Supplement Forms: Is One Type of Pill Better Than Another?

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Image of supplement forms; does the type of pill make a difference, difference tablet capsule softgelA point of differentiation often seen in vitamin and supplement advertisements is supplements being touted in a particular form─liquid, chewable, gummy, tablet, softgel or capsule. At Cooper Complete we offer our vitamins and supplements in many different forms, depending on the needs of the product.

So, what are all the various supplement forms, and is one form of supplements superior to another?

Gummy and Chewable Tablets

ConsumerLab.com recently completed a review of over 50 multivitamins including many popular gummy formulations.  They found 80% of gummy multivitamins failed to meet standards.

How is that possible? Gummy multivitamins are typically formulated for good taste, which can damage the integrity of the ingredients.

Woman Working Out With A Personal Trainer

Simply put, raw vitamin ingredients are not considered pleasurable. Just like candy, the foundation of gummy supplements are sugar, gelatin and cornstarch. Vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements are added to the sugar foundation to create the product. This sacrifice typically comes at the expense of the number of nutrients included.

For example, Centrum® Men’s Multivitamin contains 31 vitamins and minerals, while their men’s gummy multivitamin contains only 12. The chewable version does a bit better at 23.

These factors make a gummy multivitamin one of the least effective ways to consume important vitamins and minerals.

Supplement Form Ingredient Amount Comparison

  • Centrum® Multivitamin Tablet
    • Vitamin A: 3500 IU, Vitamin B6: 2 mg, Vitamin B12: 6 mcg, Vitamin C: 90 mg, Vitamin D: 1000 IU
  • Centrum® Multivitamin Gummy
    • Vitamin A: 2500 IU, Vitamin B6: 5 mg, Vitamin B12: 15 mcg, Vitamin C: 45 mg, Vitamin D: 1000 IU
  • Centrum® Multivitamin Chewable
    • Vitamin A: 1500 IU, Vitamin B6: 2 mg, Vitamin B12: 6 mcg, Vitamin C: 60 mg, Vitamin D: 400 IU
  • Cooper Complete Original Multivitamin Tablet
    • Vitamin A: 3000 IU, Vitamin B6: 10 mg, Vitamin B12: 400 mcg, Vitamin C: 500 mg, Vitamin D: 2000 IU
Centrum® 
Tablet
Centrum® 
Gummy
Centrum® 
Chewable
Cooper Complete Original Tablet
Per serving
Vitamin A 3500 IU 2500 IU 1500 IU 3000 IU
Vitamin B-6 2 mg 5 mg 2 mg 10 mg
Vitamin B-12 6 mcg 15 mcg 6 mcg 400 mcg
Vitamin C 90 mg 45 mg 60 mg 500 mg
Vitamin D 1000 IU 1000 IU 400 IU 2000 IU

Cooper Complete does not offer any of our products in the gummy form.

Tablets

Tablets allow the most nutrients to be packed into a given space. Typically a disk or cylinder shaped machine presses the raw material of vitamins and supplements into a solid substance.

Tablets are also incredibly shelf stable and retain their potency longer than other supplement forms. Unless the bottle says otherwise, it is safe to crush or cut the tablet into smaller pieces as necessary. These benefits make them the most common pill form on the market.

Cooper Complete offers multivitamins in the tablet form such as the Original, Basic One, and Elite Athlete.

Extended Release Tablets and Capsules

Extended-release tablets and capsules, also go by prolonged release, sustained release or timed release tablets and capsules.  They enclose an ingredient in a micro-encapsulation releasing it over time, rather than all at once.

For example, the Cooper Complete Prolonged Release Melatonin is a timed release tablet that delivers melatonin over a six to eight hour period.

You should not crush or chew extended-release supplements (and prescription medications for that matter).  Damaging the integrity of the enclosure of the pill disrupts the timed delivery of the product.

Capsules

Widely used in supplements, capsules are gelatin pieces that fit together to hold dry ingredients. Capsules typically come in a classic cylindrical shape.

Traditionally, gelatin capsules were made exclusively from bovine or porcine skin and bones. In recent years, technology has made it possible to create capsules from fish, chicken and even vegetable matter.

The two-piece construction of capsules prevents oil-based ingredients and liquids from going into a capsule. A drawback to capsules is they have major space issues and a capsule that is overfilled often breaks.

Cooper Complete Joint Health and Dermatologic Health are two of our products we produce in a capsule form.

Softgels

A softgel looks similar to a capsule but consists of a gelatin-based shell surrounding a liquid fill. The gelatin softgel protects the ingredients from oxidation and product degradation.  Some softgels can be made opaque to help protect against light and UV radiation.

As with capsules, the gelatin can come from a variety of sources. Softgels are often easier to swallow than tablets and are the first choice for oils or other liquid ingredients.

By their nature, softgels hermetically seal the contents to protect against air and opaque softgels protect fragile ingredients from light.

The manufacturing process of a softgel is complex in both science and craft as there are different softgel thickness and hardness levels. Production of the softgel can be challenging at times for a particular or set of ingredients.

Cooper Complete offers our best selling Advanced Omega-3 Fatty Acid in a softgel form for optimal absorption.

Liquids

Liquid vitamins and supplements suspend an ingredient in a water or alcohol-based liquid. The body can then swallow the ingredient without chewing.

Liquids are a terrific choice for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills. The shelf life of liquid products is typically shorter than that of other supplement forms, and once a bottle is opened it often must be used quickly.

Cooper Complete offers vitamin B-12 in the liquid form.

Supplement Forms: Which is Superior?

So which supplement forms is superior?

While there’s definitely discussion and significant nutritional differences between an orange and orange juice, there’s really no argument that the body absorbs the orange or orange juice differently.

Absorption time is different, but certainly not absorption itself! Yet, “absorption time” is a big deal to some supplement marketers even though the difference between the quickest time (seconds) and the longest time (minutes, if we exclude time released products), is minimal. The individual who takes aspirin for a headache may really appreciate headache relief in a few minutes versus 20 minutes with a softgel or tablet.

However, when taking a multivitamin, omega-3 fatty acids, or most other dietary supplements, it doesn’t make much difference.

Researchers at The Cooper Institute looked at the blood samples from individuals following six months of multivitamin supplementation with Original Cooper Complete (in tablet form) and found that the vitamin concentrations changed dramatically.

  • Folic Acid increased 47%
  • Beta Carotene increased 51%
  • Vitamin B12 increased 55%
  • Vitamin C increased 69%
  • Vitamin E increased 97%
  • Vitamin B6 increased 272%

So which form of a supplement is optimal? There’s really not a single answer to this question, and Cooper Complete has a wide range of forms for its products. Science shows the body absorbs all of these forms. The most important factor is to buy what you prefer, and what you will consistently take.

Click here to shop the entire line of Cooper Complete Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements.

Convenient Vitamin Subscription Plan Saves Time and Money

To ensure you always have a supply of Cooper Complete multivitamins and mineral supplements, join our Vitamin Delivery Subscription Program. You choose how often you would like a shipment, with 30, 60, 90 and 120 day options. If you have two or more bottles (of the same product or mix and match among products) shipped at the same time, you get free shipping!

Vitamin Subscription Enrollment Is Easy

Display the production information for the first item you would like to add to your cart, and click on the blue “Get Started” button to create a subscription. From there, choose a shipping frequency of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or 120 days and the quantity desired, and add the item to your cart. Repeat this process for as many different products as you like, and choose a shipping frequency that best matches your use of that product. For example, you might want Advanced Omega-3 fatty acids and Joint Health supplement every 30-days, and a bottle of Basic One Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement every 60-days. Click here to start your subscription for Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3.

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