be placed in creams.


Chelation is a term that will be used with mineral supplements. It means combined with amino acids to make the assimilation more efficient. It is recommended that chelated products be used as they are three to five times more effective than equivalent amount non-chelated products.

Time release

Time release preparations are created by allowing the supplements to be absorbed by the body over a period of eight to ten hours, or sometimes longer. These are particularly useful for water soluble vitamins. This will provide a more stable blood level of the vitamin and thus increase its effectiveness.

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Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Davies, S. and A. Stewart., 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

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Form Tip

Tablets are the commonest form of supplement preparation and are perfectly fine for most people. Just be aware of the need to source quality products that do not contain unwanted additional ingredients, such as gluten for example.

There is a definite role for liquid vitamins amongst those who cannot manage to take tablets and capsules. However, the claims that liquid forms are necessarily better than other forms for everyone can be dismissed as marketing hype.

A very important consideration is whether the form in which a supplement is provided (and consumed) is a suitable and effective way to ensure absorption. Many supplements are largely destroyed in the stomach before reaching the small intestine where they should be absorbed.

Some manufacturers resort to massive doses knowing that most (or all) will be destroyed but hoping that some will survive to be absorbed. This is quite unsatisfactory and unnecessary.

Our recommended supplements have been prepared using pharmaceutical technology to ensure they are not destroyed in the stomach and actually are easily and fully absorbed. This is very important. Firstly, it ensures the nutrients are actually all bio-available and secondly it avoids wasting money. To find out more click here now.