Alternatives to Swallowing Pills: Switchin' Up the Way You Supplement with Gel, Powder, and Liquid Multivitamins

In this day and age, most of us have become connoisseurs of comfort and convenience. Think about it. Suddenly hit by a 10 p.m. carb craving? No problem! Within an hour, you could be face first into a plate of pasta without having to leave your couch, courtesy of a food delivery service. Don’t feel like facing the outside chance of running into that overly chatty neighbor at the grocery store? Don’t sweat it! With the tap of an app, you’ve got your milk and eggs right to your doorstep, without having to endure a lengthy neighborhood gossip session smack dab in the middle of the deli section.

As technology continues to indulge our desire for hassle-free living, it’s no wonder why we’ve lost our patience for pills. Who has the time to line up their vitamins, supplements, and medications into a pill case? If the idea of taking a pill is, well, hard to swallow, you’re not alone.

Research has shown that 1 in 3 people would rather shave time off their own life than take just one pill a day. Some even went so far as to report that they would actually pay to avoid the perpetual pill popping.[1]

For most, pill-aversion stems from a general distaste for swallowing chalky tablets in addition to our infatuation with ease. However, for some, pill swallowing isn’t just off-putting, it’s simply not an option. According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 1 out of every 25 adults will experience some form of swallowing disorder, a condition known collectively as dysphagia. With this in mind, there is a growing need for pill alternatives within the nutraceutical and medical space.[2] 

The Anti-Pill Movement

As the anti-pill movement continues to gain traction, we thought we’d explore several forms of vitamins that transcend the tablet and capsule format. What are some of our favorite alternatives that are pushing the boundaries of a vitamin capsule? Greens powders, liquid supplements, and our favorite, the gel.

If you’re open to taking a DoorDash detour, make sure you check out our recipe for Nutritiously Nutty Overnight Oats! This delicious breakfast is a dietary dream: tasty and maxed out with micronutrients thanks to our supplement secret ingredient! So, if you’re looking to pass on the pill, read on! 

Power Up with a Green Multivitamin Powder

Perfect for: The multivitamin multi-tasker

Benefits: Powdered vitamins or greens are a great choice for the person who's looking to toss those extra nutrients into something they were already planning to eat or drink. It’s as simple as stirring a spoonful into a smoothie, oatmeal, or even yogurt to hike up the health content of your meal.

A greens powder provides the perfect “kill two birds with one stone” method to sneak in those extra vitamins without any extra thought or effort, which is right on the money for any multitasking master! As an elixir of nature’s finest, greens powders provide a hefty dose of vitamin A and vitamin C, two superstars when it comes to immune system support.[3,4]

Another added benefit? Greens provide a serious antioxidant advantage, helping to reduce oxidative stress and long term inflammation, both of which are major culprits behind chronic illness.[5,6]

When you take the simplicity factor in conjunction with the host of health benefits, a greens powdered supplement is the healthy hot-ticket item our convenience-driven culture is looking for.[7]

Our “Try it Out” Tip: If you’re ready to give greens a go but are new to the fruit and vegetable powder scene, it might be best to ease into things slowly. The powder can be an acquired taste for some, so try blending a scoop into a smoothie that boasts some bold flavors, such as acai, pitaya, or banana with a scoop of chocolate protein powder. You’ll enjoy all of the benefits without subjecting your palate to the potent taste profile all at once. 

Load Up on Liquid Vitamins

Perfect for: The bathroom sink boss or the nightstand ninja

Benefits: While convenience is often a priority, sometimes we also need a supplement that won’t slip our minds when competing for headspace amongst our swirling “to-dos.” The solution? A supplement that can be kept on your nightstand or bathroom sink that comes as either a liquid or a spray. This format is great for someone who’d like to just spritz their vitamins directly into their mouth after they brush their teeth in the morning, or who would like to pour a cap full into their bedside glass of water.

This method is great for those who tend to let their vitamin routine fall by the wayside. By adding your vitamins to your daily “non-negotiables,” there really isn’t room to forget to take them.

Not only is this form particularly helpful if you tend to be a bit forgetful, but liquid supplements stand on mounting evidence that supports their efficacy in terms of bioavailability when compared to their capsuled counterparts. Without the gelatinous case to break down first, the process of nutrient absorption is expedited when taking a liquid supplement.[8]

Another issue with the pill capsule is that it can often cause some serious intestinal duress. The coated case is designed to slow the dissolving process, so as the pill moves through the GI tract, it can lead to digestive distress for some vitamin-takers. Convenience and forgetfulness aside, you might want to “conveniently forget” a pill supplement for good if it’s making you sick to your stomach. If that’s you, it might be time to give another vitamin format a try!

Our “Try it Out” Tip: Find a liquid or spray vitamin that comes in a flavor you enjoy, such as citrus or berry. This way, you won’t want to accidentally skip out on your daily supp! Plus, a crisp, cool glass of raspberry or lemon-infused water at your bedside just sounds luxurious! 

All Is Well with Vitamin Gels

Perfect for: Someone who’s always on the go, the “slipped my mind” supplement-taker or the multi-tasking maven.

Benefits: A gel is truly the jack of all trades when it comes to appeasing all of the finicky vitamin consumers out there. Countering any potential pitfalls, the gel format provides a solution so that everyone can stick to their supplement schedule.

If you find that you’re out and about from sun up until sundown, a vitamin gel is the perfect pocket-sized pick-me-up to take with you on the go. Just toss it in your purse, your briefcase, or your gym bag and you’ll have quick and easy access to the nutrients your body needs to keep you running around like a crazy person-or as we like to call ourselves, healthy hustlers. And if you find that your full-throttle lifestyle has you forgetting to take your multi in the morning, the gel is the perfect choice since it’s easy to tuck away in those places you won’t be able to miss. So, the next time you go to grab your wallet to pay for that overpriced latte, you’ll be gently reminded to take your vitamins since you’ll already have your gel ready to go, and right at your fingertips!

Another benefit for a gel vitamin is the time-sensitive release of nutrients. This specific rate of nutrient reuptake allows for a more complete absorption process so your body can get the most out of the supplement. A huge bonus for the busiest of bees!

Finally, a gel can be just the ultimate secret weapon for someone looking to sneak their vitamins in without any added effort. With that in mind, we thought we’d leave you with a healthy and tasty recipe that gets a serious boost of goodness from a multivitamin gel!


Our “Try it Out” Tip: 

Nutritiously Overnight Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients:

         1/2 cup quick cooking oats

         1/2 cup milk or milk alternative of choice (almond, cashew, coconut, or soy are great options)

         1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

         1 teaspoon chia seeds

         1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal

         1 cup fresh mixed berries

         1 Healthycell gel pack

         ½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

Add the oats to your container of choice and pour in the milk. Layer Greek yogurt, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, Healthycell gel pack, and berries. Gently fold in all ingredients, giving the mixture a stir. Refrigerate overnight and then top with chopped walnuts once you’re ready to enjoy! 


 References 

[1] Hutchins, R et al. “Quantifying the Utility of Taking Pills for Cardiovascular Prevention.” Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 8 (2015) 155-163.
[2] https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589942550&section=Incidence_and_Prevalence
[3] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
[4] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
[5] Rao V et al. “In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of the plant-based supplement Greens+ ™." International Journal of Molecular Science 12.8 (2011) 4896-908.
[6] Sears ME, Genuis SJ “Environmental determinants of chronic disease and medical approaches: recognition, avoidance, supportive therapy, and detoxification.” Journal of Environment and Public Health (Epub 2012).
[7] Zhang J, Oxinos G, Maher JH “The effect of fruit and vegetable powder mix on hypertensive subjects: a pilot study.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 8.3 (2009).
[8] Satia MC et al. “A randomized two-way cross over study for comparison and absorption of vitamin D buccal spray and soft gelatin formulation in healthy subjects and in patients with intestinal malabsorption.” Nutrition Journal 14 (2015) 114.