Q&A: Liquid vitamins—better absorption?

Consumer Reports News: April 16, 2008 08:26 PM

My wife pays a premium for liquid vitamin and mineral supplements, which are supposedly better absorbed by the body. Are they worth the cost? —D.P., Sacramento, Calif.

Probably not, unless your wife has trouble swallowing solid supplements. In theory, liquid supplements should be better absorbed by the stomach since they’re already dissolved. But there has been little research to substantiate that idea. And at least some evidence has shown no meaningful difference. A small study in adults over age 65, for example, found they absorbed calcium from solid supplements just as well as calcium from fortified milk or orange juice. And adults older than 50‚ who may lack sufficient amounts of a stomach chemical needed to fully extract vitamin B12 from food, readily absorb the vitamin from pills. So the better absorbability (in theory) from liquid supplements most likely doesn’t justify the added cost.

Read up on supplements to avoid (free), and see our Natural Medicine Ratings (subscribers only) for more facts on vitamins and minerals.

This article first appeared in the September 2006 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.

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