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Photo of forms of multivitamins tablets, capsules,

A 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?

Supplement Form Ingredient Amount Comparison

  • Centrum® Multivitamin Tablet
    • Vitamin A: 1050 mcg (3500 IU), Vitamin B6: 2 mg, Vitamin B12: 6 mcg, Vitamin C: 90 mg, Vitamin D: 25 mcg (1000 IU)
  • Centrum® Multivitamin Gummy
    • Vitamin A: 750 mcg (2500 IU), Vitamin B6: 5 mg, Vitamin B12: 15 mcg, Vitamin C: 45 mg, Vitamin D: 25 mcg (1000 IU)
  • Centrum® Multivitamin Chewable
    • Vitamin A: 450 mcg (1500 IU), Vitamin B6: 2 mg, Vitamin B12: 6 mcg, Vitamin C: 60 mg, Vitamin D: 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • Cooper Complete Original Multivitamin Tablet
    • Vitamin A: 900 mcg (3000 IU), Vitamin B6: 10 mg, Vitamin B12: 400 mcg, Vitamin C: 500 mg, Vitamin D: 50 mcg (2000 IU)
Cooper Complete Original Tablet
Per serving
Vitamin A 1050 mcg (3500 IU) 750 mcg (2500 IU) 450 mcg (1500 IU) 900 mcg (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 25 mcg (1000 IU) 25 mcg (1000 IU) 10 mcg (400 IU) 50 mcg (2000 IU)

Capsules to Pack Dry Ingredients

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.

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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 is a product we produce in a capsule form.

Softgels to Extend Life of Liquid Ingredients

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.

Gummy and Chewable Tablets for Taste Instead of Potency

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.

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Simply put, raw vitamin ingredients are not pleasurable without a flavoring. Just like candy, the foundation of gummy supplements are sugar, gelatin and cornstarch. Vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements add to a sugar foundation to create the product. However, this 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.

Tablets for Getting the Most Nutrients

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 and Basic One

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.

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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 (or prescription medications for that matter).  Damaging the seal of the pill disrupts the timed delivery of the product.

Liquids For An Easy Swallow

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

Liquids are a good choice for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills. The shelf life of liquid products is typically shorter than that of other supplement forms.  Normally, after opening a bottle it must be used quickly.

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

Which Supplement Form 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 person 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.

  • Vitamin B12 increased 55%
  • Beta Carotene increased 51%
  • Vitamin C increased 69%
  • Folic Acid increased 47%
  • 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.

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