What Forms do Supplements Come In?

Supplements come in a variety of forms. The most common are tablets, which have a conveniently long shelf life. Some are shaped in easy-to-swallow caplet form.

Fat-soluble vitamins are often found in soft gel capsules, and other nutrients can be processed into powder or liquid form and put into quick-to-dissolve capsules.

If you have trouble swallowing pills, many supplements are available in powder, liquid or chewable wafer form - even children can get these down.

Supplements that are meant to dissolve slowly may be put into a throat-soothing lozenge. Still others are in a sublingual form, where either a liquid or small tablet is placed under the tongue to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive juices.

Time-release formulas slowly distribute their dosages to the bloodstream over several hours. Chelated minerals are combined with another substance that is supposed to make the mineral more easily absorbed, although there is insufficient evidence to show if this is the case.

Tinctures are concentrated liquid supplements (usually herbs) infused in an ethyl alcohol or glycerin base, often taken in small doses mixed in with water or juice.

Teas or infusions are another form that herbs are available in, delivering a low concentration of the substance in a soothing, usually palatable beverage.

Oils, gels, ointments and creams are other forms of supplements meant for topical application.

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