Are Vitamin Drinks Better Than Tablets?
Although it is often said that you should be able to get all the nutrients your body needs by eating a healthy, balanced diet, the fact is that – despite our best intentions – life can often in the way and we may find that hectic work schedules or regular travelling cause our eating habits to take a hit.
However, we know how hard it can be to choose the right sort of supplement especially when there's so many different types out there to choose from. So we spoke to dietician Dr Sarah Schenker to get the low down on what vitamins we might benefit from taking.
"Supplementation can help top up the intake of vitamins you are already getting from your diet and meet the body's daily requirement. Getting adequate amounts of the vitamins your body needs keeps you feeling and performing at your best."
"Poor food choices and unbalanced diets impact on nutrient intakes with many people failing to meet their requirement for essential vitamins and minerals. Low intakes of vital nutrients can lead to deficiencies and increase the risk of common health problems including heart disease, various cancers, poor bone health and type 2 diabetes. Key nutrients that people fall short in include vitamin B2, magnesium and zinc."
But apparently, deciding on the vitamins you need to take is only half the job done. Next, it's time to choose what product to go for – most of which will come in either a solid or soluble (dissolving and drinkable) form. So, aside from personal preference, does this make much difference? According to Dr Schenker, it does.
"Effervescent (AKA soluble) dietary supplements are designed as an efficient delivery system for effective nutrient absorption. Many solid dietary supplements travel slowly through the gastrointestinal tract or their absorption can be hampered by food or other chemicals."
"Effervescent supplements, such as Berocca, dissolve fully in a buffered solution. This reduces localised contact in the upper gastrointestinal tract which can mean less irritation and greater tolerability. Buffering also prevents gastric acids from interacting with the products themselves, which can be a cause of stomach upsets and heartburn."
Additionally, water-soluble vitamins allow any excess to be excreted rather than being stored in the body, which is useful when it comes to keeping your nutrient levels at an optimum point.
But NetDoctor's in-house pharmacist, Rita Ghelani, reckons that although Dr Schenker's recommendations make sense, there is also a case to be made in favour of solid vitamin supplements. She says:
"Vitamin C, which is a water-soluble vitamin that is not stored in the body, may be better taken as a slow release tablet or capsule, which is designed to release vitamin C gradually and therefore maintain optimum levels over a longer period of time. Products such as Vitabiotics Ultra vitamin C sustained release ( ￡5.95, Amazon.co.uk) or Boots Vitamin C and Zinc tablets sustained release tablets are a good option if you want to maintain good levels of vitamin C and Zinc."
"However, if your levels of vitamin C are low and you want to increase them rapidly then taking a soluble form of vitamin C is useful."
So, in conclusion, there are pros and cons for both forms of vitamin supplement – meaning that the main factor to take into consideration is personal preference.