Food supplements can be found in a variety of different delivery formats such as capsules, tablets, gummies and softgels.
When food supplements are being developed, one of the key aspects considered is what delivery format should be used because some food supplements may be better suited to certain delivery formats than others.
After all, a probiotic with live microorganisms must be packaged differently to minerals or vitamins to ensure survival of the beneficial bacteria
The delivery format used is not random or based on the manufacturer's whim. Rather, as part of a product’s development, selecting a suitable delivery format means various aspects are considered such as:
Let's have a look at the various delivery formats in more detail:
These are a two-piece hard or soft casing that is filled with powdered ingredients or in some cases a liquid oil.
They are generally plant-based but can also contain gelatine.
Tablets are essentially hard pills and are made by compressing the active ingredients (and sometimes inactive ingredients).
SUBLINGUAL TABLETS/NUGGETS |
These tablets are designed to dissolve under the tongue.
CHEWABLE TABLETS |
These tablets are designed to be chewed and broken down in the mouth prior to swallowing.
These are soft & chewy pills and resemble sweets. Typically gummies are made with gelatine but plant based options (pectin and tapioca) are available.
Softgels are made from gelatine (beef or pork) and enclose liquid ingredients.
This is a two-piece capsule that is designed to hold liquids or semi liquids. Licaps can be plant-based or gelatine based.
This format includes powdered ingredients that need to be reconstituted in water in order to be taken.
Food supplements that are suspended in a liquid or are naturally in a liquid state.
In conclusion,each delivery format has its own benefits and drawbacks. Choose a supplement that you know will be easy for you to swallow, includes the nutrients you need and matches your lifestyle needs.
Side Bar: A 2020 CRN Consumer Survey found that:
FAQs about Delivery Formats
1. Why are some tablets so big?
Tablets come in various sizes and this depends largely on various aspects including
-The number of ingredients the tablet contains
-The type of ingredients in the tablet; some ingredients are weightier than others
-The form of the nutrients used, e.g. chelated minerals have more volume than mineral oxides and tablets will typically be bigger
-Multivitamin and mineral formulations can sometimes contain over 50 ingredients and this then means the tablets will be larger.
Many of Solgar’s mineral formulations include chelated forms of minerals. Chelated minerals are generally better absorbed1 but because they are bulkier than other mineral forms, tablets can be quite big.
2. Can I break or crush my tablets so that I can swallow them?
Although this can be fine with some supplements, always check with the manufacturer to confirm you can do this. Some tablets may have coating that protect the ingredients from stomach acid, for example, and breaking or crushing the tablets might not be ideal.
Never chew tablets that aren’t meant to be chewed because hard tablets may damage teeth and some tablets may have ingredients that aren’t good for teeth like betaine hydrochloride found in digestive enzymes.
3. Why aren't fish oils available in a vegetable capsule?
This is because fish oils are exactly that… oils. Oils tend to be unstable in vegetable capsules and gelatine-based softgels help to protect fish oils from oxidation.
Solgar® understands for many consumers beef or pork-based gelatine cannot be consumed for religious, cultural or ethical reasons and for this reason Solgar® has created Fish Gel Omega-3 740 mg, a high dose, and one-a-day fish oil supplement with fish gelatine capsules.
Food supplements should not be used instead of a varied balanced diet & healthy lifestyle.
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