With so many forms of vitamins and supplements available, how do you know which is right for you? Read on to discover the pros and cons of capsules, tablets, softgels, powders and liquids.
- Capsules: Perhaps one of the most common forms of medication and supplements, capsules are made from two interlocking pieces of gelatin (or vegetable-based alternative). They are easy to swallow and some can be taken apart, giving you the option of mixing the powdered contents with a food or beverage. This is especially helpful for anyone who cannot swallow pills, including children. However, capsules typically come with a higher price tag and a shorter shelf life when compared to other forms.
- Tablets: For those who can swallow pills, tablets are an excellent option. They are generally lower in price and can be tightly packed, offering higher-potency options. Tablets have a long shelf life and come in a variety of shapes and sizes; however, large tablets may be hard to swallow.
- Softgels: Typically used for oil or liquid-based supplements, softgels are made from a soft layer of gelatin (vegetarian softgels are available, but not widely used) that is very easy to swallow. Softgels are stable, completely sealed and carry a longer shelf life when compared to liquids and capsules, although this can vary depending on the contents. Softgels must be carefully stored and transported, as they are sensitive to hot weather.
- Powders: Can you imagine swallowing 15 or 20 capsules to get a serving of protein after your workout? Powdered supplements are a convenient option for large servings of nutrients such as protein. Powdered products have a long shelf life and make it easy to adjust your dosage or combine several supplements at once.
- Liquids: Liquid supplements work very well for some people, especially those who cannot or do not want to swallow capsules, tablets or softgels. Liquid supplements may absorb more quickly, but research is inconclusive about whether or not they can deliver more nutrients to your body than other supplement forms. Liquids are a perfect option for kids, as they often come in enticing flavors. However, they have a very short shelf life, are more expensive and less portable than pills.
So which form of supplements is right for you? The answer depends on your personal needs, expectations, limitations or preferences. The good news is that whether you’re concerned with cost, flexibility, portability, flavor or any other attributes of supplements, there are many different options available to suit your specific needs.